Over-the-range microwave installed and surrounded by brown cabinetry

How to install an over-the-range microwave

Installing an over-the-range microwave can be a simple DIY project that provides space-saving flexibility and convenience in your kitchen. Whether you are replacing your current microwave, remodeling or installing a microwave over the stove for the first time, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Explore over-the-range microwaves from Whirlpool brand to find styles and features to suit your needs.

Installing an above-the-range microwave: step-by-step instructions

This 12-step process will guide you through everything from mounting microwave brackets and locating wall studs to positioning your appliance above the range. From start to finish, plan for roughly two hours for complete installation. For optimal installation and handling of the appliance, it is recommended to complete this task with two people.

Be mindful that these instructions take into account an existing space over your range with the proper electrical connections and ventilation capabilities in place. In some cases, electrical outlets may need to be added or ductwork may need to be installed for the microwave hood vent to circulate outside. We recommend consulting a professional for these cases.

Remember to always follow the instructions on your installation guide during this process.

What you’ll need to install an over-the-range microwave with vent hood

Supplies

  • Over-the-range microwave
  • Cardboard mounting templates
    (mounting bracket may be used as a template)

Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Drop cloth or towel

  • Scissors

  • Stud finder

  • Drill & drill bits

Person standing next to cleared work area for microwave installation

Step 1: Prepare the work area

First, make sure to unplug your range and carefully remove it from the cutout space. Next, place a drop cloth or towel on the floor to help prevent damage and messes.

For additional help with how to install an over-the-range microwave, Whirlpool® Installation Kits include tools you may need.

Person holding mounting bracket against wall

Step 2: Locate the studs

Using a stud finder, locate the studs underneath the cabinet space where the microwave will be installed. Next, using a pencil and a level, mark the stud locations and extend these markings downward to form a straight line on the wall.

Mounting plate being placed against the top of the back wall

Step 3: Locate the mounting plate

In your microwave’s packaging, locate the mounting plate that will be secured to the wall. This unit may be attached to the back of the appliance. If so, carefully detach the bracket and set aside.

Person securely holding mounting plate against wall with two hands

Step 4: Apply template to wall

Your appliance may include two cardboard templates for installing an over-the-range microwave:

  • Rear wall template

  • Upper cabinet template

Once located, carefully cut the rear wall template with scissors. The upper cabinet template will be used later. Repeat this step.

If cardboard templates are not included, the mounting bracket can be used as the template.

Apply the cardboard template to the wall with masking tape, or hold the mounting bracket still against the wall. Ensure that the template is level and flush against the bottom edge of the upper cabinet.

Drill holes being located for mounting plate installation

Step 5: Make your markings 

Using a pencil, mark the drill holes near the bottom corners of the template or bracket. Next, draw a horizontal line on the wall along the bottom edge.

These markings will be used for the installation of the mounting bracket.

Mounting plate aligned against the wall

Step 6: Align the mounting plate

If you are using the cardboard template, remove it and align the mounting plate to the bottom drill holes. Make sure this is centered against the wall and flush with the horizontal line drawn at the bottom.

Drill holes into the studs are being marked

Step 7: Mark the wall studs

Locate the vertical lines drawn to display the wall studs. Holding the mounting plate in place, mark at least one hole through the mounting plate closest to the wall stud vertical line.

The mounting plate must be attached to at least one stud, but two is preferable for the installation process. If this is not possible, refer to your installation guide for best practices.

Holes are being drilled into the wall

Step 8: Drill 

Carefully drill through the end hole markings on each bottom corner and stud locations to create a hole.

Mounting plate being secured against back wall

Step 9: Attach mounting plate to wall

Align the mounting bracket to the appropriate holes and secure in place with bolts or lag screws, according to the manufacturer’s installation guide.

Mounting plate being secured against upper cabinet

Step 10: Prepare upper cabinet

Remove contents from the upper cabinet. Next, align the upper cabinet cardboard template along the bottom of the cabinet. Ensure the template is centered along the rear wall with the template arrows also against the wall.

Consult the product’s installation guide if a cardboard template is not included.

Hole being drilled into the upper cabinet for the microwave power cord

Step 11: Drill the power cord hole

Using the template, carefully drill the indicated hole into the bottom of the cabinet for the microwave's power cord to flow through.

Two people lifting and aligning the microwave oven into place

Step 12: Install the microwave over the stove

Carefully remove any rotating plates or other contents from the inside of the microwave. Tape the door shut.

With a friend:

  • Position the microwave into the allotted space, tilt the appliance toward you, and run the power cord through the hole into the upper cabinet.

  • Rotate the appliance upward and push it against the mounting plate. Hold this position in place.

  • With your helper holding the microwave insert the provided bolts through the upper cabinet and into the microwave oven. Secure the appliance and tighten bolts as needed.

  • Plug in your microwave and clear the workspace.

Person securing the microwave in place from the upper cabinet

Ready to use your microwave

Now that you have your over-the-stove microwave installed, you and your family are ready for optimal cooking capabilities. To maximize these, follow this handy guide for microwave tips and best practices.

To keep your appliance running smoothly and your kitchen space pristine, learn how to prevent messes and clean the interior and exterior of your microwave.

Silver and black over-the-range microwave installed with pasta steaming on the stove below

Over-the-stove microwave installation FAQs

For common questions on the installation of your overhead microwave, browse the following FAQs to ensure a secure fit and avoid a hanging, loose fixture.

Can you install an over-the-range microwave yourself?

For self-installation, the process of mounting a microwave under the cabinet is best suited for two people. This helps prevent potential damage to the appliance and advocates a simple installation process.

For your convenience, professional installation is also available from Whirlpool.

Do you need a vent with an above-stove microwave?

Similar to range hoods, an over-the-stove microwave installation does not need to have a vent that connects outdoors. They can be installed to allow the fan to circulate indoors.

Should an above-the-range microwave be flush with the cabinets?

It is normal for above-the-range microwaves to stick out a few inches from the edge of your cabinet, in contrast to built-in microwaves that are flush. The extra space allows for the microwave door to open all the way.

If your cabinets are smaller in depth, the microwave may extend farther than normal.

How much clearance do you need for an over-the-range microwave?

Installing an over-the-range microwave generally requires clearance of 12 to 13 inches above the range, as well as 66 inches of space from the floor to the top of the appliance. If you are installing near a wall on the left side, make sure there is at least 6 inches of clearance to allow the door to fully open.

The height of standard microwaves extend from 12 to 15 inches, unlike low-profile models from Whirlpool brand that tend to be smaller in height.

What is a low profile over-the-range microwave?

A low-profile over-the-range microwave measures roughly 10 ¼ inches tall, substantially shorter than standard models. This allows for more space-saving flexibility as it is capable of fitting constrained areas above ranges, particularly spaces that would typically only allow for a range hood installation.

Although this type of microwave is smaller in height, it does not sacrifice cooking capability or capacity for your family.

Explore Whirlpool® Over-the-Range Microwaves

Whirlpool® Over-the-Range Microwaves free up counter space and offer optimal cooking capabilities, including Sensor Cooking features, to save you time and stress in your daily life.

Discover which model fits your family’s needs below:

 Learn more about Whirlpool® Microwaves

Go to the Whirlpool blog homepage

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