A microwave drawer opens out like a typical cabinet drawer, revealing the entire cooking surface and the contents. These microwaves fit under kitchen counters and along the sides of islands, freeing up counter space. This also avoids the issue of revamping the ventilation system for microwaves installed above stoves.
Since drawer microwaves are installed at a lower level, it's easier for cooks to open the drawer, check on a dish and then stir it, all without removing the food. For safety's sake, manufacturers include locks in the design to prevent young children from using the device when unattended.
Most regular microwaves open from right to left, favoring right-handed users. Drawer microwaves are equally accessible to both. Units open either by pulling a handle or pushing a button that automatically opens the door. Controls are along the top, right above the drawer.
The microwaves come pre-assembled with a ventilation system built into each unit. As of 2015, basic sizes include 24-inch, 27-inch and 30-inch widths. The intended cabinet space needs 120-volt wiring with a three-pronged plug to provide grounding. A corresponding breaker must be added to the home's electric panel box. The microwave drawer also needs a shelf or platform inside the cabinet space for it to sit on.