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Built-in microwaves are a practical alternative to freestanding microwaves, offering increased counter space and eye-level cooking. These efficient kitchen gadgets come in various styles, colors, and sizes to best match your preferences and the dimensions of your space. Each model has a range of unique features that make it easy to thoroughly cook and reheat your food.
To help narrow down your choices, we examined the top built-in microwave models on the market. Check out our top picks below.
Top 5 Built-In Microwaves
- Best Built-In Microwave Oven: KitchenAid KMBS104ESS Built-In Microwave
- Best Large Microwave: Frigidaire Gallery GMBS3068AF Built-In Microwave
- Best Countertop-Convertible Microwave: Panasonic NN-SN766S Microwave Oven
- Best Microwave Drawer: Sharp KB-6524PS Microwave Drawer Oven
- Best Built-In Convection Microwave: KitchenAid KMBP100EBS Built-In Microwave
Best Built-In Microwave Oven
With a stylish design, large digital display, and convenient drop-down door, this microwave is a standout appliance for any kitchen. It features 1.4 cubic feet of space, 1,000 watts of power, and seven one-touch control settings.$1,849.99 on Best Buy
- Wattage: 1,000 watts
- Capacity: 1.4 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 17.9 x 23.8 x 21.3 inches
What we like: For this microwave, we were impressed with its plethora of unique features, including seven one-touch cooking options, a sensor cooking function, and a child safety lock. It has a sleek, stainless-steel finish and a drop-down door that gives it the appearance of a traditional oven.
What Customers Are Saying
We found that customers like this product’s pull-down door design, quiet operation, and variety of cook settings. On the other hand, a handful of critical buyers feel that the microwave takes longer than expected to heat most dishes satisfactorily.
“I installed it in less than 10 minutes; it was so easy. Product works great and matches our other appliances. Highly recommended and easy to use.” —StrikeFour via Best Buy
“I decided to purchase this microwave to match our other KitchenAid appliances and because buttons are near the top. If buttons were near the bottom of the microwave, it would be too low to the ground. This has worked out perfectly.” —Charlie via Best Buy
“It’s slower to heat up than our previous oven, which was still working great after 16 years. I feel like it takes longer to cook the food to the same point as well.” —Justaregularguy via Best Buy
Best Large Microwave
This microwave features a large 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, giving you space to fit large food items or even multiple dishes at once. At 1,100 watts, it has plenty of cooking power.$449.99 on Best Buy
- Wattage: 1,100 watts
- Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 13.6 x 24.4 x 19.6 inches
What we like: This microwave features a wide variety of preprogrammed settings as well as sensor-cook technology, automatically adjusting cooking time for optimal food temperature. We also love its sleek black and stainless steel finish, which should fit in nicely with most modern kitchens.
What Customers Are Saying
During our research into verified buyer reviews of this unit, we found numerous positive remarks on its large capacity of and fast-heating capability. However, we also learned that a few customers are disappointed that the model does not come with a trim kit.
“This microwave it deceiving, it looks little but it’s actually very spacey inside which was perfect for under the he island. I like the minimalistic design, Heats up great! Unfortunately the shipping on the trim kit I ordered for it also on Best Buy website is delayed in shipping, so the picture is before installing trim kit.” — Abundance via Best Buy
“Love it! Spacious and easy to use. I do wish the clock numbers were further apart, but I know I will get used to the pattern. It’s lovely having a roomy microwave–just in time for the holidays. — LadyB via Best Buy
“This microwave does not come with the trim kit! I’m writing this review in case that’s not clear to anyone else. I realize now that at the bottom of the features list it says the trim kit is sold separately, but there’s not one photo of what the microwave looks like out of the box. I find this very misleading. The entire outer steel border is sold separately. I’m only deducting 1 star though, because so far the microwave itself is great. It heats well, has a ton of room, and is very quiet. I also love the controls – they are super easy to use, with both quick start and +10/+30 options. It has only been 1 week, so just hoping this microwave lasts many years!” — Jill via Best Buy
Best Countertop-Convertible Microwave
- Wattage: 1,250 watts
- Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 9 x 18.5 x 16.4 inches
What we like: This microwave uses inverter technology to heat food evenly without overcooking it. We are also impressed with its several unique functions, including a keep-warm setting that maintains microwaved dishes’ hot temperature while you finish prepping other food for a meal.
What Customers Are Saying
Overall, we’ve noticed that customers like this microwave for its low noise level, variety of cook settings, and convenient features, which include a child safety lock and Genius sensor that automatically adjusts cook time and temperature. However, our research also showed that at least two customers have claimed that the appliance failed to work after minimal usage.
