Microwave Oven

How to Mount a Countertop Microwave Under Cabinet | Our Guide To A Successful Installation

Undercabinet microwave
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In this article, we will go over how to mount a countertop microwave under cabinets.  From preparing to make sure you are ready with all the tools, knowledge, and supplies to the steps needed to succeed in the installation.  We will help you account for the various factors that will add time to your install.  If you want more reasons for a built-in microwave within the cabinet, we provide benefits for doing so.

Besides the numerous benefits of converting your countertop microwave to a microwave within the cabinet, we offer a variety of things to consider when making this conversion.  All of those considerations are important so that you do not get stuck or find yourself halfway through a project you dislike.

Please read on for more information on how to properly mount your countertop microwave to the underside of your cabinet.

Undercabinet microwave

How do You Install an Under Cabinet Microwave?

Are you someone who likes to fiddle around with kitchen layouts like me?  I am always looking for the optimal setup that allows me to seamlessly move around my kitchen with ease.  Obviously, sometimes your kitchen space dictates what you can and can't do, but there are times when you can make a change based on the available space you have targeted for good use!

A mounted front venting microwave oven under a cabinet is an excellent example of a space utilizing setup that might just be the perfect thing for your kitchen setup. By adopting different set-up methods, you will be able to attain an ideal location for your microwave and space to do other desirable things and customization for your kitchen. Which is the dream, is it not? Especially when you are working with small spaces, like apartments and studios (see more microwaves for home use).

Let's get down to it, step by step, on how to mount a countertop microwave under your cabinet.

In Preparation

Being prepared will be the key to success.  That means having the right tools, all the supplies you need, and an understanding of the processes you will be facing.  All of this will help your installation go as seamlessly as possible, with fewer surprises and mistakes (hopefully!).

Supplies and tools that you will need for mounting the cabinet microwave oven include a power drill, a stud finder, properly sized screws, a piece of wood at least two by four sizes, and the correct sized mounting kit.

Pick out a place in your kitchen for the microwave ovens that makes sense for your cooking style.  This place should fit in with your routine and preferred spaces for prep work.  For example, try not to put the microwave in a place that is very far away from the items you would use the microwave with.

In addition, there are logistical concerns that you should be aware of when you search for a location for this built-in microwave oven.  For instance, measure the height and width of your proposed open space and compare that with the microwave you have or are about to purchase.  When you account for that appliance, you will avoid future mounting issues on the day of installation.

If the appliance occupies more space than you thought, then it may render the counter space beneath it unusable for food prep, which is one of the reasons for it being mounted to the wall beneath the cabinet.

Also, remind yourself that any door that opens should not swing into the microwave oven—refrigerator doors, cabinet doors, pantry doors, etc.

All that to say make sure the countertop microwaves have enough space to be worthwhile long term in that location.

Step One

With your location chosen, pull out the stud finder we recommended that you have earlier.  Look for wall studs with which to mount the cabinet microwaves.  You can mark those spots on the wall so that you can remember them later.

The wall studs are important for mounting the microwave oven because then you will have the structural strength to attach the heavy microwave to the strong part of the wall and cabinet.

If you try putting the microwave oven on just stucco or drywall, your microwave will fall out of the wall.  Yikes!

Step Two

Attach a piece of wood, with at least the thickness of a two by four, to the cabinet’s underside to provide added strength to the structural support for the microwave oven.   Use a screw of at least four inches long to ensure a stable shelf mount.

This part may not seem very important considering step one, but if you think about the weight distribution and how gravity works, then having extra support for all the weight hanging from the cabinet shelf can only be helpful.

A light brown kitchen

Step Three

Now for the mount of the brackets that will keep the microwave built into the cabinets.  If you want to ensure a built-in look, then you should use the installation pack that comes with most microwaves.

*Now I know I said most microwave oven manufacturers, but not all countertop models would have a trim kit and mounting plate attachment included.  But if you are this far, then you, like most other readers found, probably have those things already.*

Take the mounting kit out, and parse out the pieces onto the countertop.  Your trim kit will likely have a mounting plate included with the microwaves inside, which you will screw into both the wall and the wood attached to the shelf.  There will also probably be a metal bracket that you will link to the microwave itself.

Mark the location of the studs for those screws and anywhere on the piece of wood for those screws.

Step Four

Are you ready to see the culmination of your hard work? Time to actually mount the microwave under a cabinet!

With your mounting plate firmly screwed to the wall and cabinet, and your metal brackets attached to the microwave oven, you can now secure the microwave to the mounting plate via the brackets.  This may be by screws or by seating the brackets to the installed plate.  The trim kit pieces will all fit together well if it is built right.

With that, your mount and install of the appliance should be done!

A microwave on an oven in a white kitchen

Benefits of a Microwave Under a Cabinet

There are many other benefits to placing a built-in countertop microwave oven into your kitchen cabinets. They are slightly more expencive (see microwaves under 200 dollars) and limited in the variety of sizes. A huge positive point , though, is that they offer sleek design - see also retro microwaves - by eliminating the need for countertop space.

First, saving counter space is the primary helpful reason.  When you have a small kitchen, countertop microwaves take up a lot of room, so lifting them up off of the counter will give you more kitchen real estate to work with for your other appliances.

If you do any kind of cooking, then you will know that having more appliances and more room for prep work helps big time.  That means you can say yes to something like a toaster oven and have all your ingredients on the counter while you chop away to your heart's content.

If you decide to install the countertop microwave oven into the underside of the upper cabinet, then you will save more cabinetry space by default of having more counter room transferring to the cabinet space.

With the caveat of having a range hood vent to install along with it, putting a microwave above the stove to double as a range hood ventilation is a great space-saving measure that will take care of two things at once. 

Anyone who owns a range microwave is enjoying the benefits of the built-in microwave vents over the cooktop, especially if you like to cook bacon!  The air being sucked out of the vents will protect you from those coming to steal your hard work.

Microwave under blue cabinets

Things to Consider when Installing a Countertop Microwave into the Cabinetry

Naturally, a countertop microwave oven is not necessarily engineered to be installed in a kitchen cabinet.  It is designed for the counter, but like anything in life, with some thought - you can find a way.  An answer may include some mounting screws to attach the appliance unit to the wood in the wall or the cabinetry. On the other hand, installation issues may reflect on an overall cost, so you should take good care not to inflate the cost of your otherwise affordable microwave oven.

In the same vein, a vent hood is not built into the bottom and sides of the unit.  There are some microwaves that are specially designed with proper ventilation hookups to suck the air above the stove and oven range up and out of the exhaust vents. However, suppose you have not built in the ventilation infrastructure. We will have to incorporate alternate vent methods to ensure a safe and pleasant cooking environment to make food on the table that much smoother.

You will need to find the appropriate microwave ovens to choose from that have the proper mounting kit and trim kit options to be installed beneath the kitchen cabinet smoothly.  Having to create workarounds for every part of the installation process will create a further effort that may negatively affect the look, use, and safety of the appliance. Also, identifying the microwave's wattage which is a unit of measure for electrical power - see also medium wattage - and browsing the manufacturer's guide is a little dry but can save you a lot of headaches in the process.

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