Why We Love Microwave Drawers for a Kitchen Remodeling Project

If you’re planning a major kitchen remodeling project you’ve probably got a list of new appliances that you’re considering. Perhaps you’re imagining a new Miele cooktop, or a sleek new Sub-Zero refrigerator as part of your dream kitchen. Well, before you spend all of your new appliance budget, we’d like to make one more recommendation for you to consider – a microwave drawer.

Why You Should Consider a Microwave Drawer for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project.

Microwaves, typically, are not thought of as a “glamour” appliance in the kitchen. For most they’re a utilitarian tool that takes up space and are often low man on the totem pole of must-have new appliances.

Yet, when we survey our Central Pennsylvania clients and observe how they use their kitchens, it’s inevitable that the microwave oven is among the most frequently used of all appliances. Over the past several years and dozens of kitchen remodeling projects, we’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re planning a major project, a pull-out microwave drawer should be near the top of your new appliance list.

Here are the 3 top reasons that you should consider a microwave draw for your kitchen remodeling project:

1. Convenience: In a typical kitchen remodeling project, side opening microwaves are installed and/or hidden in upper cabinetry along a wall. When placed in upper cabinetry microwaves often land outside of the primary work triangle, making them more cumbersome to use. In contrast, microwave drawers can be placed in the base cabinetry of an island where they are located right in the middle of the cooking action, or directly across from a refrigerator.

2. Ergonomics: In traditional microwave locations at chest height or higher, you’re forced to reach over and sometimes up to put food in and take hot items out of the unit. Microwave drawers are located at waist level and are open from above, so you’ve naturally got more control over hot and/or heavy items. As the video below highlights, a well-designed microwave drawer eliminates stooping or bending and items are lifted from the drawer to the countertop. 

3. Enhanced Safety: Have you ever spilled a bowl of soup or cup of tea as you pulled it out of a microwave located chest high or above? For everyone, but especially those with mobility issues or the younger members of a household, it’s more challenging to safely manipulate and carry items from above your waist. Microwave drawers, because of their location below waist level, can reduce the likelihood of spills or splatters when compared to traditional microwave doors that swing open to the side.

Enhanced Convenience, Ergonomics and Safety, But at a Price.

Our affection for including microwave drawers in a kitchen remodeling project is tempered by only two things – initial cost and for some, aesthetics.

First, you can expect to pay $1,300 to $2,000 for a microwave drawer. For example, our favorite drawer, the Sharp 30” Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer Oven with the top-view controls, retails for around $1,400. That’s about twice the initial investment of a side-opening microwave of a similar size.

Why are microwave drawers so much more expensive? There are three reasons, really. First, the motorized drawer mechanism of most microwave drawers adds a substantial cost to the appliance. Second, Sharp owns the patents on several of the key microwave drawer components and this elevates cost by reducing competition. Finally, microwave drawers are relatively new to the market and as the market expands and matures, the cost of the appliance will come down.

That said, when you amortize the extra $600 or so that you’ll pay for the microwave drawer over the useful life of the appliance, you’re paying less than $90 a year for the convenience, ergonomics and safety advantages.

A second potential drawback to microwave drawers really comes down to whether you like to hide your appliances or appreciate the look of a sleek stainless-steel piece of equipment. If your preference is to hide your dishwasher and refrigerator behind a matching cabinetry panel, then you’re probably not going to appreciate that your microwave drawer because like a wall oven, a microwave drawer can’t be hidden.

On the other hand, a stainless-steel microwave drawer with a hidden control panel can be a very nice visual break, especially if you’re working with a skilled designer who can maximize both the functionality and appearance of your new kitchen. (Wink, wink)

As the gallery of photos below highlights, we at Mother Hubbard’s love to recommend microwave drawers to our clients and truth be told we haven’t had a single family second-guess their decision to include a microwave drawer in their kitchen remodeling plans.

If the time has come for you to build the kitchen of your dreams, give some thought to including a microwave drawer in your plans. Better yet, come visit the Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry Showroom in Mechanicsburg, PA and put your hands on a fully functioning microwave drawer so you can see why we’re such big fans!