Kitchens today serve many purposes beyond just food preparation. For many homeowners, the kitchen is the hub of the home where family and friends gather together. With open floor plans becoming more popular, the kitchen is also increasingly visible from multiple rooms. All these factors make a stylish, functional kitchen more important than ever.
One simple yet impactful upgrade for contemporary kitchens is installing a shallow “low-profile” microwave oven in an upper cabinet. This innovative solution delivers valuable benefits that can transform your cooking experience.
Benefits of Putting a Microwave in an Upper Cabinet
Integrating a slender microwave oven into an upper cabinet provides several advantages over placing one on the countertop or elsewhere. Let’s explore why this has become such a popular kitchen upgrade trend.
- Frees up valuable countertop space – Eliminating a bulky microwave clears room for meal prep or appliances.
- Creates a cleaner, more streamlined look – Built-in ovens appear more integrated than countertop models.
- Makes microwave easily accessible at eye level – No more bending down to use the appliance.
- Allows you to maximize kitchen functionality and storage – Upper cabinet installation improves workflow.
With these benefits, it’s easy to see the appeal of an upper cabinet microwave installation. The key is choosing the right shallow model to fit your available space.
What is a Shallow Microwave?
Shallow, low-profile microwaves are compact oven appliances specifically designed for built-in installation scenarios. Here are the key features of these microwave ovens:
- Definition: Compact microwave ovens less than 15 inches deep.
- Typical sizes: 12, 13, or 14 inches deep, under 30 inches wide.
- Allows installation in tight cabinet spaces.
- Lower wattages than standard microwaves (usually under 1000W).
Thanks to their reduced depth, these miniature microwave ovens can fit into narrow upper cabinet spaces as shallow as 12 inches. This versatility makes them perfect for small or galley kitchen layouts where horizontal space is limited.
Selecting the optimal shallow microwave starts with carefully measuring your existing cabinetry. Take into account:
- Cabinet interior height, width, and depth.
- Ensuring adequate clearance for open doors/drawers.
- Microwave capacity and interior dimensions.
- Custom cabinetry/remodeling if needed.
Ideally, you want at least 2 inches of clearance on all sides for proper ventilation. Double check that adjacent cabinet doors and drawers can open without obstruction after installation.
If your upper cabinets are less than 12 inches deep, custom shallower cabinetry or other remodeling may be required. Consult an expert kitchen designer or contractor for the best solutions.
Installation Tips and Steps
Once you’ve selected the right shallow microwave based on accurate measurements, it’s time to tackle the installation. We recommend the following tips for a smooth and successful upper cabinet installation:
- Use proper mounting brackets for weight and stability.
- Pay attention to electrical setup and outlet positioning.
- Make any necessary cutouts for vents/filters.
- Consider finishing trim kits for a built-in look.
- Closely follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Hire a contractor for complex installations if needed.
Some key steps will be securing the mounting bracket to the cabinet bottom, configuring the electrical supply, and making cutouts for ventilation. The microwave should be level and have adequate support. Carefully following the manufacturer’s directions can ensure safety and ideal performance.
One essential consideration for an enclosed upper cabinet microwave is proper ventilation. Microwave ovens require airflow to operate safely and effectively. Here are some strategies to provide adequate ventilation:
- Range hoods
- External vents
- Ductless ventilation options
Without proper ventilation, the microwave could potentially overheat, malfunction, or be damaged. Enabling air to circulate, such as through integrated range hood systems, is vital for shallow built-in microwave ovens in upper cabinets.
Additional Features to Look For
When selecting your streamlined microwave for upper cabinet installation, keep an eye out for these helpful extra features:
- Adjustable/removable shelves – allow flexible storage solutions.
- Touchless controls like voice activation – prevent splashes/spills from impacting touchscreens.
- Interior lighting – enables seeing contents clearly.
- Sensors to automatically adjust cook times as needed.
The right combination of size, power, and bonus features will provide the most convenience in your new built-in microwave.
Safety Tips and Standards
All microwave installation should adhere to proper safety guidelines. When positioning your shallow microwave in an upper cabinet, remember:
- Secure the microwave safely by following instructions.
- Review electrical codes to ensure compliant setup.
- Only operate the microwave once fully installed and grounded.
- Carefully follow all manufacturer safety directions.
Never compromise safety in pursuit of stylish design. With careful planning and workmanship, your low-profile microwave can deliver beauty and convenience safely.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Despite best efforts, you may encounter minor problems when installing a streamlined microwave in an upper cabinet:
- Cabinet door/drawer clearance – Double check measurements if doors won’t close properly after installation.
- Stability concerns – Microwave should be level and securely fastened.
- Noise issues from vibrations – Ensure microwave is isolated from cabinet contact.
- Ventilation problems leading to overheating – Confirm vents/airflow paths are clear.
Careful installation and following instructions can avoid most challenges. But if problems do arise, don’t hesitate to consult the experts for solutions.
Installing a compact, shallow microwave oven in an upper kitchen cabinet delivers valuable extra space and stylish built-in appeal. With accurate planning and measurements, the right microwave model, and proper installation, you can unlock the benefits of this smart kitchen upgrade.
Just remember to consider cabinet dimensions, electrical and ventilation needs, and safety guidelines. By integrating a streamlined yet powerful microwave into your upper cabinetry, you can enjoy optimized cooking convenience in even the smallest kitchen.