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microwave in the island

anyone have one? pros/cons? suggestions? hubs and i were worried about bending, but the more i think about it, i bend to get into an oven, and i use the oven way more than the micro.

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  1. I've cooked my mother's kitchen, which has one.

    I find it a pain. Bending to get items in and out is only part of the trouble (and I constantly slosh liquids). I have trouble reading the relatively small buttons, even bent at the waist. Maybe if it were MY microwave, and I was used to it and didn't need to actually see see/read the buttons, it would be different - but I've grown to really dislike it low.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NE_Wombat

      Good point about the buttons. I use my microwave all the time and yes, it would drive me crazy if I had to bend down to set the damn thing, lol!

      1. re: foodieX2

        Me too. I've had a full sized oven that is on the wall and cannot go back to an oven under a cooktop. My microwave is mounted above my counter. I definitely do not want to do all the bending.

    2. They only kitchens I see with microwaves in the island are those who rarely use them or only use them for reheating the occasional leftovers. If you do any "real" cooking in it would be a huge pain. One of my favorite microwave dishes is Sichuan green beans that need to be stirred/tossed often. Have to bend over to do so would get old, quick.

      The thing with an oven is that the door opens down, has a wide opening and you can slide the racks towards you as needed. I don't really see the comparison.

      16 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        Wow,a there's a generalization!
        We use our under counter micro daily.
        It's so not hard to set.
        To stir mid cook, you bend over, so what?

        If your micro is on a counter, then it's more ergonomic. If it's above or below, you're reaching.

        I like that I'm not reaching up. Lifting and lowering from and to below is better for me.

        1. re: monavano

          Why the wow? Of the 5 people I know with them all are self proclaimed non cooks and only use their microwaves for reheating leftovers and frozen meals. <shrug> I didn't say it was true for everyone in the whole wide world. The OP asked for opinions and I gave mine based on my experiences. I am very glad you love yours and I am sure the OP appreciates your opinion.

          1. re: foodieX2

            i appreciate everyone's opinion. i love to cook and bake, but primarily use my micro for the purposes of your self proclaimed non cook friends (except for the frozen meals part....i don't eat them). every detail helps. i do steam veg in mine.

            1. re: foodieX2

              Have you worked with an UC micro on a regular basis? Just curious what your experience has been.

              1. re: monavano

                never have worked with one. always been on the counter. i want it out of the way.

                1. re: eLizard

                  Our old kitchen had a cubby hole above the counter. I was happy to be able to get the micro out of the sight line and glad not to have to reach up and grab hot items.
                  I feel like I have more control now.

                2. re: monavano

                  Yes, our timeshare has them in the communal kitchen. PIA but it's only for a few weeks each year in the summer so we deal. Does that make you feel better about my opinion?

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    maybe a microwave drawer would be better....

                    1. re: eLizard

                      Ha ha! I bet someone will come up one

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        they have them. and they are a pretty penny.

                        1. re: eLizard

                          Cool! I never noticed them before, or I assumed they were something else! I am in the early stages of planning my kitchen redo. I have to go back and look at the swipes I pulled and see if any of them.

                          Now an extra drawer dishwasher I could totally get behind!

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            i was contemplating one of those. i went with a second oven and increased the size of my range. i hope i don't regret it. it's the only appliance i didn't go big or go home on. it's still nice, though.

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              Here's the drawer model we have in our island. http://bit.ly/1kz2Lmr

                              I like it very much. It's easy to get to, easy to clean and performs really well.

                              1. re: GRobin

                                awesome! that's the one that is being delivered today.

                          2. re: eLizard

                            We ruled that out- just not feeling confident about performance and reliability.
                            There aren't many choices.
                            They were expensive too, but so was our built in.
                            It was one of our "splurges".
                            We were going to get a warming drawer, but went for the microwave instead.
                            Best decision!
                            (we can still do a warming drawer in the future, but so far, don't see a need)

                3. We went with an under counter micro and love it.
                  We were going to put it in the island, but since our island isn't that big, and I stand behind it a whole lot, I figured anyone trying to use it would get in my way, so we moved it to the side.
                  Again, we love it. I like being able to raise and lower hot foods vs. having the micro above the counter.
                  I was always worried I'd drop something.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: monavano

                    ok, but it would be about the same height as the island one, right?

