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CDA Buying Advice – Freestanding Vs Built-in: Which Microwave is Best?

Which is better, a freestanding or built-in microwave?

You may be thinking that all microwaves are the same and that it won’t be hard to choose? Actually there are lots of differences and things to consider such as size, design, function and price. This guide will tell you everything you need to know when choosing between built-in or freestanding. 

Freestanding Microwaves

A microwave is a staple kitchen appliance and most of us wouldn’t be without one, but the question is do you opt for freestanding or built-in? Freestanding microwaves can also be known as countertop microwave ovens, simply because they stand on top of your worktop. 

A freestanding microwave is simply a microwave that stands alone from other appliances. It will sit on your countertop, where ever you choose to place it. 

We have 2 freestanding microwaves available in our range, the VM101 and the VM201. The VM101 is a freestanding microwave oven that has 5 microwave power levels, an auto defrost setting and an amazing 25L net capacity.  The VM201 is a freestanding microwave oven and grill that boasts lots of features including a microwave/grill function and 5 microwave power levels with the highest being 900W. 

 – Location

The big selling point with freestanding microwaves is that you can place them wherever you want on your worktop. This is within reason of course as it’s not a good idea to place your microwave right next to your sink. However you do have great flexibility on the potential location of your microwave oven when compared to a built-in model. 

Freestanding microwaves are very accessible as you can place it where it is best for you. If your microwave needs replacing or you just fancy a new one it is easy to replace, as you can simply unplug it and replace it. Unlike built-in models where they are in a fixed position and it is a lot more difficult to remove them. 

But some people find that they are too big and take up too much valuable space on your worktop. However, if you are limited for space, a built-in microwave may be better as it is out of the way and off of your countertop. 

– Installation

Installing a freestanding microwave is significantly easier than installing a built-in microwave as you only need a space to place the appliance and an electrical outlet to plug the microwave in. But when installing a built-in microwave it is a lot more complex and you will need an electrician to install it.

– Cost

Cost is one of the main factors that people look for when buying an appliance or in fact when buying anything.  With so many sizes, models and brands to choose from you can be sure to find a microwave that is perfect for you. One thing you should be aware of is that the more features to hand and the higher the spec, the higher the cost is going to be.

The advantage of countertop microwaves otherwise known as freestanding, is that there are no installation costs, you simply place the appliance where you want it to sit and plug it in. But with built-in, you need someone to install it for you which comes at a price. 

Built-in Microwaves

Now you have heard how great freestanding microwaves, you should consider the fantastic advantages of a CDA built-in microwave too. If you are fed up of a freestanding microwave taking up valuable space on your worktop, then maybe a built-in model is for you?

Built-in microwaves are simply microwaves that are built-in to a cabinet or fixed to the wall to keep out of the way and to free up more cooking space. 

We have 5 built-in microwaves including the VM550 wall unit microwave designed to be wall mounted and installed at eye level and the VK902 combination microwave which features a grill and a fan oven. CDA built-in microwaves host a range of features and functions including auto defrost setting, quick start and capacities ranging from 17L to an outstanding 40L. 

– Space and Location

One benefit of a built-in microwave is that they keep your kitchen neat. 

Although built-in microwaves can be useful you will need to find the right size model to fit into the cabinet/space you have chosen for the appliance. So, when looking to buy a built-in microwave oven, ensure that you have measured the space you have selected to find an appropriate model.

If you need to repair or replace your model at any point it will also be a little trickier as you will need to remove the microwave from the unit, instead of just fixing/replacing it easily like you would a freestanding model.

– Installation 

Installation for a built-in microwave isn’t as simple as a freestanding model. This is because you will need a licensed contractor who will be able to properly install your appliance into your cabinet. It should be completed by a professional because they need to ensure that the microwave is safely bracketed into the unit and that the microwave is sufficiently ventilated to prevent a potential fire hazard.  

– Cost

Like with freestanding models, the cost is always going to be a big factor to look at and it will differ with depending on the features available and the model itself. Built-in microwave ovens are known for being slightly more expensive because of the installation cost, which should always be completed by a professional. 

Now that you have read about the advantages and disadvantages of built-in and freestanding microwaves which one will you choose? Click here to view our full range of microwaves.

Can all microwaves be built-in?

Not all microwaves can be built-in as they are available in either freestanding or built-in models. We recommend that you install built-in microwaves into a cabinet, but if you do wish to install a freestanding model as a built-in we have built-in trim kits that allow you to do so. These kits ensure that your microwave has sufficient space to ventilate properly. But with our fantastic range of built-in microwaves ton choose from you won’t need to fit a freestanding one as a built-in. 


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