If you want to take your cooking skills to a high level with an excellent-quality microwave oven that can seamlessly blend within the kitchen without occupying much counter space, the built-in microwave is the best option for you. A built-in microwave is neatly packed into a cabinet or a wall to free up space in your kitchen and equipped with tons of advanced features for reheating, baking and cooking various dishes. From Panasonic NN-SN686S to Toshiba EM131A5C-BS, there are various best built-in microwaves available online. But not all built-in oven is the same in terms of material, features, and other aspects. While some are designed for basic cooking tasks like reheating the leftovers, others are designed with more advanced features to act as a convection oven.
There are several styles of Built-in microwaves available in the market from under-counter microwave drawers to drop-down door models. Depending upon your requirements, budget, and kitchen space, you can choose the right one for you using our detailed buying guide. This guide will help you to understand everything about the various types of microwave ovens available online and which one will be the right pick for you. Let’s begin.
Table of Contents
- Built-In Microwave vs. Countertop Microwave
- Why choose Built-In Microwave? – Advantages & Benefits
- Types of Built-In Microwave
- Best Built-in Microwave in 2021
- Things to Consider while buying the best built-in microwaves – Ultimate Buying Guide
- Maintenance of Built-In Microwave
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words!
Built-In Microwave vs. Countertop Microwave
The two most common types of microwave ovens available online are the Countertop Microwave and Built-In Microwave. There are some significant differences between both types which you must understand before opting for the one:
As the name suggests, Countertop Microwaves are designed to be placed on the kitchen counter while the built-in microwaves are designed to be placed into a cabinet or a wall.
Since the Countertop Microwaves are designed to be placed on the kitchen counter, you don’t need any installation expertise for it. While the built-in microwave needs to be installed by experts only to check if the microwave and oven are properly vented to prevent a potential fire hazard. So in the case of a built-in microwave you need to provide additional installation cost, unlike a countertop microwave.
3. Space Required
Countertop microwaves require more space in the kitchen as it needs to be placed on the counter and thus might not be ideal for small kitchen spaces. But the built-in microwave can be fit into any type of kitchen space as it is designed to free up some space in your kitchen & can be extremely useful in the small kitchen.
Countertop microwaves can be moved around and thus are more versatile. On the other hand, built-in microwaves are permanently installed and thus less versatile.
Depending upon the model type, size, features and design, Countertop models are cheaper than built-in ovens. On the other hand, Built-in ovens are slightly expensive and can range between $500-$1000. On top of that, installation of built-in-oven can cost you few extra bucks.
6. Portability and Replacement
Countertop models are easy to move and replace while you cannot replace built-in ovens easily as they are permanently installed.
Why choose Built-In Microwave? – Advantages & Benefits
There are some remarkable benefits and advantages of built-in microwaves which makes it a perfect choice for all types of kitchen spaces, like:
1. Free Up Kitchen Space
One of the biggest advantages of built-in microwaves is that it saves a lot of counter space in your kitchen as it can be easily fit into any cabinet or wall to enhance the look of your kitchen, making it an ideal choice for small spaces.
2. More Stability
Since it is permanently installed into one place or cabinet, it is more stable than Cornertop or any other microwaves.
3. Powerful Motor & Performance
Every built-in microwave comes with a powerful motor to enhance the cooking power of your dishes and known for its long-lasting performance. One of the best built-in microwaves known for its powerful motor and performance is Panasonic NN-SN766s stainless steel microwave. Known for its innovative inverter technology, turbo defrost, 1.6 cu ft capacity and various other innovative features, Panasonic NN-SN766S is admired for its durability and long-term performance.
4. Uses of Built-In Microwave:
- Reheating: Microwave ovens are great for reheating food in seconds, unlike the Stove which takes more time and gives less desirable results. When you reheat the food in the microwave, it keep warm your food and retains its nutrients, without making the food wet.
- Baking: Both Solo and Convection type microwave are used for baking cakes, baked potatoes, pastries, and other bakery items at home conveniently.
- Defrosting: You can also use microwave ovens for defrosting fruits, meat, and vegetables very quickly without excessive washing, draining, and wasting the water. The benefit of using a microwave for defrosting purposes is that it retains the food in its natural form without damaging its nutrients.
- Roasting: You can roast any item from veg to non-veg in a built-in microwave if it has a grilling and roasting feature in it to get the perfect dinner or snacks in just a few minutes.
- Boiling and Steaming: Microwave ovens allows quick boiling and steaming of any food or vegetable to save your time and enhance your cooking power up to a great extent.
