Microwave Drawer Guide: Pros, Cons, & Are They Worth It?

Microwave or steam oven

Microwave drawers can be pretty controversial.

Many people often wonder about microwave drawer pros and cons, while others can’t get over the giddy, child-like joy of having a microwave that glides out and comes with so many cool features.

There’s a lot that can be misunderstood about microwave drawers. As someone who’s spent hours working with them, I thought I’d put together this quick guide to answer a few common questions. Including:

  • What are the pros and cons of microwave drawers?
  • Why are microwave drawers so expensive?
  • Are microwave drawers worth it?
  • How good are drawer microwaves compared to other microwave types?

Hopefully, this in-depth drawer microwave will help you decide whether one of the world’s most expensive microwaves is right for you!

A woman in black and white with her hands on her cheeks
“Wow! What is that? Is that a microwave?!” – A common occurrence for any microwave drawer owner showing their friends around.

If you’re in the market for a microwave drawer, check out our detailed guide for the best microwave drawers. Or, for the latest and greatest, my review of the Sharp SMD2480CS Microwave Drawer.

Microwave Drawer Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Frees up a TON of counter space. More room, less stress.High price tag. These aren’t for budget shoppers.
Much easier to place and lift hot/heavy objects.Heating functionality same as a normal microwave. Can’t turn a frozen dinner into a gourmet meal.
Super easy to access, and to clean. No swinging doors – gentle & controlled open/closing.The installation and removal is a few hours work, or worth calling an expert.
Control panels are lockable to prevent kids from trying to microwave the dog. Models don’t come with convection options (lack of ventilation)
Looks are showstopper. Totally unique and high-end.Sizes are limited to 24″ and 30″ widths only.
No turntable issues. Heating element rotates instead.
You don’t have to mount under counter. Can be placed above a built-in oven.
HUGE space! A 24″ model can fit a whole 4-quart casserole dish in width, and up to a whole 20oz coffee cup (7″) in height.
You can season and stir dishes without removing them. Just open, stir the food, and close again. Simple.

Why Are Microwave Drawers So Expensive?

It’s crazy, right? Over $1,000… for a microwave!

Microwave drawers are so expensive for 3 main reasons. First, the technology is patented to SHARP, meaning the company can charge a high price without competition. Second, the parts are very unique and expensive.

Especially since microwave drawers are the only type of microwave without a turntable. And third, drawer microwaves use very high-quality parts. At the +$1,000 mark, you expect the best material quality and the latest modern controls and features.

An open drawer
So much more space than a conventional microwave.

Once all factors are considered, you have a recipe for a very expensive drawer microwave! Unfortunately, the price will almost always stay high. Why? Mainly because of the patent.

Since SHARP are in charge, they have a monopoly on the market and can demand high prices. Even though other companies can buy a ‘base’ microwave and customize it in their own way (like Bosch does), they still need to pay a high price for the original parts.

With such a high starting price, it only makes sense to keep using the best parts. There’s no point paying $900 for the microwave and attaching 90’s-era controls to save $40. Once you’re already nearing or passing the $1,000 price point, you’re only looking at about a 10% jump in price to get the latest and greatest in materials and features.

Considering all of this, one question remains…

Are Microwave Drawers Worth It?

Are expensive drawer microwaves really worth their price tag? Well, let’s discuss.

Drawer microwaves are not worth it if you’re on a budget and don’t need too many bells and whistles. At the end of the day, drawer microwaves will heat your dinner just as well as a $60 microwave from Walmart will. It’s like buying a million-dollar sports car only to commute to and from work.

In fact, that’s a bit of an apt comparison. A microwave drawer to a sports car (stick with me here).

For a massive price increase, you get many ‘luxury’ benefits without changing the base function—the car still drives—the microwave still cooks. What you’re paying for is added functionality and world-class quality.

By functionality, I’m talking about a much larger microwave space. Combined with no turntable, we can suddenly fit large casserole dishes without issue. I’m also talking high power, getting the cooking done faster, and doing it better. You’ll also get to enjoy extra functions – pre-set timers and wave-open access.