“There’s really nothing negative to say. What’s important to me is how easy it is to use—no more tutorials on how to use this microwave, especially when you have guests. Adjust the power level, choose the correct amount of time and press start that’s all there is to it. There are preprogrammed functions that are useful as well. This microwave is pretty straightforward, no unnecessary functions you’ll never use.” —Lewis Leary via Amazon
“Good features, easy to open and close door, good power level. Great size—15-inch glass rotating platform is large and can accommodate most items. Replaced previous Panasonic, which lasted many years! This was on my porch the next day.” —R Whit via Amazon
“So disappointed. Panasonic was my go-to brand, since my previous Panasonic microwave lasted 17 years. This one: After less than 4 years, the keypad malfunctioned. A complete power down, wait, and re-power brought it back to normal for about an hour. Then, kaput. Now for me, brand doesn’t matter, but the inverter technology is key. This microwave was great—while it lasted.” —cdf via Amazon
Best Rated Drawer Microwave
This microwave installs into a drawer cabinet, saving kitchen space and keeping the appliance hidden when not in use. For when it is on display, it’s available in multiple finishes to match the other appliances in your kitchen. Functionally, it includes 11 sensor cooking programs for optimal reheating and defrosting.$1,079.00 on Amazon
- Wattage: 950 watts
- Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 15.9 x 23.9 x 26.2 inches; 15.4 x 30 x 26.2 inches
What we like: We like that this microwave is easy-to-install and features an auto-touch key that opens and closes the door automatically when your hands are full. It comes in multiple finishes, so you can choose which one best fits your kitchen’s aesthetic. It’s available in both 24- and 30-inch widths.
What Customers Are Saying
We found that reviewers are particularly impressed with this microwave’s sleek and stylish design that helps them save space in their kitchens. Several others also note how quietly it operates. However, we noticed some customers feel the interface could be more user-friendly.
“I saw this microwave at our friends’ new house. I was so impressed with how it was an under-the-counter drawer microwave that you don’t have to bend down to see the area where you put your time in. We are thrilled with it.” —Dennis Burke via Amazon
“I was skeptical because many reviewers weren’t happy with transitioning to the drawer feature. We couldn’t be happier. I was SO happy to get our microwave off the counter, and due to space constraints, this was our only option. Zero regrets. It arrived in a timely fashion, packaged very well.” —Barbie via Amazon
“I like the design, and the drawer fits well into the design of our kitchen. However, I’m torn on this microwave right now. I wish you could lock the microwave from opening somehow so kids could not pull it open. Also, I wish it had a spinning table for the food. I think it would be tough to get something very big in it as well.” —John P. via Amazon
Best Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
This high-end microwave features convection-style cooking, meaning it circulates heat evenly throughout the appliance. At 1,200 watts, it can heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, giving it the functionality of a traditional oven.$2,749.99 on Best Buy
- Wattage: 900 watts
- Capacity: 1.4 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 18.5 x 29.8 x 25.1 inches
What we like: This microwave has a variety of preset cook functions to take the guesswork out of reheating food—and we noticed that it was displayed on large, easy-to-read buttons. It also includes a crisper pan for crisping and frying food in the microwave.
What Customers Are Saying
Throughout the course of our product research, we have found that customers are impressed with this model’s “excellent” heating power and various preset cook functions. However, our digging also revealed that a minority of buyers feel the instructions are difficult to understand.
“Is it a microwave? Is it a convection oven? Is it the right size? Is it good looking? Yes to all. We’ve only had it for a few months but so far so good. Dedicated 20 amp circuit, plenty of power.” —Johann via Best Buy
“Incredible. We made pizza and bacon (crispy!). It’s convection as well as an air fryer. We have not played with all the settings, but so far we are very impressed!” —Sboo via Best Buy
“I begrudgingly bought this to match our other KitchenAid units. It works fine, but I wish it had more flexible and individual buttons than just waiting for the display to scroll through options. It heats well though.” —marc via Best Buy
What to Look For in a Built-In Microwave
When shopping for a built-in microwave oven, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure you purchase the best product for your needs. We recommend you take particular note of features such as power level, capacity, design, extra features, and control options. We elaborate on key specs below.
- Power level: A microwave’s power is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the quicker it will cook your food, and the more evenly it will distribute heat. Most built-in microwaves have between 800 and 1,200 watts. Any microwave with less than 800 watts of power will take longer to cook food and may not heat it evenly, while microwaves with more than 1,000 watts will heat food faster without leaving cold spots.
