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Everything You Need to Know About Microwave Drawers

A microwave drawer can give homeowners the ability to tuck this appliance under the counter in their kitchen design. If you’re considering a drawer microwave, keep reading to learn all about how they work, the pros and cons, and more.

It’s easy to see why microwave drawers are so popular! They are the ultimate in form and function, taking the kitchen design world by storm as soon as they hit the market.

When we were designing our new kitchen, I knew right away that I wanted an under counter microwave in our island. It was the most visually unobtrusive option, and you all know that I love a clean, minimalist kitchen.

A microwave drawer is the modern choice, bringing form and function to your kitchen. There are a variety of makes, models, styles, and finishes to choose from.

In addition to a modern under counter microwave, we updated our kitchen with panel ready appliances that blend seamlessly with our creamy inset cabinets. We also added a gorgeous French Lacanche Range that is a showstopper and panel ready appliances.

If you’re thinking of adding a microwave to your island, make sure to check out my Kitchen Island Dimension Guidelines. It’s a lifesaver when it comes to planning your space!

If you’re not quite ready for a big remodel, take a look at my Kitchen Remodel Ideas on a Budget and How to Update a Kitchen with Oak Cabinets (Without Painting Them). You’ll find a lot of great ideas!

Keep reading for all about microwave drawers and how they can benefit your kitchen!

Table of Contents


Types of Microwaves

There are three main types of microwaves: countertop, over-oven (aka built-in), and under-counter (aka microwave drawer). Here’s a bit more about each one.

  • Countertop Microwaves – The first models to hit the market, countertop microwaves get the job done and they’re usually the most inexpensive. However, they take up valuable real estate in the kitchen. Countertop space is at a premium, whether it’s a workspace or just to keep it visually open. Find my favorite tips for how to eliminate kitchen counter clutter here.
  • Over the Oven Microwaves – Over the range microwaves are typically mounted to the wall and installed between two cabinets. Generally speaking, you purchase a size that is as close as possible to the space you have to fill, and it comes with filler pieces to make up the difference. This type of microwave requires some type of ventilation system.
  • Microwave Drawers – If you want the microwave in island look, you’ll need to purchase a microwave drawer. A drawer microwave fits under the counter in a lower cabinet. They allow countertops to stay uncluttered, while also creating a more seamless aesthetic overall.

Where to Install Under Counter Microwave

Microwave drawers are especially popular in kitchen islands, because it’s such a central, convenient location for use. However, they can be installed under any countertop or in any wall cabinet. They can go against a corner or next to a wall – basically anywhere a wall oven can be installed.

Some homeowners like to stack their microwave drawer just under a wall oven, so all of their cooking appliances are together in one place. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.

One other thing to consider is that microwave drawers can be installed flush with the cabinet face for a more seamless look or installed proud, which means protruding slightly in front of the cabinets. How you choose to do it depends on your personal preference.

How Does an Under Counter Microwave Work?

Microwave drawers are extremely user friendly. When you’re ready to use it, simply open it with the touch of a button. The drawer will slide out, rather than swing on a hinge like traditional microwaves.

Lower your food inside the tray, then select your desired settings on the control panel. Close the drawer with another touch of a button. That’s it! Keep reading for some of the pros and cons.

Microwave in Island Sizes

Regardless of the brand, there are currently two sizes available for the exterior of the drawer, but the interior size is the same.

Outside width: 24″ or 30″ (24″ is the most popular size)

Interior measurements (same for 24″ and 30″ models): 17 5/16” W x 7 1/8” H x 16 9/16” D (1.2 cu. ft)

Microwave in Island Pros and Cons

Personally, I don’t think there is much to not love about having a drawer-style microwave. But I’ll let you decide for yourselves. Here’s a list of some of the pros and cons of under counter microwaves:

