How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave

Installing an over-the-range microwave is a project that can be easily tackled by most DIYers. With some planning and attention to safety, you can have your new microwave installed and ready to use in no time.

Pick the Right Microwave

When selecting your over-the-range microwave, be sure to measure the space where it will be installed. Pay attention to the cutout dimensions, the overall microwave dimensions, venting requirements, and electrical specs. An over-the-range microwave should have a minimum clearance of 30 inches between the stovetop and the bottom of the microwave. Also consider special features like sensor cooking, convection cooking, or stainless steel exterior.

Prepare the Installation Space

Remove any existing microwave or ventilation hood. Disconnect and remove any lighting fixtures in the area. Make sure there is adequate support behind the drywall to hold the weight of the microwave. Inspect the wall for any holes or damage that will need to be patched up. Cover nearby countertops and floors to protect from dust and debris during installation. Turn off power to the installation area at the circuit breaker.

Install the Mounting Bracket

Following the microwave’s installation guide, attach the provided mounting bracket to the upper cabinet. Make sure the bracket is centered and level before securing it. Use toggle bolts when securing to drywall to provide sturdy support. Have a helper hold the bracket in place while fastening if needed.

Attach the Microwave

Carefully lift the microwave into position, resting it on a sturdy surface or having a helper support the weight. Attach the microwave to the mounting bracket using the hardware provided. Tighten all bolts securely, pulling the unit snug against the bottom of the cabinet. Use care not to overtighten. Engage any anti-tip brackets provided to prevent accidental tipping.

Connect Venting and Electrical

Connect ductwork from the microwave vent hood to an exterior venting source. Seal all joints with aluminum duct tape to prevent leaks. If recirculating, install a charcoal filter. Follow the directions to properly connect the power cord. Use the strain relief to prevent pulls on the connections. Restore power and test that the microwave is operational.

How to Install the Trim Kit

Many over-the-range microwaves come with trim kits to provide a clean, built-in look. Attach any provided side filler panels first to cover gaps. Then align the top trim piece, pressing upward to engage any locking tabs. Install the bottom trim piece with screws or adhesive strips provided.

Important Safety Tips

  • Use extreme caution when working with electrical connections. Confirm power is off.
  • Get help lifting heavy microwave units. Use proper lifting techniques.
  • Protect floors and countertops from damage during install.
  • Vent outdoors when possible to avoid grease buildup and odors.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions carefully. Improper install can lead to instability or electrical hazard.
  • Allow microwave to hang unsupported during install raises risk of product damage or injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools do I need to install an over-the-range microwave?

Common tools needed are a stud finder, drill, level, socket set, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, duct tape, and pencil. Always follow the manufacturer’s list of required tools.

How high should an over-the-range microwave be installed?

Standard installation height is with the bottom of the microwave at least 30 inches above the cooking surface. Always check the manufacturer’s recommended clearance.

What if my cabinets don’t match the standard widths?

Filler panels can be added to fill in gaps greater than 1 inch for a custom built-in look. Take care that the microwave still aligns properly to the vent opening.

Do I need a special outlet for my over-the-range microwave?

Microwaves usually need a dedicated 20-amp grounded outlet. The outlet box should be recessed into the upper cabinet wall, not hanging below.

How do I remove my old microwave?

Disconnect power and ductwork. Remove any screws securing it to the wall or cabinet. You may need to remove adjoining trim pieces to free the unit. Use care when lifting out the old unit.


Installing an over-the-range microwave greatly improves convenience in the kitchen. With adequate planning and safety precautions, DIY installation can be accomplished smoothly. Carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model ensures the best fit and operation. Take time to thoroughly read the installation guide before beginning. With patience and proper materials, you can soon enjoy the ease and advantages of your new over-the-range microwave.