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Reviews of the Best Over the Range Microwaves

Reviews of the Best Over the Range Microwaves of 2018

Best Over The Range Microwave
best over the range microwave
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The overall best over the range microwave is the GE JVM3160RFSS 30″ Over-the-Range Microwave Oven. With an impressive 1000W energy requirement, a 1.6 cubic foot capacity and a nice stainless steel finish, it will meet all your cooking requirements, to say the least.

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Amanda Carson said in her article on Sinaputhat you have to consider the appliances you want to equip your kitchen with when you’re building or remodeling the kitchen. That’s true, given that essential kitchen appliances like over the range microwaves need to be accounted for.

The advantages of owning an over the range microwave are enormous. From having more space on the countertop, to cooking more food and using the vent hood, one can only but appreciate the invention of the over the range microwaves.

For this review, we tested several over the range microwaves. The end result is an unbiased review of four of the best over the range microwave ovens that made it through to the final list.

Over The Range Microwaves: Our Top Picks

Best Overall
GE JVM316 30 OTR Microwave
Our Rating:
4.9 Star Rating
Capacity:
1.6 cu. ft.
Watts:
1000W
Premium Choice
Frigidaire FGMV176NTF OTR Microwave
Our Rating:
4.8 Star Rating
Capacity:
1.7 cu. ft.
Watts:
1000W
Budget Pick
Sharp R-1514 OTR Microwave
Our Rating:
4.7 Star Rating
Capacity:
1.5 cu. ft.
Watts:
1000W
Large Capacity
GE PVM9005SJSS OTR Microwave
Our Rating:
4.7 Star Rating
Capacity:
2.1 cu. ft.
Watts:
1050W

Expert Reviews of the Best Over The Range Microwave Ovens

Overall Best – GE JVM3160RFSS 30″ Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

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There’s no denying that GE is a force to reckon with in the kitchen. We recently reviewed their induction cooktop and honestly, the unit impressed us. Let’s take a look at this over the range microwave oven and see if it lives up to its name as a best seller.

The GE JVM over-the-range microwave is made of stainless steel. It comes with an automatic exhaust fan which can be turned on manually but not off.

During our tests, the fan turned on automatically because the stove directly under where it was installed was still hot from cooking. It did turn off after a few minutes.

The fan was audible enough to be heard in the whole kitchen but not loud enough to cause concerns. That, however, doesn’t affect the unit’s functionality.

Internally, the unit has about 1.6 cubic ft. of space for your cooking activities. It cooks well and all the buttons work and respond perfectly. There’s a digital readout that’s clear and easy to read but the keys aren’t backlit.

This might make it difficult to see in low light. The cooking light is bright and clearly illuminates the stove. Furthermore, the fan draws out the smoke from stovetop whilst you’re cooking.

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Features We Love

  • 2 speed 300CFM venting
  • 6 cubic ft. capacity
  • Automatic fan
  • Intuitive control buttons
  • Audible notification beeps.
  • 1000W power requirement

Pros

  • With 1.6 cubic ft. capacity, you can do more cooking in less time.
  • The 1000W power required is adequate for cooking.
  • There is a 2-speed venting system that can be set to vent outside or into the kitchen.
  • The unit has audible notification beeps that alert you when your food is done.
  • It is surprisingly quiet whilst in use.

Cons

  • The control panel isn’t backlit hence a pain to read in dimly lit kitchens.

If you leave the lights in the oven on, you can use it to warm food for as long as the light remains on. This is a hidden feature many users don’t know about. Also worth mentioning is the audible notification sounds the unit makes when timer countdown is complete.

Installation wise, the unit isn’t difficult to install. It comes with an installation manual and most DIY geeks can install it in about an hour or less. This unit will fit perfectly into a 30” cabinet space. Additional, space should be deep – up to 12” – to avoid protrusions.

The fan is set to vent into the kitchen. However, you can set it up to vent into the exterior of your home.

Budget Pick Sharp R-1514 Over-the-Range Microwave

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The Sharp R-1514 over the range microwave is an inexpensive unit designed to cater to the needs of those on a budget. It looks pretty basic design wise and doesn’t have many top-notch features.

Thus, you have an effective pocket-friendly over the range microwave that is able to handle your basic microwaving tasks.

Its internal size stands at 1.5 cubic ft. and externally, it measures 29.94” x 16.25” x 15.56”. Internally, the unit sports a carousel turntable measuring about 14.13” in diameter.

This turntable provides a great deal of versatility. Perhaps, where the Sharp R-1514 shines most is in the features it has.

First, it has a wattage of about 1000W. This supplies ample energy to cook food in a matter of minutes. Secondly, there is an auto touch control panel paired with a 5 digit display screen. Thirdly, there is a sensor setting feature with 11 Smart and Easy sensors.

