Where should you place the microwave oven? Most people put them on the countertop. If there’s limited space, they might instead avail of built-in or cabinet microwaves installed right into the shelves or cabinets of their kitchen. Some models are even mounted over-the-range (OTR) altogether.
With that said, should the microwave be put anywhere near the stove or does it present a bit of a hazard? Keep on reading to find out more about the topic.
Can We Put the Microwave Near the Stove?
You can technically put your microwave near the stove if it’s the over-the-range or OTR microwave variety. This microwave serves as a range hood or vent substitute. It’s different from conventional freestanding microwaves in that it has a high-CFM ventilation fan.
The fan allows it to become a range hood ventilation substitute while also doubling as a microwave in itself. However, if it’s not an OTR microwave, where should you put your microwave? Is it dangerous to have it anywhere near your gas range or something?
If your microwave oven is functioning properly and there are no gas leaks from your gas range, you can operate the standard freestanding or countertop microwave near the stove without worrying about a thing.
However, make sure to keep the power cord and the microwave body itself away from the hot surface of the oven the same way you’d keep it away from the sink or the fridge.
What Is The Kitchen Triangle and What Is It For?
The kitchen triangle is a rule of thumb used to properly place the three most common elements of a kitchen in perfect harmony with each other—the sink, refrigerator, and stove. The trick here is to place them at three points of a triangle, so they’re rough across each other.
Each triangle point or edge allows you to easily access foods from the pick-up stage at the fridge to the washing stage at the sink to the preparation stage at the stove and countertop. With that said, what does it have to do with microwave placement?
Where Should You Place the Microwave Relative to the Kitchen Triangle?
Additional work areas such as the microwave or prep sink should be 4 to 9 feet away from the closest point of the kitchen triangle. This means that whether it’s the stove, sink, or refrigerator, your microwave should be placed about 4-9 feet away from them or the triangle.
It’s like social distancing for kitchen appliances and fixtures. If your apartment is more compact or you live in a trailer home RV, you should do your best not to go under 4 feet of nearness just to place it safe regarding your microwave’s distance from the stove.
How Near Can You Put Your Microwave to a Stove?
If you’re really dealing with extra limited space then at least make sure your countertop microwave is at least 2 feet (24 inches) or even 30 inches away from the cooktop or stove. We’d prefer 4 feet if you could help it but don’t go under 2 feet if you’re lacking space.
These countertop models aren’t designed for OTR use and they can’t vent that heat as well as their top-mounted OTR counterparts and their 300 CFM fans. Even OTRs should have at least 14-15 inches between the underside of its body and the stovetop.
Why Can’t We Put the Microwave Next to the Stove?
All this talk about microwave placement probably has you wondering about one thing. If an OTR microwave can be put above or over the stove then why shouldn’t a freestanding microwave that can be placed anywhere like an extra-big toaster stand right next to the stove?
The answer to that is simple. You can damage your microwave. As much as it’s capable of superheating foods if you microwave them long enough to mind-boggling degrees of heat, the electronics of the microwave box itself couldn’t stand overheating once the heat reaches them.
Like an overheating car or any overheating device, your microwave could stop working when it gets hot outside via stove and inside via microwaved hot pockets.
Why Can’t We Put the Microwave Next to the Sink?
It’s obvious to most that the microwave should be farthest away from the sink or should be placed opposite it if possible. This is because of the risk of the running water shorting the microwave out or corroding the metal parts of the device.
Even stainless steel microwaves have their rust-resistance limitations. You mainly shouldn’t put the microwave next to the sink because of concerns regarding splash-back or accidentally water flooding that could mess with its electronics.
You might even need a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on the electric sockets to prevent electrocution if they’re located near water sources. Metal is likelier to produce sparks inside your microwave than splash-back on its exterior though.
You may also like: How Close Can a Microwave Be to a Sink?
Why Can’t We Put the Microwave Next to the Fridge?
Although the kitchen triangle specifies that the refrigerator is part of it, it’s the one point of the triangle that has the least amount of problems with the microwave. It should be fine to place the microwave on top or near the refrigerator, like have it right next to it on the countertop.
At most, you might have issues regarding electrical surges. If you were to use your microwave on the same electrical socket your refrigerator is plugged into, it could cause an electrical surge that turns your fridge on and off.
One of the fastest ways to damage your refrigerator is to have it turn on and off repeatedly, which messes with its compressor. If you have multiple powerful appliances plugged into a wall socket, use a surge protector to protect them from power surges.
What You Ultimately Need to Know
If you’re afraid of your microwave somehow igniting gas leaking from your stove then that’s really the least of your worries. Have that gas leak fixed first rather than worrying about microwave placement.
As for the microwave leaking microwave radiation, it’s the same deal. Get a properly functioning microwave. Also, it’s unlikely for a brand new microwave to leak radiation due to its door seal. Also, radiation shouldn’t affect your oven in any way.
- “Where to Put Microwave in Small Kitchen“, THORKitchen.com June 18, 2019
- Joe Ford, “Can you put a microwave above a sink?“, AnswerstoAll.com, April 25, 2021
- “Is it true that a microwave cannot be used near a gas stove?“, Quora.com, July 1, 2017