Over-the-Range Microwave Vs. Regular Microwave

As an Amazon associate We earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.

Choosing between an over-the-range and a regular microwave oven can be a little tricky. Your ideal model will be different if you are the homeowner or renting your home.

Is space a very important factor in your decision? If so, you may favor one microwave model over the other.

Coming up is a comparison between an over-the-range microwave and a regular microwave. This guide will give you a rundown of everything you need to know about the 2 models so that you can make the best choice.

The main difference between an over-the-range and a regular microwave is that over-the-range units offer microwave functions, venting, and overhead lighting. Standard microwaves can only cook, reheat and defrost.

A Comparison Table to Help you Select Your Choice with A simple Glance

FeatureOver-the-range MicrowaveRegular Microwave
UsesCooking, reheating, defrosting,
providing overhead lighting, venting.
Heating, reheating,
and defrosting.
FeaturesComes with advanced featuresComes with
basic features
InstallationRequires professional helpEasy to install
Location/placementAbove the rangeCountertop or
underneath a cabinet
Capacity1.1 cubic feet – 2.2 cubic feet0.5 – 2.5 cubic feet
PriceExpensiveModerately priced
ReplacementNot easy to replaceEasy to replace

What’s an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven?

Over-the-Range Microwave Vs. Regular Microwave

Over-the-range microwaves are installed above a range or cooktop. In addition to performing regular microwave duties, these models provide air circulation, kitchen venting, and overhead lighting.

These models help to open up your kitchen’s counters pace and frees you from having to deal with a bulky appliance on your counter.

What is a Regular Microwave Oven?

What is a Regular Microwave Oven

A regular microwave is an entry-level/basic microwave designed to cook, reheat and defrost frozen food. These models use electromagnetic radiation to reheat food and drinks.

Regular microwaves are the cheapest of all microwaves and can be seen anywhere, including small apartments, office break rooms, dorms, among other places.

Comparing an Over-the-Range Microwave with a Regular Microwave


You can use an over-the-range microwave for cooking, heating, and defrosting frozen foods as they function just like any other countertop microwave oven.

In addition to cooking, over-the-range models help remove smoke, grease, and oil from your kitchen. This means that with such a microwave, your kitchen will always have clean air circulation.

The most common uses of regular microwave ovens include heating coffee, reheating leftover meals, and defrosting meat, among other foods.

You can’t do much with a regular microwave as these units do as they don’t boast advanced features.


Watts are basically used to convert energy into heat. The conversion happens when this energy comes into contact with your food or drink. The higher the wattage, the faster your food cooks.

Over-the-range microwaves come in an average watt range of 900 to 1000. A lower wattage will only make your microwave struggle to heat your food evenly.

Powerful over-the-range microwaves come in a watt range of 1100 and 1200 watts and heat food faster and more evenly. However, the units come with a higher price tag.

Regular microwaves have a watt range of 550 to 1500 watts, and the most common wattage for this model is 1,000 watts. And just like with the over-the-range microwaves, expect to pay more if eyeing a regular microwave with a higher wattage.


The average size of over-the-range microwaves is between 1.5 to 1.7 cubic feet, and this is enough cooking space for most families. Smaller units boast 1.1 cubic feet, while larger models offer up to 2.2 cubic feet.

When it comes to regular microwaves, the capacity ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 cubic feet.


As aforementioned, over-the-range microwaves do more than just cook. They also help in ventilation and overhead lighting.

These models usually boast a lot of advanced features such as convection heating, smart technology, child safety lock, delay start time options, among others.

Regular microwaves have the fewest and most basic features of all microwave ovens. The units usually feature express cooking numbers, quick start function, and weighted defrost.

Some regular microwaves also come with timers, a digital clock, and a child safety lock to keep kids safe from getting burnt by hot food.


Just like the name suggests, you’ll find over-the-range microwaves on top of the range/over cooktops. This way, the unit can help remove all the smoke, oil, and grease coming from your cooking.

One drawback of the placement of these units is that since they are usually placed high above the range, it is difficult for some family members (short ones) to use.

Regular microwaves are usually found on countertops but can also be mounted underneath a cabinet to save space.

These microwaves are the best for small and medium-sized families that only intend to use a microwave a few times a week.


Over-the-range microwaves come at a higher price than regular models. This is because the units boast more advanced features, and they are actually 2 in 1 appliances hence the high price.

And not only that, do you know that you’ll also have to pay a professional to install the unit for you? By the time you’re starting to use this microwave, you’ll have spent a lot. But considering its functionality, it’s worth it.

Regular microwaves are the most budget-friendly units. However, you should know that the units come with a price range of between $50 and $300 depending on oven capacity, watts, finish, features and brand.

So, Are Over-the-Range Microwaves Better than Regular Microwaves?

Yes and No. An over-the-range microwave will be better than a regular microwave oven if you want a microwave with more advanced features. Also, if your kitchen doesn’t have a range hood, you’ll love an over-the-range model better.

On the other hand, if living alone and rarely use the microwave, a regular microwave might be all you need. A regular microwave will also come in handy to persons working with tight budgets but require a standard model to help them do simple cooking and reheating a few times a week.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Microwave Oven

Knowing what to look for in a microwave oven will help you narrow your options. Keep the following in mind when choosing between an over-the-range vs. regular microwave.

Kitchen size and Fit

Although all microwave ovens come in various sizes, consider the size of your kitchen and how you would like to streamline your daily cooking process.

If your kitchen has limited space, an over-the-range microwave will suit you best.


Sensor cooking, pre-programmed settings, defrost settings, and other features can make your cooking more convenient. When reviewing the microwaves, consider how often your family might benefit from a particular model’s feature.

Installation requirements

The right microwave for your home might depend on the installation process you’re willing to follow. For instance, if you value portability and convenience, the unit with the simplest setup will suit you best.

Power and Wattage

Powerful microwaves cook faster than those with lower wattage. If you often make snacks and meals that benefit from faster cook times, get a microwave that is powerful enough to handle your loved ones’ favorites.


Different microwaves come with different price tags. Whether you’re short of finances or not you’re sure to find a standard model within your budget range.

Still Have Questions?

Can I use a regular oven over the range?

No. And this is simply because a regular oven won’t function as an over-the-range. It doesn’t have the filters required to help you get rid of smoke and grease from your kitchen.

How are over-the-range microwaves different?

Over-the-range microwaves are different from other microwaves because they not only function as microwaves but also eliminate smoke and cooking odors via a built-in ventilation system.

Is an over-the-range microwave oven worth it?

It’s totally worth it. This unit will help you cook, reheat, defrost and clean the air in your kitchen at all times. What else could you possibly want from a microwave?


Both over-the-range and regular microwaves work great hence worth spending your money on. And to ensure that you get one that works for your home, consider your needs first.

You don’t need to get an over-the-range microwave oven if your kitchen is spacious enough, has a range hood, and you rarely use the microwave. A regular model might work best for you. You also don’t need one if living in the school dormitory.

Get an over-the-range microwave if you really enjoy cooking but have a small kitchen. You’ll love it.

Leave a Comment