A microwave hood is one of the most sough-after devices in the modern kitchen, especially for those looking to upgrade and save counter space. However, as with most kitchen appliances meant for more than one purpose, there may be some tradeoffs with this technology. Understanding what you may need to be aware of before purchasing a convection microwave hood may save a great deal of hardship in the long run.
As with most multi-use devices, the function of a microwave hood may be diminished, especially when compared against equipment that is responsible for only one function. For example, Consumer Reports® conducted tests which showed a traditional range hood is much better at removing particulates that are supposed to be removed by any sort of range hood. While this is usually not enough to dissuade most people from the purchase, it should be kept in mind.
Another thing to keep in mind is that microwave range hoods tend to run a little larger than most. Exhaust and filter features must run across the entire width of the stovetop. Therefore, a microwave hood may have some additional cooking area. As microwave hoods are primarily cooking appliances, this is usually a welcomed benefit as it provides for more cooking capacity, even though it may use more energy.
Clearance is a big issue for any microwave hood. At least 30 inches (76 cm) is needed in order to provide enough clearance where the hood would not be damaged by heat. This may preclude some microwave hoods in older kitchens without some remodeling being done. Still, these should be factored into the overall costs involved in acquiring the microwave hood.
Installation is another major factor that should be considered with a microwave hood. In most cases, electricity is already running to the range hood, which should make the job somewhat easier. In order to install a microwave hood, the old hood must first be removed. Then a bracket needs to be put into place and the new microwave hood attached to it. Also, all electrical connections should be done at this time. For those who feel the job is too much, many contractors should be able to handle it easily. Some retailers may even offer installation for an additional fee.
For those who may find cost an issue, a microwave hood is not cheap. Countertop microwaves are significantly less expensive. A nice countertop model will cost approximately $100 US Dollars (USD). A microwave hood of comparable quality will likely cost $350 USD at a minimum. The size and wattage are what add significantly to the cost, as well as the filtration features, which are obviously not required on countertop models.