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Can You Put A Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet [And How To Install It]?

Microwaves are good equipment to have around the kitchen, but investing in a built-in microwave can be expensive. As such, a lot of homeowners often buy countertop microwaves and call it a day.

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However, these microwaves take up a lot of space on your countertop that you can use for other things. So, we researched and tried to find out if placing your countertop microwave in a cabinet is a good idea and how to install it.

Simply placing your microwave inside a cabinet and leaving it there is not a good idea.

To prevent potential accidents and fire hazards, there are certain factors that you must consider. And only after you clear those considerations can you start installing your microwave in a cabinet:

  1. Remove Cabinet Doors
  2. Take Proper Measurements
  3. Make Adjustments If Necessary
  4. Give The Microwave A Thorough Cleaning
  5. Put Everything In Their Proper Place

In this article, not only will we discuss the steps on how to install a countertop microwave in a cabinet, but we'll also talk about the factors that you need to consider before embarking on this project.

We will also discuss the disadvantages of placing a countertop microwave inside the cabinet. Keep reading to find out more.

Close-Up White microwave on a wooden shelf in kitchen, Can You Put A Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet [And How To Install It]?

Can You Place A Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet?

First, let's address whether you place a countertop microwave in a cabinet. However, the response is not straightforward.

When you go to your local appliance store and ask one of the employees working there whether you can place your countertop microwave inside a cabinet or not, their answer will most likely be "no," and for a good reason.

That's because countertop microwaves have vents on the back and sometimes on the sides, releasing a lot of heat.

So, encasing a microwave inside a cabinet is a recipe for disaster that often damages the interior of your cabinet or, worse, starts a fire.

However, if you consider carefully and plan to install your countertop microwave inside a cabinet, you can circumvent many of the usual worries.

By ensuring that there's proper ventilation, enough space around the microwave, and the cabinet is sturdy enough to hold one; you're safe to install a countertop microwave inside a cabinet.

However, you must first learn how to install a countertop microwave inside the cabinet.

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How Do You Install A Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet?

In this section, you'll learn how to install a countertop microwave inside a cabinet properly. You need to understand that simply placing a microwave inside a cabinet is not the way to go.

Make sure to follow these steps to avoid fatal accidents in your home:

Small kitchen furniture set in classic decorative style with sink and microwave oven near white door in light spacious room

Remove Cabinet Doors

The first step in installing the microwave inside your cabinet is removing the cabinet doors. This is to give you enough space to work around.

Detaching the cabinet doors also makes it easier for you to place and remove the microwave inside the cabinet. This is so you can check how much space your microwave needs and if your cabinet can store it inside.

Take Proper Measurements

Next, you need to measure the space around the microwave. This is necessary since it lets you know whether or not it's safe to store a microwave inside the cabinet.

To check, place the microwave inside the cabinet to accurately measure everything you need.

Most countertop microwaves need at least three inches of space on the sides and top. Then, it needs at least an inch of space in the rear.

Make Adjustments If Necessary

Now that you know the measurements, it's time to make the necessary adjustments inside your cabinet. As much as possible, clear away the space where you're going to place the microwave.

You may also need to drill a hole for your microwave's power cord so it can be near an electrical outlet.

If there's already one nearby, you can omit this step. What's important is that there's enough space around the microwave for the heat and steam to vent out of.

Give The Microwave A Thorough Cleaning

Before placing the microwave inside the cabinet, thoroughly clean it first and foremost. That's because it will be challenging to do so once it's inside the cabinet.

Unlike on a countertop, where you have all the space you need to clean the sides of the microwave, the cabinet doesn't afford you to do it. So, it's best to clean it now before installation because it will be harder to do so once it's inside the cabinet.

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Put Everything In Their Proper Place

Finally, it's time to put everything back together. Place the microwave inside, reattach the cabinet doors back to where they belong, and check whether you can close them.

If not, you may need to call a professional to help you. And afterward, secure everything in place and keep flammable materials away from the microwave.

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What To Remember Before Installing A Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet

As mentioned earlier, there are several factors that you need to be aware of before installing a microwave inside the cabinet.

These factors serve as a guideline on whether or not it's safe for you to place a countertop microwave inside a cabinet or not.

Ventilation

When planning to install a countertop microwave inside a cabinet, ventilation is a priority that you must not ignore. As mentioned earlier, countertop microwaves usually have vents on the sides, top, and back.

And these vents generate a lot of heat and steam.

So, having proper airflow within the cabinet is critical to safely installing and using a countertop microwave inside the cabinet. Without it, the interior of your cabinet will suffer from scorch marks.

And that's the least of your worries.

Accessibility

It would help if you made sure that the place where you're going to place the countertop microwave cabinet is accessible to you. There's no point in putting the microwave in a far-to-reach cabinet area whenever you want to use it.

Additionally, you need to place it out of reach from children and pets if you're living with them inside your home. This prevents them from having easy access to the microwave and causing an unforeseen accident in your house.

Wire Management

If you plan on using your microwave inside the cabinet, then it's necessary for there to be a power outlet nearby.

Microwaves need to use a grounded power outlet to keep things generally safe and free from fire and electrical hazards. As such, it's best not to use an extension cord.

So, you will either have to place the microwave near a power outlet inside the cabinet or drill a hole so that you can connect to a nearby one.

If you don't like having your countertop microwave outside, you can store it inside the cabinet. Then, bring it out whenever you need to use it.

Structural Integrity

Before installing a countertop microwave inside a cabinet, the cabinet itself must be strong enough to hold it. You don't want the shelf where the microwave will go on to start bending under its weight.

Ensure the shelf is strong and rigid enough to support the microwave. Additionally, you can install extra frames and support pieces underneath to help keep the shelf in place and secure.

What Are The Downsides To Placing Countertop Microwave In A Cabinet?

Microwave cooking machine on counter with electric kettle kitchen

While placing a microwave inside a cabinet offers many benefits, like saving space and making your kitchen look aesthetically speaking, it has a couple of downsides.

And in this section, we'll discuss two of the most common disadvantages when installing a countertop microwave inside a cabinet.

Difficult To Clean

Once the microwave is inside the cabinet, it becomes pretty tricky to clean it. Most notably, the sides, rear, and underside are prone to getting dirty.

To clean the microwave, you must unplug it and take it from its location.

Afterward, you will need to return it to its place. This makes cleaning it a chore, unlike when the microwave is out in the open on the countertop.

Heating Issues And Damage

Microwave oven white, in fire front view, electrical appliances caught fire as a result of improper operation

As mentioned time and time again, overheating is an issue that often plagues microwaves installed inside a cabinet. Even when there's enough space for the vents, the heat generated from frequent use often builds up.

As such, it's normal for you to see discoloration happen around the cabinet walls where the microwave is located. To avoid this, it's best to let the microwave cool down after each use.

To Wrap Up

Open microwave oven in kitchen, microwave built into kitchen design creates a seamless integration.

In short, placing a countertop microwave inside your cabinet is possible but only after considering all the safety precautions beforehand. Then, take measurements of the microwave and the place it will settle.

It would help if you had an idea of how much space you're working with for the ventilation and the power cord. Finally, ensure that the cabinet doors can still close over it; if not, you will need to call a professional to help you figure things out.

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