What Is A Built-In Microwave? Difference Between Countertop Microwave And Built-in Microwave

Microwaves come in unique designs and features. You will find those that sit on your countertop space and the specialized ones that designers install in a wall or cabinetry.

The microwaves that sit on a kitchen table are known as countertop microwaves. But we will not speak about those. Our focus is built-in microwaves.

So what’s a built-in microwave?

A built-in microwave is a specially integrated oven that designers mount in a wall opening or cabinetry. 

The appliance is not portable unless you intend to shift it to a new location. This installation requires specialized labor, thus a more costly design than a countertop microwave.  

You will often require a licensed technician to mount your microwave professionally and remove it when required. But to understand what a built-in microwave is, let me delve into its differences from a countertop microwave.

What Are The Differences Between A Built-In Microwave And A Countertop Microwave?

Earlier, we mentioned that a countertop microwave sits on kitchen worktops while the inbuilt fits in cabinetry or a wall opening. 

Of course, the two types of microwaves have similar functionalities depending on the model and brand. But their common denominator is heating, preheating, baking, defrosting, roasting, cooking, de-crystallizing, and many more. 

If you still find yourself confusing the two, a comparison table will help you with the differences.

FunctionBuilt-in microwaveCountertop microwave
InstallationIn a wall opening or cabinetry, Permanent installation Requires a Trim kit  Kitchen worktop Temporal installation Does not require trim kit
LaborLabor intensive Requires a licensed professional to install and uninstallNot labor-intensive Requires no professional as it is a plug and start process  
Space requirementCabinetry or wall space Space saverCountertop space Consumes space
CostExpensive installationCheap and straightforward installation
PortabilityNot portablePortable
SizeLarge sizeVariety of sizes
VersatilityMany uses, including outdoors.Limited to use indoors only

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What Size Is A Built-In Microwave?

Manufacturers have your kitchen size in mind when making built-in microwaves. Just like the different kitchen sizes and designs, so are the microwaves.

The appliance comes in varied sizes and shapes to provide the perfect dimension that suits your situation. There is a perfect size for all, from studio apartments to mansion villas. It all depends on your choice and what matches your space. 

To capture the size of built-in microwaves deeply, let’s look at the design. All built-in microwaves are available in three unique designs: compact, combination, and standard. But we are not addressing the three designs here. Read our previous guide on built-in microwave designs

For a built-in microwave to fit into the wall opening or cabinetry, you must have the correct size, including the height, width, and depth. 

So what size is a built-in microwave?

There is no standard size for a built-in microwave. Manufacturers tailor the appliance to fit in different sizes of kitchens and cabinets. 

Whether upgrading your kitchen or designing from scratch, you’ll get the perfect size to fit your situation. So, no worries about sizes.

The height, width, and depth measurements give you leeway on what fits your space. That should not be your least worry if you have the wall or cabinet measurements.

Take note of these few measurements before you get started;

  • Microwave’s Height

The height of a built-in microwave ranges between 12 inches and 16 inches, with the smallest being 12 and the largest being 16 inches high. That should not bother you if you do not intend to fix your oven low. Otherwise, it will get in your way as you maneuver around your work.  

  • Microwave’s Width

This measurement and the depth are very paramount when mounting your built-in microwave. Before hitting that Add to Cart button, you have to know your kitchen space. 

What space is available to mount your microwave? Is it a condo with limited space or a maisonette with a spacious layout?

A spacious kitchen comes with big ideas, including the capacity to accommodate a mega microwave without a noticeable makeover on your wall or cabinetry.

The typical width of a built-in microwave is between 19 inches and 26 inches. That will give you many options for your dream built-in microwave oven.  

  • Microwave’s Depth

The depth of your microwave is the length between the front and the back end of the appliance when you close the door. That measurement defines the small and the large microwaves.

Mostly, this length ranges from 20 inches to 23 inches. Still, the most paramount factor is to make sure that the cabinet or wall opening is deep enough to fit your built-in microwave oven without any significant protrusions.

If you opt for the 23 inches deep oven, be sure to have sufficient space as the appliance is usually very bulky and does not forgive limited spaces.

When you consider the size before installation, you will achieve that well-done and flush microwave design that you’ve always dreamt about.

What Height Is A Built-In Microwave?

Built-in microwaves do not come with a standard height. The entire dimension varies from one model to another, including the height.  

You get the height range from 17 to 22 inches. Whether you are upgrading your kitchen or building from scratch, first consider the space where you will fit your appliance so that you go for the right dimension, height included. You don’t want to undo what is already there!

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Built-in microwaves are flush kitchen designs that fit directly into cabinets walls opening up your valuable worktop space. Their installations are permanent and expensive to put up.

Once complete, the appliance brings out clean lines to your kitchen. The models are classy, convenient, and save you on worktop space with many features like drop-down drawers and many more. But they need a level of keenness before procuring.

The sizes are crucial as they range from small ones for condos and small apartments to large ones for big kitchen layouts. Get the right cabinet or opening space dimension before ordering a built-in microwave.

Learn from our comprehensive installation procedure and guidance on installing your built-in microwave perfectly.

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