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Are over the stove microwaves going out of fashion? I am in SF ...

Avon `Lady
January 10, 2018

and noticed that they have their own small open cabinet or are on the counter in popular houzz photos for my area. I ask because I need to replace the microwave over the stove I have. Am thinking of selling in a year or so. I would like to be in step with the times. Thanks!!

Comments (56)

  • Anne Duke

    Buy into a new development and its likely the builder put one in. Cheaper for them probably. Getting rid of it was a must when we redid the kitchen. Not fashion as much as they don't actually work well for exhaust and they are difficult to use for shorter people.

    Avon `Lady thanked Anne Duke
  • mad_gallica

    It is a *terrible* place for a microwave in so many ways. It is bad for the microwave (electronics and steamy grease don't mix), it puts the microwave at an awkward height for many people, making them reach over anything happening on the stove, and the stove venting that goes along with them isn't any good.

    Personally, when we redid our kitchen, we just planned on putting the microwave on the counter. Microwaves haven't settled down into standard sizes yet, so a specially made cabinet may be the wrong size in a few years.

    Avon `Lady thanked mad_gallica
  • Sherry_7bAL

    An easy to use, convenient location, is NOT bad design, It works VERY well for me. I love it. I have a electric stove (would NOT consider gas) and it vents better than my previous vent hood. I cook in the microwave and on the stove at the same time. It would not work as well hid somewhere else. If I had the biggest kitchen in the world it would be over my stove.

    ETA: My builder did not put it there, I did.

    Avon `Lady thanked Sherry_7bAL
  • artistsharonva

    Out of fashion is debatable.

    They are common for small kitchens because there is not enough space to put it in a wall cabinet elsewhere. It's usually better than on the counter.

    Another option is in a base cabinet with electricity in cabinet on a pullout shelf.

    If there is not a current space to put the microwave, then i would replace the microwave. I use to sell homes & a microwave above stove was never an issue in closing a sale.


    Avon `Lady thanked artistsharonva
  • dadoes

    I love my house except for the OTR microwave (not enough countertop space and all the electric outlets are at one location), hate it. It's not vented (recirculates), is awkward for lifting and lowering heavy/hot casseroles and such in and out.

    Avon `Lady thanked dadoes
  • sofaspud
    love ours. not enough counter space otherwise, as dw has it filled with other s---
    Avon `Lady thanked sofaspud
  • mydogmiddy
    I hope so! I never like that set up.
    Avon `Lady thanked mydogmiddy
  • Diane R
    There are people who like the over stove microwave and others that do not. I personally do not for many of the reasons others stated; vent is often not as good and for shorter cooks or children hard to reach. However, I would be more than willing to buy a home with a well designed kitchen that had one especially in an area where space is limited such as SF. I would focus on making your kitchen clean bright and well laid out.

    Ps my home town and I miss it so much everyday. In fact I would live with an ugly kitchen to be there instead of my beautiful home in the frozen middle of this country.
    Avon `Lady thanked Diane R
  • Avon `Lady

    Diane R. Thank you. It's my home town too. :-) Years ago, people fled, now it is quite the opposite. Still nice but too crowded!

  • PirateFoxy

    An OTR microwave would definitely be an issue for us if we were buying. We wouldn’t necessarily pass up the house, but we’d be figuring the expense of removing and replacing it with a proper hood and a microwave elsewhere into the cost. I think I’d rather see a nicely laid out kitchen without a microwave than one with an OTR.

    This is a know your market thing, though - if your anticipated buyers are people who don’t really cook and only use the kitchen for rehearing leftovers or frozen meals and making coffee, then a microwave is a much bigger necessity and they’re unlikely to be using the stove underneath anyway, so the issue of reaching over the stove and of poor ventilation aren’t there the same way. It’s still an awkward height, but even that is much less an issue if you’re getting out a single portion or two, not a big steamer container of vegetables. I know someone living in NYC who for years cooked so rarely she used her oven and some of her cabinets for extra storage for her clothes. (Apparently sweaters went in the oven.)

  • Fori

    Since you're thinking of selling in a year, it's a good time to get references for a real estate agent. Have one come in and check the place out. They'll tell you what's in fashion as far as resale goes, and you'll probably have other questions about fixing things up as well.

    (I'm short. I hate the darned things. But I always assume I'll have to remodel kitchens anyway so it wouldn't affect my purchase choice--a kitchen is a small thing to base a home purchase on for me.)

  • everdebz

    Someone know how inferior venting poses problem? is it length of its life....

