Kitchen Range Hood or Over the Range Microwave for Venting

Stainless steel range hood over stove with painted cabinets.
Range hood over stove for venting.

Over the range (OTR) mounted microwave ovens can save space in your kitchen, but the exhaust fan in a microwave often just recirculates the air, rather than venting it to the outside.

Since a range hood protrudes further, it also does a better job of capturing smoke, steam, and cooking odors and venting them outdoors.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: People remodeling their kitchen often ask what I think of microwaves mounted over the stove. While I understand the desire to save space, I usually advice against it.

Whenever I can, I replace over-the-range microwaves—or OTRs—with a proper vent hood, like this one we’re installing from NuTone. That’s because most OTRs only recirculate cooking fumes through a filter and back into the kitchen.

Now, even if they do vent outside, they just don’t cover enough space to adequately capture all of the smoke and steam generated in most kitchens. Not to mention the danger of small children climbing over the stove to reach the microwave.

A properly sized, installed, and vented range hood will do a vastly superior job of removing cooking fumes from your kitchen. And, in the process, you’ll improve the indoor air quality of your home.


  1. I LOVE this show!! I am a renter which is stupid (paid 59,000 n rent)!!! Since the upstairs gets sooo hot bc the door is not insulated well what can I do to keep the heat out? I have a sweater that I usual use ?

  2. I have a Dacor stove with a maximum 58,000 btu output and an over the range microwave. Recently, our microwave failed and we are looking to replace it. Do we need to purchase a “high performance” microwave like Dacor or Viking or can we purchase a run of the mill microwave. Our clearance from stove to microwave is 16″.

  3. Baloney.

    The Microwave fan’s power makes up for any loss of coverage – PLUS the Microwave is usually closer to the range top. Hoods are often way up in the air allowing a lot of the steam/fumes/smoke to escape before they even reach the hood. As long as the Microwave is vented outside AND has a good, powerful fan, they’re fine, look better, and work as well, if not better.

  4. I have been looking for info on how can I install a hood range vent. My hood range microwave quit working and I would prefer a vent over my stove. Would like some tips or what would be the cost to have someone install it for me.

  5. My husband and I enjoy all of your practical, down to earth advice and projects. Also, the part about new tools and products available at Home Depot. I’m retiring soon, and we look forward to having the time to work together on home improvement projects.

    • Hi, Joseph,
      Here’s “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:
      “The majority of over-the-range microwaves, and they’re referred to as OTRs, can be converted from a ventless to a vented type by rotating a vent section on top of the microwave.
      I would suggest Googling the model microwave you have to find the diagram for the suggested venting.”
      Thanks for your question.

  6. I want to vent my otc microwave oven to the outside wall. I understand
    that this microwave can be converted from ventless to vent, but I would like to know if there is any special insulated or galvanized piping which would be needed to be directly attached to the microwave and
    vented out to the outside wall…. or is this at all an option?

  7. We just purchased a bosch range top and it puts off so much heat that it killed my microwave. Is there a microwave that would be able to handle the heat, or do I need to switch to a Kitchen Range Hood?

    • Hi, Ed!
      We definitely recommend, as ‘Plan A,’ if possible, to use a range hood that vents outside.
      This promotes better air quality in your home and removes the ‘microwave suitability issue’ from the equation.
      Good luck!

  8. I am renovating the kitchen of my recently acquired house. above the stove is combination microwave/vent. I want to remove that appliance and vent the hood directly to outside. The present cabinets are 42 inches and they are going to be replaced. There is a bulkhead above the cabinets. One idea was to replace with 42 inch cabinets and run vent for hood along the top shelf to outside. I am so frustrated because some contractors have questioned my desire to have a vented hood. they say unnecessary. Because the kitchen is open, practically in the living room,I think venting is critical. How do you think it can be done? I’m not crazy about 42 in cabinets. I would be happy to have a lowered bulkhead. I want the microwave to be in a cabinet niche below counter height.


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