Close-up of microwave in dark background

Types Of Microwaves: Explore Your Options

Some microwaves today have more capabilities than they used to. Finding the right one can boost your cooking skills and even help you look forward to leftovers. There are plenty of options in terms of configuration and where you want your microwave placed in the kitchen for maximum convenience and Maytag holds any design you prefer from black, white or stainless steel. This guide will break down different microwave styles and their benefits, as well as new features to help you find a microwave that will let you master any meal.

Over-the-range microwave in a light kitchen

What are the most common microwave styles?

Stainless steel microwave on a counter

What is a countertop microwave?

Countertop microwaves sit on any flat surface so they are easy to access, move around and take with you. Some can also be installed in cabinets with an added trim kit for a built-in look. Countertop microwaves come in a large variety of sizes, features and price points and are often ADA compliant. For instance, the Maytag® countertop microwave with greater capacity delivers 2.2 cubic feet of cooking space.

Stainless steel, over-the-range microwave

What is an over-the-range microwave?

Over-the-range microwaves install between the cabinets above your range to free up counter space. They typically also act as a vent, filtering out smoke and steam coming off the range below. These popular models often come with the latest features, though back-to-basics models are also available.

An over-the-range microwave may be right for you if you have limited room on the counter or just enjoy a centralized work space with the microwave and range in the same area. Definitely choose an over-the-range microwave if you want a two-in-one appliance that will also vent cooking smells from the kitchen. Learn more about over-the-range vs. countertop microwaves or browse Maytag® over-the-range microwaves to get an idea of your options.

What is a built-in microwave?

Built-in microwaves install directly into pre-existing cabinetry, bringing clean lines and a premium look to the kitchen. The microwave door typically opens from the top like an oven, not the side. Many people place built-in microwaves above their wall ovens to maximize space and easily access both.

Built-in microwaves typically come with premium features and finishes in potentially higher price points than countertop and over-the-range options. If you like the idea of a built-in microwave over a wall oven, also consider a wall oven microwave combo like the Maytag® Combination Wall Oven with True Convection.

What is an undercounter or drawer microwave?

An undercounter or drawer microwave is like a built-in microwave, but it installs into lower cabinetry. They’re placed around waist height and slide out like a drawer so you can pop food in the top. Many people like undercounter microwaves because they’re sleek, discreet and stay out of the way. However, expect to pay a little more for these models than a standard countertop or over-the-range model.

Close up of convection fan inside a microwave

What is a convection microwave?

A convection microwave combines the capabilities of a microwave and a convection oven, allowing you to bake and roast foods in addition to heating them. Like a convection oven, a convection microwave features an oven-like heating element and fan to distribute heat throughout the appliance. Some benefits of a convection microwave include: 

  • Fast cooking times due to a combination of convection and microwave cooking.

  • Even cooking with the convection setting.

  • Racks on select models that allow you to get even heating on multiple dishes at once.

To learn more about these two different cooking methods, read about how a microwave works as well as convection ovens vs. conventional ovens.

Macaroni and cheese crisping inside a microwave

Do different kinds of microwaves have different options?

Yes. Microwaves have come a long way since their debut in the 1970s. Some new innovations include a broiler-type heating element like the Brown function by Maytag, as well as features that combine oven-like heat with microwave heat in one cycle like the Maytag® Dual Crisp feature. Many higher-end models will have intuitive technology that senses cooking progress and adjusts time and power settings accordingly, like Sensor Cooking by Maytag.

Suite of appliances in a bright, white kitchen

Which type of microwave oven is best for my home?

The right microwave for you depends on the size and layout of your kitchen as well as the type of cooking you do most. 

Are you short on counter space? 
You may want an over-the-range, built-in or undercounter microwave so you can save valuable room on the counter. Learn more about microwave dimensions in our microwave sizes guide

Are you short on cabinet space?
You may want a countertop model that will free up cabinet storage space. 

Do you want oven-like features in a microwave?
Consider a convection microwave with different oven-like features so you can prepare a wider variety of dishes. 

Do you have a modern aesthetic?
Look into built-in and undercounter microwaves that blend in seamlessly with the cabinets around them.

Shop Maytag® microwaves designed to do more

More info on finding and using microwaves