Is a Microwave Drawer Right For Your Kitchen?

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Building a home or planning a kitchen renovation? You’ll be making quite a few decisions during the design process. If you are wondering if you should install a microwave drawer, then this post is for you! See how this under-cabinet option stacks up when it comes to cost, placement, and convenience.

classic white kitchen with marble countertops, white subway tile, hardwood floors and unlacquered brass hardware, microwave in a drawer

What is a microwave drawer?

First, let me review the different types of microwaves found in a kitchen:

  • Countertop – sits on the counter and takes up space but is easy to move and inexpensive
  • Above the range – installed under cabinetry above the stove and usually has a ventilation system underneath
  • Built-in – usually paired with a wall oven this is installed at eye level in tall cabinetry
  • Drawer – installed in a cabinet underneath the countertop
Stefana Silber demonstrating how to open the control panel and use the microwave

The name makes it sound like a microwave installed inside a drawer when in fact the drawer part refers to the mechanism of the opening. Instead of a hinged door that swings open like a traditional countertop or over-the-stove microwave, the door opens like a drawer, and food is placed in from the top. No reaching at an awkward angle!

Microwave drawer installed with inset cabinets
Stefana Silber showing how a dish fits into her microwave drawer that doesn't have a turntable

They’ve been around for a few years, but have become a top kitchen trend for updates or remodels. One of the simplest ways to elevate your kitchen is to have clutter-free countertops and having your microwave tucked underneath, you’ll be saving yourself counter space.

This is the model that we have in our kitchen. It is a few years old already and has held up great! No issues at all.


23″D x 30″W x 15.88″H

Built-in and drawer microwaves are more expensive and therefore associated with luxury. Convenience and quality are the top features that people are willing to pay extra for: especially in the home. The control panel is hidden from view and simply pulls open when needed. A sleek, modern look is also considered more updated and luxurious.

Why are microwave drawers more expensive?

Like everything else, you pay more for modern style and convenience. During the planning phase of my kitchen renovation, I worked closely with designers to finalize the layout. This is where I learned that installing a microwave drawer requires a special cabinet.

Freshly installed white inset kitchen cabinets, special cabinet that will accommodate microwave drawer

Most drawer-style microwaves come in a couple of different widths. If you’ve already purchased one you’ll need to find a cabinet that will accommodate it. Otherwise, after your cabinets are installed you can find one that fits.

Notice that a drawer microwave has no glass turntable inside. They are designed to cook food evenly without rotation so you don’t have to worry about heating larger amounts of food.

under countertop microwave with drawer open no turntable

Planning a kitchen remodel is stressful and issues are bound to come up. Working with a kitchen designer will keep problems to a minimum and while you pay a little extra, the help will save your sanity.


Where can you install a drawer microwave?

One of the most popular spots to install a microwave drawer is a kitchen island. I don’t know about you, but our microwave gets used frequently, so having it out of the way keeps your kitchen functional.

Consider the layout of your kitchen and where appliances are in relation to each other and the sink area. There should be enough space for you to freely move around from one area to the next.

The corner where we installed the microwave is near the cabinets that serve as a pantry and sits just a few steps away from the fridge. (Most foods you microwave come out of the fridge). Since I have plenty of cabinet and counter space we determined that this was the best spot for the microwave and we made the right choice.

Technically, a drawer microwave can be installed anywhere under the counter. But installing a regular built-in microwave drawer under the counter doesn’t come with the benefits of the microwave drawer. A swing-open microwave door will require you to bend down to look under the counter to place and retrieve the food. You need the special drawer microwave for an under-counter installation.

Stefana Silber demonstrating how to use a drawer microwave's pull down control panel

The location should be convenient and well-planned. We adapt to our surroundings but if you can make changes that will make a space more functional then you should.

Pros and cons

Before you spend a lot of time and money making a decision, let us review the pros and cons of a microwave drawer.


  • Push button open and close feature. You can also push it closed.
  • Easy access for kids or vertically challenged adults.
  • No reaching to clean
  • No turntable – cooks evenly without it.


  • More expensive.
  • Small children can access it, but some models may have a child-proof control panel.
  • It will stick out if you have inset kitchen cabinets.

pull down control panel on under counter microwave
microwave drawer been closed by pushing

Frequently asked questions

Can I put a regular microwave in a drawer?

It is not recommended to install a conventional tabletop microwave inside a drawer. There needs to be proper ventilation and it would be difficult to open and close the swinging door.

What size microwave drawer will fit in a cabinet?

Both the microwave and the cabinet come in different widths. Therefore both should be measured to determine the right combination.

Where should a microwave drawer be located in a kitchen?

It should be installed in a place that is convenient and accessible with just a few steps. When upgrading a kitchen it can be placed under the island counter to keep it hidden from sight.

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  1. Great article, we are wanting to change our microwave from above range to drawer style. When you state expensive what is range ? I have no idea what to compare it to.
    Thank you

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