Microwave Oven

What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwave? Guide

The kitchen is an important room in the house and there is absolutely no doubt about that.

You, therefore, need to have one where you feel comfortable working and everything is within reach when needed.

There are many types of microwave ovens such as countertop models, over the counter models, built-in models and, of course, the over the range models.

If you have chosen to go for Over-the-Range model for your interior decor, then the next obvious question that comes to mind is “What size cabinet for over the range microwave?”.

Let us first review what an over the range microwave really is just so that we are on the same page. This is because many confuse OTR ovens with built-in or over the counter microwave models.

What is an Over the Range Microwave?

What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwave

Over-the-range microwave fit right above the cooktop and have ventilation system underneath like a range hood.

An Over-the-range (OTR) microwave combines a microwave with a range hood.

A range hood is a device that has a fan that is used above a cooking area in the kitchen to remove airborne substances like fumes, smoke, and steam from the air.

Essentially, with an OTR microwave, you get a two in one device that makes working in the kitchen more enjoyable and efficient.

The best part is that it gets installed in a cabinet above the cooking area.

These are not the same as built-in microwave ovens which generally fit in to the wall or inside the cabinetry. In other words, the do not have a range hood or ventilation underneath.

Read in Detail:

What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwave?

These devices need to be installed in a cabinet with very specific dimensions. Installing one without proper considerations of the available space can leave you disappointed at best and with an awkward kitchen with hefty installation charges at worst.

Here are some of the things you will need to consider before you carry out an installation

1. Distance Between Cooktop and OTR Bottom

The Height of the cooking space is an important factor to consider as it will dictate the size of the microwave you can buy.

The minimum recommended height of the cabinet space between the top of the cooker and the top of the OTR microwave is 30 Inches.

It can be more, but any less could limit the size of pots you can use on your cooker, disrupting the ease of cooking.

This distance can allow you to install a 17-inch tall microwave and still have 13 inches of usable space remaining.

With more distance, you can install and use a larger microwave.

You must note that the the higher the distance, the more difficult it would be to reach the oven or peek through it.

2. Width of the Cabinet

The width of the cabinet is also very important. Most of the OTR ovens have a standard width of 30″ inches.

Therefore, you should design the cabinet with an aim to provide no more and no less than 30″ of width.

3. Depth of Cabinet

With many cabinets, the average depth is about 12 inches. This compared to the 15-16 inches of depth that the average OTR microwave has can spell a problem for some users. However, this may not be a huge problem for most people.

One of the things you will need to look out for here is the door clearance. If you have a wide-opening door, and your unit is fit snugly inside the cabinet, you may find it difficult to swing the door open completely.

Another important consideration when deciding on the depth is where the ventilation fans underneath will be located. You need them to be as directly above the cooktop as possible.

Finally, if your cabinet isn’t deep enough, you will notice the oven sticking out which may look ugly.

4. Height of the Cabinet

The average height of an OTR microwave oven is about 17″. Therefore, considering the earlier measurements discussed in point #1 above, you will have about 13″ of distance left between the cooktop and the bottom of the OTR microwave oven.

13″ distance is the minimum you should aim for. The more the merrier. If you have a taller oven i.e one with 18″ height, then you will need to adjust the cabinetry accordingly while maintaining that 13″ distance from the cooktop.

When to Use an OTR Microwave?

OTR microwaves are great for space-saving purposes. Since most of the overhead space in a kitchen remains unused, using an OTR microwave can make use of this space and help with evacuating smoke and fumes from the air.

Space savings are the greatest advantage of these two-in-one devices.

If you want a range hood that can clear away the dirty air from your cooking area then this is also a good way to go at it. The included fans with OTR microwaves will help with this task.

Precautions

The cabinet needs to be tall enough to allow sufficient space that can accommodate the height of the microwave and still leave behind sufficient space for your cooking pans.

Also, be careful that it is not too tall as the microwave should not be beyond the reach of its users as this would defeat the purpose of having it in the first place.

An OTR microwave oven that is difficult to reach is a health hazard as it can cause accidental spills.

The OTR microwave needs to be carefully mounted so that it can get easy access to power. Proper mounting will also ensure that the device is held firmly in place and it doesn’t fall off leading to injuries or device damage.

You must note that the ventilation exhaust on the bottom of an OTR microwave is far weaker than a dedicated range hood. While the OTR microwave has an average fan speed of 300 CFM, range hoods can reach about 900-1000 CFM at an average.

Also Read: How many watts in a microwave oven?

Conclusion

Here we answered a common question “What size cabinet for over the range microwave?”.

There are a few requirements for the size of the cabinet that should be used to accommodate an over the range microwave and fortunately most of these measurements are almost standard.

These devices are usually mounted above the cooking area so first, you’d need enough clearance from the cooktop to allow easy cooking and to accommodate the size of microwave you’re installing which is generally 17″ in height.

The width should also accommodate the device and allow you to open and close the microwave’s doors freely. Fortunately, the width is a standard 30″.

The depth should be large enough to accommodate the microwave, although there shouldn’t be much to worry about if it sticks out a little.

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