Pros of Microwave Drawers

  • Additional countertop space – Like an over the oven microwave, a microwave drawer leaves your countertops clear for workspace, decor items, or just to be visually open.
  • Space for an oven hood – Custom oven hoods are trending right now, and you can’t exactly have one with a microwave over your oven. A microwave drawer allows you to install an oven hood that can be a statement piece in your kitchen.
  • Improved accessibility – These open out instead of swinging on a hinge. This is good news for anyone who is left-handed or who may have trouble lifting heavy dishes above chest height. With a lower microwave, they can easily lower dishes in and lift them out.
  • Easy to clean – Not only are these microwaves easier to reach, but without a turntable they don’t have any nooks and crannies. They have only easy-to-clean flat surfaces.
  • Design is modern – Most models have a sleek design that fits well into a modern aesthetic. However, it looks right at home in a more classic style like mine, because it makes the space look updated and fresh. For another example, look at this Modern Kitchen in an Old House that I toured – it’s amazing!
  • Safety features – Some parents are concerned about having a microwave that is low enough for their children to reach. There’s no need to worry! Under counter microwaves have a feature that allows adults to lock the control panel. It can be set as the default, so you can rest assured your children can’t use it without you present.
  • Large capacity – You don’t have to compromise on space. The interior can fit a 4-qt casserole dish, which I find is plenty of space.
  • Cook as you go – You can easily add seasoning or stir without removing your food from the microwave. Just open the drawer, stir your food, and close again. It’s that simple!

Cons of Microwave Drawers

  • No convection – Convection cooking occurs through circulating hot air throughout the appliance. Currently, this can’t be done in any microwave drawer due to lack of ventilation. This means no broiling or baking like you can in a regular oven.
  • No turntable – Microwave drawers have newer technology that doesn’t use turntables to heat food. That’s only a con if you’re really set on the old way of doing things.
  • Same heating capabilities as other microwaves – They do a good job, but they aren’t going to work miracles on frozen food.
  • Limited sizes – Only 24″ and 30″ widths are currently available, and the interior sizes are all the same across brands.
  • Installation – Installing a microwave in your island is a bit more complicated than plugging one into your wall. If you’re not really familiar with what you’re doing, I recommend hiring a professional electrician to do the job.
  • Cost – Traditional microwaves cost between $100 – $500. You will pay more to get the premium design and features of a microwave drawer in your island. An under counter microwave drawer typically costs about $1,000 but can cost up to $1,800, not including installation.

Our under counter drawer microwave.

Why Are Microwave Drawers Expensive?

There’s no way around it. If you want the microwave drawer look and function, you’re going to pay more for it.

The main reason is because the technology belongs to SHARP, which means they make all of the microwave drawers and can charge as much as they want for them. Also, these are the only microwaves that don’t rely on turntables to heat food, so the parts are unique. Unique equals more expensive. And finally, the parts are high-quality and up-to-date, which means they will cost more.

Other companies, like Bosch, GE, and KitchenAid, buy the base microwave from SHARP at a high price, then add extra parts to it to make it their own. Technically, they could add cheap parts to try to save a few dollars, but what’s the point? If they’re already spending $900 on a base microwave, it makes sense to add high-quality parts.

This is why microwave drawers are at their current pricepoint, and it’s why they aren’t likely to drop any time soon.

Is a Under Counter Microwave Worth It?

The answer to this question is entirely up to you. I obviously decided that for me, the answer was yes!

You can read all about how we designed our kitchen, specifically how we decided where to compromise and where to splurge in this post – Classic Kitchen: Give and Take. I hope it will give you some inspiration for your own spaces.

If cost is your only consideration, there are definitely more affordable options in microwaves. However, if you’re considering the form, function, and premium features of a microwave drawer, the higher cost may be worth it to you. Only you can decide that.

For some people, other factors are more important than the cost. Maybe they love the sleek, uncluttered look of having a microwave in their island. Or perhaps they have a condition, such as arthritis, that makes it difficult to lift dishes into an over-oven microwave. Improved accessibility is a big reason many people choose to go with under counter microwaves.

One thing to consider is that sometimes brands will run deals that offer free microwave drawers when you purchase their appliance package. That could be a big savings if you’re in the market for new appliances.

Think of what is important to you, then decide if the extra cost is worth it to you. If your answer is yes, maybe it would mean a few extra months of saving. That’s worth it for years of enjoying what you want, right?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a microwave in an island?

The answer is, it depends. You can’t put a regular counter microwave in an island, because it doesn’t have the right ventilation. The best way to have a microwave in island is to purchase a microwave drawer and have it professionally installed.

It is designed to be built in to a cabinet. Technically, you can put an over-oven microwave in an island IF the ventilation comes out the top front. You’d need to build a base for it to sit on, add brackets for it to rest on, and make sure it is ventilating properly. Do NOT put it behind a closed door.

Why do people put microwave in island?

