May 7

What is Countertop Microwave Oven? – Learn Here


Author: Cornelia Suehr and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Microwave ovens come in a variety of sizes, shapes and specifications. There are three major specifications of microwave ovens: the countertop microwave oven, the built in and over the range.

Basically, as the name suggests, countertop microwave oven is a type of oven that is placed on a flat surface. They are also very portable and have widest range of size selection. The major distinctive feature of this oven type is that it can be placed anywhere in the kitchen and does not need a particular appliance space.

These ovens get their names from their placement and arrangement in your kitchen.

In this article, we will consider what is countertop microwave oven and how it varies from the other oven types that exists out there.

What is Countertop Microwave Oven?

What is Countertop Microwave Oven
Countertop microwave ovens are the most common types of microwave oven.

These are perhaps the most common types of microwave oven. If you have a microwave oven in your kitchen, dorm room, or office space that is placed on a flat surface, what you have is a countertop microwave oven.

A countertop microwave oven is simply an oven that can be placed on a counter or most other places in the kitchen. They don’t require much space for placement when they are bought.

This oven type is relatively cheap and does not require expert help for installation.

Typical Features of Countertop Microwave Ovens

Cheap Prices

Countertop microwave ovens, unlike over the range or built in microwave ovens, are relatively cheap in prices, most countertop ovens typically costs less than $100.

However, since the variety is huge, depending upon the technology and the size you choose to go for, they can cost $300 or more as well for a typical home.


Countertop microwave ovens have the most versatile range of size. They can go from mini 0.7 Cu FT capacity all they way to 2.2 CU FT Extra Large ovens for home use.

Also Read: Best Midsize Countertop Microwave Ovens


as the name ‘countertop microwave oven’ connotes, they are usually designed with countertops in mind, so a countertop oven is regarded as a plug-and-play appliance.

In other words, you don’t need any expert carpentry or technical skills in order to install and use them.

Myriad functions

Like the over the range or built in microwave oven, the countertop microwave oven are come with plenty of functions DEPENDING on the model you go for.

If you choose to go for Convection microwave oven, it will be able to grill, broil or bake along with the normal microwaving ability.

Similarly, you can go for newer inverter technology for smoother heat delivery.

You can also find countertop microwave ovens that come with a plethora of preset functions for cooking common food items.

Albeit, the more the functions, the more expensive the countertop microwave oven tends to be.

Also Read: What is difference between convection and inverter microwave oven?

Countertop VS Over the Range Microwave Ovens

What is Over the Range Microwave Oven
Over-the-range microwave fit right above the cooktop and have ventilation system underneath like a range hood.

Over the range microwave ovens are slightly different from countertop ovens. As the name connotes, they are usually installed over ranges. They are a little more complicated than countertop oven types but do not require much fuss to run either.

Some of the major differences between the countertop and over the range ovens are

The Installation

While the countertop microwave oven does not require installation, the over the range oven requires some form of installation.

You will need technical skills in order to install an over the range microwave oven.

Read here: What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwave?

Microwave Oven Vents and Lights

Two distinct features of an over the range microwave is that it also double as a range hood. It has fan that allows you to exhaust the steam out of your kitchen.

Again, installing the exhaust vents also takes some skills.

Furthermore, they come may come with light on the bottom for illuminating the cooktop.


Over the range oven types are slightly more expensive than the countertop oven. However, they generally come with plenty of functions and have a large capacity with high power rating.


Over the range microwave ovens are usually slightly bigger than countertop ovens, they typically measure about 1.4 to 2.2 cubic feet.

You cannot find smaller sized OTR microwave ovens.

Countertop VS Built in Microwave Ovens

How to Measure Cubic Feet of Microwave
Built-in microwaves require a professional for installation. Some countertop ovens double as built-in microwaves.

Built in microwave ovens are ovens that are designed to be installed inside cabinet or inside a wall. This oven type usually requires a technician to help with installation because of the complexity of what it requires.

