The Best Built-In Microwaves for Saving Kitchen Space

A built-in microwave blends in seamlessly within the kitchen and frees up precious counter space, adding style and convenience to food prep.

Best Overall

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: KitchenAid 1.4 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave

KitchenAid KMBS104ESS 24-Inch Built-In Microwave Oven

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Built In Microwave Option: Panasonic NN-SN686S Inverter Microwave

Panasonic NN-SN686S Inverter Microwave

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Upgrade Pick

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: Panasonic Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven

Panasonic NN-CD87KS 4-in-1 Combination Oven

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Microwave ovens are indispensable for meal prep, but these kitchen appliances don’t need to take up precious real estate on the countertop. The best built-in microwaves are mounted onto a wall, where they blend seamlessly into their surroundings without taking up any counter space.

Built-in microwaves quickly and evenly reheat and cook food just like their countertop counterparts do. Read on to learn more about important features to consider when shopping for the best built-in microwave, and find out why these models are some of the best on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: KitchenAid KMBS104ESS 24-Inch Built-In Microwave Oven
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Panasonic NN-SN686S Inverter Microwave
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Panasonic NN-CD87KS 4-in-1 Combination Oven
  4. BEST SMALL: RecPro RV Stainless Steel Microwave
  5. BEST LARGE: Frigidaire Gallery 2.2 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave
  6. BEST CONVECTION: KitchenAid KMBP107EBS Built-In Microwave Oven
  7. BEST UNDER-COUNTER: Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Panasonic NN-SD975S Cyclonic Wave Inverter Microwave
The Best Built-In Microwave Options

How We Chose the Best Built-In Microwaves

Years of experience covering home care and appliances as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 40 options for the best built-in microwaves on the market and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

We also took expert advice from licensed general contractor Ross Kesterson, vice president of Restore Pros based in Athens, Georgia. He offered a word of caution to shoppers in our interview: “You cannot take a countertop microwave and stick it in a hole because it doesn’t have the appropriate design for proper ventilation. It could become very dangerous and possibly cause a fire.” With this in mind, we made sure that our list of recommendations are all suitable for built-in applications, providing shoppers with a range of safe options for their kitchen.

We included multiple sizes and installation configurations to provide options for a wide variety of shoppers. We focused on models with high power capacities in order to ensure fast cooking times. Finally, we prioritized microwaves with desirable added features like child locks, convection features, and cooking presets.

Our Top Picks

A built-in microwave brings all the convenience of a microwave into the kitchen without sacrificing valuable counter space. Beyond fitting into the designated space, the best built-in microwaves pack a lot of power and provide the functions needed for quick, even heating. The following models rank as some of the best models on the market.

Best Overall

KitchenAid KMBS104ESS 24-Inch Built-In Microwave Oven

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.4 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,000 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel, black


  • Includes trim kits for proper installation in 27- or 30-inch cutouts
  • Features sensor-cooking settings depending on the type of food placed inside
  • Stylish finish; comes in both black and stainless steel


  • High price point compared to other options on this list

KitchenAid’s high-powered 1,000-watt microwave quickly and thoroughly heats, cooks, and thaws. The midsize 1.4-cubic-foot interior includes a 15.75-inch turntable that’s large enough for most microwaveable dishes.

The stylish satin crosshatched handle and digital display with touch-screen controls add sleek style. The range of convenient sensor-cooking settings—including baked potato, popcorn, and meal-reheat shortcut buttons—make it easy to use. A keep-warm setting keeps heated food warm for up to an hour.

With a sleek stainless steel finish and a drop-down door, this microwave blends right in with modern kitchens. The included 27- and 30-inch trim kits help ensure seamless installation.

Get the KitchenAid KMBS104ESS built-in microwave at The Home Depot, Best Buy, or Appliances Connection.

Best Bang For The Buck

Panasonic NN-SN686S Inverter Microwave

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,200 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel


  • Can be used as a built-in or countertop microwave for ample versatility
  • Inverter technology delivers even heat distribution no matter which food is placed inside
  • Comes with a variety of presets and features for excellent user-friendliness
  • A thin turntable allows for more food to be placed inside than some comparable options


  • Only comes in 1 finish option; may not match some shoppers’ current kitchen appliances and fixtures

Those looking to buy an effective built-in microwave without breaking the bank will want to consider this Panasonic inverter microwave. Delivering 1,200 watts of power, this 1.2-cubic-foot option works as either a built-in or countertop microwave and has inverter technology integrated for evenly distributed heat.

