Hood microwaves are a very useful kitchen appliance. If you have a hood microwave but haven’t installed it yet, can you simply put it on the counter and use it as normal?
It is possible to use a hood microwave on the counter. However, the general consensus is that a hood microwave should not be used as a countertop microwave. This is because they are built and designed in distinct ways for their different purposes, so it is not the safest or most convenient option.
There are several factors that contribute to the answer to this question. Some of the factors include safety, convenience, and the structure of the specific microwave that you have.
What is a Hood Microwave?
A hood microwave is a microwave that is installed over the stovetop. Due to the fact that it is typically located over the stove and oven, it has specific designs and functions. One of these functions is to provide ventilation or a fan for the steam that is created from cooking on the stovetop.
Is it Safe to Put a Hood Microwave on the Counter?
Technically the answer to this question is no, it is not very safe to use a hood microwave as a countertop one. This is because this specific appliance is not UL approved for this purpose, nor is it designed to have the same function.
One reason that it is not safe is that the vent on the bottom will be blocked by the counter. Without proper ventilation, a heat problem can occur. The microwave can overheat and burn up, and this can also easily cause damage to the counters. Plus, the heat escaping from the vent can damage your countertops over time.
Is it Convenient to Put a Hood Microwave on the Counter?
Honestly, it seems that the only reason it would be convenient to have a hood microwave used on the counter is if you already had one installed and then later decided to remodel your kitchen. Other than this specific instance, it would be more convenient to just purchase the proper microwave.
Some factors that cause it to be inconvenient include that it will be unsteady against the surface, which means it will most likely wobble every time it is opened and closed or when you push the buttons. Other elements include that the vents will be blocked and that it can cause damage to both your microwave and counters.
Can it Be Done?
I have had a personal experience with this. I was friends with a family that had removed their hood microwave and moved it to the countertop. Although it is not very clear how safe it is, I personally have seen it done before and they didn’t seem to have any problems. There are also a few sources that explain that it is possible, it is just not the most convenient, safest, or cleanest option.
How to Put a Hood Microwave on the Counter
To put a hood microwave on the counter, remove your hood microwave from above the stovetop. It is important to take caution during this step, as small pieces may fall.
Next, find out where the vent is. There are typically two vents on every microwave. They are usually placed on the right and left sides or on the back and bottom sides of the microwave. It is important to determine where they are will determine if it’s safe and possible to place the microwave on the counter.
If it is not immediately apparent where the vents are located, a way that you might be able to check is to run the microwave. Next, place your hands near the different sides of the microwave to feel where the air is blowing out. This will tell you where the vents are.
Now, because it is a hood microwave, the vents are most likely located on the bottom of it. So, in order to use it on the counter, you would need to install your own pegs underneath the appliance.
Downsides to Using a Hood Microwave on the Counter
Because it is not designed to be used on the countertop, there are going to be inevitable downsides to using your hood microwave outside of its scope of function.
The first downside to placing a hood microwave on the counter is that it might sit unevenly on the surface it is placed on. By this I mean that there are no pegs on the bottom, these pegs usually hold the microwave up evenly. The bottom of a hood microwave (or any microwave really) is not an even surface. So, placing it straight against the counter’s surface will cause it to sit a little unevenly, so it may be wobbly or slightly unstable.
Another one of these negative aspects is that you will need to clean the vent every week. This is because a hood microwave typically has vents on the bottom of its frame. This means that once it is moved to the counter, there will be very little space for ventilation, and the vents will be in almost direct contact with your countertops. This will cause it to get dirty much easier, which in turn means that you will need to be cleaning it much more often than you would if it was kept as a hood microwave.
The Best and Safest Option
Ultimately, the best and safest type of microwave to place on the counter is a countertop microwave. The reasoning behind this is that they are specifically designed to sit and be used on a countertop. Even features as small as the little pegs that hold the microwave above the counter serve a purpose that distinguishes a countertop microwave from a hood microwave. This purpose is to provide ventilation. The fan is not pressed directly against the counter because the pegs lift it above the counter, creating a gap. This is a feature that provides safety and convenience.
This small difference in features is actually the number one reason that people do not recommend using a hood microwave on a counter. So, it is ultimately best to use microwaves as they are supposed to be used. The two different types of microwaves can not truly be used interchangeably.