                    1. re: eLizard

                      The same height, and in my island, a little higher since my island is higher than my counters.

                      1. re: monavano

                        i can't get over how similar our kitchens will be save for granite and back splash colors....my subway tile is white.

                        1. re: eLizard

                          Our KA micro has a knob that pops out to set time.
                          Open door.
                          Pop knob out and spin.
                          Push start.

                          1. re: monavano

                            Hi, monavano:

                            You are lucky to have such an intuitive MW. I have at one house an original Amana Radarange, the controls of which consist of 3 large color coded buttons and a large lit analog twist dial to turn the unit on, off and set the time. In reality, all the operator needs to do is twist the dial.

                            I would consider mounting something like this below waist level. But the models currently offered (and the two at my other houses) all seem to have a plethora of buttons on smooth, reflective surfaces. I'd rather pith myself than deal with controlling one of those whilst bending over or squatting down.

                            Beyond this, my advice to the OP would be: If reefers with the freezer section on top bother you, don't put the MW in the island. OTOH, if s/he doesn't mind bending over every time s/he reaches for something in the reefer, s/he prolly won't mind the MW mounted low...

                            ...at least until s/he needs reading glasses.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              great points. we DID move to a bottom door freezer. that's the hubs, though, not me. but his opinion is just as valid as mine, and i will take that point back to him. the micros made specifically for undermount, as far as i can see, have angled controls (i am not saying they are intuitive, matte, or few) so that you don't have to squat as much.

                                1. re: monavano

                                  Sharp. i think they're the ones that invented it or at least held the patent on them until recently

                                  1. re: eLizard

                                    Oh, it's the drawer, nice.
                                    My KA door flips down, no drawer.

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      it so much to spend on a microwave, though!

                                      1. re: eLizard

                                        Ours was 1200 or 1400, something like that. We looked at it as part of the kitchen aesthetic and we gush on and on about how much we love it.
                                        It's a bit of luxury and looks it.
                                        Money well spent.

                                        1. re: monavano

                                          for us, our appliance were the splurge.

                        2. re: monavano

                          maybe it's in this thread somehwere ,monavano, but I can't find the type of mw that you have. i'm definitely going in island and now i'm trying to decide between drawer or door.

                              1. re: monavano

                                Hey, that's mine! Love it, and had it installed above the wall oven. We had 2 wall ovens before the kitchen re-do, but I like this micro so much more.

                                1. re: pine time

                                  I love it. We went with double ovens, so the micro is under counter.
                                  Again, DH and I say how much we love it at least weekly.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    i went double oven and micro drawer. ovens are side by side, though, because i didn't want to give up any counter space.

                                    1. re: eLizard

                                      I like the look of side by side. For some reason, it looks very "cheffy" to me!

                    2. Something to keep in mind with bad experiences using UC micros is that you really need to choose the right model
                      Models that are for counters or above will be tough to use below the counter because the buttons will be too low.
                      My UC micro is designed for being placed low to mid level.

                      I can't imagine using it cabinet level.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: monavano

                        exactly. i'm thinking using a trim kit on mine would result in a negative end user experience. my husband would hate it. but the ones built specifically for seem to address many of these concerns. the one thing i am seeing is that liquids can slosh if the drawer (vs door) is opened too quickly.

                      2. I prefer my micro to be on a shelf over the counter or over the regular oven. I don't think I'd like it to be in my island.

                        1. I really hope you post pictures of the finished kitchen when the renovations are complete. It's been fun reading about your process.

                          24 Replies
                          1. re: beetlebug

                            ha! i'm glad someone is enjoying the process. i feel like crying, suing, and murdering lately. but most of the floor went in yesterday, and it's really really nice. so now i'm happy.

