The Best Built-In Microwaves of 2022

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

By Jasmine Harding | Updated May 23, 2022 3:40 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Built-In Microwave Options

Photo: amazon.com

Microwave ovens are indispensable for meal prep, but these kitchen appliances don’t need to take up precious real estate on the countertop. Built-in microwaves mount 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 1.4 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Panasonic Built-In Microwave Oven
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Panasonic Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave 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 1.4 cu. ft. Built-In Convection Microwave
  7. BEST UNDER-COUNTER: Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave
The Best Built-In Microwave Options

Photo: homedepot.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Built-In Microwave

Unlike countertop microwaves, built-in microwaves need to be the right fit for a kitchen. Among the many features to consider, the most important may be the installation space, cooking needs, microwave design, cooking settings, and size specifications when choosing the best built-in microwave for a kitchen.

Type

There are a few different types of microwaves to consider: conventional, convection, and oven-microwave combos.

  • Conventional microwaves are the most common type of microwave. They work by heating up the water molecules in food via electromagnetic radiation. They are ideal for reheating, cooking, and thawing food, but these microwaves cannot brown or bake recipes.
  • Convection microwaves offer convection cooking that works similarly to baking or roasting in an oven. Beyond the typical microwave settings like simple reheating and cooking, these microwaves can roast, bake, brown, and crisp foods. Their convection feature has a heating element and a fan to circulate hot air. This operation works similarly to an oven to brown, crisp, and bake instead of only heating 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.

Power

A higher wattage typically means higher cooking power, as well as faster and more even heating. A microwave that has more than 800 watts is usually adequate heating power for most needs. Lower-wattage microwaves tend to be slower and may not heat evenly. If it has more than 1,000 watts, it is more powerful and has faster cooking times. However, higher wattage can come with a higher price tag, but these models usually have a higher wattage, too. Some run at around 1,200 watts for consistent and even cooking and heating.

Depending on their wattage and power consumption, some built-in microwaves require their own dedicated circuit. Sharing the same circuit as another major kitchen appliance can affect performance. Consult the user guide or a professional installer to check if this is the case with a chosen model.

Size and Capacity

A microwave size refers to the entire dimension of the unit, while the capacity describes the interior cooking space. Ensuring the right size is very important when choosing a built-in microwave. It needs to fit into the cabinet space with enough ventilation space for safe operation.

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.

Functions

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

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

Smart microwaves can connect to Wi-Fi, allowing control from apps and smart-home voice devices. These microwaves can fit in nicely with an existing smart kitchen or smart-home system.

Controls

Built-in microwaves can include a variety of settings and control options. All built-in microwaves will have manual timed cook controls so the cooking time can be set. They also can have a range of preprogrammed settings and shortcut buttons, which will vary from model to model.

Common controls include automatic settings and preprogrammed buttons. Automatic defrost settings allow users to set food type and weight, and the microwave can automatically set the ideal settings. Preprogrammed shortcuts can include settings for cooking popcorn or heating pizza. These programs often use sensors to help heat or cook food. Sensor cooking settings assess the moisture level in food to adjust cooking power and time.

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.

Aesthetic

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.

Installation

Unlike countertop models, a built-in microwave requires installation. Depending on the model, some options require professional installation. Before buying a built-in microwave, it’s best to check the user guide to ensure you have a suitable outlet. Some models require the outlet to be in a certain location in relation to the microwave, like in the top right or left corner. In these cases, the ideal outlet area can be found in the microwave’s installation guide.

To ensure the microwave is safe, it needs to be properly bracketed into the wall or cupboard. When installing, it is important to ensure that the microwave has adequate ventilation space. Built-in microwave trim kits allow for a more seamless look, covering any gaps while also allowing ventilation. Once installed, the microwave location is permanent and will need to be uninstalled to be moved or repaired.

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

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 a kitchen, the best built-in microwaves are powerful and provide the functions needed for quick and even heating. With the above considerations in mind, the following are some of the best built-in microwaves for a kitchen.

Best Overall

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

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.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • High power capacity
  • Includes trim kit
  • Features sensor-cooking settings
  • Stylish finish

Cons

  • High price point

Get the Kitchenaid built-in microwave at Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: Panasonic Built-In Microwave Oven
Photo: amazon.com

With a 1.6-cubic-foot capacity, this medium-size microwave from Panasonic is an affordable pick for the family. The high-powered microwave runs at 1,250 watts for quick heating and shorter cooking time. It features Panasonic’s patented Inverter Technology, which creates a stream of microwave power for consistent and even heating.

