Even in modern homes, one of the biggest issues a family can face is a lack of space. This rings especially true in the kitchen, where various cooking, food preservation and drink-making appliances seem to seize countertop area control long before homeowners realize they don’t actually have room for them. Fortunately, there is a modern solution to this space problem— the microwave drawer.

Sharp Microwave Drawer OvenSome people may choose to have a wall-mounted microwave, but many others do not have enough space for this between their cabinets and countertop. A microwave drawer is therefore a practical solution. For those few who do not have a space issue, choosing a microwave drawer may even be an aesthetic choice.

Many kitchen appliances can be stored away in a cupboard or gotten rid of entirely (face it; some are just unnecessary). Others are an integral part of everyday life in the kitchen. The microwave, for example, serves a variety of purposes and is used on an almost daily basis by many households. Microwave ovens can nevertheless be rather bulky, as they have to be large enough to fit full plates of food and often-larger items that need help defrosting. That’s a large area of counter space being snatched up.

Sharp Manual Microwave Drawer

A microwave drawer is a microwave that is built in between the cabinets and drawers beneath a kitchen countertop, instantly taking away the space problem and visual eyesore of a bulky countertop microwave oven. Some models can also be installed beneath a wall oven. Be aware that a microwave drawer is not simply a regular microwave built where a drawer should be – rather, it functions like a drawer. Instead of its door opening out on a hinge like other microwave ovens, its door slides out forward to allow food items to be placed in through the top. It is, quite literally, a drawer design.

While it may seem a little odd at first, this sliding drawer setup is actually convenient in ways the normal countertop microwave or wall-mounted microwave is not. For example, many microwave drawers are more spacious than regular microwaves because they can extend back underneath a counter, taking up space that is not used for any other activities or storage purposes. A microwave drawer is also easier to clean because its design allows for the entire inside surface to be made visible (no more reaching inside and holding yourself at weird angles to clean up everywhere that food has splattered). Because it is not sitting on a counter, the microwave drawer also does not attract grease from stoves and dust from the air.

There are many additional advantages when it comes to actually using the microwave drawer for cooking. Many types of food need to be turned or stirred partway through their heating time, and the microwave drawer allows you to quickly open it and stir from above. This can minimize steam burn as well as food falling off the plate— both things that can happen when you reach your hands through the open door of a hot microwave. Another bonus is that minimal reaching is involved when it comes to putting food items in and out of the appliance, and hot dishes can be immediately removed from the microwave and placed on the counter directly above it. Most other microwave models have little to no counter space in front of them. The risk of burning your hands while carrying a hot plate to a kitchen surface is diminished.

But which brand is the best? Is there a difference between, say, a Kitchenaid microwave drawer and a Sears microwave drawer? Although these appliances have not yet become as prevalent as their conventional, freestanding counterparts, the information is out there. There are many microwave drawer reviews, and these should be read carefully before selecting the right one for you. You should do this whether or not you’re already familiar with the brand in general. For example, you should read a Sharp microwave drawer review even if you already own other appliances from the Sharp Electronics Corporation.

There are plenty of well-known brands to look at when it comes to regular kitchen appliances, but remember that a microwave drawer is not necessarily a part of this list. After all, it has multiple functions, even more than a standard microwave oven that sits on your counter. For example, a microwave drawer can also come with many extra features, like times and temperatures set to cook specific foods. Even if you don’t know what exactly it is that you are looking for, some ones to check out are the Viking microwave drawer, the Wolf microwave drawer and the Dacor microwave drawer. Each of these brands offer a variety of options— all of which are sleek and designed to integrate well into the surrounding décor and other kitchen appliances (finally, you can get a stainless steel microwave to match your sink, oven and refrigerator!)— and detailed reviews of them can be easily found online.

Before selecting a microwave drawer, however, make sure there is enough space among the lower kitchen drawers and cabinets for at least a 24” microwave drawer. In general, they come in two different widths: 24 and 30 inches, although some retailers may carry more varied options. Wider microwave drawers will obviously require more space across. After measuring the space where you are thinking of installing the microwave drawer, it is a good idea to bring your largest cooking dish (at least, the largest dish you tend to use in a microwave) to the store in order to make sure the one you are getting is a good fit.

Microwave drawers can be a little more costly than regular microwaves, but prices may also vary depending on the manufacturer (do your research beforehand though, to make sure you are buying quality). Some retailers also offer payment plans under certain circumstances. So, if you want more space, a more convenient appliance and a better look to your kitchen, a microwave drawer just may be worth it.