Best in cabinet microwave

Built-in microwaves look so much nicer than countertop or over-the-range microwaves because they are designed to fit into cabinetry rather than stick out like a sore thumb. They are, however, a pretty big commitment and are typically more expensive, so it’s important to choose the right one. Consider how the aesthetic will fit into a kitchen’s design, which way the door should open, what kind of features will support your cooking, and whether or not the microwave is a reliable piece of machinery. Today, we review our top picks for the best microwave for built in cabinet and best in cabinet microwave 2020 options.

Change the way you cook and warm foods for delicious results. Using the best built-in microwave ensures there is no overcooking and overheating. The newer designs are compact and suitable for a small installation space. Also, you don’t have to worry about kids playing with the preset knobs. For a fast-paced family, this gadget is an ideal choice. You can brown, roast, grill, and even bake a dish when you have limited time. Besides, frozen food items quickly thaw using advanced Defrost functionality. In this review, we look at the Best in cabinet microwave in the market. To help you make these decisions, here are seven of the best built-in microwaves.

best in cabinet microwave 2020

Best in cabinet microwave

Panasonic NN-SN686S

The Panasonic NN-SN686S a simple, inexpensive model.
AMAZON

Despite being one of the least expensive models, the Panasonic NN-SN686S is very effective. It has more than 14 different presets (including a “keep warm” option) and inverter technology to speed up cook time while evenly preparing food. The turntable is wide enough for a small casserole dish and is lightweight, so you won’t have any trouble taking it out for a quick rinse. The reheat sensor tends to overcook food, but overall, this microwave is a great choice.

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Sharp KB-6524PS

Sharp KB-6524PS 24-Inch Microwave Drawer Oven, Stainless stee
SHARP

Drawer-style microwaves are definitely the easiest to use, and the Sharp KB-6524PS is even better than the rest. You have the option to open the drawer using the handle or the control panel. This might be a concern if you have kids, but luckily, there’s a control-lock option that’ll prevent them from messing with the microwave. It’s large enough to fit a casserole dish and a Venti-size cup of coffee. In addition to the thoughtful design, the sensors are quite accurate and cook food evenly.

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Frigidaire FGMO226NUF

Frigidaire FGMO226NUF 2.2 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave in Stainless Steel
FRIGIDAIRE

The Frigidaire FGMO226NUF is slightly larger than most built-in microwaves, but it doesn’t look bulky at all. The fingerprint-resistant surface and streamlined push release make the model look even more seamless. The preset options are a little more varied. It has over 30 including potato, veggies and snacks. Once your food or drink is ready, the microwave send out reminder beeps, which can be irritating but also useful if you’re the forgetful type.

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KitchenAid KMBS104ESS

KitchenAid KMBS104ESS 1.4 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave in Stainless Steel
KITCHEN AID

The KitchenAid KMBS104ESS is a bit of a maverick. Instead of swinging to the side, the door drops down. Instead of a keypad for setting the time, it has a knob. It’s got a much smaller capacity than others, which is a bit aggravating considering how large it is, but the 15.8-inch turntable ensures most microwaveable dishes will fit. Basically, if you’ve been disappointed with the layout of previous microwaves, you should definitely give this one a try.

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Bosch HMD8451UC

Bosch HMD8451UC 800 Series 24 in. 1.2 cu. ft. Built-In Drawer Microwave in Stainless Steel with Sensor Cooking
BOSCH

With glass touch controls, including one that opens and closes the drawer, Bosch HMD8451UC is one of the most attractive models. The sensor is impressive: It defrosts meat without cooking it and melts butter to the perfect baking temperature. It’s also quiet. There’s no turntable, which means it won’t cook food quite as evenly as other models, but that means cleaning the interior will be much easier.

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Samsung MC12J8035CT

Samsung MC12J8035CT 1.2 cu. ft. Countertop Power Convection Microwave in Black Stainless, Built-In Capable with Sensor Cooking
SAMSUNG

The Samsung MC12J8035CT is basically four appliances in one: a grill, an air fryer, a convection oven and (of course) a microwave. Its ceramic enamel interior is easier to keep clean than epoxy coating. Considering how many features it has, it’s shocking that it’s one of the cheaper models.

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GE PEB7227DLBB

GE PEB7227DLBB 2.2 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave in Black with Sensor Cooking
GE

GE has always made good microwaves, and the PEB7227DLBB is no exception. In addition to the dramatic all-black look, the 16-inch turntable and the massive capacity, this microwave has fine-tuned sensor cooking controls. They are powerful enough to cook food quickly and precisely without making a ton of noise. The control panel is simple to figure out and is low-lit, so it won’t distract from the rest of your beautifully designed kitchen.

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Whirlpool WOC75EC7HV

Whirlpool WOC75EC7HV 27 in. Electric Smart Combination Wall Oven with Touchscreen in Fingerprint Resistant Black Stainless
WHIRLPOOL

If you’re going for the entire kitchen renovation, consider the Whirlpool WOC75EC7HV. The microwave shares the touchscreen control panel with an oven, so all of your cooking happens in one place. Both have smudge-proof stainless steel doors that fold down and offer options for convection cooking. The app is really the best part: It has a scan-to-cook feature that reads the barcode on frozen food and sends customized instructions right to your microwave. No more reading (and rereading) the fine print on your box of chicken fettuccine! Just stick it in the microwave, scan the barcode and eat.

How to buy a microwave

This buying guide is what you need if you’re looking for a new microwave.

Your Pizza Rolls deserve a good microwave. This countertop wonder, whose origins date back to the 1940s, is probably one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen thanks to its ability to reheat food fast (and cook a mug cake or two). There are a variety of options when it’s time to select a microwave, so we’ve broken down the options you have when you’re ready for a new microwave.