                              1. re: monavano

                                thanks. just bought the microwave drawer.....

                              2. re: eLizard

                                I'm probably enjoying it because 1) you've brought up interesting issues. I've been fascinated by this microwave debate since it didn't even occur to me to replace my 10+ year microwave and the micro drawers look really nice and 2) it's not my renovation. ;-)

                                Congratulations on the new floors! isn't it amazing how even one step forward changes the whole look of the old space? And, think of the rewards that you'll have when the weather finally turns.

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  next up....convincing my husband to ditch the toaster oven. which neither toasts nor ovens particularly well.

                                  1. re: eLizard

                                    Can it mysteriously disappear during the renovations?

                                  2. re: beetlebug

                                    and thanks. i feel like i've hijacked this board. but everyone has been so helpful.

                                    i've never given so much thought to an appliance before in my life. our 10+ year micro died a while ago, too. this and the fridge were my hardest. weird, huh.

                                    1. re: eLizard

                                      Don't feel bad.
                                      My biggest brain drain was my sink, believe it or not.
                                      The rest, I over-researched and dithered and wrung my hands, but the sink just took a different direction mid stream and you can't believe how many choices you have to make!

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        my sink was easy peasy. gigantic stainless were my criteria.

                                        1. re: eLizard

                                          We have our choice of stainless that was free with our granite work, but I got cold feet because we did all stainless appliances, and I wanted something different in finish.
                                          It was one of those "in for a penny, in for a pound" decisions ;-)

                                  3. re: eLizard

                                    So many of us have had those feelings. It's so nice when they begin to fade away, and your kitchen becomes reality. Bask in the happy, know you'll want to murder at least once more, but in the end it's like childbirth; you'll eventually forget what was so awful about it. Conga Rats on seeing your flooring taking shape.

                                    Almost done here. We're midway through painting the base cabs, with the uppers already done. I simply cannot believe that we have DIY'd everything but the granite. That is so not us!

                                    After this, all that's left is to swap our our old micro hood combo for a new combo or a proper range hood. We're leaning towards the hood, if we can live without the micro. Hey! There ought to be a thread for that! Oh, wait... ;-)

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      Our house was scheduled to come with a OTR micro. Hating that look, we opted for a built-in micro over a wall oven and went with a 600cfm hood over the range (it vents outside).

                                      1. re: JayL

                                        Yeah, we're used to powerful hoods and have been opening a lot of windows in the 3 years we've lived here. We've been stuck with one of these before, but at least it vented. This POS only recirculates.

                                        When we painted our upper cabs white a few weeks ago, we were thrilled with the result, until we put the doors back on and saw that our microwave isn't white, it's yellow. The cabs had a honey stain and it looked fine before. I'm sure it was white when it was new, but I guess that's what 12 years of sun and greasy smoke will do.

                                        We painted the lowers black this week and got all the hardware on today. With our black and white granite countertops and clear glass backsplash, it's a stunning room.Then you notice that yellow microwave. Yeah, it'll be gone soon. :-)

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          i'd love to see photos, DuffyH. I love the black and white look. our floor is b&w tiles on the diagonal with black grout. it's finally complete. if i could figure out how to post a picture, i would.....

                                          the cabs are white. and our island will be absolute black granite, and the perimeter counters will be a granite called wicked white.

                                          1. re: eLizard

                                            Here are the photos of work so far. Our original island was ~3x2, new one is ~3x5. All the work was DIY except the granite. The paint is a much brighter green apple than my crappy phone cam shows. And the microwave is much more yellow. The granite is surf white, and works really well with the angle cuts. It has an overall linear pattern that flows with the corners very well.

                                            When we moved in the house was heavy European in looks. Big wavy edge tile with muddy green brown grout (LOTS of grout showing), dark tans, avocado green in the kitchen with honey maple cabs and oddly, white(ish) appliances, a brick red wall in the adjacent great room. And of course this house is in Tampa, FL, so heavy and dark is totally the way to go. Yeah. Not feeling that.

