Stove top microwave with vent

Today, we review the best over the range convection microwave 2020, and best over the range microwave 2020 picks. Over-the-range microwave ovens are a good choice if you have limited counter space and/or prefer a built-in appliance that matches the rest of your kitchen appliance suite. Below is a list of the best stove top microwave with vent options for you.

And you can get a new OTR microwave for as little as $200, not including installation costs, which vary. Some retailers, such as Home Depot, offer free installation if the purchase price exceeds a certain amount. Below are eight models in a variety of price ranges that perform well in our tests.

There are some drawbacks to OTRs, however. Although they have a built-in exhaust fan, they don’t vent as well as range hoods. And if you’re short, you might find it challenging to remove a piping-hot bowl of soup from an OTR microwave because the bottom of the appliance is usually 18 inches or more above the range.

“Some newer over-the-range microwaves are very squat and might be difficult to reach when you open the door or press buttons,” says Ginny Lui, who oversees Consumer Reports’ microwave testing. “Make sure to consider the size and placement of the microwave in your kitchen before you buy one.”

Stove top microwave with vent

Café CVM721M2NS5PRICESOLD BY$848.00In stockAmazonShop$848.00In stockAppliances ConnectionShop$854.00In stockLowe’sShop+ More

CR’s take: The snazzy Café CVM721M2NS5 has a recessed handle and hidden digital controls that run along the bottom of the microwave. When you tap on the glass touch screen, the options for time and cooking modes pop into view. In addition to looking good, it cooks well, earning an Excellent rating in our heating evenness test. It’s also first-rate at defrosting and operates quietly. A sensor prevents you from overheating your food. In our member survey, Café earns middling scores for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

Frigidaire Professional FPBM3077RFPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$567.99In stockOverstock.comShop$623.10In stockAJ MadisonShop$623.10In stockAppliances ConnectionShop+ More

CR’s take: This Frigidaire Professional model receives Very Good ratings in our tests for speed of heating, noise, and venting. It’s one of the better models we’ve tested for ease of use, and we found it easy to program straight out of the box, without consulting the owner’s manual. Its ability to heat things evenly is so-so; don’t get this model if you tend to heat up large plates of food. Frigidaire is one of the more reliable brands of OTR microwaves, according to a survey of our members.

GE Profile PVM9005SJSSPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$393.00In stockAJ MadisonShop$398.00In stockHome DepotShop$399.00In stockLowe’sShop+ More

CR’s take: This GE PVM9005SJSS is a good choice for a busy household. It earns an Excellent rating in our heating evenness test, in which we reheat a dish of cold mashed potatoes. Speed of heating is also top-notch, and this microwave operates quietly. Our testers found the GE easy to program, and it vents well, something not all OTRs can accomplish. GE ranks in the middle of the pack for predicted reliability, according to our member survey.

KitchenAid KMHS120ESSPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$399.99In stockBest BuyShop$448.00In stockHome DepotShop$449.00In stockLowe’sShop+ More

CR’s take: If you’re not a planner and you tend to take something out of the freezer to make for dinner when you get home from work, the KitchenAid KMHS120ESS is a good choice for your home. It earns an Excellent rating on our defrosting test, in which we defrost 1 pound of ground chuck. The KitchenAid also aces the heating evenness test and is very quiet. It has a cooking sensor and comes with a rack, in case you want to cook two dishes at once.

LG LMH2235STPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$345.20In stockAppliances ConnectionShop$399.99In stockBest BuyShop$403.00In stockHome DepotShop+ More

CR’s take: The LG LMH2235ST is a good choice if you often find yourself having to defrost something straight out of the freezer—it earns an Excellent rating in our defrost test. It’s impressive at heating foods quickly and evenly, too. Plus, this microwave is one of the quietest over-the-range models in our tests. But like most OTRs, venting is only so-so. It has a sensor to prevent you from overheating your food, and a rack in case you want to cook more than one dish at the same time. LG ranks in the middle of the pack for predicted reliability based on data from our member survey, but gets a Very Good rating for owner satisfaction.

LG LMV2031STPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$255.20In stockAppliances ConnectionShop$258.00In stockHome DepotShop$259.99In stockBest BuyShop+ More

CR’s take: The LG LMV2031ST is a good choice if you use your microwave to cook and not just for reheating and defrosting. It fits a 9×15-inch baking dish and has a wire rack, allowing you to cook two dishes at once. It’s equipped with a sensor that turns the microwave off to keep you from overheating your food. This model earns Very Good ratings for speed of heating and heating evenness, and it vents well, although—like most OTRs—not as well as a dedicated range hood. LG gets average marks for predicted reliability but gets a Very Good rating for owner satisfaction.

Whirlpool WMH53521HPRICESOLD BYLOWEST$298.00In stockHome DepotShop$299.00In stockLowe’sShop$299.99In stockBest BuyShop+ More

CR’s take: A top performer from Whirlpool, the WMH53521H earns an Excellent rating in our heating evenness test, meaning a dish of cold mashed potatoes had few or no cold spots after microwaving. It has a cooking sensor that helps estimate how much time and power you’ll need for each dish, and it fits a 9×15-inch dish, allowing you to cook a casserole. This microwave is very easy to use, and our testers noted that it has no discernible flaws. Whirlpool is one of the most reliable over-the-range microwave brands in our latest reliability survey, with few CR members reporting breakages before five years of use.

Whirlpool WMH75021HZPRICESOLD BYSee OffersAmazonShop

CR’s take: The stainless Whirlpool WMH75021HZ earns a rating of Excellent for defrosting evenness, though other models are more capable when it comes to venting and how fast they can heat food. It’s very quiet, and our testers found it easy to use without thumbing through the manual. It fits a 9×15-inch baking dish, and a sensor automatically adjusts cooking time. Whirlpool is one of the most reliable over-the-range microwave brands in our latest reliability survey.

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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