Which wall microwave is best?

Wall microwaves are also known as built-ins. Microwaves mounted flush with your cabinets give your kitchen a neater, more finished look than ones sitting on a counter or hanging above your stovetop. Wall microwaves also save precious space in kitchens that never seem to have enough room for everything.

If you’re looking for a built-in oven that combines convection and microwave technologies, take a look at the Cafe 1.7-Cubic-Foot Electric Convection Wall Oven With Built-in Microwave.

What to know before you buy a wall microwave

Design 

You want a microwave that coordinates with your kitchen design. One advantage of a wall microwave is that it blends into your walls and cabinetry. Consider the design and finish of your other appliances as well as the look of  your cabinets and hardware. 

Key measurements

  • Size is measured by the microwave’s exterior dimensions. Measure the space where you want your it installed and choose one that fits with the necessary extra room for ventilation along the sides and in the back.  
  • Capacity is how much space there is inside your microwave, measured in cubic feet. Small wall microwaves have a capacity of just over 1 cubic foot while the largest have more than 2 cubic feet of interior cooking space. Larger interiors mean you can cook bigger portions and more foods at once for more people. 
  • Power is measured in watts. The more power your microwave has, the quicker it heats the foods inside. Built-ins have anywhere from 800 to 1,200 watts.

Installation

Unless you are a skilled electrician and carpenter, you must hire a licensed contractor to safely install your built-in microwave. Make certain you carefully select the ideal location in your kitchen, because you won’t be able to easily change it once it’s in place. 

What to look for in a quality wall microwave

Settings and controls

  • One-touch controls let you preset shortcuts for power levels and cooking times.
  • Variable power levels let you choose the setting that works best for your cooking activities.
  • Sensors monitor the internal temperature and turn off the oven when the food is properly cooked, preventing overcooking and undercooking.

Drop-down door

The traditional microwave has a door hinged at the side that takes up a lot of space when opened. Pull-down doors are easier to use and provide a flat surface you can set hot dishes on, almost like a small temporary counter.

Extras

  • Turntables are standard equipment in most microwaves because rotating your foods cooks them more evenly, with fewer cold spots. For even better cooking, look for turntables that automatically reverse. 
  • Grilling wall microwaves have heating elements above the food. They come with racks to place the foods even closer to the heat source. Quartz grills do the work more quickly but are more expensive than typical radiant grills. 
  • Convection capability is an add-on to conventional microwave design in high-end wall microwaves. The convection function circulates the hot air inside the oven to heat foods more quickly and cook them more evenly. This is accomplished by means of bigger fans and additional heating elements. Convection microwaves offer the same technology you find in air fryers, but with greater power and capacity.

How much you can expect to spend on a wall microwave

Wall microwaves cost from $300-$2,000 or more. With less-expensive models, expect to pay an additional $200-$400 for a custom trim kit. Don’t forget to add professional installation into your budget.

Wall microwave FAQ

Is a built-in microwave the same thing as a wall microwave?

A. Yes, the two terms are used interchangeably. The built-in description suggests an installation with a finished look.

Can I use a regular microwave as a built-in?

A. Yes, but only with caution and advance planning. One big difference between wall and countertop microwaves is how the heated air is ventilated. Wall microwaves need extra room behind and on the sides so the air circulates freely and keeps the electronic components from overheating.

What’s the best wall microwave to buy?

Top wall microwave 

Cafe 1.7-Cubic-Foot Electric Convection Wall Oven With Built-in Microwave

Cafe 1.7-Cubic-Foot Electric Convection Wall Oven With Built-in Microwave

What you need to know: You get oven-quality food with the fast-cook setting that combines convection and microwave technologies.

What you’ll love: The 1.7-cubic-foot interior of this 950-watt oven has a 16-inch glass turntable and room for large amounts of food. The convection setting delivers crisp food and the steam-cook option perfectly prepares fresh vegetables and rice. The backlit control panel is sleek, easy to clean and easy to navigate. 

What you should consider: Some customers don’t like the noise of the convection cycle.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Top wall microwave for the money

Panasonic Countertop/Built-in Microwave Oven With Inverter Technology And Genius Sensor

Panasonic Countertop/Built-in Microwave Oven With Inverter Technology And Genius Sensor

What you need to know: This 1.2-cubic-foot microwave is thinner, lighter and more efficient than most wall microwaves. 

What you’ll love: This 1,200 watt oven with inverter technology delivers consistent, evenly prepared foods without overcooking. The turbo defrost setting speeds up defrosting times. The “genius sensor” adjusts power settings and cook times automatically. 

What you should consider: The trim kit that adds a finished fit and enhanced look is optional.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Frigidaire Gallery 2.2-Cubic-Foot Built-in Microwave

Frigidaire Gallery 2.2-Cubic-Foot Built-in Microwave

What you need to know: This 24.4375-inch-wide wall microwave fits a lot of food inside and is a great choice for larger households.

What you’ll love: The ten one-touch settings of this 1,100-watt oven let you customize the controls for easy preparation of the foods you cook most often. The 16-inch turntable holds lots of food. The black stainless steel finish is smudge-proof.

What you should consider: The trim kit is an extra-cost option.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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