Free up counter space for gathering, food preperation and entertaining by tucking away a microwave drawer. For years, the microwave has been a kitchen’s secret workhorse. Evolving from an afterthought plopped on a kitchen counter to sporting a revolutionary incarnation as a drawer, under counter, the once lowly microwave has earned a spot in the hub of the kitchen.
Now, all kitchen cabinet manufacturers offer standard cabinetry for the age-friendly and highly accessible microwave drawer. Safe for kids to prepare after-school snacks and for seniors to heat meals, positioned waist-high with easy-to-read controls and soft-open and close functionality, the convenience and safety of heating, reheating, and cooking in a microwave drawer can’t be beat.
See our picks for the best microwave drawers for 2021.
3 Burning Questions We Love to Answer
1) Where do I install microwave drawers?
A microwave drawer sits under kitchen countertops like a regular drawer and can be installed flush or proud (i.e. protruding slightly from the cabinet) to your surrounding cabinets. This is why some people call them under counter microwaves. They can fit in well with any design (in an island, peninsula or simply in a regular wall cabinet) and look stylish while making it easier to tend to your baked potato or microwave corn on the cob. As there is no swinging door, there are no issues between right-handed or left-handed family members. You can also place a microwave drawer in a corner or next to a wall. Essentially, consider it like an oven.
2) How do I use a microwave drawer? Is it different than a regular microwave?
- Open the drawer up with a touch of a button when you are ready to use and place your food on the tray.
- Close the drawer (with a light tap or using the close button) and choose your cooking time on the touch control panel.
- When cooking time is complete, open the drawer and take out your food.
3) What sizes do they come in?
Across all brands, there are two sizes of microwave drawer available regarding the exterior width, but the interior measurements are the same.
Outside width: 24-inches or 30-inches are the main choices 24″ being the most popular size.
Interior space: 17 5/16” W x 7 1/8” H x 16 9/16” D (1.2 cu. ft) – same for 24-inch or 30-inch models.
The only exception is the new convection microwave drawer from Sharp SMD2499FS is still 24-inches in width; however, it is bulkier (higher) than other standard drawer microwave models at 23-5/8″ W x 19-1/2″ H x 20-7/8″ D (1.4 cu. ft). The interior dimensions of the cavity are 16-15/16″ W x 8-3/4″ H x 16-7/16″ D.
5 Reasons Why a Microwave Drawer is a Good Choice for Your Kitchen
1) They save you valuable kitchen space
The most important reason for installing a microwave drawer in your home is to be able to save valuable counter or cabinet space. A freestanding microwave can take up around 4 sq. ft of precious preparation space or can be hard to fit into existing cabinets. It is not a good idea to install a regular microwave with a swing door under counter as bending down low might get tiring after a while. If you are putting in new cabinetry, then you can incorporate a microwave drawer into the design.
2) Easy to clean
Without a rotating plate inside, the inside surfaces are completely smooth so there are no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in. This makes microwave drawers much easier to clean.
3) They blend with your kitchen
Microwave drawers can be installed standing proud or flush with your cabinetry and you can make better use of space by installing under your counter or in an island. There is also the option of stacking with a single oven or warming drawer, so all your cooking appliances are in the one place.
4) They are safer & easier to reach
Taking hot and heavy plates out of a microwave that is up high is an accident waiting to happen, but as a microwave drawer is lower, you will be able to see better and have more control.
5) Child proof
Microwave drawers have a child lock, so even though they are on the height level of your child they will not be able to tamper with it.
Microwave drawer vs countertop microwave
You’re not missing out on any important features by choosing a microwave drawer. You will still get:
- Numerous power levels
- Open/close door button
- Cooking/reheating sensor
- Defrost mode
- Beverage mode
- Melt/soften/keep warm modes
- Clock with time features
- Child lock
- Smooth glide for no liquid spills
Please note at this time the microwave drawers do not come with convection cooking options which means as an example that you cannot broil and bake like a regular oven.
Best Microwave Drawer Brands to Consider
With many big-name brands now providing microwave drawers as part of their kitchen appliance selections, it can be hard to know which one to choose. Some of our favourites are:
1) Best Overall: Sharp Microwave Drawer SMD2470ASY
As the pioneer of microwave drawers, Sharp supplies all the vital components that other manufacturers use in their appliances. With a larger range than any other brand comes more options to suit your needs.
- 950 watts
- Visible or concealed display
- 45-degree angle control panel
- Stainless steel or black stainless options
- Auto open with a button/close OR touch or wave open door function
- With or without handle
- Touch/wave model has concealed logo
Sharp released an updated version of the 24-inch microwave drawer with wi-fi connectivity and a door that opens with a wave of your hand. Otherwise, the SMD2489ES has the same dimensions and feature set as the SMD2470ASY. Unless you are a tech enthusiast we do not see a compelling reason to upgrade to this model.
