With different configuration settings, features, and price points on the market, choosing between an over-the-range microwave and countertop microwave for your kitchen can be a daunting task. In this article, we have made a complete guide to help you learn more about these two types of microwave ovens and decide which one would be the best fit for your kitchen's layout, budget, and cooking routine.

What Is A Countertop Microwave?

Countertop microwaves are freestanding units usually placed directly on the kitchen counter. Here are some of the reasons why they could be a good investment for your kitchen:

  • No venting hookups or special installation is required.
  • They are simple to set up and operationalize.
  • Offer flexibility as they are easy to relocate when needed.
  • Most models are ADA compliant.
  • Most countertop microwave models tend to enter the market at a lower price point than other microwave types.
  • Available in a wide range of capacities, features, and finishes.

What Is An Over-The-Range Microwave?

Unlike countertop microwaves, Over-the-range microwaves are installed above a range or a cooktop. These built-in microwaves also provide kitchen venting, air circulation, and overhead lighting. People choose this type of microwave for the following reasons:

  • Don't use counter space and are conveniently mounted between the cabinetry above the range or cooktop.
  • Keep all of your cooking in one centralized location.
  • Offer ventilation
  • Include filters: a charcoal filter that reduces odors and a grease filter that helps clear the air.
  • Come in capacities large and small.
  • Available with a wide range of features

Both types of microwaves have their advantages, but choosing between them only comes down to your individual needs. Therefore, you must evaluate your situation and requirements to make a better decision.

Things To Consider When Shopping For A Microwave

Knowing what to look for in a microwave will help you narrow down your options. When choosing between an over-the-range vs. countertop microwave, keep the following things in mind.

1 - Venting Needs

If your kitchen space does not have a vent hood installed, installing an over-the-range microwave would be a good idea. Over-the-range models feature built-in exhaust venting to help take odors and fumes out of your kitchen air.

2 - Your Cooking Style

An over-the-range model could be a good pick if using a microwave oven is fully integrated into your cooking "flow."

3 - Cleanup

Some microwave models offer a non-stick interior, allowing you to easily keep stains and splatters away. They are also easy to clean, a simple wipe down and you are good to go.

4 - Kitchen size

Consider where you have the most space in the kitchen and how you'd like to streamline the cooking process. Installing an over-the-range in kitchens with limited counter space would be a good idea as they are tucked away. This can leave more kitchen space for your bread maker, coffee pot, toaster oven, or other freestanding countertop appliances.

Whereas if you have limited or low-hanging cabinetry, choosing a countertop microwave will help you make the most of your space.

5 - Style

Use your kitchen's existing aesthetic as a guide for choosing the right microwave. Models are often available with white, black, or stainless steel exteriors. Choose the one that fits your kitchen's overall theme.

6 - Features

Latest microwave ovens come equipped with different features, such as:

  • Smart Technology: allows you to control the device through an app, Bluetooth, or even a voice assistant.
  • Convection: allows cooking while a fan is constantly circulating hot air on all sides of the dish.
  • Speed Cook: This allows to combine convection cooking with microwaving.
  • Nonstick Interior: Makes cleanup easy.

Narrow down your search by looking for convenient features and capabilities you need. Sometimes people don't evaluate how often they would need a particular feature and end up paying more for something that sits dormant.

7 - Ease of Installation

Unlike over-the-range microwaves, countertop microwaves do not require any installation or pre-measurement. If you are on a tight budget, steering away from an over-the-range microwave can save you money, as you would have to pay for installation costs to get it up and running.

Weigh Your Options Before Deciding Which Microwave To Buy

Understanding your kitchen space and cooking needs better will help you decide whether a countertop or an over-the-range microwave is right for you. Regardless of which style you choose, you are sure to find plenty of capacity and powerful cooking in the Frigidaire microwave lineup. If you have any other questions about whether a countertop or over-the-range microwave is right for you, give us a call and discuss your requirements with one of our experts. Our appliance experts will guide you through the buying process and show you all the best options of either variety available on our online store. With our extensive selection, you're sure to find an option that perfectly fits your space and your needs!

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