This allows you to easily microwave some popular foods at the touch of a button thereby saving you the stress of manually entering the settings for each food.

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Features We Love

  • 1000W power
  • 11 sensor settings
  • 5 cubic ft. space
  • 13” turntable
  • Responsive and nicely placed control keys

Pros

  • Use the 11 sensor settings on this unit to cook your food at the touch of a button.
  • The 1000W power supplied to the unit helps decrease the time it takes for food to cook in this unit.
  • Sharp paired this microwave with responsive keys and a 5 digit LCD screen.

Cons

  • The 2-speed fan is perhaps, the only let down of this unit.

The Sharp R1514 over the range microwave is designed to be vented outside or inside the house. Additionally, we did notice that the fan on our test unit was quiet.

In general, the test unit was quiet during use. The only noise that was audible was a silent buzz sound and the beep of the machine when it’s done.

Controlling your cooking is done via the buttons on the unit. There are 4 buttons on the front and more buttons appear when you open the door of the unit.

Installing the unit is pretty straightforward and anyone can fix it. However, you will need an extra pair of hands to help you since the unit itself is heavy.

Premium Choice Frigidaire FGMV176NTF 1.7 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Over the Range Microwave

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Known for making touch kitchen and household appliances, Frigidaire yet displayed their ingenuity on this microwave. We chose the Frigidaire FGMV176 over the range microwave as the best microwave for a couple of reasons. Let’s find out.

The Frigidaire FGMV176 microwave sports a design that is unique to the brand. It’s not entirely different from the units we’ve reviewed so far, however, it has its own distinctions. It measures 30” x 16.04” x 15” and will fit in a cabinet space of 30”.

There might be a slight projection of the unit in front of the cabinet, but that won’t affect the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen.

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Features We Love

  • 1000W power
  • A 2-speed fan
  • 7 cubic ft. cooking space.
  • Silent operation.
  • Nice and responsive control buttons
  • Sensor cooking function.

Pros

  • With the sensor cooking function, cooking is made a lot easier.
  • The two-speed fan is moderately effective in keeping the air clean.
  • It’s silent during operation save for occasional beeps.

Cons

  • A bit of a pain in the neck to install individually.

Internally, the unit is designed to offer about 1.7 cubic ft. of ample cooking space. Like almost all the other microwaves on our list, this Frigidaire unit requires 1000W of energy. It does have about 9 different power levels to help one cook food at any desired speed.

Frigidaire also equipped this unit with a 2 speed 105/300 CFM fan which is silent. Generally, the unit is silent while in use. Additionally, you’ll find the sensor cooking function helpful especially if you don’t know the right settings for your food.

We like the design of the unit and of course, the stainless steel material that encloses it. Unlike the Sharp R1514 microwave with hidden keys, this Frigidaire unit sports all the control buttons in one place – talk about convenience. The controls are intuitive and are paired with a digital display screen.

Installing the unit is a pretty simple task although it needs two pairs of hands because of its weight.

Best Large Capacity GE PVM9005SJSS Profile 2.1 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave

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If cooking on a large scale is your thing, the GE PVM9005 over the range microwave is apt for you, thanks to its large 2.1 cubic ft. internal space. This makes it a pretty large unit and will certainly take up a great deal of space if it were to be kept on the countertop.

Surprisingly, it fits perfectly into a 30” space in the range. A big round of applause for GE, please.

The unit measures 29.94” x 17.31” x 16.15” and draws about 1050W of energy for cooking. So far, this unit has the highest wattage in this review list.

A 50W difference might not seem much, but considering the fact that the unit is 2.2 cubic ft. large, it might make a considerable difference while cooking. In addition to that, there are 10 power levels to choose from to make the cooking faster.

View Features and Pros/Cons

Features We Love

  • 400CFM venting system.
  • A massive 2.1 cubic ft. of cooking space.
  • 10 power levels
  • 1050W of energy for faster cooking.
  • Nice and soft control buttons.

Pros

  • The control buttons, though not backlit, are one of the best we’ve seen so far.
  • There is ample 1050W energy paired with 10 power levels that decrease cooking time significantly.
  • The 400CFM venting system is adequate for its size. Additionally, the fan can be vented outside or into the kitchen.
  • We like the beautiful stainless steel finish. It reminds us of the Thermador induction cooktop we reviewed recently.

Cons

  • The door handle is flush with the body of the microwave.
  • There is no backlight for the control panel. Make sure your kitchen is properly lit.

There is a 400CFM venting system that comes with this unit. You can either vent this unit outside or inside the kitchen by simply turning the fan in the desired direction.

Installation is pretty much the same with the other units on this list – it comes with a mounting bracket and an installation guide. Two heads they say, are better than one. So, if you have an extra pair of hands to help, it will make the installation process easier.