Location

The first decision you need to make about a new microwave is where in your kitchen you want to put it. The location affects the price, features, size and installation of the appliance. You have three main options:

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Countertop

This is the most common type of microwave. They generally cost less and are significantly easier to install than other models. Just find a spot on the counter for it to sit, plug it into an outlet and you can use it right away.

The biggest issue with the countertop microwave is how much space it needs. If you have limited room on your countertop, you may either want to look at the smaller countertop models available, look into placing your microwave on a small cart, or consider another style of microwave.

Price: $40 to $700

External dimensions: From roughly 10 by 18 by 14 inches for compact models to roughly 14 by 24 by 20 inches for larger models

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

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Some of GE’s stoves and over-the-range microwaves are connected via Bluetooth.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Over-the-range

You install this style of microwave above your range, which will save you some counter space. These models have vent systems that take the place of the oven hood and lights to illuminate your cooktop.

Price: $190 to $1,300

External dimensions: Usually wider than countertop models, about 16 by 30 by 15 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Sharp_builtin_microwave.jpg
Sharp

Built-in

Built-in models that you place among custom cabinets or paired with built-in, full-sized wall ovens are the most high-end (aka expensive) types of microwaves. Some microwaves in this category are even designed specifically as drawers with a compartment you pull out for your food.

Price: $500 to $5,000 and up

External dimensions: This varies widely depending on type, and drawers tend to have more depth than countertop or over-the-range models, hitting about 15 by 30 by 26 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Size

It’s important to find the right-sized microwave that will meet your food needs and fit in the space you have for it. First, you want to measure the counter or other space where you plan to put your microwave. Then, measure the height, width and depth of any model you’re considering to find out if it will fit on your counter top, over your range or in a custom spot. The external dimensions can vary a lot, from 10 by 18 by 14 inches on the smaller side to 14 by 24 by 20 inches on the larger side.

Then there’s also the internal capacity, which can range from less than 1 cubic foot to 2 cubic feet or more. There doesn’t seem to be any set rule for how internal capacity correlates to size (like 1 cubic foot = small, 1.5 cubic feet = medium, etc.), but here’s an attempt to break it down:

Compact: Under 1 cubic foot

Midsize: 1 to 1.5 cubic feet

Full-size: 1.6 to 2 cubic feet

Extra-large: More than 2 cubic feet

Most microwaves are somewhere around 1.4 to 1.8 cubic feet. Still not sure which size you need? If you’re out shopping, bring in a plate or bowl from home that you plan to use often to make sure that it fits inside the microwave.

Still in doubt? Measure everything, take notes and check with your appliance retailer for help deciding what would work best. For over-the-range and other built-in models, you most likely won’t be the one installing your new microwave, so you can always avail yourself of their expertise.

Wattage

Microwave wattage equals power. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Most microwaves sit somewhere between 600 to 1,200 watts. Larger, more expensive microwaves tend to have a higher wattage, so this is a price and size consideration that can strongly influence microwave cooking performance.

ge-smart-microwave-7
This GE microwave has scan-to-cook tech via a related app.Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

Many microwaves share common functions. Here are some microwave cooking essentials: cook time, defrost, power level and timer. Each one requires your direct input, but they are usually very easy to set. Most microwaves have touch panel controls and a rotating carousel to spin your food for more even cooking.

Default settings

Many microwaves come with preset cooking modes so you only have to press one button to automatically cook a dish. For example, many microwaves have a “popcorn” button that will cook your bag based on factory settings. This can be handy for common dishes you heat in the microwave, but you’ll have to figure out if the microwave’s default cook times work for your own food. Other common presets include: baked potato, pizza, beverage, frozen dinner and reheat.

Broil

Manufacturers are increasingly including features in microwaves that mimic what we see in full-size ovens, such as a broiler. This is a good addition for finishing off a dish or cooking something for which you’d prefer more direct heat.

Convection

A convection fan that’s built into the back of a microwave oven circulates the heat around the food to cook things more quickly and evenly. (Many new full-size ovens come with at least one convection fan.) However, microwaves with convection fans are generally more expensive than those without.

Inverter technology

Inverter heating is another option available on some high-end models. If you want to heat something at a 50 percent power level, most microwaves actually switch between 100 percent power and 0 percent power to average in at 50 percent power. This doesn’t yield great results if you want to heat something on a lower heat and achieve an even result. So, some models now use inverter technology, which maintains a consistent 50 percent power. That way, you can poach salmon, make a fluffy omelet, etc.

Other advanced features

In addition to new heating technologies, higher-end models usually have more presets than just the basic pizza, popcorn and baked potato standard. Some use moisture sensors to detect food doneness. And we’ve started to see models include LED lighting on the interior.

“Smart” technology, i.e. options that connect microwaves to the internet and other products, aren’t as widespread in microwaves as we’ve seen in other kitchen appliances. However, we’ve seen GE Appliances include Bluetooth technology in some of its over-the-range microwaves. This connection, which GE calls “Chef Connect,” pairs the microwave with compatible GE ranges so the light and fan beneath the microwave automatically turns on when you turn on a burner.

More options

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Will the June Intelligent Oven become the next microwave?Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Other small appliances have started to make a case for forgoing the microwave, such as steam ovens that use water to cook for more moist heating or the basic toaster oven that mimics a full-size stove. These options promise to cook more effectively than a microwave, but it might take longer to reheat your food.

Smart countertop ovens have also started to become an option. The June Intelligent Oven uses facial recognition technology to identify food and cook it automatically, and the Tovala Smart Oven will scan packaged meals for automatic cooking, including frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. These options are promising, but the technology is too new to determine whether or not these will become kitchen staples.

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