Over the Range Microwaves vs Range Hoods – A Buying Guide

When building a new kitchen or replacing an old range and ventilation, a customer is faced with the decision of using a a range hood or over the range microwave. An over the range (OTR) microwave is a microwave that mounted under a cabinet, above the surface of a range or cooktop. The unit functions as a normal microwave but also has a ventilation fan that can suck in exhaust and re circulate it through a filter or in some cases vent to the outside through duct work. A range hood is a dedicated ventilation system that is most often vented to outside the home.

Safety is one major concern to take into consideration when making your choice. When the microwave is mounted above the range normally about 5 feet making it hard to use for people who are short, and children. This can make for a dangerous situation trying to heat up a heavy plate. There is also the issue of hitting your head if you accidentally leave the door open. As far as a ventilation hood, there is little safety concern as long as it is hooked up properly.

Design is another factor to consider when making your choice. While today’s over the range microwaves are available in a variety of coordinating styles and colors, some may still find the look dated and not very “professional”. If it is a clean, professional style look you are after, a range hood would probably be the better choice for you. They are more minimal and match better with today’s high end appliances.

The most important factor to consider is the effectiveness of each appliance. Typically an OTR microwave is 300 cfm (cubic feet of air movement per minute). In addition an over the range microwave is typically 12 in deep in comparison to a range hood which are usually at least 19 in deep. Comparatively a range hood can offer anywhere from 500 – 1500 cfm while covering more burner surface. If you have a powerful, professional range, and if you cook a lot, it may be beneficial to choose a range hood. However if you don’t use the burners often, and have a lack of space for a microwave, the OTR microwave may be the right choice for you.

In conclusion there is no one right choice. Each individual must weigh the options, and determine their circumstances in order to make the right ventilation choice for their home. For all your microwave and ventilation needs from all brands including GE, Viking, Wolf, Maytag, Broan, and more visit Karls Appliance