Also known as a wall oven, it usually adds a sophisticated feel to the overall appearance of the kitchen

The major differences between the countertop and the built in microwave ovens are


Built in microwave ovens are the most expensive type of microwave oven there are.

Most built in ovens cost at least $250 and require a technician to do the proper installation which will likely cost you more.

The higher procurement cost is generally due to the trim kit that must be installed first. A trim kit allows a built oven to be installed as well as allows for ventilation.

The Kitchen Space

While a countertop oven can simply be put on a countertop, a built in oven requires a specific space specially created for it, before the kitchen arrangement.

This type of microwave oven is usually used or designed for houses that need a specific interior decor that maximizes the use of wall and cabinet space.

Similar Features

The countertop microwave oven and the built in oven have more less the same functions. Albeit, you cannot find budget-oriented built-in microwave ovens.

Most high countertop ovens are similar in function to a typical built-in microwave oven.

Oven Combo

A built in microwave oven might be designed to be coupled with a more traditional oven. When this is the case, you will likely have to install both ovens at the same time


There is some flexibility in choosing the size of built-in microwave ovens. They range from midsize to extra large. In other words, you can find built-in ovens ranging from 1.1 CU FT all the way to 2.2 CU FT.


The installation is one of the most stressful feature of the built in oven. Unlike the countertop oven that can be moved at major interval, once the microwave develops a fault, you cannot take it to the technician by yourself.

The technician has to come to you. Also you will need a technician when you want to uninstall it as well.

On top of that, any newer oven you buy will need to abide by the size constraints of the wall and cabinet you have already dedicated for the built in microwave.


In this article, we learned about what is countertop microwave oven, the various other types of microwave ovens that there are and their distinguishing features/advantages.

The countertop oven is the cheapest type of microwave oven that there is and is definitely the most common.

This is mainly because of its ease of use. Unlike the built in and over the range microwave oven, installation and use doesn’t require much stress.

Also there is a huge variety of features, price range and power rating you can find on countertop microwave ovens.

The other oven types are generally all premium grade and hence require a higher upfront cost of purchase.


1. What does countertop microwave mean?

A countertop microwave is a small appliance that sits on your kitchen counter and cooks food. It's different from a full-size oven because it doesn't have an actual oven inside - the microwaves that cook the food come out of the top of the machine. Countertop microwaves are smaller and more affordable than full-size ovens, which is why they're so popular.

2. Is a countertop oven worth it?

Countertop ovens are a great addition to any kitchen, and they can be used for a variety of purposes. We recommend them to anyone who wants the convenience of an oven without having to take up counter space. Countertop ovens are especially useful for people who live in small spaces or who don't have an oven in their kitchen. They're also ideal for anyone who wants to save energy, because they use less electricity than a full-sized oven.

3. Can you bake in a countertop oven?

Countertop ovens are a great option for small kitchens or for people who don't want to buy an oven that takes up a lot of space. But can you bake in a countertop oven? The answer is yes - you can bake in a countertop oven, though the results may not be exactly the same as if you were using a traditional oven.

One thing to keep in mind when baking in a countertop oven is that the size of the oven affects the baking time. So, if you're baking something that usually takes 30 minutes, it might take closer to 45 minutes in a countertop oven. Also, make sure to preheat your countertop oven before putting your food in it; otherwise, your food may not cook evenly.

4. What can I cook in a countertop convection oven?

A countertop convection oven is a great way to cook a variety of foods. You can broil, roast, bake, grill or steam food in it. The oven circulates hot air around the food, cooking it evenly. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen or if you want to cook something quickly.

5. What is a standard size countertop microwave?

A standard size countertop microwave is about 1.5 cubic feet. This is the perfect size for most people, as it can easily fit a dinner plate or casserole dish. If you are looking for a larger or smaller model, there are plenty of options available on the market. Be sure to consider your needs before making a purchase.

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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