Seamless Cooking: Choosing the Perfect Built-In Microwave for Your Kitchen

Are you remodeling your kitchen and looking to achieve a seamless, integrated look? Upgrading to a built-in microwave is a great way to clean up the clutter and streamline your cooking space. With a built-in microwave, the appliance is encased within cabinetry for a flush, hidden installation that blends with the overall aesthetic.

But with so many built-in microwave options on the market, how do you choose the right model? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the top built-in microwaves to consider, key features to look for, microwave types and their differences, installation tips, and shopping recommendations to help you find the perfect fit.

Top 5 Built-In Microwaves for Excellent Performance

Here are the top-rated and best-selling built-in microwave models to consider from leading brands:

1. GE Profile Series Built-In Microwave

  • Dimensions: 29 15/16 x 16 1/2 x 15 9/32 inches
  • Capacity: 2.1 cu. ft.
  • Power: 1250W
  • Design: Stainless steel or black stainless with brushed metal handle
  • Features: Sensor cooking, melt feature, adjustable turntable sizing

This built-in microwave from GE provides excellent cooking power along with handy features like sensor cooking that automatically adjusts time and power. The melt feature is great for butter or chocolate. Reviewers praise the quiet performance.

2. Whirlpool Stainless Steel Built-In Microwave

  • Dimensions: 29-7/8 x 17-1/8 x 15-7/16 inches
  • Capacity: 1.9 cu. ft.
  • Power: 1000W
  • Design: Brushed stainless steel cavity
  • Features: Steam cooking, under-cabinet ventilation, turntable on/off

This Whirlpool model delivers steaming and simmering capabilities in addition to standard microwave modes. The under-cabinet ventilation prevents steam and odors from escaping. It earns high marks for attractive appearance, durability, and ease of use.

3. Fridgedaire 30″ Built-In Convection Microwave

  • Dimensions: 29-3/4 x 17 x 16-1/8 inches
  • Capacity: 1.5 cu. ft.
  • Power: 1000W
  • Design: Smudge-proof stainless steel
  • Features: Convection cooking, speed cook, multi-stage programming

The convection cooking allows you to bake and brown foods in this built-in Fridgedaire model. It has options for roasting, broiling, and warming. The brand is known for quiet airflow and even cooking results.

4. Sharp Drawer Microwave Oven

  • Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 22 7/8 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Power: 1000W
  • Design: Stainless steel drawer
  • Features: 11 power levels, touch controls, child lock

This drawer-style microwave from Sharp installs under the counter for an ingenious hidden design. With easy touch controls and a bright interior light, it’s perfect for quickly reheating food and beverages.

5. Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Microwave Oven

  • Dimensions: 21.3 x 19.2 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Power: 1200W
  • Design: White or black stainless trim kit included
  • Features: Inverter technology, keep warm feature, turbo defrost

This affordable and energy efficient Panasonic model is ideal for small spaces. It uses inverter technology for precision cooking and even heating. The turbo defrost quickly thaws foods.

Key Microwave Features and Considerations

Keep the following features in mind as you shop for the ideal built-in microwave:

  • Size and Dimensions – Carefully measure your cabinet cut-out space. Pay attention to depth which impacts capacity.
  • Interior Capacity – Cheroose based on your family size and cooking needs. Typically 1.5 to 2 cu. ft.
  • Power – 1000+ watts delivers fast cooking and reheating. Look for inverter technology for consistent heating.
  • Ventilation – Over-the-range or external ventilation is usually required.
  • Budget – Built-in models range from $150 to $1500. Set realistic expectations.
  • Design – Stainless steel is popular but black, white and even retro styles are available.
  • Noise Level – Check reviews and product specs for quieter models.
  • Durability – Look for solid construction that will endure years of use. Stainless steel interiors are most durable.

Paying attention to these performance factors will ensure you choose a built-in microwave that meets your cooking needs.

Types of Built-In Microwaves and Their Differences

Built-in microwaves come in the following configurations:

Solo Microwaves

Solo microwave ovens offer basic microwave cooking for reheating and defrosting foods. They are affordable but lack advanced cooking modes.

Pros: Simple operation, smaller footprint, budget-friendly price

Cons: Lack bells and whistles, limited performance beyond reheating

Grill Microwaves

Grill microwave ovens have an internal heating element to crisp and brown foods like a grilling appliance.

Pros: Provides finish of grilled or baked foods, crispy results

Cons: Requires added cleaning, potential for splatter during grilling function

Convection Microwaves

Convection microwave ovens utilize a fan to circulate hot air and cook food evenly with microwave cooking modes.

Pros: Mimics traditional oven results, versatility to bake, roast, and broil

Cons: Takes up more interior capacity, higher price point

Drawer Microwaves

Drawer microwaves install under the counter with access via an extending drawer.

Pros: Completely hidden when not in use, space-saving

Cons: Limited capacity, specialized installation requirements

Installing Your Built-In Microwave

Proper installation is key to getting the most out of your built-in microwave. Follow these tips:

  • Confirm electrical requirements and outlet placement early in the process.
  • Carefully measure and cut cabinetry to exact unit specifications with no gaps.
  • Use mounting brackets anchored to wall studs for secure installation.
  • Ensure oven is level and door seal is tight.
  • Attach any provided built-in trim kits for a seamless interior look.
  • Test for microwave ventilation needs and install external venting before use.
  • Hire a professional installer if you lack experience with electrical and cabinetry work.

Taking time to correctly install your oven ensures safety, full functionality, and an integrated look.

Shopping Recommendations and Tips for Your Built-In Microwave

  • Carefully measure your cabinet space and interior cut-out dimensions.
  • Read online customer reviews and understand the pros and cons of each model.
  • Consider both your immediate and long-term cooking needs when selecting features.
  • Visit showrooms to test the controls, open the door, and inspect the interior.
  • Verify warranty coverage, ideally 2-5 years for parts and labor.
  • Invest in a quality model from a trusted brand for longevity.
  • Use an authorized technician for any tricky custom cabinetry or electrical work.
  • Expect to pay more for convection cooking modes and advanced features.

Achieve Your Dream Kitchen with a Built-In Microwave

I hope this guide has simplified the process of selecting the perfect built-in microwave model for your kitchen remodel. Focus on choosing the right capacity, dimensions, power level and features to suit your cooking style. Invest in trusted quality, and don’t cut corners during installation.

With your microwave seamlessly incorporated into your cabinet design, you’ll achieve a clean, upscale look in your kitchen. Your built-in microwave will deliver streamlined functionality and high performance for years to come. Here’s to never having to look at that bulky microwave eyesore on your countertop again!
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