Before we installed a microwave drawer into The Arched Manor, there was a small space carved out in the kitchen upper cabinets for a microwave. Unfortunately, it was so small that there was no chance a proper microwave was going to fit into it. When we began designing our new pantry, we decided we would move the microwave location from the kitchen into the pantry. In the meantime, we purchased a free-standing countertop unit to carry us through until we had the time and budget to renovate the pantry into what it is today.
When planning where we wanted to put the microwave in the pantry, we had three different options; in the upper cabinets, on the countertop or in the lower cabinets. Our top choice visually was to put the microwave in the lower cabinets. We had our microwave in our island in our previous home, The Sweet Suburban, and really liked that it was out of our line of sight. However, the microwave in our island was a traditional microwave where the door opened on a bottom hinge (like an oven). This meant there was a lot of bending down to put things in and take things out, which was workable, but not ideal.
At this point we knew we wanted the microwave in the lower cabinets, but we did not want the oven-style door. We did some research online (and even went to a few appliance stores) and found a microwave drawer that we loved – the Bosch 30in 1.2 cu. ft. microwave drawer.
Benefits of a Microwave Drawer
Having lived with a microwave drawer for a year now, we are thrilled with our decision to install one! It is a perfect blend of form and function and allows you to visually tuck away an appliance, but still have it accessible and easy to use.
- They are large enough for most tasks – the 24-inch model can easily fit a 20-oz cup of coffee or a 13×9 casserole dish. The 30-inch “big daddy” size can even fit a 4 qt. casserole dish!
- Smoothly glides open and closed to prevent any spills.
- Easy to clean.
- Provides a high-end, built-in look by sitting flush with the surrounding cabinetry.
- Kid friendly – has a special panel lock feature that prevents curious children from opening the drawer and pressing any of the buttons.
- They free up counterspace! We all can use more counterspace.
- Has updated/improved technology that automatically senses food type and adjusts the cooking time accordingly, so you get great results every time. There is also a button that can be used to keep your food warm!
Now having shared all the microwave drawer features we love, there are a few things that could be improved upon (these may affect your decision).
- More expensive than traditional countertop microwaves.
- No convection cooking.
- Limited sizes available.
- The drawer speed (opening and closing) does require more time than a traditional door microwave.
- You will have to retrofit an existing cabinet or buy a new cabinet to install it.
Microwave Drawer Installation
Microwave drawers are easy to install into microwave-ready base cabinets (similar to wall ovens). They come as a pre-assembled unit that you can slide into the area where you choose to locate it in your kitchen (or pantry). Most people choose to install theirs in their kitchen island or above (or under) their wall oven to keep their appliances close together.
The size of the cabinet will depend on the size of your unit. The common sizes of a microwave drawer are 24-inch and 30-inch widths. Base cabinets are usually offered in widths between 12-60 inches and run in 3-inch increments. It is important that the microwave unit matches the niche in the cabinet accurately. To do this, make sure you have measurements of the overall width, the width of the inside and the depth of the inside. Additional cutting may be required to get the cutout size to match the recommended width/height.
The other important factor with a microwave drawer installation is to make sure that you have a dedicated electrical outlet just for the unit. It must be 3-pronged, breaker protected and at least 120-volts.
Microwave Drawer Brands
Several big brands now offer microwave drawers. There are three main factors that drove us to choose our Bosch microwave drawer: cost, size and customer reviews. Here is a list of some of the popular microwave drawers on the market today:
- Bosch Microwave Drawer
- KitchenAid Microwave Drawer
- Sharp Microwave Drawer
- Zline Microwave Drawer
- Thermador Microwave Drawer
- Dacor Microwave Drawer
So the question remains, should you consider a microwave drawer for your next project? That is entirely up to you. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons and if yes, decide which model is the right one for you. As we mentioned before, we made our decision based on the size, cost and customer reviews that we read.