Many people love the modern, sleek design of having a microwave in their island. It leaves the view of their kitchen more unobstructed. For others, they love the improved accessibility it offers.

Simply put, a microwave in the island is a lot easier to reach and clean. It’s easier and saver for people who may struggle to lift heavy dishes up an over-oven microwave. For many people, the higher price tag is worth it.

What kind of microwave goes in an island?

It’s called a microwave drawer or an under counter microwave. Almost all major brands make their own model, but most of the controls and features are similar across brands.

The major differences from regular microwaves are that it slides open like a drawer, rather than swinging on a hinge, and that it doesn’t use a turntable to heat food.

How do drawer microwaves vent?

Microwave drawers are self-contained united, meaning that they have ventilation systems built in and no additional ventilation systems are necessary.


Sharp Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer | Sharp Microwave Drawer Oven with Handle | Bosch Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer | Frigidaire Professional Convection Microwave Oven with Drop-Down Door | Thermador Drawer Microwave | KitchenAid Microwave Drawer

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6 Best Microwave Drawers [& Why You Should Buy] | Albert Lee

It’s not everyday microwave and luxury are used in the same sentence. But the humble kitchen appliance has gotten a major makeover with microwave drawers, a new way to integrate the cooking appliance into the kitchen in seamless fashion.

Like you, we were curious about the hype, so to better understand it, we researched why you should buy a microwave drawer, what to expect, and the best microwave drawer brands on the market — and the reviews are in! Follow to discover six of the best drawer microwave options from our catalog of reliable appliances.

At a Glance:

What Are Microwave Drawers

Our Best Microwave Drawer Picks

Our Selection Process


Why Trust Us?

Microwave Drawers: What Are They? Should You Consider Them?

If you were to ask us “what is a microwave drawer?”, we’d say it’s luxury convenience at its finest. Popping food into a microwave for quick meals is already pretty handy, but undercounter microwave drawers have one major advantage over traditional countertop microwaves, and that’s their ability to organically blend into their surroundings.

In other words, you can consider that block of countertop space your current microwave is hogging reclaimed. Microwave drawers also are extremely designer-friendly. Whether it’s on a kitchen island, beneath a wall oven, or next to a built-in coffee maker, pull-out drawer-style microwaves can be installed virtually anywhere in the kitchen to craft optimum kitchen workflow.

What you should know

  • Microwave drawers come in 24” and 30” models.
  • A 24” microwave drawer and a 30” microwave drawer will have the same capacity (1.2 cu. ft.).
  • Microwave drawers do not come with convection like speed ovens nor ventilation like over-the-range microwaves. 
  • The price of a microwave drawer starts at around $1,000.

Learn About Other Luxury Appliances: You Asked, We Answered: What is a Speed Oven? [+ Reviews]

Benefits of a Microwave Drawer

It might be a while before the faithful countertop microwave gets replaced, but microwave drawers come with several advantages that make the transition worth it. These are some we like:

Gives back countertop space 

Provides easy access for everyone

Child lock safety features are included

No turntable means fewer parts to clean

Removing the turntable also makes it easier to fit dishes of various sizes

There is no handle, so installation is easier

Our Best Microwave Drawer Picks

The built-in microwave drawer sector is still pretty new on the market, but we still have our favorites. Here are microwave drawer reviews for six of the best models from our catalog.

Best Overall: Beko 1.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Built-In Microwave Drawer (MWDR24100SS)

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Install this 24” microwave drawer from Beko in your kitchen to do fast meals and snacks in style. Lined in stainless steel with contrasting black glass and digital controls, this model is a complement to essentially any kitchen style. Prepare foods with ideal results at the touch of a button with a total of 10 preset sensor cook modes for quick and easy operation.


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • 950 watts
  • 10 power levels
  • Auto open feature 

Best Value: Sharp® Carousel® 1.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer® (KB6524PSY)

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If you want the look of the handle to match your other kitchen appliances, this Sharp microwave drawer is a must-see. Features on this Sharp 24” microwave drawer include a large interior with enough room to accommodate a 4-quart casserole dish, plus overhead clearance to fit 20-ounce cups. You’ll also enjoy a list of flexible cooking modes with sensor cooking technology, all from the brand who created “the world’s first Microwave Drawer.”


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • 950 watts 
  • 11 power levels
  • Sensor cooking

Best Splurge: Wolf® 1.

