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Thread: Need a new microwave, do you suggest...

  1. #1
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Need a new microwave, do you suggest...

    An over the range one? What brand do you have? Do you like it? Did it save space? Are there pitfalls?

    We have a 1978 house with the original (non-ergonomic, low counter space, cramped) kitchen. Counter space is always at a premium.

    Our countertop microwave - a 7+ year old Panasonic bought on a boxing day sale is having more senior moments than I do lately, so it's time to replace it. It's not minor stuff either, the turntable sometimes turning I can live with but the thermostat or something is going nuts in it. Sometimes it takes almost 2 minutes to defrost 100g of cat food, sometimes it turns it into a crepe that's welded to the plate in about a minute. Previously about a minute 20 was juuuuust right. There are also huge hot spots and frozen chunks, partly I'm sure from the lack of a turning turntable.

    We don't use the microwave a lot, other than for cat food and reheating left overs.

    DH doesn't want the extra expense, I'd like to regain the space. The current budget is about $400, which is about $250 probably for USD LOL!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Trisher's Avatar
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    We have an over the range one at the cottage. I am short (5' 1") and I find it way too high for me. Dangerously high.

    The good thing about it is that there is a fan and a light on the bottom of the microwave.

    It was from IKEA. Some are between $200 and $300 Canadian dollars.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I bought the smallest one I could find. $49 at Walmart. Works fine. We only use it to reheat foods so I didn't want it to take a lot of counter space. I don't care for the over the range ones. I was constantly cleaning. The exhaust filter wasn't very good at all.
    Last edited by Onebyone; 03-17-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I've never had an over the stove type so I can't comment. I will say I bought an inexpensive Hamilton Beach at Walmart about a month ago because ours died. This thing is the LOUDEST microwave in the history of the world. It seriously screams at times when you are using it.

    Just a heads up if you go with the counter top model. You might want to read some reviews or something so you don't get stuck with this haunted thing I have.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    When I planned the kitchen for the new house we built last year, I specifically did NOT want over-the-stove microwave. They take up more space and have too little clearance over the stove. I do home canning and need room for the large kettle. I have a cabinet with an opening for the microwave to sit. It is the right size for the build-in kit, although we havn't bought the framing kit as it is more than the microwave cost. The over-the range cost more and when they die (as MVs do) much more costly to replace.

  6. #6
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    You won't find an microhood for much less than $200US. I just bought one from Sears for that price on sale from $260. It is very quiet and easy to use. I would have preferred no turntable, but I will admit it heats very evenly. I have plenty of clearance over the range. My previous one was an expensive microwave/convection oven combo, but it didn't get enough use to justify the price.

  7. #7
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    We just bought a Magic Chef microwave from Menards - a smallish model and it has a glass turntable in it and it does everything that we want it to do and doesn't take up too much space - we paid less than $100 for it. HTH
    Nikki in MO

  8. #8
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    I live in a very old farmhouse with a small kitchen and no counter space. My over-the-range microwave is the best choice I made! I absolutely love it!

  9. #9
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hi everyone! Thanks for the responses! This gives me a lot to think about.
    I picked a OTR microwave at random on one of the store sites and looked at the dimensions. Taking those to the kitchen and extrapolating it looks like the MW would be about 4.5" above the backsplash of the stove. This would also put the turn table at roughly chin height for me. Does this seem too high? I think the one I have in the quilting studio is about the same height. (I put my back out again though so I've been told I shouldn't be waddling downstairs to check it out for sure. )

    I'm curious, why do the OTR units require more cleaning? Is it the bottom because of splashes from the stove?

    Thanks for the warning Lisa_wanna_B_Quilter. We had a Danby for 2 hours that was the same. It also wasn't capable of cooking anything, just making horrible noises. I will definitely do some research on brands before we go ahead.

    SkyAngel, thanks for the info on the height. I always wondered. I will try to figure out what sort of height requirements we have. We don't can, and I have a range in the studio that I use for proofing bread and such, but I've never really paid attention to height constraints on the stove. The microwave in the studio is in the cupboard like what you describe, but cupboard space is at as much of a premium upstairs as counter space is, and the cupboards are original, so no kit for it without changing the whole thing out.

    We had considered if we were going to get an OTR MW that we would be getting an extended warranty. So far as far as appliances go, they've paid for themselves - Washer, Range and Dishwasher all have had service calls within the warranty period, with the DW being replaced.

    Irishrose - I wonder if maybe the price divide isn't as bad as I thought. We were going to get the MW from Futureshop (owned by BestBuy - DH has a gift card from work to cover a lot of the cost) and their site has 20 OTR units for me to choose from in that price range. I was really surprised by that. 10 of them are in the sub $300 range, which is around what I expected a $200 unit in the US to be. Why would you prefer no turntable? I've always found them to be more even in the heating, what's the benefit of no turntable? Oh! Large square dishes?

