5 Best Over Range Microwave Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

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 suite.

And you can get a new OTR microwave for as little as $200, not including installation costs, which vary. Some retailers, like Home Depot, offer free installation if the purchase price exceeds a certain amount.

But there are some drawbacks to OTRs. Although they have a built-in exhaust fan, it won’t vent as well as a range hood. 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.

Top 5 Over Range Microwave

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But there are some drawbacks to OTRs. Although they have a built-in exhaust fan, it won’t vent as well as a range hood. 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.”

How We Test Microwaves
We assess how fast and how evenly microwaves heat. The speed score in our over-the-range microwave ratings is based on how fast a microwave heats 1 liter of room-temperature water in a bowl. For evenness, we put a bowl of cold mashed potatoes in a microwave, heat it for 10 minutes, then take the temperature of the food in 20 different places.

There are more than 65 over-the-range microwave ovens in our ratings (and more than 80 countertop models). Here, listed in alphabetical order, are six OTR picks that deliver outstanding performance in our tests.

The Most Common OTR Flaws

The most frequently reported problem? Five percent of the OTRs owned by our members reported a problem with a broken or faulty control panel.

After that, the three most common problems reported for OTRs by our members were doors that don’t lock or close correctly, microwaves that fail to heat food adequately, and models that are too noisy. Members also report problems with turntables, exhaust fans, and lights, but in fewer numbers.

Electrolux, in particular, stands out for having three of those problems and is among the more likely brands to have broken controls and door closing problems, and failing to heat food evenly. Electrolux is the only OTR brand that receives a Poor for both reliability and satisfaction.

Other brands that stand out in our survey for having specific problems include:

  • Samsung, for having broken controls.
  • Jenn-Air, for heating food unevenly.
  • Magic Chef, for being too noisy.
Consumer Reports tests microwaves for some of these performance attributes including whether or not a microwave heats evenly and how noisy it is when operating on the highest setting. To avoid problems, opt for a model that aces these tests. There are plenty to choose from.

Countertop Microwaves

Larger microwaves are typically about 2 feet wide, a foot high, and about a foot-and-a-half deep, so they require a fair amount of countertop real estate. Smaller models take up a bit less space but tend to be underpowered and generally do not perform as well in our tests.

Microwaves from Avanti and Farberware stand out as the most reliable brands, and both earned an Excellent rating for predicted reliability in our member survey. Other standouts, each earning a Very Good rating, are Black+Decker, LG, and Samsung. Based on performance, of those five brands, one model from Farberware and two from LG make our recommended list.

Common Countertop Microwave Flaws

Complaints about countertop microwaves are similar to those about OTRs. Noise tops the list, with 5 percent of the countertop microwaves owned by our members reported as being excessively noisy.

The next most common problem is a microwave that fails to heat adequately, followed by control panels that break or don’t work as they should. Other issues, such as broken turntables, doors, and lights, were reported in lower numbers.

Here are the brands highlighted in our survey for specific problems:

  • KitchenAid, Panasonic, and Whirlpool, for having doors that don’t close or lock properly.
  • Cuisinart, for having turntables that stop turning.

 

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