    Avon `Lady thanked everdebz
  • Avon `Lady

    Absolutely. It would costs a fortune to vent to the roof. So am kind of stuck w.this.

  • Robin Morris

    I think it depends.... All the brand new apt. complex in SF have an OTR microwaves. I think for small apt./condos in SF it is fine, but in a real house, people definitely expect better. However, our market has been so inflated, that if it stays this way, a few grand to vent to the roof won't scare someone off a 1 mil plus purchase

    Avon `Lady thanked Robin Morris
  • Avon `Lady

    We'll see. I will book a contractor. Am sure they will not get to it until spring anyway!! Agree about over inflation. Not sure what will happen w/new IRS 10K ceiling on property taxes. Oh well....

  • futura431

    I don't think they're going out of...style per say. I would say that it can tend to look slightly builder grade. I would expect it in a condo but not a nice house. In SF you can sell a box for 2M so I wouldn't worry about it.

    Avon `Lady thanked futura431
  • 65dieselprogrammer

    Our current house has one. The house we're building does not.


    Nuff said.

  • Waynette Bailey
    Forget the times! It's your home and should be comfortable to you, regardless of trends! DO YOU!
  • Elizabeth B

    My kitchen was to small to put it anywhere else but above the stove. No way should a cabinet or countertop be spared in a small space.

  • K Laurence

    Do what you want. If you sell in a few years I don’t think microwave location will make or break the deal!

  • BethA

    In my area, where most cook with electric, an OTR is common. That's what I'm putting in our new build, but ours will vent outside and is 400 cpm. I was in a 13,000 sq foot home and it had an OTR in all three kitchens - with electric ranges. I think it's more personal preference and local market than what is in style.

  • Chessie

    Whoah. I actually cannot imagine actually planning a new kitchen with an OTR microwave. I guess some builders do, but I would never even consider it.

  • delray33483

    do you actually use a MW enough anymore to justify it? Reheating coffee, melting butter? Plus the venting cfm doesn't justify it - too low

  • BethA

    Delray - My range is electric, not gas. I rarely, if ever, fry. I think it will be sufficient.

    Chess - that's why everyone is different! My kitchen wasn't designed around the microwave and it's placement.

  • hound13

    I worked on the east coast; most tract houses still seemed to use them; "higher-end" houses seemed to be going for a base cabinet with a face frame the installer would cut to fit. Obviously, an electrician would have to have wire for power inside. The base microwaves come with a metal tray that screws to the cabinet shelf and usually there would be a fairly large single drawer underneath.

  • Chessie

    BethA - it has nothing to do with "designing a kitchen around the microwave". It's about designing the kitchen so that it is safe and efficient. Placing it over the range is the least efficient and the most dangerous.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    It is not dangerous over the stove. You don't like it fine, but a lot of us, me included, prefer it there.

  • Kathy Yata

    Over the range ovens have been in use for ages. MIL's house had one when she moved in in 1963. That range may have been original to the 1951 era house, don't know. I had one in apartments.

    Now microwaves are used as second ovens in smaller homes. I would prefer to have my microwave in a cabinet but haven't found anything that works. I will not give up counter space to one or stick it in the garage as it is used many times a day.

    In the 30+ years I've had a microhood over smooth top ranges no accidents due to the height of installation or catching clothes on fire or any other thing that could be caused by reaching up over a hot stove and I'm short.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    Well, if you have limited amount of counter space you would rather install it over the range as opposed to loose the space with having it on the counter. Some spaces call for it and that is that. Does not matter if it is in or out or tacky etc, what matters is also how it will affect the way you cook, your counter space etc....in those case esthetics take a back seat. i don't like them either but they are very useful for small kitchens so it's a trade off for me...loose a little esthetic for precious counter space....

  • barnaclebob

    Its not a fashion issue but functionality. Anyone who actually likes to cook which is most people on this site need a functional hood.

  • auntthelma

    We put ours over the range in 2014. It is a convenient way to get it off the counter. The vent works just fine. We don't use it often, but need it every once in a while.

    I don't like under the counter microwaves because I find it difficult to see the buttons. Drawer versions are costly.

    If I had a butlers' pantry, I might put the microwave in there, but I don't, so over the range is the best solution.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    Bob, I like to cook and I cook several times a day. My microwave is over the range and the vent works great, just like Thelma's. It is a VERY functional hood.

  • Kathy Yata

    We eat out once a week. We shop the perimeter of the store using very few convenience foods. Lots of cooking going on here! The venting on the microhood is just fine so long as you aren't doing frying. We don't fry.