The fan is audible to a great extent but not so much that it is termed “loud”.

Design wise, the unit sports a design that suits it. The display screen and the control buttons are located on the lower part of the front of the unit. They are intuitive controls and are neatly labeled. The softness of the buttons allows you to gently press it without much ado.

Over The Range Microwave Comparison Table

MicrowaveRatingCapacityWattagePrice
GE JVM316 Microwave4.91.6 cu. ft1000W$
Frigidaire OTR Microwave4.81.7 cu. ft.1000W$$
GE PVM9005SJSS Microwave4.82.1 cu. ft850W$$$$
Sharp R-1514 OTR Microwave4.71.5 cu. ft1000W$$$

Benefits of Using an Over-The-Range Microwave

The first benefit of getting an over-the-range microwave is space.

Space

Conventional microwaves usually take up valuable space on the countertop. If you have a small kitchen, this might be a major turn off as you may run out of space for cooking.

On the other hand, an over-the-range microwave is installed above the countertop. This frees up space on the countertop and, of course, you can install another appliance like an induction cooktop there.

You Cook More

Countertop microwaves barely exceed the 1 cubic ft. capacity mark. However, you may find some models especially from brands like Panasonic that have 1.2 and even 2 cubic ft.

Generally, over-the-range microwaves have more space internally since they are larger than the conventional ones. Their cubic feet begins at 1.5 for and can go as high as 2.5 cubic ft. This large space is handy for people with larger cooking needs.

More Power

With more than 1000W of power under the hood, over the range microwaves cook food faster. Thus, your cooking time reduces significantly and you can use the time to do other things.

Removes Food Odor

If we can wave a magic wand in our kitchen to remove food odor and smoke, of course, we will do that. There’s absolutely no need to wave a magic wand as over the range microwaves can do that.

It’s what they’re designed to do, as a merger between a microwave and a vent hood. Saves you some money if you must know.

Most people argue that over the range microwaves have limitations. Honestly, the fact that it requires installation unlike the conventional ones isn’t a limitation.

More so, portability isn’t a must for a microwave. How many times do you take your countertop microwave out of your kitchen?

That said, let’s find out why you should buy/not buy the aforementioned over the range microwaves.

Shopping for an Over The Range Microwave? Here Are Some Key Factors to Consider

In this section of the article, we listed some important things to consider when buying over the range microwaves.

Consider The Space On Your Cabinet

This is actually the most important thing to consider. You surely don’t want to buy a unit that will end up not fitting over the range? To be sure the unit will fit, take an appropriate measurement of your cabinet space.

Measure the length from one end of the space to the other end and the depth. Some of the popular models are about 30” wide and 12” deep. After taking measurements of your cabinet, you should crosscheck with the product information.

Most websites including Amazon display dimensions of products – this is what you should look out for.

Having done that, let’s proceed to the next factor.

Size/Capacity

A large over the range microwave is necessary if you have high cooking demands. Most of the available models have a capacity of about 1.5 cubic ft. and above. Don’t buy what’s large because you think you need it, sometimes, moderate is ok.

Budget

The first two factors we explained will greatly influence your budget. However, less than half a thousand dollars will get you a nice large unit. If you prefer the smaller ones, just half of that will go a long way in getting a reliable unit. Generally, over the range microwaves aren’t expensive, to say the least.

Power

With your budget in place, the cooking power will be the next place to look at. This won’t be much of a hassle since most of the popular over the range microwaves come with just 1000W of power.

During the course of selecting the products to review, we noticed that the highest wattage on our list was 1100W. However, we didn’t review that particular microwave.

Control Buttons

We tested a unit with a control panel that wasn’t backlit. This means if your kitchen is dimly lit, you can’t press anything. It seems most of the popular models don’t have backlit control panels. If, perhaps, you come across a model that is backlit and meets your requirements, please grab it.

Extra Features

Some of the extra features you should look out for include a second racks heat sensor, defrost, popcorn, baked potato as well as frozen dinner options. These features might slightly increase the price of your desired unit above average. Another important feature is child lock. Use the child lock feature to protect your kids and the machine. It is not a standard feature on most units but it’s important you have it.

Conclusion

Having gone through this review, you’ll agree that an over-the-range microwave is a “should have” for every kitchen. Pair it up with an induction, gas or electric cooktop and you’re good to go.

Best Over The Range Microwave
  • Our Rating
4.9

Summary

The GE JVM3160RFSS 30″ Over-the-Range Microwave Oven is a simple, effective, and budget-friendly unit that can handle most, if not all, of your microwave cooking needs.

If you’d prefer a smaller microwave, check our review of small microwave ovens.

Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews

Colin is an aspiring chef having completing his degree in culinary arts in California. His guilty pleasure is buying the latest & greatest (and sometimes, useless) in kitchen cookware and gadgets.

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