Microwave Drawer Vs. Built-in Microwave: Compare and Choose

Feel torn between a microwave drawer or a built-in microwave oven? Microwave drawers vs. built-in microwaves, which best suits your lifestyle?

With proper care, a quality microwave oven can last many years, and thus it’s really important to choose the right one for your kitchen.

Check out the pros and cons of microwave drawer and built-in microwave, then decide which would be your best pick.

Microwave Drawer

What Is a Microwave Drawer?

A microwave drawer is a microwave oven that opens like a drawer instead of having a swinging door. And you’ll place and retrieve your dishes from the top rather than the front of the microwave.

Unlike traditional microwaves that have a swinging door fixed on the hinge, microwave drawers can be pulled out like a drawer, so it’d make a better option for left-handed people.

Microwave drawers are usually installed in a lower cabinet or kitchen island, so it’d save you considerable countertop space.

All microwave drawers available today tend to have the same interior measurements, which are approximately 7.31 inches wide x 7.13 inches high x 16.56 inches deep or 1.2 cubic feet.

The Pros & Cons of Microwave Drawers


  • The lower cabinet and kitchen island installation allows you to have more countertop space to do other cooking tasks.
  • Having controls on top and a pull-out door, microwave drawers make it easy for both right-handed and left-handed people to operate.
  • Being able to retrieve cooked foods from the top, microwave drawers allow you to get cooked dishes without bending over all the way, and make things a lot easier for shorter people or physically impaired.


  • Microwave drawers require professional installation.
  • The 1.2 cu. Ft. cooking capacity might not be large enough to serve a large family.

Built-In Microwave

Similar to microwave drawers, built-in microwaves are meant to save you a lot of valuable countertop space. Built-in microwaves can fit into a wall, cabinet or kitchen island, and achieve a modern look.

The term built-in microwave was usually used to refer to microwaves with a drop-down door that is meant to be installed into a wall or cabinet. These days, many countertop microwave ovens can be installed with a trim kit to achieve a built-in look.

Built-in microwave with drop down door can offer you convenient loading on the door, and its door handle and controls on the top also make it convenient for left-handed people to operate.

Built-in microwaves come in various sizes and capacities, so users can pick the one that fits their needs.

The Pros & Cons of Built-in Microwaves


  • The drop-down door offers convenient loading, so you can place your hot dishes on the door temporarily.
  • The built-in installation naturally saves you plenty of countertop space.
  • Built-in microwaves come in different sizes. Whether you live alone or live with a big family, you can always find a built-in microwave that meets your cooking needs.
  • The controls and door handle on the top make it equally easy for left-handed and right-handed people to operate the device.


  • Similar to microwave drawers, professional installation is recommended for built-in microwaves.

Microwave Drawer Vs. Built-In Microwave: How to Decide Between Them?

Let’s face it — choosing between microwave drawers and built-in microwaves can be difficult. They have some similarities. They share the same placement, and they both require professional installation.

And after the analysis of their pros and cons, I’m afraid there’s no absolute winner between them.

When it comes to the built-in microwave vs. microwave drawer debate, it all comes down to your lifestyle.

There are some of the questions to help you decide which one is best for you though:

How many people are there in your family?

Ask yourself how many people you’ll need to feed before you actually place an order. As we’ve mentioned above, microwave drawers usually come with a 1.2 cu. Ft. capacity, and it may not be sufficient enough for a large family.

That is to say, if you need to cook big-batch meals, you can find a built-in microwave that is large enough to serve a large family and your guests.

Will you be living with kids or physically impaired?

You can find a child safety lock feature in both microwave drawers and built-in microwaves, so you can prevent kids from accidentally accessing the microwave.

However, if you’re living with kids or physically impaired and it’s safe for them to use microwaves, microwave drawers would be a better option for you.

Being installed in a lower cabinet and having an easy-to-pull door, microwave drawer would definitely make things easier for kids and the physically impaired.

Wrap Up

When it comes to microwave cooking, we’re all about convenience. Therefore, we have to put convenience first when choosing between a microwave drawer and a built-in microwave.

Both microwave drawers and built-in microwaves have the advantages of saving counter space and being able to make cooking easier for left-handed people.

If you’re uncertain about whether a microwave drawer or built-in microwave oven is right for you, the pros, cons, and critical factors mentioned above should help you decide. Apart from that, it’s all up to your personal preferences and lifestyle.

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