Best recirculating over the range microwave

A microwave oven designed to be mounted over a cooktop is usually equipped with a ventilation system to cope with the cooking odors, smoke and moisture that rise from the cooking surface. The ventilation system may lead to an exterior vent, or it may simply recirculate air back into the kitchen. A recirculating vent has advantages in terms of ease of installation and energy efficiency, but it pays for those advantages at the cost of effective ventilation. so what are the best recirculating over the range microwave, best over the range microwave recirculating vent and best venting over the range microwave options for you?

Exhaust Effectiveness

An externally vented microwave mounted over a cooktop uses a fan to draw air through the microwave’s vents and into an exhaust duct leading to the exterior of the building, so most of the moisture, heat, odor and particulate matter generated by cooking goes directly outside. A ductless recirculating vent pulls air through a filter and exhausts the air back into the kitchen. Some units are equipped with a charcoal filter that traps some particulate matter and odors, but most of the heat and moisture, along with some types of particles, stay in the house. Other units use aluminum filters that trap grease but not much else. On the other hand, recirculating vents don’t exhaust conditioned air to the outside, so they can help make a kitchen more energy-efficient.

Vent Installation

Installation of a microwave with a recirculating vent is generally much easier and cheaper than installation of an externally vented unit, which requires the installation of ductwork and an exterior vent cap, as well as the piercing of a wall, ceiling or roof. An external vent requires access to the outside, so it’s most conveniently located on an exterior wall, but a recirculating unit can be easily installed on an interior wall, and it can be moved relatively easily, too.

Vent Requirements

When you install an externally vented unit, the vent needs to conform to common building standards in order to be safe and effective. The vent duct should be made from galvanized steel, stainless steel or copper, and it should have a smooth interior. The vent should always exhaust to the outside, not into an attic or any other interior space. In some places, local building codes may specify a minimum distance between an exterior vent and any adjacent door, window or other structure. Because recirculating vents have no exterior components, they’re not subject to these requirements.

Filter Maintenance

The charcoal filter in a recirculating vent will lose effectiveness over time and with use, and you will need to replace it periodically. In general, a filter will last for about six to 12 months, but frequent cooking may reduce its lifespan. Aluminum filters require regular cleaning with a degreasing detergent or in your dishwasher.

Best recirculating over the range microwave

1. Frigidaire FGMV17WNVF – 1,000W, 1.6 cu ft – $379

The popular model Frigidaire FGMV17WNVF is a 1,000 watt, 1.7 cubic foot capacity oven. This is considered midsized in the industry, but don’t let its “average” size fool you! It has plenty of space for a 13×9″ baking dish thanks to the 13.6″ turntable!

This is a quiet appliance that has plenty of nice options for its price of $379 in stainless steel. The control panel has auto sensing selections such as Popcorn, Potato, and Beverages, while Sensor Reheat and Defrost are also available at the touch of a finger and allow you to quickly prepare last night’s leftovers or tonight’s oven roast. A metal rack is included for heating multiple items at once. The interior has a special coating that makes it easy to wipe down.

The 105/300 CFM fan assembly removes steam, smoke, and odors effortlessly using grease filters and a charcoal filter. Additional features like the option to disable turntable rotation, a kitchen timer, two-stage work surface LED lighting, an interior LED light, and multiple power levels complete this great package. With a one-year warranty covering parts and labor, this Frigidaire model packs a strong punch. It’s also available in black stainless steel at $479.

Features

  • Height: 16.4″
  • Depth: 15.03″
  • 13.6″ turntable
  • 2-speed 300 CFM fan assembly (ducted/recirculating)
  • 2-stage work surface LED lighting and LED interior light
  • Auto-start heat sensor
  • Effortless Clean interior

Frigidaire FGMV17WNVF – $379

Frigidaire FGMV17WNVF Over the Range Microwave

2. KitchenAid KMHS120ESS – 1,000W, 2.0 cu ft – $699

The KitchenAid KMHS120ESS is a great contender for the best OTR microwave of 2020 due to its professional design and well-featured control panel. Also cooking with 1,000 watts, its distinct obvious physical difference compared to the previous model is the larger 2.0 cubic foot oven interior and 14″ turntable.

The recirculating exhaust fan is rated at 300 CFM for quick removal of smoke and odors, also incorporating a charcoal filter. The cooking surface Lo/Hi halogen bulb produces bright, crisp lighting for cooking and comes in handy as a kitchen night light for the midnight snacker. KitchenAid’s Cookshield Finish on the interior cavity helps make the microwave easy to wipe clean.

A convenient turntable on/off selection allows the user to disable the turntable’s rotation of oversized cookware, such as casserole dishes that are too wide to rotate. Time-saving pre-programmed and sensor features like an Add 30 Seconds button, Beverage, Defrost, Dinner Plate, Frozen Entree, Pizza Reheat, and Warm Hold help you handle any type of food preparation. 

KitchenAid offers a full one-year warranty of the entire microwave oven, a five-year parts-only warranty on Solid State touch control system parts and a 10-year parts warranty on the stainless steel oven cavity and inner door liner.  Available in white and stainless steel for $699, and now also in black stainless steel at $749, this model will do a lot to save you time in the kitchen.