2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Built In Microwave (MD24TE/S)

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Your gourmet kitchen is missing the smooth and sophisticated stylings of this Wolf microwave drawer. Designed to flawlessly match Wolf E series ovens, this model helps keep your flow while you cook with 10 power levels and 950 watts to prepare food deliciously and fast. Install in a kitchen island, beneath countertops, or along with your Wolf oven for a two-in-one workstation.


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • 950 watts 
  • 10 power levels 
  • One-touch door open function
  • Digital controls 

Best 30” Microwave Drawer: Thermador® Masterpiece® Professional 1.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Built In MicroDrawer® Microwave (MD30WS)

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Roll out this Thermador microwave drawer during your next soiree to impress guests with the element of surprise. Showcasing the professional look of Thermador’s Masterpiece collection, this high-end microwave drawer is crafted to perfection, and with multiple cooking modes and high-power output, your food will too.


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet 
  • 950 watts
  • 10 cooking modes
  • Humidity sensor mode
  • One-touch open/close function 

See How They Compare: Sub-Zero vs Thermador vs Liebherr Comparison Guide

Best JennAir Microwave Drawer: JennAir® NOIR™ 1.2 Cu. Ft. Floating Glass Black Under Counter Microwave (JMDFS30HM)

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Sleek in black, this microwave drawer captures the alluring essence of the NOIR collection from JennAir. Make a statement with its 30” build, featuring a full panel of controls atop and stainless steel below for a touch of timeless elegance. There’s a selection for all your favorites, from popcorn for movie night to a Melt setting to indulge in your chocolatey, guilty pleasures.


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • 950 watts
  • 11 power levels
  • One-touch open function

Best Bosch Microwave Drawer: Bosch 800 Series 1.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Drawer Microwave (HMD8451UC)

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This model, from Bosch’s premium 800 Series line of appliances, is a buyer’s favorite. According to buyers, highlights include the spacious overhead clearance and ease of use, along with a handsome design that blends with any kitchen theme. There’s always a cooking option with automatic sensor programs and 11 power levels, so all you need to do is insert food, select the setting, and dine.


  • Total capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • 950 watts
  • 11 power levels
  • Touch open/close function 

How We Chose Our Top Microwave Drawers

What goes into a reliable microwave drawer? For us, these matter the most:

Microwave Power

How much watt power does a microwave need? If you want to cook meals quickly, anywhere between 900–1000 watts will do the job. Any less and food will need to cook longer, which wastes time and affects the texture of the food. Each model in our lineup passes the test with 950 watts of power.


A big part of upgrading to a microwave drawer is to achieve a streamlined kitchen. The best microwave drawers used vivid digital controls and wide windows for an easy look inside. Additionally, we preferred the experience of a handless design over models with a handle.


Do you need a special cabinet for a drawer microwave?

Luckily, no special cabinetry is needed to install a drawer-style microwave. Just make sure the cabinet where your new unit will go measures 24, 27, or 30 inches, depending on the size of the model.

How do you install a microwave drawer?

Like most built-in appliances, it’s best to contact professional installation near you to install your new microwave drawer. Before calling, make sure to consider the microwave drawer dimensions of the model you select, keeping in mind if you want a flush or “proud” presentation. While a flush install sits completely even with cabinetry, the proud fit protrudes slightly.

How do you use a microwave drawer?

Using a pull-out microwave drawer is just as simple as a regular microwave. Most models have a one-touch open and close feature. Once opened, pop food in, select the cook setting, and enjoy!

Why Trust Us?

Since 1939, Albert Lee Appliance, a three-generation, family-owned business, continues to grow and serve the greater Seattle area with the quality you can count on and service you can trust. We are proud to have served this community for so long and wouldn’t be here without our loyal customers. There is a reason why we are Washington’s largest independent appliance dealer, and it’s not a secret. Simply put: We have the experience. We are the original appliance experts for over eight decades (and counting).

Shop Microwave Drawers at Albert Lee

At Albert Lee Appliance, we provide quality name-brand appliances for great prices. Shop microwave drawers online or visit us today at one of our locations in Puget Sound, WA. In the meantime, browse our website to shop Albert Lee appliance sales and check out Albert Lee appliance reviews online to ensure every purchase is an informed one. More available than ever, our experts at Albert Lee Appliance are always happy to help you discover the best microwave drawer, whether you call us or use our online chat feature. Contact us today!

