November 22

Can You Put a Microwave on Top of Your Fridge? If Not, Then Where Can You?

Written by: Dolly

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Cramped kitchen? Little to no countertop space? Or do you just have a mountain of appliances (hello, air fryer)?  

Whatever the case, very few people have as much space as they would like in their kitchen. And that’s just a fact! 

It only makes sense to seek alternative storage options, especially for bulky appliances. If you’re considering putting your microwave oven above the fridge, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Before you go plugging everything in and rearranging your whole kitchen, ask yourself if it’s really safe to put a microwave above the fridge. And don’t worry if you don’t know, because I’m coming in hot with the answers!

What We Recommend

microwave-doodle

Disclaimer: I am not in any way a professional electrician, nor are my colleagues here at Robust Kitchen. While I am happy to advise you to the best of my ability, please take everything you read with a grain of salt, just like everything else online. If you have safety concerns, please consult an electrician. 

Yes, it is usually safe to put a microwave above the fridge. If you’re on the shorter end of the spectrum, it may not be the finest idea, but if you ain’t got the countertop space, you ain’t got the space! 

However, there are several safety precautions to check before sticking your microwave on top of the fridge. 


How to Safely Put a Microwave Above the Fridge

Before you put your microwave above the fridge, please consider the following causes for concern. If they apply to you or your kitchen, then putting a microwave on top of the fridge is probably not the best idea. 


Electricity

electrical-outlet-and-plugs

Although this will vary per kitchen, the microwave and fridge will most likely be plugged into the same electrical socket. While this is all fine and good theoretically, it does raise the question: can the socket handle it? 

Here’s the deal: plugging a fridge and a microwave into a socket that can’t support them will end in disaster.

The average fridge uses 100-200 watts when it’s functioning. However, each fridge is different, and this all depends based on size, model, spacing, and more. You can check to see how many watts or kilowatts your fridge uses by looking through its specs. 

Microwaves generally need anywhere from 800-1000 watts to function properly. Most sockets can handle around 1300-2000 watts, with emphasis on the word most. There are low-watt microwaves out there, which could serve as a good alternative! 

Before plugging your appliances in, make sure your socket can handle having both the fridge and the microwave in use at the same time. 

Top tip: You’ll know it can’t if the appliances stop working, your lights start flickering, or they run slower than before. 


Weight

Now, each fridge’s specs vary. While this may not apply to your current fridge, it could apply to future ones, so it’s still worth keeping in mind! 

Depending on how much weight your fridge can hold, you may not be able to put a microwave on top of it. I highly recommend reading through the specs and owner’s manual before putting anything on top of your fridge. Ventilation concerns, weight issues, or other such problems could throw a real wrench in your plans. 

Most fridges can carry 60 pounds, but again, that doesn’t apply to all. The average microwave weighs around 55 pounds, so that’s cutting it pretty close in my book. Mini microwaves are much smaller (hence the name) and may be a better fit for the top of the fridge. 

While you can put your microwave (convection or not) on top of the fridge, it’s always best to check the weight capacity beforehand. 


Height

galanz-microwave-dimensions

Depending on how tall you are, you run the risk of not being able to easily reach the microwave if it’s on top of the fridge. You may end up spilling hot food or liquids on yourself and all over the fridge: a mess that no one wants to deal with.

This also means it will be challenging to operate the microwave. I personally would not be able to reach the top buttons (or middle buttons, or bottom buttons) if my microwave were on top of the fridge. 

Plus, cleaning your microwave will be a nightmare if it’s on top of a fridge. Either invest in a step stool or remember to bring it down every time you plan on cleaning it out. And, yes, you have to clean your microwave


Ventilation

Just like microwaves and other kitchen appliances, your fridge needs to breathe! If it has vents coming out of the top, putting a microwave (which gets very hot) on top of them could prove disastrous. 

Most recommend keeping an inch of space free on top of the fridge for proper ventilation, plus wiggle room on the sides and back. The owner’s manual and specs should have the proper dimensions for your specific model. 

Fun fact: If fridges don’t get enough air and wiggle room, they will actually consume more energy in an effort to keep themselves cool! Ventilation is key to a well-functioning (and low-consuming) refrigerator! 


Alternative Spots to Put Your Microwave

retro-microwave

If your setup has any of the problems listed above, please do not put your microwave on top of your fridge! It may be tempting, but here are several spots that you could try instead. 

  • Countertop

Of course, this only applies if you have the space for it. If you have multiple appliances, consider putting only the high-traffic ones out on the countertop, and storing the rest in a cabinet. 

  • Over-the-Range Above the Stove

It’s a classic for a reason! These provide ventilation for your stovetop and keep the microwave off your counter. Win-win! 

  • Cabinet

This is great if you don’t use your microwave very often. Out of sight, cabinet microwaves will de-clutter your kitchen while maintaining accessibility. Just be sure to buy one that’s meant to go in a cabinet! 

  • Drawer

Drawer microwaves are all the rage right now due to their sleek and funky look. Fair warning, these under-counter microwaves will cost a pretty penny. But, hey, at least they look pretty cool. 

  • Microwave Cart

Microwave carts free up counter space and add extra storage. Stick it in the corner or along the wall, and revel in all that extra space! 


FAQs

Can I Put a Microwave Above the Stove? 

oven-and-microwave-in-kitchen

Yes! There are several over-the-range microwaves that are designed specifically for over-the-stove use. They can be a little tricky to install by yourself, but they offer ventilation for the stovetop below and free up tons of counter space! 


Can I Put a Microwave Above a Mini Fridge? 

Technically, yes, you can put a microwave on top of a mini fridge, but you want to keep a few things in mind: 

  1. Ventilation 
  1. Weight
  1. Electricity

Like their full-sized friends, mini-fridges face many of the same challenges when there’s a microwave involved.

Check ahead of time to ensure its ventilation needs are being met – that wiggle room is important! Plus, you need to ensure it can hold the weight of the microwave and that your socket isn’t pulling more power than it can handle! 


Can I Keep a Microwave in a Cabinet? 

Yes! As long as their ventilation needs are met, microwaves can be stored in cabinets. This spot is especially ideal if you don’t use your microwave super often. It’s out of the way, but still easily accessible. 


Conclusion

Can you put a microwave above your fridge? Sure thing. But should you? 

That depends on whether or not you meet all of the safety qualifications. Doing a little research will go a long way! 

Check those specs and read your owner’s manual. And, if it’s not safe, consider one of the options listed above and get creative in your space. 

Happy rearranging!

Dolly


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About the author

Dolly is a student at Goldsmiths, University of London and an avid cook. After managing a miniature organic farm for a year, she fell in love with the art of cooking and the taste of homegrown greens. Dolly first became plant-based eight years ago, and she is now a full-blown vegan; her plant-based journey has made her creative and experimental in the kitchen. If she’s not writing or cooking, Dolly can be found on her front porch, strumming her guitar and singing for anyone who will listen.

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