It's funny...I looked through my project images, and I think I knew right away that I didn't have an image of a project I'd designed with an over-the-range microwave. I may have used this type of microwave a handful of times, possibly many, in builder projects I've done, but, I've always had a huge bias against them...and I bought one yesterday!
Let me just make it simple and do a pros and cons evaluation:
1. A space saving appliance. For an apartment-sized kitchen, it's no less than a God-send.
(I honestly cannot think of another "pro" to the over-the-range microwave...geez.)
1. It is typically situated at an uncomfortable height. If one is short in height, or a child, it can be difficult to reach in and out.
2. Along with #1, of course, comes the possibility of danger, first, if the container becomes hot, and one is taking it out at this uncomfortable height, but also, if there are items cooking on the stove and one reaches for the microwave. Take care!
3. If the microwave cannot be ducted out, the fan is nearly useless, as it becomes a recirculating fan.
4. Most microwaves are approximately 12" deep, which only cover the rear two burners if the ducted fan is turned on.
5. The typical 300 cfm fan capacity is a poor performer in terms of ventilating power.
6. Due to the height of the microwave, very tall pots pose a problem in cooking comfortably, including being able to see the contents of the pot.
I mentioned the reasons that I bought one of these in this post. It's definitely a love/hate thing, I'm sure, for many of us. Image is from GE, which has a whole lot of choices in microwaves. Kelli, in a comment from the original post mentioned, asked, "What's the alternative?"
1. Do you REALLY use a microwave, do you really need one? A good question to ask, in general.
2. Can you find any other space to build in a microwave? If built in, remember, you must have a trim kit for proper ventilation around the appliance.
3. Can you simply place the microwave (perhaps a small one) on the countertop?
4. Check out GE's Trivection range...not a microwave, but a speedy oven, with microwave technology inside.
5. Perhaps a microwave drawer?
6. Are you rich? Buy a TurboChef.
Much of this discussion depends on if the kitchen is being designed from scratch, or, simply, as in my case, a space is open, and now that space will be filled again with this type of microwave. I can deal with this solution for now.