Using a reliable microwave

People love over-the-range (OTR) microwaves because they save on counter space and can double as a range hood (albeit, typically, an underpowered one). And though you want any appliance to last, that's particularly true of OTR microwaves, given that installing one is a bit of a chore.

CR recently surveyed its members on their experiences with more than 33,000 microwaves, and Frigidaire, Hotpoint, and Whirlpool OTR microwaves all rate Very Good for reliability.

However, Ikea’s line of over-the-range microwaves, which is manufactured by Whirlpool, is the only brand to receive an Excellent rating for predicted reliability.

We consider these brands least likely to break within five years.

More on Microwaves

Our survey also collects information on OTR owner satisfaction—this is different from reliability; it’s a measure of how likely CR members are to recommend their OTR microwave to family and friends. The winners for owner satisfaction? Bosch, LG, and Sharp. All rate Good for reliability—which is average for the category—but earn a rating of Very Good for owner satisfaction.

Hotpoint and Whirlpool, two of our reliability stars, receive a Good owner-satisfaction rating; Frigidaire receives a rating of Fair.

CR members can now see full reliability and owner-satisfaction ratings in the ratings chart, and both are now factored into our Overall Score for over-the-range microwaves. You’ll find more than 60 OTR microwaves in our ratings.

Least Reliable OTR Microwave Brands

At the bottom of our reliability ratings sits Samsung, with a rating of Poor. Just above that is Electrolux, Jenn-Air, and Magic Chef, with reliability ratings of Fair. Compared with OTR brands in general, according to our members' experiences, Samsung and Electrolux have higher rates of control-panel button problems.

Owner satisfaction falls along the same lines with Electrolux and Jenn-Air, which rate only Fair; Magic Chef is rated Poor. Samsung receives a Good owner-satisfaction rating, even though it receives a Poor rating for reliability.

“Samsung, Electrolux, Jenn-Air, and Magic Chef should be approached with caution, due to subpar reliability ratings,” says Adam Troy, a senior research associate at Consumer Reports. “None of these brands can be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time.”