What Is a Microwave Range Hood?

Ken Black

A microwave range hood is a device that incorporates both the functionality of a microwave and the benefits of a stove hood. The microwave hood is considered a beneficial space-saving device that frees up space on kitchen counters where microwave ovens have traditionally been placed. However, there may be cases when a range hood may not be the most appropriate choice.

A microwave range hood saves counter space in the kitchen where microwave ovens have traditionally been placed.
A microwave range hood saves counter space in the kitchen where microwave ovens have traditionally been placed.

The microwave range hood is praised for its ability to save a lot of space, but its function, like many multi-use devices, is somewhat diminished when compared to more specialized equipment. For example, while a microwave hood range may be able to help remove smoke and other particles from the air, reviews and tests done by Consumer ReportsĀ® indicate the effectiveness does not match those of traditional range hoods. This may be a consideration for those who do a fair amount of cooking.

One portion that does function just as well, whether it is a countertop model or microwave range hood, is the cooking function of the microwave oven. While the microwave range hood may be slightly larger than a countertop version, this is due to the exhaust and filter features included for the hood more so than any need for the cooking element. However, due to the fact that the over the range microwaves usually span the width of the stove, they may be slightly larger than most microwaves.

For those interested in a microwave range hood, the most important consideration to determine is if you have enough clearance for the hood. The clearance needed is at least 30 inches (76 cm). In older kitchens, there may not be enough room. These kitchens may have been built for one of the traditional types of range hoods that do not come down nearly as far. However, there may be adjustments that can be made to make the area more accommodating to a microwave hood range.

Installing this type of range hood is a project of moderate difficulty for those who choose to do it yourself. If there is no electricity already going to your current range hood, this makes the project even more difficult. Generally, the process requires removal of the old hood, installing a bracket, then fitting the microwave range hood to the bracket and hooking up the electricity. While most tasks can be handled individually, lifting the microwave into place is likely a two-person job.

One of the other considerations that will need to be made is the cost factor. Over the range microwaves will often cost significantly more than countertop microwaves. While it is possible to get a more traditional and mid-range microwave oven for approximately $100 US Dollars (USD), most microwave range hoods will cost at least $350 USD. Most of this cost is due to the increased size of the microwave, which often requires more wattage.

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