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Selecting & Installing an Over-the-Range Microwave

July 15, 2022

Selecting an over-the-range microwave is the art of combing design and functionality. You will want your microwave to fit appropriately with your kitchen design and have the added features you would anticipate a microwave to have.

Over the range microwave

What is an OTR Microwave?

Looking at the color of the microwave is not the only feature you'll want to evaluate. You'll want to look for OTR microwaves with added features such as an exhaust fan and ventilation which makes OTR microwaves a multi-purpose kitchen appliance!

An over-the-range microwave is installed above a range or cooktop, saving you kitchen counter space. When your microwave is above the range or cooktop it can also help with air circulation and ventilation to ensure your kitchen doesn't smell and the steam coming from your dish doesn't consume your kitchen.

Key Features

When you start your search online to buy an over-the-range microwave you'll come across various options. Some of the key features to look for include convection cooking settings, integrated sensor cooking technology that heats your food thoroughly, smart technology for added convenience, and a built in exhaust fan.

Recommended OTR Microwaves

GE Profile Over-the-Range Oven with Advantium® Technology

The GE Profile Over-the-Range Oven with Advantium® Technology is one you'll want to consider. The Advantium Technology combines halogen light, microwave energy, and true European convection to deliver the exact amount and type of heat your food needs.

For instance, if you are looking for a quick meal, a 5-LB chicken can cook in 33 minutes as opposed to 1 hour and 55 minutes. You also can use over 175 preprogrammed menu selections to make meals easy. When you select “Speed Cook” you can turn the dial to pick your settings and start cooking instantly. The coolest feature of Speed Cook is being able to program up to 30 custom meals.

Specs & Details:

  • 5 cooking modes: Broil, Convection, Microwave, Speedcook, Warm/Proof
  • Three-speed, 300 CFM venting system
  • Total Capacity of 1.7 cu ft
  • Backlit controls
  • Stainless Steel
  • Easy Mount

KitchenAid 30" 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking

Another great choice is the KitchenAid 30" 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking. This over-the-range microwave carries a lot of power and lets you steam and simmer with the sensor-monitoring cooking cycle and an innovative container. The ventilation fan comes with a 400 CFM Motor Class that captures smoke, grease, and odors.

Specs & Details:

  • Sensor Steam/Simmer Cook Cycle with Steamer Container
  • Total Capacity of 1.9 cu ft
  • 6-Speed 400 CFM Motor Class Ventilation System
  • Convection cooking
  • Stainless Steel
  • Sensor function

Thermador Over-The-Range Microwave 30'' Left Side Opening Door

When it comes to a lot of power the Thermador Over-The-Range Microwave 30'' delivers superior heating performance with 1,100 watts of power. The spacious interior gives you the ability to fit large dishes.

Key Features:

  • Sensor Cooking
  • Total Capacity of 2.1 cu ft
  • 385 CFM Built-in Ventilation System
  • Triple Distribution Turntable Disk

Now that you have selected your over-the-range microwave it's time to get it installed. If you are installing a vent hood or older microwave with a new one you can install it easily with a few tools. The microwave will come with a manual and all the tools you'll need.

Equipment & Materials You Need:

  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenters pencil
  • Mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Bits and drill
  • Ratchet wrench and sockets
  • Metal fail tape
  • Masking tape
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Over-the-range microwave oven

Installing An OTR Microwave

Step 1: Measure the Current Microwave

Use the tape measure to measure the older microwave or you can measure the space the microwave originally was in. Typically, microwaves are 30 inches wide but can vary in depth and height.

Step 2: Locate the Studs

Use the stud finder to locate the studs in the space the microwave will go. Next, use your level and pencil to extend the lines downwards on the wall so it is marked properly and avoid any studs.

Step 3: Use the Paper Template for the Wall

Your microwave should have come with a paper template you can use to apply against the wall and tape down with your masking tape.

Step 4: Start Drilling

Using the template in step 3 that you aligned on the wall, find at least two locations for the studs that align to the attachment points on the template. Then, drill pilot holes in these locations using a drill bit that is a little smaller in diameter than the screws and mounting bolts.

Step 5: Use the Paper Template For the Cabinets

Using the second template you received at the bottom of the cabinet above you can easily find where you should drill holes for venting and power cords. Use a spade bit to drill holes in these spots. You will then drill holes for the ovens mounting bolts where it is suggested.

Step 6: Install the Mount Bracket

Using the level line drawn on the wall and the marks you first made you can install the mounting brack on the wall. Follow the manufactures directions on using your pilot hole and the recommended amount of places you should anchor it. You should anchor it to at least one. If it isn't possible, the manufacturer's directions may provide alternative wall anchors to attach the brackets.

Step 7: Align the Microwave Oven

In this step, you'll want to get someone to give you a hand. Lift the over-the-range microwave while feeding the electrical cord through the drilled hole in the cabinet.

Step 8: Attached the Top Mounting Bolts

Look for the installation kit that should have come with self-aligning mounting bolts. While your helper is still holding the microwave, reach above into the cabinet and thread the bolts down through the holes that you drilled. Once you’ve threaded that through your helper can leave the rest to you. Next, tighten the screws with a wrench to make sure its secure.

Get a Professional To Help With Installation

At Howard’s we have experts that can help with installation and get you the assistance you need to install your over-the-range microwave.

We have 15 locations all over the California area including Alhambra-South Pasadena, Corona, Covina, Huntington Beach Experience Center, Irvine, La Habra Experience Center, Laguna Hills Experience Center,Long Beach Experience Center, Outlet Store- Pico Rivera, Outlet Store-Aliso Viejo, Riverside, Torrance Experience Center, Victorville, West Los Angeles Experience Center, and West Valley-Canoga Park.

Get in touch with us today and our product experts can get you the best OTR microwave for your home and help with installation so you don't have to worry about it.

GE Profile Over-the-Range Oven with Advantium Technology

GE Profile Over-the-Range Oven with Advantium® Technology

Kitchenaid 30 inch 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking

KitchenAid 30" 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking

Thermador Over-The-Range Microwave 30 inch Left Side Opening Door, Stainless Steel

Thermador Over-The-Range Microwave 30'' Left Side Opening Door, Stainless Steel


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