If you spend a few minutes browsing images of designer kitchens, you would be hard pressed to find one that does not include a built in microwave.  Unlike their countertop cousins, built in microwaves are the proverbial Cadillac of their appliance line – built with higher quality finishes and a broader array of features.  While currently in vogue, these models may not be right for everyone.  Just like any other product, there are certain aspects of this model of appliance that are worth mulling over in advance.  Before running off to the store and calling your contractor, here are a few things to consider in regard to a built in microwave.


Unless you are literally made of money (which, though sounds appealing, is undoubtedly bad for your long term health) price will play a large role in your purchasing decision..  Yes – as far as microwaves go, this is pretty much as sexy as it gets.  But that appeal comes at a price.  When budgeting, expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 dollars.  Yes, you read that correctly.  There are actually microwaves out there that cost literally five thousand dollars.  To put that in perspective, your typical over the range microwave will run you about $250.  A standard countertop unit?  Closer to sixty bucks.  Moral of the story: Examine your budget.  If you can afford a built in, go for it.  They’re pretty awesome.  But remember – there are more affordable options out there too.


Dacor 30 inch Drawer 1 cu. ft. Stainless Steel Microwave - MMD30SCredit: AmazonDue to the sliding drawer (see: Style), built in models are usually deeper than over the range or countertop microwaves. It’s a rookie mistake to assume that your built in will fit into a desired space after testing the fit with your countertop unit.  Don’t be a rookie – keep a tape measure handy while shopping appliances.  Each model will be sized differently – be sure to keep track!

Kitchen Specifications

Here’s the plain and simple truth: Your kitchen is either currently outfitted for a built in, or it’s not.  If you find yourself on the backend of that truth, you may want to take a moment to consider your course of action.  If you are set on buying this model regardless of your kitchen’s design, more power to you.  As the old adage goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  What the adage leaves out, however, is that sometimes, that way is more like a turnpike.  And that turnpike has very expensive tolls.  If you don’t have the budget to hire a contractor, spend a few hours surfing the good ole’ internet.  There are countless videos, articles, and other resources explaining how to install one of these puppies.  If you don’t have the stomach to go all DIY on your cabinets, a small microwave on the counter may be more your style.


Speaking of style, you’ll want to first confirm that you like the look and functionality of a built in microwave compared to its more traditional counterparts.  Unlike the microwaves you know and love, most built in microwaves feature a sliding drawer rather than a swinging door.  Since your appliance will likely be at waist level, this allows you to lower items inside rather thanSharp KB6524P Microwave Drawer Oven with Front Mounted Touch ControlsCredit: Amazon bending down and sliding them in.  It may sound silly, but consider whether or not you’d enjoy having your microwave at or below waist level.  Traditionally, this is an appliance that has been at eye level or slightly above.  This means rather than reaching up, you will likely be bending down every time you want to nuke something.  One’s not necessarily better than the other – they’re just different.  Decide which makes sense for you and then go from there.


Bosch HMD8451UC 800 24" Stainless Steel Drawer MicrowaveCredit: AmazonAside from looking stylish and sleek, built in models often come with a whole range of exciting features.  Convection microwave capabilities are a common add-in, along with moisture sensors to auto-detect when your food is finished taking in the rays.  Additionally, these higher end models often come with a whole slew of presets – we’re talking baked potato, fish, spaghetti…you know, the good stuff.  Decide if these features are something you want, need, or could potentially do without.  Also worth noting: This model is usually a stainless steel microwave.  While not explicitly an operational feature, this is something that will affect the price. 

As the newest built in microwave expert, you are now ready to decide whether or not this model of appliance fits your current lifestyle.  Regardless as to which route you chose, we wish you many happy years of heating up tea, popcorn, and unidentifiable leftovers.  Happy nuking!