    Pam B, I think you're in the same boat we are.

  10. #10
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    We have an OTR MW as well and I love it. I'm only 5'2" and have no issues with the height. We a Whirlpool model and have had no issues with it for the probably 5 or more years we've had it. Bought at Best Buy at the time. Did not get the extended warranty. The bottom is probably about 2" lower than it really should be according to local building codes here but it doesn't interfere with any of the large pots I use. It has an auto fan that kicks on if what I'm cooking on the stove gets to steamy or smokey. We have little counter space so it was definitely the way to go for us. Wouldn't go back to a counter top model at all.

  11. #11
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    I am 5'2" and LOVE over the range microwave ovens. I hate taking up counter space with one on the counter. They have lights to illuminate the stove top.

    We just replaced our old Maytag with a new Maytag. No turntable but it glides side to side. About $300 if memory serves. Our local independent appliance dealer delivered it, installed it and took the old one away. Worth avery dime spent and the personal service was awesome. This was the day after Thanksgiving!

    Is your Hubby handy? Someone will need to put up the brackets, etc. To install it. Buy a decent model. Not worth penny pinching on a cheap model.

    Sandy
    Last edited by Sandygirl; 03-18-2014 at 03:14 AM.
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  12. #12
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    My kitchen is small with next to no counter space. The microwave was always in the way. We bought an over the stove one and love. They have a light and an exhaust fan. Best thing we have bought in a while. Mine is a Maytag.
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  13. #13
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    The bottom is probably about 2" lower than it really should be according to local building codes here but it doesn't interfere with any of the large pots I use. It has an auto fan that kicks on if what I'm cooking on the stove gets to steamy or smokey. We have little counter space so it was definitely the way to go for us.
    I hadn't thought about the codes, thanks for mentioning them! I will look into them to see what the distance should be. It seems like height won't be an issue for me (5'4") but I did wonder if it would be too low. I did mount the toaster oven in the studio and I love even the few inches below it, and being able to wipe the counter without having to move it, which is part of why I thought I'd like an OTR model.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandygirl View Post
    Is your Hubby handy? Someone will need to put up the brackets, etc. To install it. Buy a decent model. Not worth penny pinching on a cheap model.

    Sandy
    Hubby is handy and if he doesn't want to admit it, I'm usually pretty good too We will look at some of the other models, because I know you're right about skimping on the cheap ones. I have been coveting the Bosch, the only thing that holds me back, other than the price is the fact that it's SS and the finger prints make me crazy and the rest of our appliances are white.

    Quote Originally Posted by Annie Pearl View Post
    My kitchen is small with next to no counter space. The microwave was always in the way. We bought an over the stove one and love. They have a light and an exhaust fan. Best thing we have bought in a while. Mine is a Maytag.
    Hmm.,. that's 2 votes for Maytag now... our fridge is an Amana which is made by Maytag, or Amana makes fridges for Maytag or some such, so I'm not as leery of them as I was back when we bought the house with the Maytag DW that was a nightmare Possibly also original to the house at the time!

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    I have a Panasonic and have had it for 8 years. No problems so far. I wanted to have a microwave over the stove but found out that there is a minimum height that is required and mine failed the test.
    Carmen E.

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    I have replaced my microwaves twice in the past ten years. Never spend more than $125 new for them. However the last one I bought is a corner microwave and fits beautifully under my corner cabinet. Cost $150. Leaves me with plenty of counter space!

  16. #16
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    we have an over-the-stove microwave and it is a space saver. I am not very tall but can reach to get things in and out of the microwave but have to get out my trusty footstool in order to clean the top area of the oven because I can't reach that. Does free up quite a bit of counter space. I would replace it if it died.

  17. #17
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I bought a small one from Sears - about $80. Had it for about 5 years and it does everything i need it to. I just reheat and some defrost.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    The one I bought at Walmart for $49 is Rival brand. It has a turntable and runs quiet. It's light and easy to move to clean the countertop. Last Christmas it was on special for $29. I bought two extra ones. They are in the garage storage cabinet sill in the box. I won't have to think about having to buy a microwave if this one breaks.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  19. #19
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    You probably have already made a decision but I have to tell you that my son (as a surprise to me) tried to put a microwave OTR and when we really looked at it, it was much too large --did not fit into my kitchen, etc. We took it down and the holes are still there where he tried to put it in.Kitchen is small and the microwave overpowered everything. For me, bad idea!

  20. #20
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    I have an over the range one that is a General Electric. This is my second one. I like it, but a repairman told me years ago that the over the range ones don't last as long as the free standing. It gets too much heat and grime from the cooking on the stove top. I had no choice but to put the over the range. I didn't have space for the free standing.

  21. #21
    Suz
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    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but my suggestion would be to purchase a convection toaster oven instead.