Types of Built-In Microwave
Depending upon your requirements and the functions you want in Built-in Microwave, there are commonly following types of microwave ovens available in the market:
1. Conventional Built-In Microwave:
Conventional built-in microwaves are designed to reheat leftovers, defrosting fruits, vegetables & meat, and heating up tea and coffee. Since conventional microwave ovens are equipped with limited features supporting reheating, cooking and defrosting, it comes at an affordable price than the conventional microwave ovens and if you have limited requirements except baking, you can go for such type of built-in microwave option.
All the basic models of conventional microwave ovens come with some basic features like:
- Timed Cook Function– let you set the cooking time
- Pre-Programmed Cooking Modes – For various dishes like Pizza, Cake, Popcorn, etc.
- Can Preset cooking time
One of the best conventional microwaves with built-in options available online is Toshiba EM131A5C Black Stainless Steel with Pre-Programmed Smart Sensor Menu, 1.2 cu ft capacity, and 10 power settings.
2. Convection Built-In Microwave:
Convection built-in microwaves are the most versatile and powerful as they are the combination of both standard microwaves and convection ovens to enhance the cooking power. From baking to roasting and grilling, you can perform almost all functions with a convection microwave. If you want to bake cookies or cakes, with grilled chicken to serve your guests at dinner or party, a convection microwave will be the ideal choice for you.
Convection built-in microwaves are typically more expensive than conventional microwaves as they have many advanced features and cooking modes. Also, it works better than conventional counterparts, with some remarkable elements & features like:
- Fan with the heating element – To circulate the air around the oven cavity for even heat distribution.
- Promotes Faster Cooking Time
- Requires less energy
One of the best Convection built-in microwaves you may find online is FRIGIDAIRE FPMO3077TF Professional Built-in microwave with 1.6 cubic feet capacity and 15 inches high trim kit.
3. Microwave-Oven Combo:
As the name indicates, it is a combination oven with a primary oven along with a standard or convection microwave on top. The combo built-in microwave is a good choice for people serious about baking and high-impact cooking power with large capacity. It is a high-spec microwave that provides users with two different cooking zones to bake and cook multi-course dishes together for a party or dinner.
A microwave-oven combo takes more place than a standard microwave or oven and thus it is ideal only for large spaces and not for small kitchen spaces. Also, it is slightly expensive ranging from as low as $900 up to several thousand dollars than a standard microwave oven, depending upon model type, size, capacity, features, etc.
One of the best Built-In Microwave oven combo recommended and trusted by millions of users online is GE PT7800SHSS Stainless Steel Microwave. The GE Profile series is known for its high cooking power, durable build quality and high efficiency to cook & bake all kind of multi-course dishes in less time.
Best Built-in Microwave in 2021
Things to Consider while buying the best built-in microwaves – Ultimate Buying Guide
There are various factors that you must consider while buying the best built-in oven microwave for your kitchen. Some of the crucial factors to consider are:
1. Power Consumption
When buying the best built-in microwave oven, it is important to check its power consumption as cooking time and oven performance depend on it. Different microwaves come with different power levels according to the model type, features and capacity. Generally, a microwave oven with 900-watt power is ideal to cook and bake most of the food items. But some dishes require around 1000 watts or more to cook properly and faster.
High Power consumption means less cooking time and better performance. Some dishes don’t cook well on low power levels. But high power consumption comes with an expensive price tag and such models usually have high wattage.
Some microwave ovens with high power consumption and wattage require their own dedicated circuit for better performance as sharing the same circuit as another major kitchen appliance can affect performance. You must consult with a professional first about the power consumption and dedicated circuit to get the best results.
2. Size & Capacity
When we say size and capacity, they are two different things to look at in the built-in microwave before buying one. While the microwave size refers to its entire dimension, the capacity determines its entire cooking space. According to your kitchen space and your cooking requirements, you must consider both the size & capacity of the best built-in microwave to get the desired results. It is necessary to ensure that the size you pick must fit into the cabinet space with enough ventilation space for safe operation.
Generally, the built-in microwaves come in 24-, 27-, or 30-inch widths to get aligned with standard cabinet widths. Height and length can be varied according to the model type & brand, generally ranging from 17 to 22 inches in height and 20 to 25 inches in depth.
On the other hand, the capacity of the microwave is measured in cubic feet and if you have large cooking requirements, you must go for the one with large capacity.
Built-in microwaves generally have most of the functions same as the countertop microwaves like reheating, baking, defrosting, boiling, steaming, etc, along with a range of advanced settings that makes cooking and baking easier for you.
All microwaves are generally equipped with manual timed cook settings, but most of them also have some convenient shortcut buttons to prepare popcorn, baked potato, frozen dinner, etc. at the touch of a button. So, always look for all these functions while buying the best built-in microwave for your kitchen.
