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RANGE HOOD VS. OVER THE RANGE MICROWAVE COMPARISON

When it comes to home purchases, you want to make sure you’re buying appliances that won’t slow you down—that’s why it’s important to find the type of microwave that works for you. Knowing the pros and cons of the models you’re interested in can help. 

This guide will break down the differences between range hood and over-the-range microwaves to help you choose the best model for your kitchen.

Appliance purchases are a big decision, so it’s important to know all the pros and cons of a range hood vs. microwave.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RANGE HOOD AND A MICROWAVE VENT HOOD?

The main difference between a “standard” range hood and an over-the-range microwave is that range hoods are designed for venting only while microwave hoods combine functions of both venting and cooking.

Your microwave can help clear the air as you cook to make mealtimes run smoothly. Breaking down the differences between range hoods and over-the-range microwaves can help you as you decide on which appliance to buy.

A stainless steel range hood

RANGE HOODS

When cooking your food on the stove, proper ventilation is essential for controlling smoke, odor and grease in the air. A range hood does this by sucking in hot gas and smoke particles from the stove or cooktop with an electric fan.

 

With a range hood, there are two types of ventilation systems: external venting and recirculating venting. External venting involves pushing air out of the house through ductwork, and recirculating venting involves filtering air as it enters the hood before pushing the air back out into the kitchen.

 

“Standard” range hoods, or any hood that isn’t a microwave, come in a variety of options:

  • Canopy hoods

  • Under-cabinet hoods

  • Retractable downdraft hoods

A black Maytag® over-the-range microwave

MICROWAVE HOODS

Over-the-range microwaves give you the ability to vent and cook food with the same appliance, providing more versatility in the kitchen. In addition to functioning like a regular countertop or built-in microwave, an over-the-range microwave uses exhaust fans to vent kitchen air out of the house through ductwork in the wall.

 

Microwave hoods can utilize external or recirculating venting. For added flexibility when cooking on the stove, many over-the-range models have the ability to use both options.

Eggs and bacon frying on a cooktop with a stainless steel range hood Eggs and bacon frying on a cooktop with a stainless steel range hood

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A RANGE HOOD VS. A MICROWAVE VENT?

Compared to over-the-range microwaves, the benefits of range hoods like these models by Maytag brand lie in the power of their ventilation. When it comes down to range hoods vs. microwave hoods, your choice will likely depend on how much ventilation power you need and the layout of your kitchen.

If you have space in your kitchen or don’t need the dual function of a microwave hood, range hoods can provide the following benefits compared to microwave vents:

  • More venting strength

  • Several external venting options

  • High heat tolerance

  • Advanced venting features like Perimetric Ventilation

CAN A RANGE HOOD REPLACE A MICROWAVE?

Because standard range hoods aren’t able to cook food, this model type won’t replace a microwave. However, you can place a separate microwave elsewhere in your kitchen if you prefer to replace your existing over-the-range microwave with a range hood.

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A Maytag® stainless steel over-the-range microwave in a modern kitchen A Maytag® stainless steel over-the-range microwave in a modern kitchen

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN OVER-THE-RANGE MICROWAVE VS. A RANGE HOOD?

As for over-the-range microwaves, the benefits center around their dual cooking-venting functionality and their space-saving abilities. With an over-the-range microwave like these models by Maytag brand, you’ll benefit from clearer air in your kitchen.

If you’re looking for ways to free up valuable kitchen space, microwave hoods may provide these additional benefits:

  • Simple installation

  • Sleek built-in look

  • Many cooking options like Convention Cooking and Sensor Steam

CAN A MICROWAVE REPLACE A RANGE HOOD?

Because microwave hoods have dual-purpose functionality for both cooking and venting, you may be able to replace a range hood with an over-the-range microwave.

Before purchasing an over-the-range microwave or range hood, check the use and care guides for your range or cooktop and desired hood for product-specific recommendations for optimal appliance operation and efficiency.

A person using a black over-the-range microwave A person using a black over-the-range microwave

DO I NEED A RANGE HOOD IF I HAVE A MICROWAVE ABOVE THE RANGE?

If you have a microwave model with venting capabilities, like over-the-range microwaves or microwave hood combinations, you may not need a range hood.

If you have a standard microwave or built-in model installed above your range, check state and local building codes to make sure you’re in compliance with any minimum home requirements for ventilation.

DO OVER THE RANGE MICROWAVES HAVE EXHAUST FANS?

Yes, some microwave hoods have exhaust fans in which kitchen air is sucked in through the appliance and out of the house via ductwork. Depending on your model, some over-the-range microwaves operate by using exhaust fans to vent kitchen air out of the house through ductwork in the wall while others use a filter to recirculate air. Other models have the ability to do both.

CAN AN OVER THE RANGE MICROWAVE BE VENTED OUTSIDE?

Yes, some microwave hood models allow for outside venting through the use of exhaust fans. To find out the exact venting options of your desired over-the-range microwave, refer to the model’s product specifications, user manual or installation instructions before purchasing.

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