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Microwave Drawer Pros and Cons

Below is our microwave drawer pros and cons guide with its dimensions, costs, how it works, and tips on how to clean a drawer microwave.
A smaller island with microwave drawer inside of a larger L-shaped island in an open kitchen with vinyl flooring quartz countertops and pendant lightsAny microwave sized large enough to accommodate a busy kitchen will likely take up a lot of counter space. Instead, a new option, the microwave drawer, is gaining a lot of interest.

The first microwave drawer was designed and manufactured by Sharp, who holds the patent on the design. This patent makes Sharp the only manufacturer of the main components of microwave drawers, although they make them for other companies who sell them under their name.

When purchasing a microwave, the choices include countertop microwaves, over-the-counter, over-the-stove models, and microwave drawer models. The most features, best convenience, and superior operation are found in microwave drawers. However, before you decide to incorporate a microwave drawer in your kitchen, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Also included in this guide is information about what a microwave drawer is, how they work, where they are commonly installed, typical sizes, price range, and how to clean them. If you prefer the convenience and modern, clean look of a microwave drawer, this guide will provide you with the information you need to make the best purchase for your kitchen.

What Is A Microwave Drawer?

Kitchen in new luxury home with hardwood floors pendant lights island with white countertops and microwave drawer white cabinets range with red knobs and grey dining chairsMany kitchen stoves are paired with a microwave mounted over the stove, and it may also act as a vent. Still, some homeowners prefer a larger, more powerful stove hood vent and are forced to place a freestanding microwave on the counter.

Not only does the microwave take up counter space, but some people also may not want it under their cabinets. A microwave draw is installed under the countertop, and it slides out when in use, similar to a regular drawer. 

Microwave drawers are sleek and modern, and being installed under the counters keeps them out of the way. They make an excellent option for a kitchen island, a central and convenient location, making it an ultimate space-saving option. The numerous designs and materials offered allow you to choose a microwave drawer that easily fits your kitchen interior design.

Microwave drawers can be installed anywhere there would be a cabinet or other appliances such as a dishwasher or wall oven. Some homeowners choose to install a microwave draw under their conventional wall oven to keep the cooking appliances close to each other. Read our guide to whether you can put a refrigerator next to the stove in kitchen for more related details.

How Does A Microwave Drawer Work?

Luxury kitchen with tile floor white cabinets quartz countertops mosaic tile backsplash and island with sink and microwave drawerMicrowave drawers are easy to use and safer than countertop microwaves. Instead of the door swinging open, microwave drawers often pull out simply by pressing a button. The heating cavity is accessed from the top, and the food is lowered onto the tray.

There is less chance of dropping platters, and once heated, the food is taken out through the top opening. Overhead microwaves pose a danger of dropping the heated food, causing dangerous burns.

Most microwave drawers have a pop-out control panel or visible panel with settings that activates once the drawer is closed.

The control panel is either hidden near the top of the microwave or runs across the front, so the display is easy to read. Hidden control panels tilt forward for use. Microwave drawers are also convenient because they do not need venting.

They are built as self-contained, united with their own ventilation system integrated. However, lack of appropriate ventilation is the reason microwave drawers do not have an option for convection cooking, which requires outside ventilation for heat, odors, and smoke. 

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Some models of microwave drawers have handles much like an oven pull to open them. SHARP has a Stainless Steel Easy Open Microwave Drawer that provides touchless opening. The draw slides out by waving your hand up and down near the built-in motion sensor.

To close, press the button or give it a gentle nudge. The microwave will not open just by walking by, preventing access to small children. You have to wave your hand in an up and down motion, not back and forth, and in the correct spot in front of the sensor. 

Pros Of A Microwave Drawer

Modern style kitchen with wood paneled refrigerator white cabinets granite countertops and backsplash microwave drawer and under cabinet lightingMicrowave drawers have many pros ranging from interior design benefits to safety features. Below are a few of the pros of installing a microwave drawer in your kitchen. 

