Over the range microwaves are a popular and convenient choice for many homeowners, providing easy access to a microwave oven while also freeing up counter space. However, when it comes to choosing between a vented over the range microwave and a recirculating over the range microwave, it's important to know what you have and understand the differences.
A vented over the range microwave, also known as a ducted microwave, is designed to vent smoke, steam, and odors to the outside of your home through a duct system. This requires a dedicated vent that runs from the microwave to the outside of your home, and is typically installed during construction or renovation. A vented over the range microwave is more powerful than a recirculating model, and is better at removing smoke, steam, and odors from your kitchen.
On the other hand, a recirculating over the range microwave, also known as a ductless microwave, does not require a dedicated vent to the outside. Instead, it uses a charcoal filter to absorb smoke, steam, and odors, before recirculating the air back into your kitchen. While a recirculating over the range microwave is generally easier to install and can be used in almost any kitchen, it is not as effective as a vented model at removing smoke, steam, and odors.
So how do you know which one you have, and which one you need? If you already have an over the range microwave installed, you can check the user manual or look for a sticker or label on the appliance itself to see whether it is vented or recirculating. If you are installing a new over the range microwave, consider your kitchen layout, your cooking habits, and your ventilation needs. If you have a dedicated vent already in place, a vented over the range microwave may be the best choice for you. However, if you don't have a vent and don't want to install one, a recirculating over the range microwave may be more practical.
Knowing the difference between a vented over the range microwave and a recirculating over the range microwave can help you make an informed decision when choosing an appliance for your kitchen. Whether you prioritize ventilation power, installation ease, or versatility, there is an over the range microwave option that can meet your needs. By knowing what you have and understanding the differences, you can make a smart and informed choice for your home.