How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave to Save Kitchen Space

Clear off countertops by mounting a microwave above your stove. We'll walk you through the steps you should follow to install an over-the-range microwave.

small black and white kitchen corner with retro tile
Photo: Jay Wilde
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Over-the-range microwaves are conveniently placed and do double duty as range vents. For this space-saving microwave integration idea, you'll need a microwave designed especially for the job and a vent to carry away exhaust fumes from the stove. The vent is built into the wall and is easiest to install when you're building or remodeling the kitchen. But if you're good at drywall repair, you can install one in a finished kitchen. You’ll also need a cabinet above the range to hang the microwave in. The cabinet provides support and contains the wiring for the microwave (you might also need this space to hold part of the venting).

Plan two hours to hang the microwave, but it might take longer if venting and wiring are required. Before you begin, move the range if it's in the way, and install a microwave cabinet. Then follow these steps for how to install a microwave over your range.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Drywall saw
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Strippers


  • Over-the-range microwave
  • Cable
  • Outlet boxes
  • Receptacle
  • Receptacle cover, if new outlet is needed
  • Vent, if needed


  1. installing microwave vent

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    Install a Vent for the Microwave

    Your venting options for over-the-range microwaves include a system that directs exhaust outside or recirculates air back into the room (which isn't recommended for natural gas appliances). If you plan to vent the air outside, the installation will involve running ductwork from the microwave's vent outlet through a wall or through the roof to a vent cap located outside your home.

    It's best to install the ductwork to move the exhaust in the most direct route. Carefully plan a path for your ductwork before beginning, then install a vent above the range. Cut through the drywall with a drywall saw to access the vent.

  2. installing microwave outlet

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    Install an Outlet Inside the Cabinet

    Over-the-range microwaves are typically powered by an outlet located within the cabinet above. Shut off your power and install a new receptacle inside the cabinet. If you're not comfortable doing the electrical work yourself, hire an electrician to complete this task.

  3. positioning microwave fan

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    Position the Microwave Fan

    Make sure your microwave fan aligns with your exhaust. On some microwaves, you'll adjust the vent to channel the air in the direction that matches your ductwork. On others, including the one pictured above, you'll position the fan to direct the air through a filter before it recirculates back into the room.

  4. Tape Mounting Template

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    Tape Up the Mounting Template

    Many over-the-range microwaves come with a template for mounting. Tape the template to the wall, drill where shown, then remove the template. If there is no template, follow the manufacturer's directions to lay out the mounting holes.

  5. Attach Mounting Plate

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    Attach the Microwave's Mounting Plate

    A mounting plate attaches to the wall and bolts through the bottom of the cabinet into the top of the microwave to support the unit. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the mounting plate to the wall. The exact method depends on where the studs fall and on the design of the plate. You need to attach the plate to at least one stud but can typically use toggle bolts elsewhere.

  6. 2 people hanging microwave

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    Hang the Microwave Over the Range

    Hanging a microwave above a range typically requires two people. Make sure the door is latched and have someone help support the weight as you hang the microwave on the mounting plate. Feed the power cord up into the cabinet while you hook the microwave onto the bracket. Adjust it until the top surface sits flush with the cabinet.

  7. person bolting microwave

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    Bolt the Microwave in Place

    Following the manufacturer's directions, bolt the microwave to the cabinet. While your helper holds the microwave in place, screw the mounting bolts down through the cabinet and into the microwave's frame. If necessary, connect the ductwork to the microwave vent outlet. Plug it in and your microwave should be ready to use!

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