|Sharp Microwave Drawer Models|
|Classic with Curved Handle KB6524PSY||24″ Microwave Drawer, 1,099|
|Hidden Controls, Stainless Steel SMD2470ASY||Best Seller, comes in 24″ or 30″, Hidden Controls, Optional Kit for Flush Installations, under $1,299|
|Hidden Controls, Black Stainless Steel SMD2470AH||24″ Width Hidden Controls, Match your other black stainless appliances, under $1,399|
|Wi-Fi, Wave to Open Door, Stainless Steel SMD2489ES||This new addition comes with Wifi Connectivity and an app for receipes and troubleshooting, 24″, Wave-to-Open Door under $1,499|
|Wi-Fi, Convection, Stainless Steel SMD2499FS||Brand new microwave drawer with convection cooking technology (a.k.a. standard oven features). Advanced mobile app for receipes and troubleshooting, 24″, Wave-to-Open Door under $2,299|
2) Best Flush Mount Microwave Drawer: Bosch HMD8451UC,
If you already have Bosch appliances in your kitchen, then the beautiful design of a Bosch microwave drawer will fit right in. When you purchase a suite of Bosch appliances from us you can receive a 10-15% rebate depending on the configuration.
- 950 watts
- 24” model flush with cabinet
- 30” model flush or proud installation
- Soft glide operation on touch of a button
- Convenient automatic sensor programs
- Elegant and modern LCD display
- 30” can be installed below a wall oven
- Automatic sensor technology
3) Best Warranty on a Microwave Drawer: Thermador MD24WS
The MD24WS comes with a 2 year factory warranty. In addition, Thermador has a great rebate program (a.k.a. 1-2-Free) where you can get this microwave drawer for free with a qualified package order.
- Covered by 2-year warranty
- 950 watts
- Glass touch controls
- 10 cooking modes
- Sensor cooking
- Blue LCD display
- Built-in flush installation
Important Product Update
The Thermador wall oven received a major design change which impacted the microwave drawer line. The new models now feature even better integration for flush mount installs both for 24″ and the 30″ drawers. The face plate of the microwaves match with rest of the Thermador offerings. Warranty remains the same at 2 years. Here are the new models numbers:
4) Wolf Microwave Drawer: Wolf MS24TES, Best Service
A Wolf microwave drawer will match well with your existing Wolf wall oven and comes with an excellent warranty. However, the biggest reason why people choose a Wolf product is Wolf’s dedication to customer service.
Wolf is the only appliance company in the US which is dedicated to your satisfaction. Although, Wolf’s technology is patentend by Sharp, all microwaves are manufactured to Wolf’s quality standards and testing. This approach pays dividents to its customers as Wolf appliances are less likely to be serviced.
- 2-year full warranty and 5-year limited warranty for electronic control boards and magnetron tubes.
- 950 watts
- 10 power levels including Keep Warm mode
- Gourmet mode for detecting humidity and moisture
- Automatically adjusts cook time and power level for delicious results
- 24” MD24TES E Series – Transitional
- 30” MD30TES E Series – Transitional or MD30PE/S E Series – Professional
5) Best Convection Microwave: Sharp SMD2499FS
This Sharp convection microwave drawer is the only product on the market that comes with convection cooking. This added capability allows you to use the SMD2499FS as a regular oven saving you space. Also, you will be able to declutter your countertop as you will no longer need the toaster oven.
Sharp reprogrammed its mobile app to support the release of the convection microwave drawer. The app now comes with 50 programs that you could use to give yourself a reprive when planning a meal. In addition, you can program up to 30 additional favorites in your menu.
With the Sharp convection microwave drawer you can grill burgers, toast bread, and even air fry chicken tenders. This microwave accommodates 9 x 13-inch cooking sheet and comes with racks and tools to get you started.
This microwave drawer is easy to operate from your app or using the angled control panel which hides with a touch of a finger. The door opens smoothly (if you prefer, with a wave of a hand), and closes with a gentle nudge. You do not need to worry about spilling the soup or your coffee when the door glides in and out.
6) Worthwhile to Mention: Viking VMOD5240SS
Viking has been featuring a popular 1,000 Watt microwave drawer for the past few years VMOD5240SS and it comes with a full 2 year warranty and a 5 year limited warranty for magnetron tubes plus an amazing 90 day cosmetic warranty. It might be a good idea for Viking wall ovens to give a facelift to the product to match the streamlined look of Sharp and other competitors.
Monogram Microwave Drawer ZWL1126SJSS has a great price point and complements the greater product line.
A microwave drawer is a great way to upgrade the overall design of your kitchen. While you will pay a bit more for a microwave drawer, the longer life-span of the drawer (over a countertop microwave) as well as the ease of use and ergonomic benefits under the counter are well worth it.
Some manufacturers offer a free microwave drawer or a money back rebate when purchasing their appliance packages. We find this value-driven incentive a great way to include one of these fantastic products in your kitchen plans.
Are Microwave Drawers Worth It?
A typical microwave drawer costs approximately $999. A typical mid-range, highly rated built-in microwave such as the Frigidaire Professional FPMO227NUF costs $399 and it needs to be integrated with a trim kit which typically costs $149 for a total of $548. Considering you will not be able to install a built-in microwave under a counter or like a drawer in island the premium is less than $500. Also, keep in mind that some manufacturers offer savings towards microwave purchases in order to encourage kitchen appliance package sales.
Join the Conversation
See what other Designer Appliances readers are saying.
SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on October 13, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.