February 26

What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwave? | Our Detailed Guide With Useful Tips


Author: Gisele Perez
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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 range microwave models, built-in models and, of course, the over the range microwaves model.

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If you have chosen to go for the over-the-range microwave model for your interior decor, then the next obvious question that comes to mind is “What size cabinet for the 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 over-the-range microwaves with built-in or over-the-counter microwave models.

What is an Over the Range Microwaves?

a pot on the stove and the microwave above it

An Over-the-range 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 over-the-range 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 into the wall or inside the cabinetry. In other words, they do not have a range hood or ventilation underneath.

What Size Cabinet for Over the Range Microwaves?

These devices need to be installed in a cabinet with very specific dimensions. Installing one without proper consideration 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

microwave otr height guide
Source: ABT Electronics

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 over-the-range 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 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 wall cabinet with an aim to provide no more and no less than 30″ of width.

3. Depth of Cabinet

With many wall 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 wall cabinet, you may find it difficult to swing the microwave 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 OTR microwaves can make use to maximize storage 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.


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 microwaves need 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 microwaves have an average fan speed of 300 CFM, range hoods can reach about 900-1000 CFM on average.


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

There are a few requirements for the size of the wall cabinet that should be used to accommodate an over-the-range microwave oven 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.


1. What size cabinet goes over microwave?

Typically, an overhead cabinet is between 12 and 13 inches deep, except for microwave cabinets, which are between 15 and 18 inches deep to accommodate the majority of standard microwave sizes. Above-the-fridge cabinets are also slightly deeper, typically measuring 24 inches.

2. What size cabinet goes above stove?

Increase the height of kitchen cabinets above a range to 66 or 72 inches from the ground. Given the combustible nature of many cabinets, there should be sufficient clearance between the bottom of the kitchen cabinets and the range to avoid a fire, though make sure to check out this guide on the right microwave placement.

3. Can you put an over the range microwave in a cabinet?

Installing in a closed cabinet or cut-out space with the bottom covered is not recommended. It can be installed beneath a cabinet even if the cabinet does not contain a cooking surface; however, the height clearances specified in the installation instructions must be met.

4. How many inches should a microwave stick out from the cabinets?

Typically, 30 inches between the top of the range and the bottom of the wall cabinet is recommended, as is at least 13-1/2 inches between the top of the range microwave oven and the bottom of the microwave.

5. What size cabinet do you need for a 36 inch cooktop?

The 36-inch cooktop fits into standard 24-inch or deeper 25-inch cabinets. The front of the cooktop will protrude approximately 1-7/8 inches beyond the front of the countertop microwaves in 24 inches deep cabinets.

Our Recommended Microwave Oven

  • Ideal for a compact space
  • A clear LED display with a kitchen timer
  • Easy-to-view interior lighting

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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