For example, Panasonic NN-SN966S stainless steel microwave oven comes with easy-to-use quick functions that allow you to quickly heat and cook various items at the touch of a button with excellent capacity and size.
4. Sensor Cooking
The sensor cooking feature is extremely useful in the microwave as it allows the microwave to apply the correct cooking power level based on cooking mode and the dish. With the sensor cooking feature, you don’t have to manually guess about the power consumption or time, as it automatically adjusts the wattage and duration by sensoring the cooking power of the dish and helps it to cook faster by heat evenly.
The sensor cooking feature in the microwave allows you to:
- Estimate the time & wattage required to defrost, reheat or cook the food items.
- Set the microwave to a specific temperature to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
Built-in microwaves come with a variety of controls and settings options like they have a range of pre-programmed keys and shortcut buttons depending upon model type. Some common controls you can find in almost all types of built-in microwaves are:
- Automatic Defrost Settings – This allows you to set the food type and weight to automatically determine the time and wattage required for defrosting.
- Pre Programmed Buttons – Include settings for cooking pizza or popcorn & much more with the touch of a button.
- Sensor Cooking Settings – helps to assess the moisture level in food to automatically adjust the time and wattage required for baking, reheating or cooking.
- Smart Control Cooking Settings – It allows to turn on and operate the microwave using the voice command for smart home systems.
6. Brand & Accessories
It is crucial to know and read about the brand & its reputation first and then decide which one will be the right for you. There are plenty of brands listed online but not all of them provide you with an excellent quality built-in microwave that fits your requirement and budget. So only go for reputable brands like Panasonic, Kaff, Faber, Frigidaire, Toshiba, etc.
Many brands provide additional accessories like oven utensils to provide you with a valuable deal. So if you are getting any kind of accessories with the built-in microwave, it is a good option to consider under your budget.
As we have mentioned earlier, built-in microwaves require installation by professionals, unlike the countertop ones which you can install by yourself. It is crucial to check the outlet area of the built-in microwave first in its user guide to check whether it will be convenient for you or not. Also, during the installation, it is crucial to determine that the microwave has adequate ventilation space.
Also, you must check that the microwave should be properly bracketed into the wall. For proper ventilation and to enhance the look of the microwave, you can opt for the Built-in microwave trim kits that will cover all the gaps for high performance and even heat spread.
8. Additional features
Some built-in microwaves come with additional features like including broiler or air fryer features to crisp or fry food items like potato, popcorn, chicken, etc.
Some additional features in convection microwaves allow you to use like an oven for both baking and roasting. You can also include extra trays like grill racks, tiered racks or air fryer baskets to enhance your cooking style and power all together. So don’t forget to check whether the microwave supports additional features that you need or not to get the best one on your budget.
9. LED Display & Viewable Window
LED Display is the crucial part of any microwave or even as it let you see all the crucial information like time, temperature, etc. in digits along with the viewable window so you can depict what is going on inside.
An ideal microwave must be user-friendly with not so many complex features that you find difficult to operate later. Make sure the microwave you are deciding to buy has all the required features in an easy-to-operate and user-friendly way for a seamless cooking & baking experience.
11. Brand Warranty
Different Microwave brands offer different warranty terms on microwave’s parts, replacement, and repairing. It is always advisable to check the Manufacturer’s warranty and its time period to get the best value for your investment.
12. Auto Cook Menu
Auto cook menu in the built-in microwaves allows you to set the timing for the dish and do the other household chores at the same time by eliminating the need for constant monitoring. Once you have set the timer, the microwave will stop working automatically once the food is prepared so you don’t have to worry about overcooking. Almost all the microwaves come with an auto cook menu and this is one of the crucial features you must check while buying the microwave for your kitchen.
13. Child Lock
If you have kids in the house, the child lock feature is a must-have thing your microwave should have. It allows you to lock the oven so kids don’t get hurt even if they try to open it while the device is functioning.
Maintenance of Built-In Microwave
Now comes the most important part, i.e Maintenance of Built-in-microwave. The performance and durability of any microwave or oven depend upon how well you maintain it. Also to save some bucks, it is crucial to go for the one that doesn’t require much maintenance. Here are some preventive maintenance tips to keep your microwave in new and working condition for a long time:
1. Keep the Inside Clean
It is important to keep the microwave interior clean regularly to cut down the bad odour and prevent the inner part from corrosion or damage. Always wipe off the leftover food or liquid otherwise it will continue to cook each time and absorb the energy which is meant to be used by your current meal, making it less efficient. You can use a soft cloth and mild detergent to wipe off the leftover weekly or monthly depending upon the usage.
If there are some stubborn spots that are not easy to remove with detergent, try heating a cup of water for 60-90 seconds as steam will help to loosen the grim.