- Size: Our research indicates built-in microwaves are typically 24-, 27-, or 30-inches long to adhere to standard cabinet sizes. Microwaves can be as wide as 25 inches or as shallow as 18, depending on the brand and model. Before buying a microwave, measure the distance between your cabinets—length, width, and height—to ensure you’re not buying one that’s too big or too small.
- Capacity: A built-in microwave’s capacity determines how much food can fit in it at one time. Typically, we see that microwaves usually have capacities between 0.5 and 2 cubic feet, though larger and smaller models are also available. For standard cooking needs, a microwave with a small or average capacity of 1 to 1.5 cubic feet is usually plenty, but a large-capacity model is more effective if you plan to heat large dishes, such as casseroles.
- Design: Built-in microwaves come in various styles and finish options. Most built-in microwaves have neutral colors, such as silver, black, or stainless-steel gray. When deciding on a finish, try matching it with your other kitchen appliances, such as your electric stove (also called a range), refrigerator, and dishwasher.
- Control options: The more cooking control options your built-in microwave includes, the more convenient it will be to set the right timer for your food. Many modern microwaves include cooking options for foods such as pizza, popcorn, vegetables, chicken, and beverages. Some microwaves also have cook settings for defrosting, steaming, or boiling.
- Racks/turntables: Some built-in microwaves include removable racks that allow you to stack plates on top of each other to cook dishes simultaneously. Further, although most microwaves feature a circular turntable that rotates as the food cooks, some models have a square table, which is better for fitting large food items.
Types of Built-In Microwaves
There are three main built-in microwave types: conventional, convection, and oven. The best model for you will depend on your kitchen setup and the features you’re looking for. Here are what we noted as the main differences between the three styles.
- Conventional: Conventional is the most common built-in microwave style. Conventional microwaves heat food using electromagnetic radiation. They’re perfect for standard uses, such as reheating leftovers, defrosting meats, and cooking frozen food.
- Convection: Convection microwave ovens are more effective at baking and cooking large items due to their heating process. Similar to oven roasters, convection microwaves use a fan and heating element to circulate hot air and cook food evenly.
- Oven: If you really want to save kitchen space, consider a built-in oven microwave, which serves as a combination of both appliances in one handy unit. Typically, the unit is built into your cabinetry with the microwave stacked on top and the wall oven underneath.
Built-in microwaves save counter space and offer convenient eye-level cooking. We recommend the Frigidaire Gallery FGMO226NUD Built-In Microwave for its 2.2 cubic feet of capacity and sensor-cooking technology. If you’re more interested in design than size, you can’t go wrong with the stylish KitchenAid KMBS104ESS Built-In Microwave, which still features 1.4 cubic feet of capacity and 1,250 watts of cooking power. Consider power level, size, capacity, design, control options, and number of racks when shopping for a built-in microwave.
Built-In Microwave FAQ
What are common brands that make built-in microwaves?
Some of the most reliable microwave brands we researched include: AmandaBlack & DeckerBoschBrevilleElectroluxFarberwareFrigidaireGEHamilton BeachHotpointKenmoreLGMaytagPanasonicSamsungSharpWhirlpool
What’s the difference between a built-in and over-the-range microwave?
Built-in microwaves install in a recessed wall cavity or cabinet in your kitchen. Over-the-range microwaves, meanwhile, are mounted over your stove.
How much ventilation do built-in microwaves need?
It’s critical for microwaves to be properly ventilated and unobstructed so the exhaust does not build up. We recommend checking the individual product description to determine exactly how much space you should leave, but a typical industry standard is 3 inches on the top and sides and 1 inch in the back.
How We Chose the Best Rated Built-In Microwaves
Over the years, our team has vetted thousands of products to help you select the top built-in microwaves for your home. We update our data points and review content regularly to account for shifts in customer consensus, product availability, new releases, and overall quality.
To steer the product selection process, our reviewers conduct detailed research that focuses on several key factors:
- Brand research: We cast a wide net by first looking at the latest, most reputable models available through trusted retailers.
- Ratings: We then scope down our list to products with a high number of verified-buyer reviews and an average customer rating between four and five stars.
- Expert and consumer insights: Next, we look at what independent product testers, subject matter experts, and other publications have to say about each model we review.
- User needs: Finally, we compare each item’s features, specs, and warranty information to find a best-in-class option for every type of consumer and price point.