Microwave ovens have become a staple in the kitchen for decades. You basically owe it to yourself to have one in your kitchen as it increases overall convenience by a significant margin. In this article, we will be taking a look at a particular type of microwave oven – the over the range variation. What is the difference between this microwave oven from your standard countertop variety?
One of the primary differences is that over the range (OTR) microwave ovens are designed to be installed into your kitchen. This means that OTR microwave ovens are typically heavy and bulky, basically, this type of oven is not portable. However, it does come with extra features such as built-in ventilation systems which is mandatory to help it meet building safety codes.
Browsing through the literal hundreds of OTR microwave ovens in the market can be daunting and overwhelming. This is where we come in as we help you narrow down your choices. We will be giving you some key pointers as to the factors to look for as well as our picks of the best microwave over the range ovens that you can buy today.
So, without further ado, let us begin our search for the top OTR microwave ovens of 2020!
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Are you in a hurry and simply have no time to read through our in-depth buying guide and recommended list of OTR microwave ovens? We got you covered there as well. Here is our most recommended microwave over the range oven based on our team’s personal experience and comprehensive tests.
>> We've just made a review of the best microwave convction oven combo, click here if you want to read more!
Microwave Over the Range Oven Buying Guide – Things to Consider
The over the range microwave oven is best suited for those looking to renovate their kitchen, currently in the process of designing their kitchen, or for homes with a rather limited kitchen space. If you are smart, you can even remove convection ovens out of your equation as there are OTR microwave ovens that have this function built into the unit.
To help you narrow down your options, we have listed down all the vital factors you need to consider in order to determine the best microwave over the range oven for your specific needs.
This factor determines how long cooking time will be and is measured in watts. The sweet spot here is to go for microwave ovens that have around 1,000-watts of output power as these will be able to deliver blistering heat within a short amount of time which can even halve overall cooking time.
Standard microwave ovens come in at around 1 cu. ft. capacity. This will suffice for bachelors/bachelorettes but for those who have a family of their own, we suggest you go for 1.5 cu. ft. to 2 cu. ft. capacity ovens. Of course, where you will install your OTR microwave oven will be your basis as to what size you can get.
#3. Ventilation System
Since microwave ovens, or any other type of oven for that matter, are susceptible to grease and other stains, it is imperative for it to have some sort of ventilation system. Since this will be built into your drawer, cupboard, or cabinet – it is important to have some particular ways to clean the unit. Having a dedicated ventilation system will help remove any odor that might get trapped inside the unit.
The vent system in microwave ovens are measured using CFM (cubic feet per minute). You should go for microwave ovens that have a CFM rating of 300 and above.
#4. Cooking Settings
This is an important feature for convenience. With pre-programmed settings, the microwave oven can automatically adjust the temperature and cooking time depending on your food. This feature helps eliminate guess work and will allow you to simply place your food inside, turn it on, press the corresponding setting, and wait.
The Best Microwave Over the Range Oven Reviews For This Year's Selection
Getting to know all the factors to choose the perfect microwave over the range that suits your need is one thing. Here, we shorten the list of thousands of microwave ovens on the market and bring you the top 5 best microwave over the range. If you don't mind check it out, I am sure that it would be at least helpful and time-saving:
#1. Sharp R1874T Over the Range Microwave Oven
The Sharp R1874T OTR Microwave is also a convection oven which makes it one of the best options available. Considering that it is from a well-known brand like Sharp, you can rest easy somewhat knowing that this is a manufacturer that has proven itself for decades. As this has convection oven functionalities, you can use it for not only baking, but also broiling and roasting.
This particular Sharp OTR microwave oven also comes in two variations: a 1.1 cu. ft. and a 1.5 cu. ft. (we are reviewing the former). It also has excellent features in tow such as up to eleven power settings. Other notable features included in this OTR microwave oven includes a surface light that lets you easily check inside and eight sensor programs.
While we personally did not have any issues with this OTR microwave oven, we did find complaints online concerning condensation build within the oven. This might be due to the location it is in though and not with the actual unit itself though.
The Sharp R1874T OTR Microwave Oven is a highly versatile option for those looking for multi-functionality and practicality. As this has convection oven functionality, you can further save up on kitchen space as well.
#2. GE JVM3162RJSS Over the Range Microwave Oven
With a 1.6 cu. ft. capacity, the GE JVM316 is definitely designed for use by a decent sized family. This is a straight up heavy-duty microwave oven designed to cover all the basics. It has several features such as the staple defrost and popcorn settings. Additionally, it has a convertible venting design which means you can reposition the fan either on the front (its default position) or place it on the back if you plan on attaching it to an exterior ventilation duct.
