Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing the Best Over the Range Microwave

If you’re planning to buy an over the range microwave then you’ll need to choose one that’s suitable for your kitchen. The mistakes to avoid when choosing the best device are listed in this article. We’ll give you information about what to do—and not to do—and what to look for when choosing your new appliance.

In order to select a suitable appliance for your needs, there are four main things to check. Measure the oven to ensure it fits, look at the controls, check the ventilation requirements and find out the capacity of the oven.

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Not all over the range microwaves are the same size. You need to make sure you have the space to install one before you buy.

Before purchasing this type of microwave oven, you should take some accurate measurements. Always double check your calculations. If you measure once and make a mistake you may have to buy twice, so it’s better to be right in the first instance! Make a note of the measurements and refer to these figures when looking at specifications.

Measure the width of the space where the microwave is to be installed, so that it matches the width of your range. Remember to allow for a slight gap to the sides and above the oven. This is to let air circulate. Having a microwave that’s the same width as the range will look better and extraction will be more efficient.

An easy mistake to make is installing the microwave too high, which can lead to problems. Measure the height carefully too, and install the oven so that you—and anyone else who may use the oven—are able to operate all the controls, clean the oven and remove hot food safely. Overreaching to get piping hot food from a microwave that’s too high is dangerous and you risk injury, especially to the shorter members of the household!


When you’re choosing your over the range microwave, avoid selecting one with controls that you don’t understand. The majority of ovens have touch button controls with a display screen. Due to the number of functions on modern microwaves, these controls can be tricky to master.

Some ovens have other functions, including grilling and convection fans. These ovens have more controls than a standard microwave and when you get your appliance you should take time to read the instructions. Familiarizing yourself with the controls before using the oven will make operating it easier.


A common mistake that people make is ignoring ventilation requirements. An over the range microwave extracts smoke, steam and odors. There are two ways that this is done. The microwave will either use a ducted vent system or be fitted with filters to clean the air.

Ducted Vent System

A ducted vent system is the most efficient way to remove smoke, steam, moisture and odors from your kitchen, but it can be costly. The microwave oven is fitted with a fan that draws these into a duct. The dirty air travels through the ducts until it reaches the exterior of your property.

If your microwave is mounted on an external wall, then a ducted vent system is a good option. If the oven is on an internal wall, a series of ductwork needs to be installed by a contractor. This may involve modifications to your property, which adds extra to the cost.

Filter System

A number of over the range microwaves are fitted with charcoal filters. These trap airborne pollutants and clean the extracted air. The clean air is filtered back into the kitchen and the cycle continues. This method of extraction is not as efficient as ducted venting, but the air is significantly cleaner than it would be without filtering.

A downside to charcoal filters is they require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them clean. Charcoal filters need to be washed with a suitable cleaning product, although some can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Charcoal filters last from 6 to 12 months before they need replacing, depending on how much use they’ve had.


Another common mistake that people make when buying an over the range microwave is choosing too small a capacity for a family. These microwaves tend to be larger than a standard microwave oven, due to the extractor. The capacity of these appliances ranges from 1 cu.ft. to 2.2 cu.ft.

The smaller microwave ovens are cheaper and more energy efficient, but not suitable for families. If you’re cooking meals for a family of four, you should be looking for a microwave oven with a capacity of 1.8 cu.ft. or more. A larger oven means that your plates and serving dishes will fit and all your food will be ready to serve at the same time.

You can check out the main guide to see which over the range microwave ovens are suitable for your needs.

Final Thoughts

You now have the information you need to select a suitable over the range microwave without making mistakes. Taking accurate measurements and doing a little research on the oven you intend to buy will help you make the correct choice.

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