Benefits of undermount microwaves include freeing counter space, larger units and the addition of a light and vent for the cooktop. However, these microwaves are sometimes too high for short people, and there may not be a place for a hot dish if all the cooktop burners are in use.
Undermount microwaves install under the upper cabinets over the cooktop. Manufacturers supply installation information, including the minimum distance between the cooktop and bottom of the microwave. In small kitchens, mounting a microwave off the counter frees a significant amount of workspace that a countertop unit requires.
Undermount microwaves are generally larger in size than contertop models. The larger capacity allows users to cook larger meals in the unit. The units often combine other features, such as a fan or light, but this requires installing the exhaust duct for the unit or cutting the exhaust port through the wall before completing the installation. However, there are a larger number of options available for consumers selecting countertop units, and these units do not require professional installation, as the manufaturer recommends for the countertop model.
Some undermount units include features in addition to the fans and lights. Some combine a coffee maker or can opener with the oven. Combining these appliances with the counter top increases the unused counter space.