One unique feature of this stainless steel Panasonic microwave is its Genius Sensor, which automatically adjusts the power output and cooking time based on the food placed inside. Other useful features include a 12-hour clock, a child lock, 14 heating presets based on food type, a delayed start, a quick minute timer, and a turbo defrost. Finally, this model also has a 13.4-inch turntable that is thin and light, making room for more food than some comparable options.

Get the Panasonic NN-SN686S built-in microwave at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Upgrade Pick

Panasonic NN-CD87KS 4-in-1 Combination Oven

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,000 watts (inverter); 1,300 watts (convection)
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel


  • Works as a convection oven as well as a microwave; operates at 1,300 watts in convection mode
  • Includes air-fryer basket and functionality for added versatility and user-friendliness
  • Can be used as either a countertop or a built-in unit


  • Trim kit not included with purchase; needs to be bought separately

Panasonic’s Home Chef 4-in-1 microwave offers more than just a microwave. This versatile appliance combines a microwave, broiler, air fryer, and convection oven in one compact unit. It can bake, roast, broil, reheat, air-fry, and more to create a variety of tasty recipes. Beyond reheating leftovers, this microwave can bake cookies, roast chicken, and air-fry crispy French fries. Its 1.2-cubic-foot capacity offers plenty of room to take advantage of all these features. A 14.2-inch turntable provides space for the included enamel tray and air-fryer basket.

When used as a microwave, Panasonic’s Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor automatically adjust settings to evenly reheat food. The 1,000-watt model works as a countertop microwave or built-in unit with an optional trim kit sold separately.

Get the Panasonic NN-CD87KS built-in microwave at Amazon.

Best Small

RecPro RV Stainless Steel Microwave

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1 cubic foot
  • Power capacity: 900 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel


  • Compact size is ideal for RVs and small spaces
  • A trim kit is included for convenience and ease of installation
  • Features child-safety lock, 10 power levels, and 8 express-cook options
  • Affordable price point compared to some other options on this list


  • Not ideal for larger cooking spaces
  • Only comes in a stainless steel finish

Small kitchens often have limited cabinet and counter space. Those who don’t want to sacrifice either may want to consider this compact built-in microwave from RecPro. Originally created for RVs, this 1-cubic-foot model offers a range of features, including eight express-cook options, 10 power levels, time and weight defrost settings, and a child-safety lock—all in a compact design.

Though small, its 900-watt power output offers quick cooking. The 10.5-inch- diameter turntable can hold most standard dinner plates. With a stainless steel build and included stainless steel trim, this small microwave fits seamlessly into many kitchens.

Get the RecPro built-in microwave at Amazon.

Best Large

Frigidaire Gallery 2.2 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,200 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel, black stainless steel


  • Includes a wide variety of cooking options and presets for quick and easy use
  • Features sensor cooking technology that automatically heats the food placed within
  • Smudge-proof stainless steel finish provides a sleek and clean look
  • Excellent value for the price


  • Not ideal for small areas; the large footprint takes up a lot of space

With an extra-large 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, Frigidaire’s Gallery microwave provides ample space for cooking and reheating. The wide 16.5-inch-diameter turntable holds large plates or several bowls.

This 1,200-watt microwave has more than 30 setting options and a variety of one-touch shortcuts, including options to bake potatoes, pop popcorn, or steam vegetables. Its sensor-cooking options automatically adjust the power level and cooking times for a variety of items. A smudge-proof black stainless steel finish offers an elevated take on classic stainless steel for a practical and stylish extra-large microwave.

Get the Frigidaire Gallery built-in microwave at The Home Depot or Best Buy.

Best Convection

KitchenAid KMBP107EBS Built-In Microwave Oven

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.4 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 900 watts
  • Available finishes: Black stainless steel


  • Multifunctional performance; operates as both a microwave and oven
  • Wide variety of presets for quick and easy use; includes popcorn, soften/melt, and crisp functions
  • 1,600-watt convection oven and broil element provide excellent versatility


  • High price point compared to similar options on the market
  • Limited finish options; only comes in black

KitchenAid’s convection microwave combines the convenience of a microwave with the functionality of an oven. As a convection oven, it reaches baking temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit to bake, grill, crisp, broil, and roast. Both the convection and grill features run on a 1,600-watt convection element. To help prepare a variety of recipes, this microwave comes with a convection rack, crisper pan, baking tray, and steamer vessel.

