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The 3 Best Over-The-Range Microwaves - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2024 at 10:13 am
Best Over-The-Range Microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves are a good option to save valuable counter space by keeping your microwave out of the way. They're multi-purpose appliances with built-in fans to ventilate and lights to illuminate the cooktop below. Since they're meant to sit over your stove, most models have wide cooking chambers that accommodate bigger containers, like casserole dishes. They come with the equipment you need to install them over your oven.

Of course, if you're installing a microwave instead of plunking it on the counter, you'll want to ensure you get the best one. We have good and bad news on that front: this isn't a list of the best over-the-range microwaves we've tested.

After months of investigation with 26 different microwaves, including eight over-the-range models, we found that while microwaves vary in size, features, and price, they all heat food the same way.

While you might think a high-end microwave would heat your food more evenly, evenness depends on what you're heating, how much of it there is, and the container you're using. The amount of water in your food is a factor, and so is its viscosity (soup always heats up more evenly than mashed potatoes). In other words, if you heat the same thing in the same container in 26 different microwaves, the results are indistinguishable when you taste the food. The only thing that separates microwaves in terms of performance is power: some microwaves are faster than others.

You can read about everything we did and what we found here. That's not all: since inverter microwaves are marketed as the latest and greatest in microwave science, we wanted to ensure they don't perform better. They don't; you can read about how we came to that conclusion here.

You can get any microwave that matches the rest of your kitchen or has the buttons you like. Below, instead of the best over-the-range microwaves, we list a few that offer good value, sorted by feature and design, to help you wade through the sea of microwaves on the market.

  1. Best Value Over-The-Range Microwave

    If you're looking for the best over-the-range microwave with some extra features, the GE JVM6175SKSS offers good value. This mid-range price option comes in several different colors to match your decor. Like all over-the-range microwaves, it has a fan and light for the cooktop below. You can set the fan to four different levels and set the light to high or low. This model heats food quickly, and it has some sensor cooking programs, where the microwave detects steam to calculate the cooking time automatically. You can also switch off the turntable rotation when heating big dishes that could interfere with the rotation.

    It's easy to see into the cooking chamber when the door is closed. It's easy to start a 1-6 minute cooking cycle with the numbered buttons, and it has dedicated programs for 'Popcorn,' 'Beverage,' and 'Potato,' as well as modes for defrosting, reheating, and melting. You can also mute the controls.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Over-The-Range Microwave

    If you want to spend as little as possible, you might prefer a more budget-friendly option from the same brand, like the GE JVM3160RFSS. This model doesn't have a steam sensor and doesn't include the option of muting the controls. However, it heats food nearly as quickly as pricier options, including the GE JVM6175SKSS. The cooktop light and fan aren't quite as adjustable, but you can still set each to two different levels. You can still switch off the turntable if the container you're using interferes with the rotation.

    The bright light inside the cooking chamber makes it very easy to see inside when it's running, especially compared to other cheap options like the LG LMV1764ST. It also comes in various colors, so you can get one to match your kitchen.

    See our review

  3. Best Value Feature-Packed Over-The-Range Microwave

    If you'd prefer a feature-packed microwave, the LG MVEM1825F is a good option. This model isn't the most expensive option from the brand, but it still has most of the high-end features, including a steam sensor and a companion app. It heats food much faster than some more expensive options, and it's much easier to see into its cooking chamber when the door is closed. There are several options for sensor cooking, and unlike most microwaves, its 'Popcorn' program uses the sensor to automatically know when your popcorn is done.

    While there's no way to mute the microwave with the onboard controls, you can do so using the LG ThinQ app. The app also allows you to set a timer, adjust the fan and cooktop light, and send cook time information to the microwave. However, this microwave only comes in two colors: stainless steel or black stainless steel. If that won't work in your kitchen, the Whirlpool WMH32519HZ comes in more colors and has a steam sensor. It doesn't have an app, but it has a cooking rack for 2-level cooking or for use with the 'Steam' and 'Simmer' sensor programs, which ask you to place a bowl of water under the rack.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG MVEL2033F: The LGMVEL2033F is a high-end option with an unusual design: its controls are arranged along the bottom of the door, instead of along the side. It's more expensive than the LG MVEM1825F and has four fan speeds instead of two. You may like its sleeker look, but it doesn't heat food as quickly as the MVEM1825F and the button layout can make it hard to see into the microwave while it's running. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are the best value over-the-range microwaves for most people. We factor in price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.

If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all microwave reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no toaster is perfect, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you look for them.