Features

  • Height: 17.125″
  • Depth: 16.75″
  • 14″ turntable
  • 3-speed 300 CFM fan assembly (ducted/recirculating)
  • 2-stage halogen work surface light
  • Tons of sensor cooking options!

KitchenAid KMHS120ESS – $699

KitchenAid KMHS120ESS OTR Microwave

3. LG LMHM2237ST – 1,000W, 2.2 cu ft – $499

Another brand worth considering is LG. LG has been a large player in the cooking industry for many years now, and the LG LMHM2237ST has been a hit with many consumers due to its sleek SmoothTouch glass controls, EasyClean interior, and ExtendaVent technology. It comes in stainless steel at $499 and black stainless steel at $549.

The extendable ventilation system offered with this OTR microwave ensures coverage of your entire cooktop. You may have noticed that most over the range microwaves don’t stick out enough to cover the entire cooktop surface, so they can have trouble pulling smoke, steam, and odors from the front burners. The LG ExtendaVent aims to solve this problem with a telescoping vent. You can still operate the vent system as usual without using the vent in the slide-out position, too.

Other cool features include the EasyClean interior, a special coating that helps keep splatters and spills from sticking so it wipes clean with little effort. The microwave is covered with a one year full parts and labor warranty plus 10 years on the Magnetron.

Features 

  • Height: 17.9″
  • Depth: 15.8″
  • 14.2″ turntable
  • 4-speed 400 CFM fan assembly (ExtendaVent; with charcoal filters)
  • 2-stage LED lighting
  • 10 power levels and plenty of auto cooking options
  • EasyClean interior resists stains and buildup and is easy to wipe down

LG LMHM2237ST – $499

LG_Microwave_LMHM2237ST

4. GE JVM7195SKSS – 1,100W, 1.9 cu ft – $469 

The GE JVM7195SKSS is one of our consumer favorites due to its traditional styling, outstanding performance, and features for the money. Let’s start with the 1.9 cubic foot oven cavity with an included metal oven rack for multi level cooking. We’re already a step ahead of the average microwave! Then let’s turn to its 1,100 watts of cooking power with 10 adjustable power levels, which is above-average in the industry and will cook and heat faster than its 1,000 watt competitors. Be aware that due to the higher wattage, paying closer attention to heating instructions found on food packages is necessary. 

Its two lines of scrolling display make it easier to read cook times, power levels, fan speeds and lighting positions. The two-stage cooking surface halogen lights are perfect for over the range lighting. The exhaust system features an astounding power-boosting 400 CFM three-speed fan assembly with heat sensor activated cavity and surface detection will do a great job of getting rid of smoke and odors from your kitchen. The fan assembly can be adjusted for recirculation or outdoor venting.

This GE model has a 14.25″ recessed turntable with the option to disable rotation for oversized cookware. And how’s this for handy controls?  Beverage, Defrost, Popcorn, Potato, Reheat, Melt and an Add 30 Seconds button are all included to speed up the cooking process.

The manufacturer’s warranty consists of one year on parts and labor. This unit prices at $419 in white or black, $469 in stainless steel, and $519 in GE slate, black stainless steel and GE black slate.

Features

  • Height: 16.5″
  • Depth: 15.5″
  • 14.25″ recessed turntable
  • 3-speed 400 CFM fan assembly (ducted/recirculating)
  • 2-stage halogen work surface lighting and incandescent interior light
  • Two display lines for easy reading of power levels and other settings

Click here to read over 330 real customer reviews of this product!

GE JVM7195SKSS – $469

GE JVM7195SKSS OTR Microwave

5. Samsung ME18H704SFS – 1,000W, 1.8 cu ft – $319

Samsung has amazed us with their most popular model ME18H704SFS that’s loaded with user-friendly features. Try this out for size: a 1.8 cubic foot ceramic enamel coated oven cavity with a 14.2″ turntable and metal interior wire rack, rounded out with 1,000 watts of cooking power!

For ventilation, it has a four-speed 400 CFM convertible vent fan to reduce odors with a Simple Clean Grease Filter that only needs the push of a finger to eject from its slide-out frame for cleaning or replacement. It’s designed to operate quietly, too.

This unit has six sensor cooking settings, including Popcorn, Potato, Pizza, Cook, Reheat and Veggie as well as six additional auto presets which save you time and effort on cooking and reheating. It also has an easy-to-read Ice Blue LED Display, another great touch. Keeping the interior clean is easier than ever – the enamel coating found inside this microwave is known for easy clean-up! If a boil-over or spatter occurs, simply wipe up with a damp cloth. This coating normally will not allow foods to stick or adhere to the surface.

Samsung covers this product with a one-year parts and labor warranty and 10-year parts warranty on the Magnetron. It is priced at $299 in white, $319 in stainless steel and $369 in black stainless. Don’t forget to add this one to your shopping list!

Features

  • Height: 17.06″
  • Depth: 15.56″
  • 14.2″ turntable with metal rack for multi-level cooking
  • 4-speed 400 CFM fan assembly (ducted/recirculating) with Simple Clean Grease Filter
  • 2-stage halogen work surface lighting and halogen interior lighting
  • Ceramic enamel interior coating for easy cleaning

Click here to read over 470 real customer reviews of this product!

Samsung ME18H704SFS – $319

Samsung ME18H704SFS OTR Microwave

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

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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.

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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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