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Jan 10, 2008 08:20 PM

Over the Range Microvave vs. recirculating hood.

Hi all,

Hope you can help us decide whether to go with a recirculating hood (approx 600 cfm max) or OTR microwave, rated at 315 cfm. We are remodeling our small Manhattan kitchen where space is at a premium and venting to the outside is impossible. We are planning to install a Blue Star 30" range. I know that vented hoods are far superior to OTR microwaves, but I'm not so sure this applies equally to their recirculating cousins. We prefer the more efficient air filtration system, but if there's not much difference in performance then the space saved by the microwave is hard to pass up. If you have some experience with either of these ventilation options or knowledge about this issue, we would really appreciate your input. Thanks

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  1. I just replaced my LG over the range micro with a Ikea (made by Whirlpool) 30"ss hood (400 cfm) which is not vented outside; it looks great and very powerful, much more so than my over the range micro; it also looks much better than a over the range micro.

    1. The more air you move, the better. I've got a vented Vent-A-Hood that can suck up small animals and the kitchen still gets smoky on occasion.

      4 Replies
      1. re: andreas

        As the OP stated, VENTED hood always work much better than the "recirculating" type.

        Give that the OP is planning on installing the ".44 Magnum" of home ranges I would hesitate to say that ANY recirculating is going to keep up with the potential quantities of steam/smoke/grease that using even a 30" Blue Star could be responsible for. Of course that makes the argument against the OTR microwave even stronger.

        While I will say that the latest generation of non-vented hoods is better than older ones, they are still no match for a professional range.

        I would recommend against considering a professional style range with an OTR microwave.

        I would recommend against a recirculating hood with a professional style range.

        Both are bad.

        I guess, if pressed, I would say that in the "worst case scenario" you could at least mount the hood at a sufficient height and use the ductless kit to make it safe/usable, while I would never feel comfortable with an OTR mounted at the right height to be usable as mw being too close to a professional range...

        BTW -- Are you sure that any ductless hood or OTR microwave is approved by Blue Star? Even 600 cfm seems low...

        1. re: renov8r

          Thanks, renov8r. There's nothing on Bluestar's website about specific hoods; they punt, and recommend that one speaks speak with the dealer, which I shall do. I'm going to try for the most powerful fan I can get, but I'm still returning to same air to the kitchen, so almost all of the heat stays in the room Some. but not much, will exit via the kitchen ventilator.

        2. re: andreas

          True. All I can hope for is too take out as much grease as possible, and some of the elements of smoke- whatever a charcoal filter will eliminate. Otherwise, Im moving the heat right back into the room. It may get hot.

          1. re: lewfox

            Can someone explain to me how these recirculating microwaves/hoods remove the grease? I have an OTR microwave, new, which recirculates air. There are "filters" on the bottom of the microwave which are just metal mesh inserts. They don't seem to be dirty or anything. Are they supposedly trapping grease? Doesn't look like much grease on there. Plenty of it on my wood cabinets however.

            I don't see charcoal filters anywhere once those are removed. The microwave blows the air right back out of the top, near my cabinet doors.

            When turned on, it makes a lot of noise and, since I see no real improvement, I just keep it off for most cooking.

        3. This reply is probably too late to be of any use, but I just found this site today. And just yesterday learned about a new otr microwave from Sears with a 600 cfm exhaust fan.

          It is new and not yet available, but it can be purchased and will ship soon.

          KENMORE MODEL NUMBER 88522/3/9

          1. I just got a Panasonic OTR microwave with a 420CFM fan and I love it, it is model # NNSD297SR. I got it for $352 here: but their site doesn't give any description of it, here it is on ABT for a lot more $$ but at least this offers a picture and specs: