In big kitchens and small kitchens, large households and tiny ones, opportunities to save space are almost always welcome. The kitchen is all too often the room where space is most needed but nevertheless is most lacking.
This is made especially challenging and tiresome by the presence of bulky and unflattering appliances, like the microwave oven. However, the microwave does not have to get in the way, and it can in fact be a visual compliment to your kitchen rather than an eyesore.
Let’s face it: the microwave oven is a pretty necessary appliance to have plugged in all the time and ready to go. While other kitchen electronics and cooking tools can be stored away and brought out only on occasion, many families— if not most— use their microwaves on an almost daily basis.
Unfortunately, microwaves are large and tend to take up a lot of counter space. The solution in this case is to incorporate the microwave into the cabinets and/or drawers in your kitchen. Built in microwave ovens perform all of the same functions (sometimes more) as regular microwaves, but are instead tastefully tucked into or between shelves, cabinets or drawers. They can also be placed beneath wall ovens.
Just as the houses they are in come in many different shapes, sizes and styles, kitchens can be as unique as the people who use them. So why should kitchen appliances not come in various options? There are many different types of built in microwave ovens. Just head to the nearest Sears and you’ll find a large variety of models. If you have personal preferences when it comes to brands, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a lot to choose from among Sears built in microwave ovens and even those sold at other appliance and home electronics retailers like Best Buy.
But do brands really make a difference? For example, are KitchenAid built in microwave ovens all that different from Whirlpool built in microwave ovens? The truth is that it matters not so much about brand (although you should still do your research) but rather depends on your personal cooking needs and the kind of kitchen space that is available. Read through both consumer and retailer built in microwave oven reviews carefully in order to decide what is best for you.
In the meantime, it helps to have an idea of the general types of built in microwave ovens that are available. A microwave built in directly beneath or even above a wall oven, for example, is a kind that would be suitable for a smaller kitchen. Conveniently located, this microwave can also be used as a small heating oven. A new built in microwave oven can be installed over or under a preexisting mounted wall oven, but many retailers also sell built in microwaves and ovens in matching sets. On the other hand, owners of kitchens with more cabinets and drawers may find themselves looking at a wider range of options.
If there is plenty of wall space between wall cabinets and counters, a mounted wall microwave can be an option. This built in microwave is installed either directly beneath a cabinet or on the wall with cabinets on either side. The idea of this microwave is that it is conveniently located directly in front of you, perhaps slightly below eye level. This way, no bending or extreme reaching is required to use it (children, however, may have a problem reaching it, but this can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it).
Another type of built in microwave oven is the microwave drawer. This is almost exactly what it sounds like. Instead of the microwave’s door opening out on a hinge like other models, its door has a horizontal handle that allows it to be pulled out forward like a drawer. Its unique design allows food items to be placed in through the top and therefore makes it more convenient to turn and stir food items in the middle of their cooking times. Some may also find that a built microwave drawer is easier to clean than other microwave models.
Regardless of which built in microwaves you are looking at, you need to make sure that you have adequate space to install one. For example, most built in microwaves (and microwave ovens in general) come at a minimum of 24 inches wide. Before visiting an appliance store, you should take measurements of your kitchen. It is also a good a idea to bring along your largest cooking dish— the largest one you plan to put in a microwave— to the store with you to make sure that the microwave you get will have enough room. In many cases, some minor remodeling of your cabinets and/or drawers will have to be done before or during the installation of a built in microwave. Be sure to ask sales representatives about this when shopping for your new appliance. Sometimes the stores will even have professionals available to do all of the installation and remodeling for you.
If you choose to install a built in microwave oven yourself, a trip to Lowes is likely in order. As mentioned previously, the space you are putting it in may need to be expanded, and drawers and cabinets may need to be removed or altered. This all depends on the size of the microwave. There should never be open gaps around built in microwave ovens, so precise measuring is necessary to help prevent this. Some framework around the front of the microwave may also be required to conceal gaps and keep the appliance in place.
Many built in microwave models are more modern and more advanced than their freestanding counterparts. They offer more buttons and cooking features, and they often do not get as dirty as do other microwaves. But most importantly, built in microwave ovens can save you a lot of counter space as well as bring about a more appealing look to your kitchen.