The microwave features a 1.4-cubic-foot capacity and 900 watts of microwaving power. A variety of shortcuts, including popcorn, soften/melt, and crisp features, make this microwave a versatile choice. The clean, stainless steel finish and drop-down door polish off its modern look.

Get the KitchenAid KMBP107EBS built-in microwave at Lowe’s.

Best Under-Counter

Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 950 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel


  • Includes a wide variety of presets including popcorn, keep warm, melt/soften, and more
  • Concealed control panel provides a unique, high-tech touch
  • Features sensor reheat function for quick and easy use


  • High price point compared to some of the other options on this list
  • Flush mount kit sold separately

Under-counter models offer an increasingly popular unobtrusive option that keeps the microwave tucked out of sight. Sharp’s drawer-style microwave utilizes an easy-touch automatic drawer system that opens smoothly and allows for hands-free closure. Additional features—such as a sensor-reheat option and presets for popcorn, vegetables, potatoes, and beverages—make for easy use. A 1.2-cubic-foot interior offers plenty of room.

A concealed control panel operates at a 45-degree angle and provides a sleek, modern look. With the help of a flush mount kit (sold separately), the microwave blends seamlessly into existing cabinetry.

Get the Sharp built-in microwave at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Also Consider

Panasonic NN-SD975S Cyclonic Wave Inverter Microwave

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Product Specs

  • Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,250 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel


  • Large internal capacity can hold more food than some comparable options
  • Sensor-cook and reheat settings adjust power levels and cooking times
  • Includes 1-touch buttons, such as a genius sensor for quick and easy use
  • Provides even cooking and heating, no matter the food placed inside


  • Not suitable for small spaces; has a large footprint

With 1,250 watts of cooking power, a large 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, 16.5-inch turntable, and 20 auto-cook options, this convenient microwave makes a great choice for frequent users. Convenient one-touch buttons include popcorn, coffee/milk, turbo-defrost, sensor-cook, and keep-warm settings. Intelligent sensor-cook and reheat settings automatically set power levels and cooking times to take the guesswork out of microwaving.

Panasonic’s Cyclonic Wave technology cooks food evenly throughout and eliminates cold and hot spots. The polished stainless steel appliance can sit on a countertop or mount to a wall.

Get the Panasonic NN-SD975S built-in microwave at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Built-In Microwave 

Best Built In Microwave

Built-in microwaves don’t take up counter space, but they do have unique space needs. For starters, they have to fit the available space precisely. Among the many features to consider when choosing a built-in microwave, installation space ranks among the most important. Other critical factors include household cooking needs and the microwave’s design, cook settings, and size specifications.


Shoppers should consider the different types of microwaves available: conventional, convection, and oven-microwave combinations.

  • Conventional microwaves, the most common type, heat up the water molecules in food via electromagnetic radiation. It’s an ideal appliance for reheating, cooking, and thawing food, but this type of microwave cannot brown or bake.
  • Convection microwaves offer convection cooking that works similarly to baking or roasting in an oven. Beyond the typical microwave settings like reheating and cooking, these microwaves can roast, bake, brown, and crisp. Convection involves a heating element coupled with a fan that evenly distributes heat, allowing home chefs cooking options beyond simply warming up the water molecules in food.
  • Oven-microwave combos combine a standard-size oven and microwave into one handy appliance, often with the microwave stacked on top of the oven. This allows for a uniform look and the full functionality of the two separate appliances.


Higher wattage typically means more cooking power, as well as faster and more even heating. A microwave of 800 watts or more usually provides adequate heating power for most needs. Lower-wattage microwaves tend to cook more slowly and may not heat evenly. A microwave of more than 1,000 watts packs more power and cooks faster. However, higher wattage can come with a higher price tag.

Depending on their wattage and power consumption, some built-in microwaves require their own dedicated circuit. Sharing a circuit with another major kitchen appliance can affect performance. Consult the user guide or a professional installer to see whether your chosen model requires a dedicated circuit.

Size and Capacity

Microwave size refers to the dimensions of the entire unit, while capacity describes the interior cooking space. Size ranks as one of the most critical features of a built-in microwave, as shoppers must ensure a new built-in microwave will fit into the allotted kitchen space with enough room for proper ventilation.

Many built-in microwaves come in 24-, 27-, or 30-inch widths to align with standard cabinet widths. Depth and height vary. Many range from 17 to 22 inches high and 20 to 25 inches deep. Microwave size can vary widely depending on the capacity.

