Difference Between Countertop Microwave and Built-in Microwave (With Table)

Time and again microwave have proved to be one of the most useful home appliances to ever have been invented. With the advancement in technology, more and more varieties of microwaves are available in the market that has many unique features.

As more and more people are choosing to have one in their home, a major dilemma that is faced is that of countertop and built-in microwave. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages and unique features.

Countertop Microwave vs Built-in Microwave

The difference between a countertop microwave and built-in microwave is that the countertop microwave can be placed on top of the kitchen counter while the built-in microwave is installed into a wall or a corner of the cabinet.

Comparison Table Between Countertop Microwave and Built-in Microwave

Parameter of ComparisonCountertop MicrowaveBuilt-in Microwave
FunctionalityA countertop oven is placed on the countertop of a kitchen near a power outletA built-in microwave is installed in a kitchen wall or kitchen cabinet
VersatilityIt is portable, can be moved around from place to place in the kitchen and even packed for travelIt is not portable. It is installed permanently and can not be removed except to be replaced
CostIt is cheaper and more common, requires no installation charges or high maintenance costIt is more expensive, requires installation by a professional, needs to be maintained, and needs replacement of the whole unit when it stops working
Space RequiredIt requires space on the kitchen countertop, near a power outlet and cannot be tucked away out of sight in a cornerIt does not require any space on the kitchen counter as it is installed in a wall or cabinet and thus leaves the rest of the kitchen space free for use
InstallationIt does not require any installation; it works on the simple and buys and use right away basisIt requires to be installed in the wall or cabinet where it will remain by a licensed professional and requires a licensed professional to remove it for replacement when it stops working

What is Countertop Microwave?

A countertop microwave is a microwave which is designed to be placed on the kitchen countertop. It occupies some space on the kitchen counter. It is portable, so perfect for users in temporary homes or who move often.

A countertop microwave is versatile as it can be moved around according to the user’s need and even packed easily. It is cheaper because it does not need any installation – just an electrical power outlet and a suitable place on the kitchen counter. It is very common and often preferred by people.

However, a countertop microwave takes up space on the countertop, which can sometimes be inconvenient, especially in small kitchens where not much space is available. It performs all the basic functions of a microwave and there are many different designs available in countertop microwave.

Repairing a countertop microwave is always very easy and comparatively cheaper because it can be taken to the shop and inspected much easily. Replacing parts is also much easier in countertop microwaves.

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What is Built-in Microwave?

A built-in microwave is installed in the kitchen wall or cabinet. It is neatly tucked away and thus does not take much space. A built-in microwave is however more permanent and not portable. It cannot be taken out or moved from one place to another. Thus, it is preferred by permanent and settled homeowners who have no plans of moving.

It blends with the kitchen well and enhances the aesthetics and design of the kitchen while staying out of the way conveniently. A built-in microwave is expensive and will require installation by a licensed expert. It also requires high maintenance.

Repairing a built-in microwave is rather difficult and the entire unit will require replacement if it stops working. Similarly, it will require maintenance and an expert to handle it in case of any defects and difficulties.

It can be installed in a wall or high cabinet so it is often installed at eye level or any other such convenient position. This also keeps it safely away from the reach of children while making it fun and convenient to use.

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Main Differences Between Countertop Microwave and Built-in Microwave

  1. A countertop microwave is placed on a kitchen counter while a built-in microwave is installed into a kitchen wall or kitchen cabinet. So, a countertop microwave takes up space on the kitchen countertop closer to a power supply outlet. A built-in microwave blends in with the kitchen and leaves a lot of free space on the counter.
  2. A countertop microwave is portable. It can be easily shifted around in the kitchen and even packed and repacked while moving and shifting. A built-in microwave does not have this benefit and it is installed permanently. It cannot be taken out except for replacement, in that case, the whole until will be replaced. 
  3. Owing to the installation, maintenance and versatility built-in microwaves are more expensive as compared to countertop microwaves.
  4. A countertop microwave can only be placed on a countertop near a power supply outlet and thus takes up space. It stands out in the kitchen. A built-in microwave is tucked away into a corner of the cabinet or the wall neatly and thus does not require space on the countertop of the kitchen and blends in with the kitchen very easily.
  5. No installation is required for the countertop microwave, it can just be simply bought from the store and used. A built-in microwave, however, needs to be installed into the cabinet or wall by a licensed electrician before it can be used.

Conclusion

Both the countertop and built-in microwaves are equally functional and efficient in their performance as a microwave. The only major difference between them is where they are placed in the kitchen and how often they can be moved. This choice depends completely on the user and his or her lifestyle.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1132831/
  2. https://escholarship.org/content/qt3s29h7wd/qt3s29h7wd.pdf
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Last update on 2021-07-28 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API