The microwave is a ubiquitous kitchen appliance found in almost every home, as well as in most workplace break rooms! Most people are familiar with the standalone countertop microwave and the over-the-range microwave, but if you're redoing your kitchen or are looking for unique ways to save counter space, you may be interested in a subset of built-in microwaves: the microwave drawer.
In this article, we go over the details and the pros and cons of this built-in style, and review three models from Sharp, Bosch, and KitchenAid.
Table of Contents
What is a Microwave Drawer?
A microwave drawer, also known as an undercounter microwave, is installed at hip height under your countertop right there with your lower cabinetry. The microwave slides open like a drawer to reveal the turntable. The controls are usually located above the handle and are fixed against the cabinet rather than being a part of the microwave door. They may also be concealed on top of the door. This built-in appliance will typically be hardwired rather than plugging in, and they are available in a few different widths, usually between 24 to 30 inches.
These luxe appliances come with a host of high-end features as well, such as child safety locks: just set a passcode or press and hold a lock button and only grown-ups will be able to access your undercounter microwave!
Drawer Microwave Pros and Cons
When comparing countertop microwaves vs drawer microwaves, here's where the drawer microwave wins out:
Doesn't take up any valuable counter space
Easier to clean from above
Stirring a liquid or moving food around for even heating is easier to do from above
And when it comes to over the range models, a microwave drawer can be safer to use with heavy dishes and liquids. Instead of trying to lift a heavy casserole dish up and into an over the range microwave, you can set it down into the microwave drawer much like you would if you were loading it into the oven. Also, installing a microwave drawer instead of an over the range microwave will leave the space above your range free for a vent hood. Vent hoods are typically better at ventilation than OTR microwaves and can offer more powerful ventilation as well.
The main downsides of undercounter microwaves include:
Like all built-in appliances, these drawers can be costly! Microwave drawers retail for least $1,200, and that's not including installation costs. Some people also struggle with the control placement being in line with the counter. One manufacturer of microwave drawers, Sharp, offers control panels that open to a 45-degree angle so they're easy to view past your counter.
Lastly, the models below offer nice sensor cooking controls but lack more advanced options like convection. There are other high-end microwaves out there with better performance and features. This style of microwave is heavily focused on aesthetic appeal - which should be fine if you mainly use your microwave to reheat coffee or to defrost.
Watch Our Video for More Info on Buying a New Microwave!
Drawer Microwave Reviews
To help you discover more about what microwave drawers have to offer, we'll review three models from KitchenAid, Bosch, and Sharp. Sharp is a niche brand that manufacturers unique appliances, offering a range of premium built-in appliances as well as air purifiers and more. The Sharp microwave drawer is one of the best sellers on the market. Bosch and KitchenAid are more well-known appliance brands that offer a range of high-quality products - their dishwashers are especially popular.
All three of these models are 24" wide and have 1.2 cubic feet of capacity, but there are other sizes and capacities available on the market! For example, Sharp makes 30" models.
1. Sharp SMD2470ASY - $1,334
The Sharp microwave drawer model SMD2470ASY has a lot of cool features, including a hidden control panel. This panel opens out at a 45-degree angle so it's easy to read from above. It offers 950W of cooking power. The sleek design in black glass and stainless steel is designed to blend into your kitchen. You can lock the drawer by pressing and holding the Stop/Clear pad for three seconds. The Easy Touch Automatic Drawer System lets you open the drawer using a button on the control panel, and you can close it with a light nudge. This 950W model fits a 9 x 13" 4-quart casserole dish and has enough vertical space to fit a 20-ounce tall coffee cup.
If you're looking for a black stainless steel microwave drawer, Sharp offers model SMD2470AH, a smoky stainless steel look that should work well with a wide variety of appliance brands (although it won't blend as much with darker black stainless like KitchenAid's).
One of Sharp's more high-end options has a touchless open feature: the smart microwave model SMD2489ES. It opens with a wave of your hand!
Sharp Microwave Drawer Easy Wave Open Video
This model comes with a grounding plug so it does not need to be hardwired. The warranty covers one year parts and labor with in-home service, and a limited five-year parts warranty on the magnetron tube. Don't overlook the Sharp microwave drawer if you are going to consider this style.
Sharp SKMD24F0AS - $1,334
2. KitchenAid KMBD104GSS - $1,599
The KitchenAid KMBD104GSS is a more expensive microwave drawer model with a sleek stainless steel frame and black glass panels. The controls are fixed above the drawer - no 45-degree angle on this one! Just touch a button to open and close the microwave drawer and feel free to set the control lock if there are little kids in the home - just press and hold the designated Control Lock button. With various sensor settings, including a reheating mode, and programs for Keep Warm and Timed Defrost, this undercounter microwave makes cooking and reheating easier than ever.
Like the Sharp microwave drawer model, this microwave is 950W and has 1.2 cubic feet of capacity. However, it lacks the the angled flip-out controls. Some customers find that the non-backlit controls are hard to see.
Click here to read over 65 real customer reviews of this product!
KitchenAid KMBD104GSS - $1,599
3. Bosch HMD8451UC - $1,499
This last microwave drawer review comes from Bosch. Similar to the Sharp model, the stainless steel and black glass model HMD8451UC offers a sleek flat-face design. Automatic sensor programs take care of perfectly defrosting, reheating, or cooking for you. It comes with a control lock and glass touch controls. The white LCD matches Bosch wall oven controls for that high-end look. It opens with the touch of a button.
Bosch offers a simple Panel Lock option: press and hold the Panel Lock button for three seconds to toggle the control lock on and off. The Bosch model also offers multiple sequence cooking and has room to hold a 20-ounce tall coffee cup or a 4-quart casserole dish with ease.
Click here to read over 75 real customer reviews of this product!
Bosch HMD8451UC - $1,499
We hope this article helped give you a quick overview of what undercounter microwaves or microwave drawers are, how they compare to conventional microwaves, and what features you can expect in a typical microwave drawer. If you'd like to save counter space but would prefer an over the range model, check out our reviews of the best over the range microwaves of the year!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in September of 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.