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10 Easy Pieces: Built-in Microwaves

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10 Easy Pieces: Built-in Microwaves

April 26, 2017

There is no getting around the fact that microwaves are convenient. But there are downsides: Countertop models take up valuable counter space. And there is the aesthetic consideration: Have you ever loved the looks of a microwave? Moving to a built-in microwave can open up your counter, clear visual blight, and create an integrated look.

In the microwave world, it turns out that the term “built-in” covers a lot of territory. Here are the three key variations and our recommendations for each type.

N.B.: We didn’t include Over-the-Range Microwaves (OTR) in our round-up. An appliance that functions as a combination microwave, range vent, and over-the-range light, they fall into a category all their own. They can be a good space-saving solution for some kitchens, but note that OTR microwaves don’t have strong venting power and are not recommended for most high BTU ranges.

Countertop Microwaves with Built-in Trim Kits

This is the most affordable option for a built-in microwave. Trim kits make it possible to install certain countertop microwaves into a cabinet opening and achieve a built-in look. Trim kits also enable built-in models to be fitted into existing cabinet openings that may not be perfectly matched to the microwave dimensions.

10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The best budget choice? The LG Studio Series Microwave is a countertop microwave that comes with an optional LG Studio Series Built in Trim Kit for an integrated look; \$\199 at AJ Madison, trim kit \$\169.
Above: The best budget choice? The LG Studio Series Microwave is a countertop microwave that comes with an optional LG Studio Series Built-in Trim Kit for an integrated look; $199 at AJ Madison, trim kit $169.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves To complement your other Viking and SubZero appliances, the Viking \2.0 Cubic Foot Professional Custom Series Microwave is a countertop model that is available with a built in trim kit.; \$7\29 at Plessers, trim kit \$380.
Above: To complement your other Viking and SubZero appliances, the Viking 2.0 Cubic-Foot Professional Custom Series Microwave is a countertop model that is available with a built-in trim kit.; $729 at Plessers, trim kit $380.

Classic Built-in Microwaves

True built-in microwaves do not have finished sides (so you would not want them sitting on your countertop). They come in a range of prices. Generally the less expensive models sit flush with cabinetry; to get an integrated look, they require a corresponding trim kit (at an added cost). The higher-priced models often have a front that spreads over the cabinet opening. They also may offer drop-down doors or pull-out drawers,  professional looks, and more cooking functions. Will you really use those extras? Research shows that microwaves are still most commonly used for reheating and defrosting. The final determining factor may come down to the look of the oven: Do you like it and does it work with your other appliances?

10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Bertazzoni Design Series \24 Inch Built in Microwave Oven is \$499 at AJ Madison.
Above: The Bertazzoni Design Series 24-Inch Built-in Microwave Oven is $499 at AJ Madison.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Frigidaire Professional \24 Inch Built in Microwave in Stainless Steel is \$353.\20 at US Appliance. For added polish, the Frigidaire Microwave Trim Kit is offered for \$\147.
Above: The Frigidaire Professional 24-Inch Built-in Microwave in Stainless Steel is $353.20 at US Appliance. For added polish, the Frigidaire Microwave Trim Kit is offered for $147.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Bosch Built in Microwave in stainless steel is a flush to cabinet style that can be used (as shown) with the Bosch \27 Inch Trim Kit. It&#8\2\17;s also available in white or black; \$584 at Abt; trim kit \$\2\24.
Above: The Bosch Built-in Microwave in stainless steel is a flush-to-cabinet style that can be used (as shown) with the Bosch 27-Inch Trim Kit. It’s also available in white or black; $584 at Abt; trim kit $224.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Electrolux Icon Professional Built in Microwave with a drop down door offers sensor and convection cooking modes; \$\1,703.\10 at AJ Madison.
Above: The Electrolux Icon Professional Built-in Microwave with a drop-down door offers sensor and convection cooking modes; $1,703.10 at AJ Madison.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Miele Chef&#8\2\17;s Series 8\260 Built in Microwave is a \24 inch wide model; \$999 at Plessers.
Above: The Miele Chef’s Series 8260 Built-in Microwave is a 24-inch-wide model; $999 at Plessers.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Gaggenau \200 Series \2.\1 Cubic Foot Built in Microwave Oven is available at AJ Madison.
Above: The Gaggenau 200 Series 2.1 Cubic Foot Built-in Microwave Oven is available at AJ Madison.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves KitchenAid Architect Series II Microwave Oven is \$\1,079.\10 in stainless and \$984 in black or white at Home Depot.
Above: KitchenAid Architect Series II Microwave Oven is $1,079.10 in stainless and $984 in black or white at Home Depot.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves  Jenn Air Built in Microwave is a \27 inch wide built in model with sensor and steam cooking modes; \$\1,899.99 at Yale Appliance.
Above: Jenn-Air Built-in Microwave is a 27-inch-wide built-in model with sensor and steam cooking modes; $1,899.99 at Yale Appliance.

Built-in Microwave Drawers

Microwave drawers can be inconspicuously built-in under your counter or kitchen island, or integrated into your wall-oven setup. Sharp developed the first microwave drawer and, according to our industry connections, manufactures most of the ovens on the market sold by other brands (such as Wolf and Thermador). The pullout drawers are easy to use; one drawback is the interior space is smaller than most conventional microwaves.

10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves One of the more affordable built in drawer models is the Sharp Insight Pro Series Microwave Drawer. It offers an unusual push or pull opening option; \$947 at Abt.
Above: One of the more affordable built-in drawer models is the Sharp Insight Pro Series Microwave Drawer. It offers an unusual push or pull opening option; $947 at Abt.
10 Easy Pieces Builtin Microwaves The Wolf 30 Inch Built in Microwave Drawer can be installed in a standard or flush inset application; \$\1,699 at Yale Appliance.
Above: The Wolf 30-Inch Built-in Microwave Drawer can be installed in a standard or flush inset application; $1,699 at Yale Appliance.
Not ready to commit to a built-in but enticed by the notion of hiding away that countertop microwave? See Julie’s 10 Strategies for Hiding the Microwave.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran February 26, 2014.

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