Along with popcorn, turbo defrost, and keep warm settings, this microwave features smart cooking settings using the Genius Sensor. The sensor Reheating and Cook settings automatically adjust the power and cook time by measuring the amount of steam inside.

This affordable and versatile microwave is both countertop and built-in compatible. The stainless steel body makes it a stylish pick for both applications. For built-in use, pair it with a trim kit for installation in a 27-inch cabinet opening that’s sold separately.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,250 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel, black, white

Pros

  • High power capacity
  • Affordable price point
  • Multiple finishes available
  • Countertop and built-in compatible

Cons

  • Trim kit not included

Get the Panasonic built-in microwave on Amazon and at Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: Panasonic Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven
Photo: amazon.com

The Panasonic Home Chef 4-in1 Microwave is 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. To take advantage of all these features, this microwave has a 1.2-cubic-foot capacity and comes with a 14.2-inch turntable that fits an included enamel tray and air-fryer basket.

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

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power capacity: 1,000 watts
  • Available finishes: Stainless steel

Pros

  • High power capacity
  • Works as a convection oven
  • Includes air fryer functionality

Cons

  • Trim kit not included

Get the Panasonic Home Chef built-in microwave on Amazon and at Best Buy.

Best Small

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: RecPro RV Stainless-Steel Microwave
Photo: amazon.com

Very small kitchens can have limited cabinet and counter space. For those who don’t want to sacrifice either, consider the compact built-in microwave from RecPro. This 1-cubic-foot capacity microwave was originally created for RVs. It fits a range of features in a compact design, including eight express cook options, 10 power levels, time and weight defrost settings, and a child safety lock.

Even though it’s small with a 900-watt power output, it offers quick cooking. The 10.5-inch- diameter turntable can fit most standard dinner plates. With a stainless steel build and included stainless steel trim, this small microwave fits seamlessly into home kitchens.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Perfect for RVs and small spaces
  • Trim kit included
  • Features child safety lock
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger spaces

Get the RecPro RV built-in microwave on Amazon.

Best Large

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: Frigidaire Gallery 2.2 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave
Photo: homedepot.com

With an extra-large 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, this microwave from Frigidaire has ample space for cooking and reheating. The wide 16.5-inch-diameter turntable can hold large plates or several bowls.

This 1,200-watt microwave has more than 30 setting options and a variety of quick one-touch shortcuts, including options to cook baked potatoes, popcorn, or vegetables. Its sensor cooking options automatically adjust the power level and cooking times to cook a variety of items. The smudge-proof black stainless steel finish is an elevated take on classic stainless steel, bringing practicality and style to this roomy microwave.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Includes a wide variety of cooking options and presets
  • Features sensor cooking
  • Excellent value for the price

Cons

  • Not ideal for small spaces

Get the Frigidaire Gallery built-in microwave at The Home Depot, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Best Convection

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: KitchenAid 1.4 cu. ft. Built-In Convection Microwave
Photo: homedepot.com

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.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Multifunctional performance
  • Wide variety of presets
  • 1,600-watt convection element

Cons

  • High price
  • Limited finish options

Get the Kitchenaid built-in microwave at Lowe’s, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Best Under-Counter

best built in microwave sharp
Photo: amazon.com

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.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Includes presets
  • Features sensor reheat
  • Concealed control panel

Cons

  • High price
  • Flush mount kit sold separately

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

Also Consider

The Best Built-In Microwave Option: Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave
Photo: amazon.com

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.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Large internal capacity
  • High power capacity
  • Includes one-touch buttons
  •  Provides even cooking

Cons

  • Not suitable for small spaces

Get the Panasonic built-in microwave on Amazon and at Walmart.

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about shopping for a built-in microwave for your kitchen. The KitchenAid built-in microwave is our top pick because it offers a range of desirable features and has a stylish finish. Those on a budget may appreciate the Panasonic built-in microwave, which offers great performance at a lower price point.

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 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.

FAQs

Unlike countertop models, built-in microwaves sleekly fit 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 popular 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.