PROS:

• Microwave drawers free up counter space

• Leaves space above the stove for a custom oven hood

• They open out, making it easier to lower or lift heavier dishes

• Most models of microwave drawers have a modern design

• Installing under the counter makes the microwave drawer assessable for someone using a wheelchair, short people, or children

• With flat, sealed surfaces, they are easy to clean

• Safe for children with a locking control panel

• Large capacity

• Same power and wattage as countertop microwaves

• Safer than a mounted overhead microwave posing a danger from dropping hot food

• Easy to reach when cooking by sliding the drawer out to mix or add spices

Cons Of A Microwave Drawer

Empty modern farm house kitchen with hardwood floors grey cabinets microwave drawer and pendant lights above island with white countertops and sinkMicrowave drawers do have some cons, although the pros outnumber the cons. And these popular kitchen appliances are trendy.

Many homeowners consider the pros, including the sleek modern look, functionality, and look of a microwave drawer built into their kitchen island, worth the extra cost and minor drawbacks. 

CONS:

• Cannot combine convection with the microwave operation due to the lack of ventilation for heat

• Microwave drawers do not have a turntable because the magnetron is placed in the top of the microwave instead of the side

• They only come in two widths; 24 inches and 30 inches, and the interior size is the same for all brands

• Microwave drawers typically require a professional installer

• Microwave drawers are much more expensive than a countertop microwave

What Are The Dimensions Of A Microwave Drawer?

Two pendant lights hang above island with marble countertops sink and microwave drawer in an open kitchen with hardwood floors and wood dining tableMicrowave drawers are designed to fit where typical kitchen cabinets or drawers would go. The two standard widths are 24 inches and 30 inches wide, and the interior dimensions are the same for both widths; 16 9/16 inches deep, 17 5/16 inches wide and 7 and 1/8 inches tall.

The installation of a microwave drawer must allow for enough clearance. The drawer extends close to 16 inches when it’s pulled out entirely.

In order to provide enough working space, there should always be at least 30 inches of space in front of the microwave drawer. The clearance offers work area space and enough room to remove hot items in and out of the oven safely. 

Microwave drawers are installed flush with the countertop edge or cabinet face providing a finished look, or they can reach out slightly in front of the cabinet line, an installation style called proud.

These installation options are an optional design method for the homeowner and does not depend on the specific size of a microwave drawer. 

How Much Does A Microwave Drawer Cost?

Large spacious kitchen with mosaic tile backsplash double oven microwave drawer double island wood floor and pendant lightingA traditional countertop microwave may cost between $100 and $500, but a microwave drawer costs between $1,000 and as high as $2,000, not including the installation costs. Microwave drawers offer a premium design, numerous benefits, and additional features over other microwave designs.

The cost of installing a microwave drawer ranges from $250 to $2,000 depending on the power supply, cabinetry to be modified, and location in the kitchen cabinets or island. 

The main reason microwave drawers are so expensive is the technology patent SHARP owns. Companies such as Bosch, GE, and KitchenAid have to purchase the base and electronics from SHARP and then design around this main component to make the microwave drawer their own.

The parts for these microwaves are unique, meaning they’re expensive, but the cost includes high-quality, technologically advanced parts. With the patent belonging to SHARP, microwave drawers will remain more costly than countertop models. 

How To Clean A Microwave Drawer

Modern kitchen with dark wood floor blue backsplash microwave drawer and pendant lights hanging above island white countertops sink and bar stoolsMicrowave drawers offer many accessibility advantages, including options for cleaning. Anyone with a mobility issue in their arms or hands, such as arthritis, may have trouble lifting dishes in and out of a microwave and reaching inside to clean.

Microwave drawers are seamless and have no moving parts inside. Once open, the inside can be easily wiped clean with a damp washrag and a drop of soap. When finished cleaning, it’s important to wipe the inside dry. 

To clean the top of the microwave drawer, you’ll need a microwave-safe bowl, 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Place all the ingredients in the bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

To avoid the water from boiling over, place a toothpick in the bowl before heating. Microwave on high for another 5 minutes and leave the microwave drawer closed. Wait 10 minutes and then remove the bowl and wipe the top and inside with a damp sponge. Use a dry microfiber cloth to dry the inside.

To keep your microwave drawer smelling fresh and clean, add 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon and small orange to a microwave-safe bowl.

Heat the microwave on high for 8 minutes. When done, leave the microwave drawer closed for 10 minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe dry. 

Visit our stove in corner of kitchen pros and cons and kitchen island with range guide for more space-saving ideas and improve the convenience of your kitchen.

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