February 29

Built-in Microwave Size Guide


Author: Cornelia Suehr
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The microwave oven was invented by accident in the mid-1940s by Percy LeBaron Spencer. During this time, there were very few options when it came to the looks of a microwave.

Currently, there are plenty of options for everyone and especially for those who wouldn’t want to compromise the aesthetic appeal of their kitchen.

A built-in microwave oven can be a great solution as one can be made to sit flush with the environment and the interior decor of your kitchen.

This article will basically be a built-in microwave size guide. We will cover the basic standard measurements as well as the placement options for built-in microwave ovens. However, that  shouldn’t stop you from checking out these top-rated built-in microwave reviews.

Also Read: What is over the range microwave?

What is a Built-in Microwave?

Built In Microwave

A built-in microwave is one that gets installed into a cabinet or a wall in the kitchen. This is in stark contrast with the more common countertop microwaves which are placed somewhere on a kitchen counter.

As a result, built in microwave ovens allow you to use more of your countertop area. They also blend in with your kitchen decor and thus become a beautiful attraction.

You must note that Built-in Microwave Ovens are NOT the same as Over-the-Range or OTR microwave ovens. OTR Microwave ovens have a ventilation system on the bottom which acts like a range hood, built in microwave ovens have it on the side or on the top front.

OTR ovens follow a different set of standard measurements as compared to built in microwave ovens.

Also Read in Detail: What is a Built-in Microwave

Built-in Microwave Size Guide

Manufacturers will often produce built-in microwave ovens of varying shapes and sizes. This provides users with a lot of leeways when it comes to deciding which model to take.

Although the height of the microwave oven can be forgiving, finding one with a width that fits your space or cabinet can be a bit challenging but it is not impossible.

Here are the few measurements you need to know to get started.


First and foremost, you will need to know whether you have the right amount of space available to mount the specific device you want.

The available space needs to have the capacity to accommodate the entire width of the microwave oven snugly without having to resort to forcing it in or modifying the wall or cabinet.

Typical widths of these devices usually range between 19 – 26 inches though they may vary. Be sure to have enough room to accommodate the device in your space for ease of installation and to avoid any damage.


You usually get a huge difference between the smaller and the larger microwaves.

The depth can be defined as the length between the front end and the back end of the microwave oven when the door is closed.

With a typical depth ranging from about 20 inches, you must make sure that cabinet is deep enough to fit the microwave oven without making it protrude too much.

Some (particularly the larger capacity microwaves) can have a depth of up to 23 inches. These devices are usually bulky in size and are ideal for installations where space is not an issue.

The Height

With height, you can be a little flexible as long as the device is not fixed so low that it gets in the way of doing your work.

In this regard, we also have compact built-in microwave ovens whose average height stands at around 12 Inches. Typical height can range from 12-16 inches.

Larger ovens may have up to 18 inches of height.

Well-done built-in microwave ovens are usually so flush with other cabinets of shelves near their position that you would hardly notice the subtle change in height in the design.

What are Built-in Kits?

Built-in Microwave Size Guide
The frame around the microwave oven above is called a trim kit. It allows for ventilation and a good fit inside the cabinets.

If you want to install some kinds of countertop microwave ovens into a cabinet, having a built-in kit can make it simpler.

With a trim kit, users can fit their built-in microwave ovens into a cabinet opening to match the dimensions of the device, allowing for a better fit.

Built-in kits also facilitate airflow so that the components of the microwaves that get very hot can be cooled down.

Built-in Trim Kit Materials and Sizes

For a microwave oven that can be integrated into the cabinetry, the manufacturer will provide a specification of the size of trim kits that can be used.

The kits come in a variety of finishes depending on the user’s needs. You can get metallic and stainless steel kits as well as plastic kits, in various colors and finishes of your choice.

The widths varies from 24 inches to 30 inches, hence most users can get one that fits their microwaves perfectly.

Countertop Microwave Ovens Double as Built-in Models

Whenever you’re stocking up your kitchen, you will have to decide whether or not to buy certain appliances based on their usability and whether or not they will blend-in well with the kitchen’s décor.

If you are wondering whether built-in microwaves are some special sub-type of the common countertop microwave oven, you may be surprised to find out that many regular countertop microwave ovens can double as built-in microwaves. 

You can simply implement them by adding a trim that matches your kitchen’s interior to a regular countertop microwave.

You will also need a safe and firm area to mount the countertop microwave oven. However, once in place, it will function the same as any built-in model.

For such an installation, however, you may need to splurge on a high-quality option that can serve you for a long time without requiring any repairs that would mean dismounting it.

Effect of Size on Placement

Large built-in microwaves are great for large kitchens as they have enough space to occupy without sacrificing essential kitchen space.

When well placed, they can serve the user quite effectively without impeding other aspects of their work in the kitchen.

Smaller models are typically found in smaller kitchens. They are a little easier to customize and install and they too can offer a good amount of service when thoughtfully installed.

When installing a built in microwave, upgrading can be an issue. For example, if you plan to get a larger sized model, you can’t simply replace your smaller oven. Basically, you will need to renovate your cabinet.

Placement Options


You have a vast range of options where you can install the built-in microwaves.

You can install them in the following places

  • Over the Counter
  • In the Cabinetry Corner
  • Have Double Ovens with two dedicated cabinets
  • On a Blank Wall unoccupied by cabinetry
  • Standalone cabinets
  • Raised Cabinets
standalone built in microwave
Standalone Cabinet housing the built-in microwave oven. Source: abt.com

Basically, you can install the built-in ovens anywhere your imagination takes you. As long as there is sufficient air flow, you should be good to go.

Where Built-in Microwaves are used

Built-in microwaves are just a better way of presenting and using an already-common household appliance. With built-in microwaves, you get to save a lot of space.

In many modern homes, a kitchen is a place where a lot of the design language is communicated.

For this reason, you would also want your microwave oven and other devices like fridges to be affixed as part of your interior design.


Built-in microwaves come in many shapes and sizes and are great to have. This article was about built-in microwave size guide and also about their placement.

They are usually fitted into available spaces in walls or cabinets where they can be easily accessed by the user.

Built-in microwave ovens may be necessary to have in plenty of cases but most people install them for few main reasons: to save space, hide its extremities, or make the interior decor stand out.

Their sizes will usually vary, but finding one that fits well can be easy when you know what to look for.


1. Are built in microwaves a standard size?

Built-in variants are made to accommodate conventional cabinet widths with openings of 24, 27, and 30 inches wide – the same dimensions as normal wall ovens. Microwaves designed for built-in installation are available in a range of heights between about 19 and 22 inches.

2. How do I know what size over-the-range microwave I need?

For easy access to over-the-range ovens, allow at least 66 inches from the floor to the bottom of the cabinet. Additionally, you'll need at least 30 inches between the stove surface and the cabinet's bottom. The term capacity refers to the size of the inner cooking space.

3. Why are built in microwaves so expensive?

Built-in microwave ovens are slightly more expensive than countertop microwave ovens due to the installation cost, which should always be handled by a professional.

4. What are the different sizes of microwaves?

Here are the different microwave sizes. 

The 0.5 to 0.8 cubic feet are considered compact. 0.9 to 1.3 cubic feet is a medium-size. 1.4–1.6 cubic feet for a family. 1.8–2.0 cubic feet for full-size.

5. What size is a standard microwave?

Typically, the capacity ranges between 1.5 and 2.2 cubic feet. Widths range between approximately 21 and 24 inches. Height is typically between 13 and 14 inches. Closed-door depths typically range between 16 and 20 inches.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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