Range Hood vs Microwave: What Makes The Actual Difference?

by Hari Won

If you are going to build your new kitchen or redesign it then a general that may stick you is that which one is better- Range hood or over the range Microwave. Not only have you maximum people faced this problem.

Though as a functional view there is not much difference between them, you should know which one is best for you.

To determine it, you have to know their features and positive and negative sides.

For you, in this article, I have brought detail features as well as advantages and disadvantages of range hood and microwaves. Let's see.

Range Hood vs Microwave:

Range Hood vs Microwave:
Range Hood vs Microwave:

Range Hood:

A range hood is an enclosure in an area over your range. The others name of it is exhaust hood or vent hood. It uses a fan to gather steam, fumes, smoke, and other airborne particles. These particles are usually generated while cooking.

Read our range hood buying guide.


The over the range microwave is a microwave mounted above the surface of cooktop or range. It is shortly known as OTR. It functions as a ventilation fan also that can recirculate the air through a filter.

Range Hood or Microwave: Which one you should choose?

Really it is very tough to say. Rather I can mention some variables that you should consider whether you need a regular range hood or Over-the-range microwave.

  • Is it an electric or gas range?

You should look out first whether it is a gas range. If it is a gas range then it will contain a much higher output like much hotter, and much poisonous.

In that case, install height matters. Check the type of materials the hood are made from metal or plastic. Remember that plastic melts easily at high heat).

  • How many CFM is there?

CFM (cubic feet per minute) is a key factor. It will let you know whether you should go through range hood or microwave. If the CFM is more you may have to add an air back into your kitchen.

Bathroom fans are generally around 90 CFM. It varies sometimes depending on how much the house cost at the time of building the house. Suppose you have three fans of 90 CFM and all are on.

In this situation if your kitchen has 800 CFM hood, then it might be pulling the air that you are trying to vent out. This is not good at all for your kitchen as well as your safety.

There are some ways to circumvent it, but it is very costly to effort.

  • Is your apartment or kitchen small?

Have you a small apartment and kitchen? Then Over-the-range (OTR) microwave can be your best choice. I recommend OTR microwave only for small apartments with limited space.

It is very ideal for the small kitchen where people, in general, do a very little cooking.

But if you need to go through a huge amount of cooking then you should go for a professional vent. Especially OTR is not appropriate for greasy and oily foods cocking. In that case, you may need to install the air intake system (If your local building codes requires)

But no building codes require for installing microwave hood vents as manufacturers have the standards for installation of their own. They place this standard of installation depending on the:

a) Range

b) The Micro/hood

c) The type of cabinetry

d) Duct size

What to Consider?

  1. Safety should be the major concern that you should take into consideration for making your choice.
  2. The OTR microwave is installed 5 feet above the range. So it becomes difficult to use for the people who are comparatively short
  3. Children also may face problem to use it.
  4. This can cause a dangerous situation when they will try to heat up something heavy.
  5. Your head may hit it if you leave the door accidentally open.
  6. You also have to consider before making your final choice.
  7. Today you will find over the range (OTR) microwaves in a variety of styles and colors.
  8. Some may look dated as well as not very professional. You should avoid them.
  9. If you want to go for only professional style look, then a range hood is probably the better choice for you.
  10. The range hood is more minimal in high-end appliances.
  11. The most important fact that you must have to consider is their effectiveness.
  12. The over the range microwave is usually 12 in deep.
  13. On the other hand, a range hood is 19 in deep.
  14. So, the range hood is more professional than OTR microwave.
  15. A range hood is also best suitable for a huge amount of cocking.
  16. However, you should choose OTR microwave to avoid the using of burners often.
  17. The over the range microwave can be your right choice if you have a lack of space.

Final Thought

After all, I think you have now a clear idea on range hood and microwave. Basically, it is a little bit difficult to draw an end line that which one is better among these two kitchen cabinets.

Though range hood has better user experience yet, it will be better for you to make a detailed comparison before taking your final decision. You can take into consideration also the opinion of the current user.

The effectiveness of these two largely depends on some facts like kitchen size, the height of roof from the ground's position of kitchen etc. Considering all these you should take your final decision.

About Hari Won

Hari has been a close friend with Josh since kindergarten. Her place is right around the corner from Josh’s.
She claims they are only friends. Hari also loves to drink. By accident, she tried her first taste of beer in middle school; felt in love with them since then.
Life has been up and down lately for Hari. She and/or other friends often meet up with Josh for a few packs. They may drink through the night, while taking turn to tell their life stories.
Hari received her BS degree in biochemistry from University of Phoenix. She hoped to become a great brewmaster someday...

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