    Recently a high school student boiled two cups of water for senior science project. She watered one somewhat identical plant with water boiled on the stove and the other plant with boiled in the microwave. In ten days, the plant watered with the microwaved water was dead. If this is what happens to water, what about other foods. Something to think about.

  22. #22
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    Ours is a Sharp Carousel. We've had it for quite awhile. it has a turntable and I really like it. The only problem I have is it takes up a lot of space. It's very heavy. So when I want to clean behind it, I have DH help me move it. When it dies I will probably still stick with one for countertop. A dear friend of mine had one over the stove and she's about 5'5". Not real tall but not short. She was about eye/chin level. What was in the mw had stuck a little to the turntable and she got burnt in the face. Required facial burn care. Her husband got rid of the mw and put another on the counter. He felt so horrible because he insisted on the one above the stove. I'm sticking to the countertop unless a built in at chest/shoulder level. Hoping for a couple more years on the one we have. I'm a tightwad and don't want to spend the money.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    Jim got our Emerson for $98.00 two years ago. It sits on a small table under some cabinets where there is no counter. Very handy.
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  24. #24
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    I now have an OTR microwave & the only thing that causes me some worry is if you were to drop something coming out of the MW onto the stove. My range has the glass top so I do worry about that. I am also 5'2" & find it just a tad high for me. Prior to our kitchen reno, my DH had made me an oak shelf that was just above the back splash of the counter & my MW fit perfectly on it. I honestly liked that better BUT you know how you get talked into "get with the program" & modernize so the decision was made for the OTR unit. It's an LG & so far, absolutely no problems.
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  25. #25
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liese View Post
    However the last one I bought is a corner microwave and fits beautifully under my corner cabinet. Cost $150. Leaves me with plenty of counter space!
    I've never seen one of these, what brand is it by chance?

    Quote Originally Posted by redbreast View Post
    when we really looked at it, it was much too large --did not fit into my kitchen, etc. We took it down and the holes are still there where he tried to put it in.Kitchen is small and the microwave overpowered everything. For me, bad idea!
    What was it that was too large? Did it stick out too far? it just seemed like it was a huge appliance in your face? (That's my concern) Was it flush with the cupboards or did it stick out further?

    Quote Originally Posted by granny64 View Post
    I have an over the range one that is a General Electric. This is my second one. I like it, but a repairman told me years ago that the over the range ones don't last as long as the free standing. It gets too much heat and grime from the cooking on the stove top. I had no choice but to put the over the range. I didn't have space for the free standing.
    this is interesting. I wouldn't have thought that it would matter about the heat. The grime I get, but if you'd seen the inside of this microwave because it's low enough that the biggest splatter offender doesn't ever see the splatter, you'd think it was a toxic dump sometimes. You know it's bad when I refuse to put cat food in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suz View Post
    Recently a high school student boiled two cups of water for senior science project. She watered one somewhat identical plant with water boiled on the stove and the other plant with boiled in the microwave. In ten days, the plant watered with the microwaved water was dead. If this is what happens to water, what about other foods. Something to think about.
    This was debunked by both Mythbusters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBus...his_at_Home.3F) and Snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave/plants.asp) I hear this every few years, but unless you put the water on the plants hot, it really shouldn't make a difference. In fact, in the Mythbusters episode, the microwave water plant did better than the regular water plant.

    Here's the mythbuster's episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luSSbD-AoA8 it starts at about 2minutes 10 seconds and is about 3 and a half minutes long.

    Anecdotally, We've been making, freezing and thawing in the microwave food for our cats for about a year and a half. Even the kitty with kidney disease has put on healthy weight since we started doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tessagin View Post
    A dear friend of mine had one over the stove and she's about 5'5". Not real tall but not short. She was about eye/chin level. What was in the mw had stuck a little to the turntable and she got burnt in the face. Required facial burn care. Her husband got rid of the mw and put another on the counter. He felt so horrible because he insisted on the one above the stove. I'm sticking to the countertop unless a built in at chest/shoulder level.
    Wow. That would be horrible! How is she doing now?

    Quote Originally Posted by callen View Post
    I now have an OTR microwave & the only thing that causes me some worry is if you were to drop something coming out of the MW onto the stove. My range has the glass top so I do worry about that. I am also 5'2" & find it just a tad high for me. Prior to our kitchen reno, my DH had made me an oak shelf that was just above the back splash of the counter & my MW fit perfectly on it. I honestly liked that better BUT you know how you get talked into "get with the program" & modernize so the decision was made for the OTR unit. It's an LG & so far, absolutely no problems.
    We have a glass top too. How do you like yours? I honestly don't like them. They take too long to heat up and cool down. I'd rather cook in our trailer with the gas stove. I do completely get what you're saying about the possibility of dropping a plate though, and it bears considering. The cupboards over the counters are low enough that there's only about 4 - 5 inches above the microwave at the moment, so in our case, a shelf wouldn't work unfortunately.

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