Microwave capacities range from 0.5 cubic feet to 2 cubic feet, though some extra-large-capacity microwaves offer more than 2 cubic feet. The right size for a kitchen depends on the available space and intended use. For heating occasional leftovers, a smaller-capacity microwave might do the trick. For casseroles or larger dishes, home chefs may prefer a large-capacity model.

Before choosing a built-in microwave, be sure to measure the intended space and ventilation space. The required ventilation space will depend on the microwave model. Check the user guide for recommended cabinet dimensions to ensure the microwave will fit safely into the designated space.


Built-in microwaves perform many of the same tasks as countertop models: to reheat, cook, bake, broil, roast, crisp, or thaw food. They may include a range of settings that make them easier to use.

While all microwaves have manual timed cook settings, most also have a range of convenient shortcut buttons. These settings can help users prepare popcorn, potatoes, frozen dinners, and more at the single touch of a button.

Smart microwaves connect to Wi-Fi, which allows for remote control from apps and smart-home voice-controlled devices. These microwaves fit in nicely with an existing smart kitchen or smart-home system.


Built-in microwaves may include a variety of settings and control options. All built-in microwaves offer manual timed cooking controls. They may also offer a range of pre-programmed settings and shortcut buttons, though these vary from model to model.

Common controls include automatic settings and pre-programmed buttons. Automatic defrost, for example, allows users to enter the food type and weight, and the microwave then selects the ideal settings. Programmed shortcuts can include settings for popping popcorn or heating pizza. These programs often use sensors to help heat or cook food. Sensor-cook settings assess the moisture level in the food and adjust the cooking power and time accordingly.

Smart microwaves enable users to control cooking settings and turn on the microwave through a smart device or voice commands, a convenient feature for those with smart-home systems. With the help of a smartphone, microwave chefs may begin warming up a snack before they get home.


Built-in microwaves should blend right in with the kitchen cabinets or walls. They can live in upper or lower cabinets, or in a drawer configuration.

The ideal pick may sit flush with kitchen surfaces so it doesn’t stick out. An unobtrusive built-in microwave frees up counter cooking space and doesn’t look clunky or add to cluttered kitchen surfaces.

For a cohesive look, consider a built-in microwave that matches the other appliances in the kitchen, whether stainless steel, black, or white. Most built-in microwaves come in neutral colors, like gray, black, and white. For a more high-end look, some models feature a drop-down door.

Additional Features

Some microwaves combine the functions of other kitchen appliances. For example, a convection microwave can roast and bake like a conventional oven. Microwave ovens may also include broiler and air-fryer features to crisp and fry foods.

Microwaves with additional features may include extra trays, like grill racks and air-fryer baskets. Tiered racks allow heating of multiple plates at once. In homes with children, buyers may want to consider a microwave with a child-safety lock, which prevents accidental use by locking the control keypad. Users must enter a code to unlock the keypad.


Unlike countertop models, a built-in microwave requires installation. Depending on the model, some require professional installation. Before buying a built-in microwave, check the user guide to ensure there is a suitable outlet available. Some models require an outlet in a certain location in relation to the microwave, like in the top right or left corner.

For safety, professional installers or DIYers must properly bracket the microwave to the wall or cupboard with adequate space for ventilation, too. Built-in microwave trim kits allow for a more seamless look. They cover open gaps while also allowing for ventilation. Installation is permanent, so choose the location wisely. Moving or repairing the microwave will require uninstalling it.

Some countertop microwaves convert to built-in microwaves. Check the manufacturer’s directions on safe conversion for suitable placement and ventilation requirements. These options may allow for easier installation. They usually just need a built-in microwave trim kit and an outlet.


Unlike countertop models, built-in microwaves blend into a kitchen and save counter space, while offering all the convenient settings of countertop units. If you are still unsure about the best built-in microwave for your kitchen, the following answers to some common questions may help.

Q. Are built-in microwaves safe?

Yes, with adequate ventilation and proper installation, built-in microwaves are safe. Consider professional installation to ensure the microwave meets all safety requirements.

Q. Do built-in microwaves need ventilation?

Yes, it is important to make sure the microwave has enough ventilation space. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure adequate ventilation.

Q. How long do built-in microwaves last? 

Microwaves typically last around 10 years in most kitchens. Clean the microwave frequently and close the door gently to keep it in good shape.

Jasmine Harding Avatar

Jasmine Harding

Contributing Writer

Jasmine Harding is a freelance writer specializing in home products. She started writing for in 2020 and covers a range of product-related topics, from the best household appliances and tools to the latest gadgets and tech for the home.