Will My Over the Range Microwave Be Too Low?

Most of us do not realize how much difference can a couple of inches make only until there is one design flaw in your home. Did you know most people would trip even if stair height is changed by an inch? That is why we have standard dimensions for most of the things? Especially in the kitchen, because there are lots and lots of dimensions to be dealt with here, from platform height to cabinet spacing.

A bit can make a lot of difference in the feasibility and comfort of the people living here. And when it comes to microwaves, there are a lot of confusing decisions encountered. Where to place it? Is it too high, or is it too low? Because no one wants an ill-fitting microwave. We know how it can affect the functionality of the kitchen quickly and how inconvenient it can get.

If you have decided to place the microwave over the stove, you must be worried about the height of the microwave. The height of the microwave above the stove can impact multiple things that will be further listed in this article that you need to pay attention to avoid unwanted discomfort. In this article, we are going to list issues, tricks, and hacks to help you with any issue regarding the height of the microwave above the stove.

We will start by looking at the standard clearance that is required, the benefits of the location of the microwave, and its drawbacks, all about dimensions, and how it can impact other things in the kitchen. And in unique scenarios, alternative locations for microwave. Lastly, we will be going through some frequently asked questions about the topic at hand to clear some final doubts.

So, let us begin,

Standard Clearance

Over the Range Microwaves

If there is any trouble with clearance, it can cause difficulties in reaching the back burners or using big pots mainly because the back of the range microwave is lower than the front. The National Kitchen and Bath Association suggests that the base on the microwave should not be higher than 54 inches from the floor, resulting in 18-inch clearance between typical cooktop (36 inches).

But if we take an example of general electric, the requirement is that its microwave is mounted with 66 inches between the floor and the top of the microwave to the cooktop, at least, which leads in a clearance of 13 and 16 inches from the microwave to the cooktop. Where 16 inches works just fine, a 13 inches clearance can be tight to work with, and the backburners sit uselessly. 16 to 18 inches clearance would be suggested for easy and comfortable kitchen usage

All about Dimensions

Besides the dimension of the height of the microwave and the clearance between the cooktop and base of the microwave as above explained. This clearance would also pay a role in the ventilation setting, which is also dependant on CFM. Also, the clearance between the ceiling and top of the cabinet and managing that with the cabinets on both sides.

Suppose you decide to raise the cabinet above the microwave and wonder if it looks terrible. Do not worry. It will look just fine; try to bring about some symmetry, which will bring a visual hierarchy. Plus, the added clearance. Look at the picture below.

Paying attention to other things like the depth of the cabinet and the depth of the microwave also becomes essential. 

Benefits of Placing it Over the Cooktop

Placing it over the cooktop has mainly space-saving benefits. It saves cabinet space and on-the-counter space. We all know how vital counter space can be and would love solutions that give up more counter space. 

The microwave comes with in-built ventilation that works well if you do not have special needs like more than average cooking quantity and so on. The compactness it adds can be counted as a benefit for some houses.

Drawbacks of the Placement

It would not be the best idea to put the microwave over a gas stove. Especial no-no to the powerful pro-strength burners. Some microwaves are not designed to go above a stovetop. Please make sure to go through the specifications carefully.

It is not very comfortable for people shorter than 5 feet 4 inches as they cannot see through the microwave and taking down heavy things can be difficult with a high risk of spillage and so on.

Venting of a range hood is much more powerful from that of an over-the-range microwave, due to their depth and design of the fan. But over the range, microwaves come with an in-built ventilation system to get rid of the heat and so on.

The type of cooktop you are using will play a significant role in the impact. Also, despite the 16 inches clearance, some people find mild inconvenience is using the back burner. This can be a bit subjective, though.

Alternative Locations

Over the Range Microwave

Counter space is not an option, and you cannot seem to fix the over-the-range microwave over the cooktop due to one of the issues stated above, and you want the matter to settle without much stress and effort.

There is plenty of other places you can put your microwave (not over the range microwave that cannot be placed at the following suggested places), and you don’t need a venting option on the microwave, and you can use the range hood instead.

This is a good option if you use string burners as the range hood provides a powerful venting system plus you get all the cooktop space but if you have a small kitchen, try to make it work with the over-the-range that is your best option.

You can put it on the upper or lower shelf, and you can build it in with a trim kit or place it with your oven if you have one. You can also build it in a drawer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Over the Range Microwaves Be Used on the Counter?

The underside or the base of an over-the-top microwave is not flat, and hence it is not a good idea to place it on a surface. It will not remain stable and function efficiently. The name itself suggests the purpose of its making. It should not be used in any space where its bottom might get covered. The clearances mentioned should be met if it is used under the cooking surface too.

Is Installing an Over the Range Microwave Difficult?

This work can seem intimidating, but, on average, it does not take more than four hours if you have a helping hand with some standard tools. Over the range, microwave comes with all the installation essentials like mounting brackets, template, and a relatively straightforward set of instructions.

If the task is to replace an old one with similar dimensions, this can be easy.

The ideal situation would be that the available space between the cabinets is the right size and proper ductwork and connections in place. If the criteria do not meet, it can be a bit complicated but still doable.

When do you understand professional help will be needed?

You might need professional help if-

  • You cannot find an electrical outlet above or behind the space for the microwave, in which case you will need a new electrical circuit.
  • There are space issues with the cabinet, or there is not an existing upper cabinet to mount the oven.
  • There is not an existing vent duct running through the roof or sidewall or an exterior vent.

The above scenarios will turn an intermediate DIY project into an advanced one, and it is best recommended to seek professional help. Some senior citizens or other, more busy people can also go for this option to get their work quickly with efficiency.

How Long Do Over the Range Microwaves Last and How to Know When to Replace it?

Will My Over the Range Microwave Be Too Low

Over the range microwaves should last for a good part of 10 years, that is what most manufacturers sell it to customers. Ill functioning of the keypad or door, unrequired sounds while heating food, the door does not seal, smoke and sparks, or unequally cooked food, these can be a few signs that your microwave is going wrong and needs to be replaced. Mostly older than a decade, microwaves might show these signs. Proper maintenance of the device will help its efficiency and durability.

On that note, we end a mini-guide regarding the height of the microwave above the stove here. If in any doubt, do have a conversation with the installer or the store, they have a lot of experience with such things and can give some genuine advice.

Final Thoughts

We understand the stress that comes along with remodeling or designing a brand-new home and wanting it to be the place of your dreams. We would not want you to face any inconvenience coming at the cost of a few inches or doubts.

So, we heartily hope everything goes well, and this article helped you with any questions you had regarding the height of the OTR microwave over the stove.

Happy remodelling!