2. Keep the Outside Clean
Along with the regular cleaning of the inner area, it is advisable to keep the outer area clean as well because dirt, grease, and other residues can be quickly built on the outer parts especially on the countertop and cabinets. Keep the outer area clean and brand new by regular wiping off with a cloth or paper towel.
3. Take Care of the Door
Microwave doors are the most sensitive and damage-prone area that you need to be careful about. If the door got damaged or cracked or not get closed properly, it will affect the cooking of your food. Avoid shutting the door with pressure or with your elbow abruptly. Never pull off the door without turning off the microwave.
Microwave latches are generally complex with some of the models having three switches that need to be closed in the right order for the proper working. Closing the door carelessly or with high pressure can impact these switches causing permanent damage. So avoid doing that to keep the door unharmed and protected for a long time.
4. Respect Weight Limits
We often forget the weight limits of the microwave oven which can impact its performance in the long run. Most of the times, the dishes or food we put in it is less than the maximum weight capacity but in some cases, it can exceed, and thus you must respect and know about the maximum capacity the unit can handle to avoid any mishappening.
The weight limit is generally printed on the unit or otherwise, you can check it from the user manual provided along. An excessively heavy item can impact the microwave’s motor and turntable along with the central components, leading to damage or improper cooking of the food.
5. Use Microwaveable Utensils
Not every utensil or container is made for your microwave and can sometimes result in a sudden spark or burn. Always use microwaveable utensils or containers to bake, reheat, defrost or cooking any food item. Non-microwaveable containers can melt inside the unit, leaving the toxic particles behind that can be dangerous for your food and health. You should never put the following items in your microwave:
- Aluminium Foil
- Any dishware with silver or gold coating
Generally, utensils made with Glass, ceramics, or plastic are suitable for the microwave oven but that is not the same for all. So it is better to ask which type of container material will be suitable to put in your microwave while buying it to avoid any damage.
6. Avoid Running on Empty
Never even run microwave empty as it can be severely dangerous. When the microwave is empty, its energy is absorbed by its own components like the magnetron or the glass. These components are not designed to absorb such kind of energy and the exposure can cause severe damage to the unit or its performance permanently.
7. Try Preprogrammed Cooking Times
Preprogrammed cooking time feature is designed for the efficient performance of the microwave but many people use it rarely. By using it, you can minimize the energy loss and heat the food as effectively as possible in the recommended time. It helps your food to cook better than the manual cooking modes and you can feel the difference after giving it a try.
8. Get Extended Warranty
Issues with a microwave can be complex many times and require a professional’s support or replacement. So it is always advisable to take an extended warranty to save some bucks in the long run. Manufacturer’s Warranty is only for a limited period and after that, all expenses have to paid by you, but an extended warranty can save you from spending lots of money on repairing or replacement of any big or small components of the device in an economic way.
9. Call to Experts when need help
Microwave ovens are designed with complex electrical systems and every time it is not possible to resolve the issue on your own. Sometimes, all you need is a professional’s help otherwise you will end up creating a big mess or permanent damage. You should never try to repair or replace any electrical component of the microwave by yourself as it will reduce/end your warranty period. Whenever you face any such issue, call the experts from the company only (especially if your device is under warranty period) to get the best solution without any damage or mishappen.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How long do Built-In Microwaves last?
Depending upon usage, components used, brand reputation and other factors, the life period of built-in microwaves can vary but generally, they last for 10 years if you keep them maintained and protected regularly without damaging the components. With every replacement or repairing of its components, the life of the microwave gets shortened, impacting its performance and durability and thus you should be careful using it every single time.
2) Is it safe to use a built-in oven microwave?
Yes, with proper installation, maintenance, usage, and adequate ventilation, the built-in ovens are safe to use just like any other microwave oven. To ensure that you meet all the safety requirements, consider installation & repairing by professionals only.
3) What are the certifications or clearance one should look for while buying built-in microwaves?
While buying any built-in oven, always check that it must clear the strict radiation safety standard set by FDA. They need ADA/ANSI clearance, for which the microwave must comply with the following five features:
- Forward Reach and Approach
- Side Reach
- Control Panel
- Must be checked and evaluated for energy leaks.
If a microwave qualifies all these safety criteria, it is safe to buy and use.
It is crucial to do your research and inspecting all the important aspects of built-in microwaves to buy the suitable one for your home kitchen. Built-in microwaves are generally expensive than other microwaves but it is a kind of one-time investment. With our detailed buying guide, you can efficiently find the right microwave oven for your space at an affordable price online. Always go for the reputable brand when it comes to any electrical device, especially the microwave oven to get the best support & features. If you have any queries that we haven’t covered in this article, shoot them to us directly in the comments and we will be happy to help. Have a safe and smart buy!