Over the Stove Microwave Installation Height

Installing your microwave over the stove is a surefire way to save counter space in your kitchen. While it's essential to follow clearance guidelines for safe operation, these guidelines may vary by region and product. A minimum distance of about 15 inches between the stove top and the bottom of the microwave is a common guideline. Review the specific clearance guidelines set by your stove and microwave manufacturers to be sure of the safest distance.

Kitchen interior
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Microwaves set over the stove save space, but require a safe distance.

Distance From Stove Top

Microwave ovens vary in their materials and construction, so the minimum required distance from the stove top to the unit is based on manufacturer guidelines. Review installation instructions for your specific model. For many models, the bottom should be at least 15 inches above the stove top. Over-the-range microwaves may have set requirements about the distance between the stove top and the cabinetry about the microwave. In some cases this is 30 inches for a 16-inch microwave. As long as your stove doesn't produce extremely high heat, you shouldn't have a problem following the manufacturer's guidelines.

Microwave Clearance Rules

The most convenient location to place a microwave is 3 inches below your shoulder, though above-range microwaves may be higher. A microwave should be no more than 54 inches, and no less than 15 inches, from the floor, according to standards set by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. When placing the microwave, make sure there are a few inches of space around the unit, and sufficient room for the door to open.

Cooktop Clearance Rules

Provide 24 or more inches of clearance between the cook top and a noncombustible surface, such as a range hood or cabinetry. There should be at least 30 inches of space between the stove top and a combustible or unprotected surface, such as cabinets. These guidelines are set by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. With a microwave hood, always follow manufacturer guidelines. It's essential to provide proper ventilation for all cooking surfaces.


Moving your microwave from a countertop to a spot above the range can save a lot of space. The easiest way to accomplish this task is to purchase an above-range microwave, which is often available in combination with a stove hood. These appliances generally fit into a space that's 30 inches wide, and incorporate an exhaust fan to help vent the stove. Always follow the specific guidelines of the product you're installing.