                                            As soon as we do something about the microwave we can take a break until next year when we finish work on the pool bath.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              Oops! some of my photos didn't make it. Here they are.

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                I live the photos. The two dif cab colors are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

                                          2. re: JayL

                                            we're getting a pretty intense hood that vents outside. i think that's what the hubs is most excited about.

                                            1. re: eLizard

                                              Yes, and let me say that the harlequin pattern is a perfect foil for the boxes. It's the juxtaposition of the playful diamonds and the rustic corrugated paper. Who says I don't have the chops to host an HGTV show?! LOL

                                              Came through just fine. And as soon as I snap a few pics, I'll post mine for you. :-)

                                              1. re: eLizard

                                                I forgot to mention earlier - I really like the tile pattern. It's a classic look that can go old school or contemporary. I looked up your granite, too. So nice. :-)

                                                When will it be done?

                                        2. Do you currently have or expect to have small children? If so, you really don't want to put your mw where it is easily accessible to them. (I also agree that the bending would drive me crazy.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: masha

                                            good point. and i did consider it as i have a 4 year old. but i figure that my oven is that height, and i've never had problems. and i'm sorta ok with him using it supervised. the one thing that did give me pause is that i saw someone refer to it as an egg cooker since it's roughly at ovary height.

                                            1. re: eLizard

                                              The door of the mw is probably easier to open than the oven door. When we planned our kitchen, our son was 15 months. We did not place anything below counter except cabinets where we stored non-breakable items (canned & dry goods, pots/pans, cookie sheets, etc.) 20+ years later, the kitchen is still organized that way!

                                              1. re: masha

                                                Yes, even on the counter my son loved opening the door because it was an easy push of the button and the door popped open. The oven door was way too akward and didn't make the fun "popping" sound the micro door did, lol. Though since the OPs kiddo is four it shouldn't be too much of a problem. By four my son was pretty active in the kitchen.

                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                  i do let him cut things supervised and help me cook. he knows what's off limits. and he for some unknown reason is very obedient when it comes to that stuff. putting his socks in the laundry basket and getting dressed in the morning is an entirely different story.

                                                  1. re: eLizard

                                                    I could have written that same post, lol. Unfortunately at 12 while his cooking skills have advanced his ability to get the dirty clothes *into* the hamper is still a challenge, as is mixing lights and darks.

                                                  2. re: foodieX2

                                                    In the OP's shoes, I'd be designing the kitchen with the thought that there could be a baby brother or sister joining the family at some point, but that's none of my business of course.

                                                    1. re: masha

                                                      we're all set. that's why i'm not too concerned with the egg cooker issue. ;o)

                                                  3. re: masha

                                                    i am pretty certain there's a child proof feature.

                                                    1. re: eLizard

                                                      You may be correct. As noted above, my experience with child-proofing goes back 20+ years so I am sure that the technology has evolved. You might want to 2x check exactly how that feature works -- both in terms of whether (a) it could be easily defeated by a child with a modicum of fine-motor skills; and (b) it's such a pain to use that you might fail to use it when you were in a hurry. Even if your current child seems to be well-behaved in this area, if you think it likely (possible) that another young child will be joining your family, you should consider that he/she might have a very different personality.

                                                      1. re: masha

                                                        if i had another little chowpup he would be nothing less than a perfect angel. sleep through the night at birth. his diapers would smell like roses. and he would never open a tantalizing microwave drawer at toddler height. so offended you would insinuate otherwise.

                                                        1. re: eLizard

                                                          And would dine only on the most sophisticated food, am I right??

                                                          LOL <big grin>

                                              2. You mean like in Hawai'i?

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. Our MW is built into the island. I use it daily. Previous homes had MW on a counter, which was barely big enough to hold the machine; or mounted over the cooktop. When the island counter is clear enough to hold the on-coming hot item from the MW... all is well. I prefer having the counters more free of appliances. Toaster not withstanding.