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OTR microwaves vs. Dedicated Range Hoods

It’s a dilemma isn’t it? Perhaps you’re redesigning your kitchen or your current range hood has just, well, “given up the ghost”! What do you replace it with? A dedicated range hood or an over the range microwave?

There are all sorts of things to consider when making a decision like this and a lot of it does depend on what your current circumstances are, so in the following few words I aim to clear up some of the questions you might have.

Safety First!

If you’re considering an over the range microwave or as many people refer to them an OTR, safety is something you really should consider. This is especially important if you have children in the home that use a microwave often. After all, popcorn and pizza on movie night are likely to be their snacks of choice!

kid is going for the microwaveOTR’s (without stating the obvious) will be above your stove and can be installed as high as five feet up, so “little people” may have trouble reaching the microwave. The very last thing you need is for a child to grab a chair to stand on so they can heat some food.

The other point about safety, and this goes for adults as well as children, is the fact that you will be handling hot dishes or cups at above head height (well, for the average sized person anyway), and this can lead to accidents. No-one wants to end up with hot stew or soup over them, that would just mean a trip to the ER!

Effectiveness

This is a complaint I come across a lot with over the range microwaves. Because you’re essentially combining two appliances in one, it has to work harder to vent all those odors and bits of grease that fly about when you’re cooking.

An over the range microwave will usually have about 300 cfm which is the amount of air it moves per cubic foot in one minute. A dedicated range hood on the other hand can move anything from 500 to 1500 cfm, so it’s easy to see how much more effective they are at keeping the air clean in your kitchen.

ducted or ductlessOf course, if you do want an over the range microwave it doesn’t have to be ducted because there are plenty of models that don’t need it. But, if you’re going ductless you will have to consider the types of filter the model you opt for has. These range from charcoal filters to those that will eliminate grease, but you will have to replace these if they’re going to be effective enough.

Design

Manufacturers are doing their best to think about design with an appliance like this, and there sure are OTR microwaves that look very nice. You can get a wide range of colors and stainless steel accents that can add a little “something” to your kitchen design.

design range hoodHowever, a dedicated range hood can really make a statement in the kitchen no matter what type of décor you have. If you want clean lines, a professional look and something that adds that finishing touch to your stove area, a dedicated range hood is probably the answer.

This is why I decided to add a few range hoods to my website as well, so if you are considering the option of a range hood feel free to take a look at my range hood reviews page here.

Overall

As I always say, I’m not here to sway your decision in any way, but it is worth knowing the “ups and downs” before you decide which of these appliances will suit you best. Of course, OTR microwaves do save space so if that’s a premium in your kitchen perhaps one of these would be worth considering.

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