The unit also comes with a built-in range light which is always a welcome inclusion as it allows you to check whatever it is you are cooking with a quick glance from the outside. Speaking of its interior, the GE JVM316 also comes with a 13.5-inch glass turntable which is a pretty good size that will be able to accommodate most type of food that you are planning to cook.
This is strictly a microwave oven though and it does not have any convection oven capabilities so keep that in mind if that is a feature that you want.
Overall, the GE JVM316 is a pretty good choice if you are looking for a traditional OTR microwave oven. You should be aware that it does not have convection oven functionality. If that is not a factor, then this is a robust and reliable OTR microwave oven you should definitely include in your shortlist.
#3. GE JNM3163RJSS Over the Range Microwave Oven
We have another GE OTR microwave oven entry, this time around with a few more versatility in regards to its ventilation options. The GE JNM316 OTR Microwave Oven comes with up to three ventilation options: rear and top on the exterior or front top from the interior. This makes the GE JNM316 OTR Microwave Oven one of the safest options for those who already have a ventilation system built into their kitchen.
One aspect that this GE OTR microwave oven model excels at is with its structure. The GE JNM316 operates at a rather high level as it is made in Europe, which we know has a stringent quality assurance process. It also incorporates microwave technology with halogen light which are not features that you find together often.
With its 1,000-Watt power output, you can expect to have your food prepared and ready for consumption in a jiffy. The 1.6 cu. ft capacity can accommodate a good range of food sizes. There is also a whopping 175 pre-programmed setting and it also allows you to save up to 30 different recipes. This is definitely an OTR microwave oven that those who enjoy cooking will greatly appreciate.
This is as rudimentary an OTR microwave oven can be. We did notice how the overall build of this GE OTR microwave oven model seems less sturdy than previous models. That said, this is genuinely a well-rounded OTR microwave oven that is not that expensive. Which explains the quality of the GE JNM316’s build.
#4. GE JVM6175DKWW White Over the Range Microwave Oven
Another GE OTR Microwave Oven manages to break into our list and it is quite easy to see why. GE is one of the most well-respected and trusted manufacturer of home appliances and their catalogue manages to encompass the broad price spectrum. This makes GE appliances a good place to start looking no matter your budget.
This is one of the larger OTR microwave ovens around with a capacity of 1.7 cu. ft. and it also packs 1,000-Watts which makes cooking quite fast. That capacity is also best suited for family use and can easily and quickly prepare a good hearty meal in a flash.
There is one drawback that we did find with the GE JVM617 and it is with its lack of sensor cooking which has been a common feature in modern microwave ovens. However, GE managed to balance out this shortcoming by having a ‘melt’ setting which effortlessly and safely melts chocolate, cheese, butter, and other food items without burning it.
Inside is a 300 CFM ventilation system which offers two speeds to get rid of smoke and odor within the oven. This GE OTR microwave oven also utilizes interior LED light to help you properly check the status of your food.
The GE JVM617 OTR Microwave Oven is a good choice for those who are currently on a tight budget. The pristine and polished white finish of this GE OTR microwave oven also makes it pleasing to look at. In addition, installation of this microwave oven is a breeze.
#5. Sharp R-1514 1-1/2-Cubic-Foot 1000-Watt Over-the-Range Microwave, Stainless
The final entry in this list goes to another GE OTR microwave oven – the JVM6175SKSS model. This particular OTR microwave focuses on convenience and features a nifty automatic function. The defrost setting here is easy to use. You simply input the weight of the food item and the unit will automatically set the temperature and time to properly defrost the item in the fastest time possible.
Like with the previous entry, this model also comes with the ‘Melt’ feature which properly prepares chocolate, butter, cheese, and even caramel without burning it. You can even melt marshmallows using this excellent feature – a boon for bakers.
With its 1.7 cu. ft. capacity, this microwave oven is another good choice for family use. It also comes with a fairly reasonable price and since it is packed with modern features, this is quite a good value for money deal.
The GE JVM6175SKSS is one of the most highly convenient and easy to use OTR microwave oven that we came across. It comes with the backing of the GE brand name and is equipped with some nice features that were a big hit with previous GE microwave ovens (the ‘melt’ setting, in particular). This is definitely a worthwhile look if you are looking for a more budget-friendly OTR microwave oven.
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Hopefully, one of our recommendations managed to stand out for you. If you didn’t find one that you are looking for in terms of budget or features, our buying guide should be able to point you towards the right direction.