Yes, it’s still a microwave.. just like a Ferrari is still a car.

So, back to the question.

Microwave drawers are worth it for the right kind of shopper. One who has the budget and appreciates a microwave drawer’s greater quality, design, and functionality. Particularly in the higher power, larger space, no turntable, and much easier access. However, no matter how deeply you analyze microwave drawer pros and cons, they’re not worth it for a budget shopper.

At the end of the day, a microwave is a microwave. In my opinion, if all you need is a heated microwave dinner, there’s no advantage to paying over 10x the price. Not to mention that the more complex an appliance is, the more parts there are to fail and break.

So, while microwave drawers are built to last, you’ll want to go for a simpler version if you’re concerned about delicate components, such as elaborate door mechanisms.

Image of Sharp SMD2470AS Drawer Microwave Control Pad
You can’t beat amazing features like these pop-out controls.

Microwave Drawers vs Built-In Microwaves

The closest sibling to a microwave drawer is the built-in microwave. Built-in microwaves are similar in so many respects – so which is better?

With price tags of $100-$250, built-in microwaves are much cheaper than microwave drawers – which can cost over $1,000. Both microwave types offer the same amazing benefit of not taking up counter space as well as sitting flush with your cabinets. And, in most cases, their designs and looks are similar, though microwave drawers will tend to have the added ‘wow!’ factor.

The real difference between microwave drawers and built-in microwaves lies in their functionality. Microwave drawers are typically installed below waist height and glide out smoothly at the touch of a button. On the other hand, built-in microwaves are installed at chest height or above. Built-in microwaves are also much smaller and open via a handle you can pull.

I tend to find that the small size and awkward positioning of built-in microwaves cause a lot of difficulties. When working with a large, hot, heavy dish – getting it in and out of a built-in microwave can be a nightmare, especially for an older person. You need oven gloves to open the door, lift the dish to your chest, and somehow slide it into the small microwave.

A microwave drawer, on the other hand? Just tap the ‘open’ button, place the heavy dish in your large drawer, and hit close. Easy. A real game-changer for folks who have trouble lifting heavy, hot dishes.

The use of the large drawer space extends further. Combined with the lack of a turntable, you can unlock the ability to use almost any dish size and shape. Square, rectangular… it doesn’t matter.

In summary, while a microwave drawer is more expensive than a built-in microwave, it offers much more functionality, especially for folks who have trouble with smaller, harder-to-reach microwaves.

Still not convinced? Keep reading to explore how other key microwave drawer pros and cons stand against different microwave types.

Tip: If you want to know how much it costs to run any type of microwave, please use our free calculator.

Microwave Drawers vs Countertop Microwaves

Comparing a microwave drawer to a countertop microwave is like comparing an old Ford with a Ferrari. At the end of the day, both’ll get you from point A to point B, but the trip will be very different.

Microwave drawers offer much more than countertop microwaves by:

  • Having a larger space (can fit bigger dishes)
  • Not having a turntable (can fit rectangular dishes)
  • Offering modern features (timers, push-to-open, more options)
  • Saving counter space
  • Amazing modern design; flush with cabinets

However, the advantages above come with a huge price tag. Often up to 20x that of a countertop microwave.

Honestly, there really isn’t a lot more to discuss! I often tell homeowners that if they need a simple appliance to cook, defrost, or reheat their food – they should get a countertop microwave. And if they have the budget and value looks and functionality, then they should consider a microwave drawer.


Microwave drawers are an amazing invention. While they’ll never be in the majority of homes, I personally love them.

Microwave drawers are the personification of an ‘ultimate’ in something and have really taken cooking and functionality to the next level.

Between the amazing design, unrivaled functionality, and top-quality parts – there’s not many other appliances so guaranteed to give you the beloved ‘wow’ factor.

I hope this quick guide on the key microwave drawer pros and cons has helped clear any confusion you had about this microwave type. If this article answered your most burning questions, please consider supporting us by checking out some other related articles below and subscribing to our newsletter.

Thank you for reading! And have a great day.


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more