In this post, we’re discussing microwaves. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of the different types of microwaves available on the market today.
The first type we’ll discuss is the countertop. Countertop microwaves are portable, come in several colors, and are available in sizes ranging from 0.6 to 2.2 cubic feet, with power levels ranging from 700 to 1400 watts. Comparatively, countertop microwaves are the least expensive, easiest to replace, and most versatile of all microwaves.
They can be set onto a countertop, placed on a shelf, installed under a shelf if the model you choose has an available mounting kit option, or built into an open enclosure as long as there’s ample room for air circulation. Some countertop microwaves also can be built into a custom enclosure with the help of a matching trim kit. Trim kits are not available on all countertop models, so it’s best to check out the descriptions if you’re thinking about building in your countertop microwave.
Commercial microwaves are very similar to traditional countertop microwaves when it comes to size, the replacement factor, and the fact that they sit on a countertop. But there are several differences between the two models. Unlike residential microwaves, all commercial microwaves have stainless exterior and interior and are designed to withstand constant usage of fast food restaurants, cafeterias, supermarkets, or convenience stores.
Some can be used up to 200 times a day or more depending on the model and can cook much faster than a residential microwave. The control panels are streamlined with large one-touch controls to ensure faster, more accurate cooking. Commercial microwaves have better warranties, will last longer than residential microwaves, will cost more, and don’t include turntables or cooking racks.
Commercial microwaves fall into three categories:
– Light duty, which offers around 1000 watts of power, perfect for usage of around 50 times a day or less. These units are not as durable as the higher powered commercial models, but still, offer way more usage and reliability than a residential model of the same wattage.
– Medium duty, ranging between 1200 and 1800 watts, these units will more than double the available daily usage of a light duty commercial microwave with the ability to be used up to 150 times a day.
– Heavy-duty, these units range in power from 2000 to 3000 watts and can be used over 200 times a day which makes them perfect for the extremely fast-paced restaurant and food industry.
Above the Range Microwave
Above the range and low profile microwaves combine the convenience of a microwave with the added power of a range hood plus the bonus of a surface and night light to give you the perfect all-in-one solution for freeing up counter space. These microwaves are very much like countertop microwaves when it comes to features like programmable control panels, wattages, and sizes.
Where they differ is that over the range and low profile microwaves are designed to be mounted to a cabinet above a heated surface in place of a range hood to help eliminate smoke, steam, and odors. And come with the option of vented or not vented installation, depending on whether or not you have ductwork installed in your cabinet.
Above the range and low profile microwaves cannot be set on a countertop due to the overall design and will also require a dedicated outlet in your cabinet.
This category seems to add some confusion. Many people tend to confuse a countertop microwave that offers a mounting kit that allows the microwave to be mounted to an upper cabinet and an over the range microwave that must be installed over a heat surface as an over the counter microwave.
This isn’t so. Here’s the difference. Over the counter, microwaves cannot sit on your countertop. Instead, they’re designed to be mounted between your upper cabinets for a more built-in, custom look. They have all the same features of countertop models, like turntables, sensor cooking modes, and fully programmable touchpad. But unlike countertop models with the mounting kit, true under counter microwaves also offer surface or task lighting, which also makes them similar to above the range microwaves, except they cannot be installed above a heat surface and do not have the option of ventilation.
Built-in microwaves combine all the features of a countertop microwave with the look of a built-in oven and are best for the person looking for a completely customized look.
Built-in microwaves come in two forms: a countertop microwave with an optional trim kit or true built-in. True built-in microwaves can never be placed on a counter or hung from a cabinet. They’re designed to be installed into a custom wall enclosure or cabinetry, and feature drops down doors, much like a wall oven. These microwaves will fit perfectly over a matching oven and are the most expensive of all the microwave types.
Drawer microwaves are the perfect solution for those who don’t want a microwave on the counter, under the counter, or above the range. They also work well for people who prefer to have the microwave at a more comfortable loading height. It fits seamlessly in any kitchen to offer a customized integrated look and are available in two sizes: 24 and 30 inches wide. So for each model, the usable interior space is the same. They can be installed in a wall, on an island, or below a countertop, as long as there is a dedicated outlet.