Learn More: The Complete Appliance Buying Guide

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What sizes are built-in microwave ovens

Premium built-in appliances combine high functionality with the ability to optimally fit the device into the interior of the kitchen and save space. Built-in microwave ovens have long allowed not only to heat up food, but also to cook chicken or meat with a golden crust, bake a pie or a cupcake.

A microwave oven is not a very large unit; it is successfully built into a cabinet of a kitchen set, into a hanging cabinet, into a niche. The modern production of microwave ovens focuses specifically on built-in models – their choice is very large.

In addition to the usual solo ovens that cook using microwaves, the Hausdorf online store presents devices with a grill, convection, a pizza baking function and quick defrosting of products. We offer customers models with electronic and mechanical control systems, in modern and classic style, in a variety of colors, with bronze, steel, brass finishes. The design of built-in models does not have legs for height adjustment, and the facade can be decorative or open.

What are the sizes of built-in microwave ovens

What are the sizes of built-in microwave ovens

What are the sizes of built-in microwave ovens

Manufacturers choose the standard dimensions of the built-in microwave based on the dimensions of the kitchen furniture.

Width of built-in microwave ovens

  • The minimum width is 48 cm. Narrow models are very rare.
  • Standard width is 58-60cm according to kitchen cabinet or column width. For example, the built-in model Bosch BFL 520 MS0 with a volume of 20 liters and a width of 60 cm is in demand.
  • Wide built-in devices for the home (over 60 cm) are also available in a limited range. For example, the 76 cm wide Wolf ICCBMDD30PM/S/PH with a hinged door can be considered a semi-professional model.

Height of built-in microwave ovens

  • The standard height is between 30 and 40 cm, but ovens less than 35 cm high are rare. One of the lowest Neff C17WR00N0 is 38 cm.
  • Tall models – 40 cm or more. Furnaces above 50 cm are also very rare. For example, Kaiser EH 6319 at 49 cm is one of the tallest in our store.

Depth built-in microwave ovens

  • Minimum depth – 30-31 cm. Shallow microwaves have a small volume up to 20 liters. Miele M6030SC EDST/CLST with a depth of 31 cm has a volume of 17 liters.
  • Standard models up to 55 cm deep are the most common. Most often you can see a microwave oven with a depth of 38-40 cm.
  • Deep models – large volume devices, up to 60-65 cm. Smeg SF4800MPO with a depth of 56 cm has a volume of 40 liters.

Embedding parameters: niche and cabinet dimensions

You can place the microwave at any height, but the optimal position is not lower than the level of the countertop (82-85 cm) and not higher than eye level – this parameter is selected individually, taking into account the height of the user.

If the oven, especially the multifunctional one, is located at the level of the face, it should be opened carefully to avoid burns from hot steam. It is recommended to avoid the proximity of the microwave oven to the sink and hob, as well as to the heating radiator.

Each product presented in the store is accompanied by instructions and an embedding diagram with dimensions, and for most models, dimensions are given for embedding both in a cabinet and in a niche.

For example, for a Smeg SF4102MB microwave oven, the width of the niche should exceed the width of the device by 4-10 cm, the height by 3-5 cm, and the depth by 12 cm. The same ratios are observed when installing the product in a cabinet or column. As a rule, a place for a microwave oven is selected at the stage of designing a kitchen.

You may be interested in:

How to choose a microwave ovenWhat size microwave ovens are How to clean the microwave oven cavity effectively?

Standard dimensions for built-in microwave ovens


1. Standard dimensions for built-in microwave ovens
2. Cabinet parameters
3. Built-in niche dimensions

Built-in microwave ovens with grill function will help diversify your menu, cook tasty and healthy food. They can be built into a column with other kitchen appliances – dish warmers, ovens, coffee machines, thereby saving space in small kitchens. The only unacceptable combination is with a dishwasher, the latter may fail.

Kitchen cabinets are produced in standard sizes, so it is important to know the parameters below. After all, in case of an error, you will have to redo it or order it according to the parameters of the purchased equipment.

The standard parameters of built-in microwave ovens are as follows:

small Medium Large
Width (cm) 45-55 55-60 60
Depth (cm) thirty 45-55 55-60
Height (cm) thirty 40-45 45

Compact models can have a volume of up to 20-25 liters. They have a small set of functions, low power, which, on the one hand, will not create a load on the old wiring, and on the other hand, will limit the possibilities.

Averages are already designed for more decent batches of food.