  • dadoes

    Regards to safety of OTRs ... emphasize that to a 75-y-o lifting a hot casserole up/down to eye-level and forward into the microwave when he/she loses the grip and it comes crashing down onto the cooktop. :-)

    And no, I'm not (yet) 75-y-o but I have come close to losing control of a dish.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    I'm almost 66 and I have been lifting stuff in and out of the microwave for years without a problem. I have burned my self on the oven grates (not microwave). Should I get rid of the oven? Sarcasm.


  • everdebz

    I wonder about placing microwave just underneath the counter... I'd rather lean down, than hoist it up.

  • BethA

    I've never put a casserole in the microwave and haven't in the 20 years that I've been a homeowner. I put casserole dishes in the oven. Smaller dishes (soup size bowls; mugs, etc.) only in the microwave.

  • auntthelma

    Beth, I was going to say that. Who cooks casseroles in the microwave? We do coffee, leftovers and popcorn.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    Beth, Me too. I use my microwave almost constantly, but I wouldn't use it for lasagna say, that needs to cook long and slow. It needs to brown. Now, the next day, I DO heat a plate of lasagna up in the microwave.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    Auntthelma, Potatoes, sweet potatoes, melt butter, melt chocolate, heat water for tea, and thaw meat (mine has a fantastic auto defrost).

  • WaxLaxRox
    My house has a microwave over the stove, and it looks great! (No bragging intended). You should go with whatever looks best and works well with your budget. (I personally do consult my husband since he goes for the ugliest one straight away).
  • WaxLaxRox
    I said do, but I meant *don't*. It's just a bad idea with him and design :)
  • Sherry_7bAL

    Take away. If you have a huge kitchen and a gas stove, Put your microwave in a cabinet with the other ovens. Don't put it in a drawer, it is hard to see the controls. Don't put it in a pantry, where it is hard to use. Don't clutter up counter space. If you have a smaller kitchen (or microscopic like mine), put it over the stove. I need my cabinets for storage and counters for prep.

  • PirateFoxy

    We almost always cook our vegetables in the microwave, steamed. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t take up a burner on the stove. When we’re feeding 5-6 people (which is not uncommon) that means using a pretty decent sized container.

    Eta: for some small kitchens (depends entirely on layout) a small cart can also be a good microwave home. I did that in a couple of places in England because there wasn’t counter space for it but in both of those kitchens there was a spot where I could stash a cart just big enough for a microwave. In one I had to move the cart a bit so I could plug in the microwave when I needed it, but it still kept it accessible for use better than the other choices in those kitchens.

  • Sherry_7bAL

    Actually. I steam my vegetables on the stove top. I find it is faster.

  • B F

    it depends. from what I read, microwaves over the range don't work as well for venting as regular vent hoods. so you need to ask yourself what's more important: space saving or kitchen venting? personally I would rather have a real vent hood. it doesn't matter if you have a gas range or electric -- a vent hood is for whisking away smoke, steam, and smells.

    as far as style, the way it looks personally doesn't bother me. I think vent hoods are nicer looking though.

    Avon `Lady thanked B F
  • Sherry_7bAL

    BF, It could depend on the microwave. Mine vents very well, but it was very expensive.

    Avon `Lady thanked Sherry_7bAL
  • PirateFoxy

    Broccoli takes 6 min in our microwave.

  • 3katz4me

    I've always thought the OTR microwave location was very safe and convenient for my needs - no one in our home has ever been hurt by it in my lifetime. That said when we remodeled our kitchen we put in a proper hood which wasn't a big deal since we gutted the kitchen. I've since moved and have an OTR microwave that does not vent to the exterior (not that it would be much more effective if it did). I also do not have any other space in the kitchen that I'm willing to give up for the microwave. If I did, I'd move it and figure out a way to add an exterior exhaust duct and a proper hood. I can't stand hood fan noise but I do like having a hood that can suck things out when you really need it.

    That said I bought two homes in 2015 and both have OTR microwaves with no good alternative space for it and no exterior exhaust fan. Not my preference but it didn't stop me from buying the places.

  • HU-336474676

    I bought my place in Las Vegas in 2016. The microwave already had electronic issues from the environment created by the stove top below it. It's Feb. 2019, and the microwave barely works. I've taken it apart and cleaned the circuits, operating keys etc., but the build-up of flotsam and jetsam from the stove had done it's dirty work.


    I'd rather have a stainless microwave on the counter and a good stainless

    exhaust hood over the stove. If I'm concerned about counter clutter, I can get off my butt and put the wave in a cabinet. No sense in angst over the microwave.

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