Can You Put a Microwave on Top of the Fridge?

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Finding extra space in the kitchen can be a challenge for many homeowners. With countertop appliances like microwaves taking up precious real estate, you may be wondering if you can move it somewhere else. One common question is: can you put a microwave on top of the fridge?

The short answer is yes, you can place a microwave on top of your refrigerator safely as long as you take a few precautions. Keep reading to learn the benefits, considerations, and steps for installing a microwave above your fridge.

Key Takeaways

  1. Placing a microwave on top of the refrigerator can free up valuable counter space in your kitchen.
  2. Check that your fridge can safely handle the weight of the microwave, usually between 30-50 lbs.
  3. Proper electrical setup is crucial – use separate outlets for microwave and fridge if possible.
  4. Allow for adequate ventilation clearance behind the microwave.
  5. Take precautions when installing overhead to meet all safety requirements, including secure wall mounting.

Benefits of Putting a Microwave Above the Fridge

Placing your microwave on top of the refrigerator offers a few advantages:

  • Frees up counter space: Getting your microwave off the countertop gives you back room for meal prep and staging. This extra space can make cooking and entertaining easier.
  • Convenient access: Having the microwave at eye level is easier than bending down to access it in a lower cabinet. It’s right there when you need it.
  • Better visibility: You’ll have a clear line of sight to the microwave controls and can monitor the cooking progress. No more forgetting what’s inside!
  • Appealing look: Microwaves are not the most attractive appliances. Putting it out of sight on top of the refrigerator gives your kitchen a cleaner, smoother aesthetic.

Weight Limits and Safety Tips

Before installing your microwave above the fridge, make sure your refrigerator can handle the weight. Most standard refrigerators have a weight capacity of around 30 to 50 pounds on top. Larger, commercial-style models can hold up to 100 pounds.

The average microwave weighs between 25 and 35 pounds. Measure your model to confirm it falls within your refrigerator’s weight limits. Exceeding the maximum weight capacity could damage your fridge or cause the microwave to fall.

Here are some other safety tips for mounting a microwave over the refrigerator:

  • Use wall anchors rated for the combined weight of the microwave and any items you’ll store with it.
  • Make sure the microwave doesn’t hang over the edge where it could tip or fall.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s mounting instructions precisely.
  • Have two people lift and install a heavier commercial-style microwave.

Electrical and Ventilation Requirements

Microwaves and refrigerators are high wattage appliances with specific electrical needs. Avoid overloading your kitchen circuits by taking these steps:

  • Use separate outlets for the microwave and refrigerator if possible.
  • Confirm the outlet can handle the total wattage of both appliances.
  • Do not use extension cords; have an electrician add more outlets if needed.

You’ll also need to consider ventilation:

  • Allow at least 3 inches of clearance behind the microwave for proper airflow.
  • Make sure vents on both appliances remain unobstructed.
  • Do not install the microwave against a wall or materials that could melt or scorch.

Failure to meet the electrical and ventilation requirements could lead to a fire hazard.

Installation Steps

Installing a microwave securely on top of your refrigerator takes careful measurement and some handyman skills. Follow these steps:

1. Choose the Location

To choose the location, decide on which side of the fridge is best based on outlet proximity and your kitchen workflow. Make sure there is enough open space on that side of the refrigerator. Confirm the surface is wide and sturdy enough to hold the microwave.

2. Prepare the Electrical

For the electrical preparation, plug the refrigerator into one grounded outlet. Plug the microwave into a separate grounded outlet, or have an electrician install one if needed.

3. Measure and Mark Mounting Locations

Next, measure and mark the mounting locations by placing the microwave on top of the fridge temporarily. Mark the stud locations on the back wall and the outer edges on the fridge top.

4. Install Wall Mounting Bracket

Install the wall mounting bracket by using a stud finder to locate and mark the wall studs. Hold the mounting bracket centered over the stud marks. Drill pilot holes and use lag bolts to secure the bracket to the wall through the studs.

5. Attach Mounting Plate to Microwave

Attach the mounting plate to the microwave by removing the turntable and other removable parts. Position the mounting plate and use the provided screws to attach it to the microwave.

6. Hang the Microwave

To hang the microwave, lift it and hang it on the wall bracket using the alignment notches. Install anti-tip brackets if your model includes them. Check that the microwave is centered within the marks on the fridge top.

7. Finish the Installation

Finally, finish the installation by plugging in the microwave but don’t push it fully back yet. Test that it turns on and heats properly. Slide the microwave back into position flush with the front edge of the fridge.

And that’s it! Your microwave is now securely installed and ready to use in its new overhead home.

Additional Safety Concerns

There are a few other safety considerations with mounting your microwave above the refrigerator:

  • Burn risk – Use extra caution when removing hot foods and liquids from the microwave. There is greater potential for spills and splashes from the increased height.
  • Visibility issues – Check the microwave placement doesn’t block your line of sight while cooking. Not being able to fully see what you’re doing could lead to accidents.
  • Tip-over hazard – Never let children climb or hang on an overhead microwave. Anti-tip brackets are essential.
  • Falling objects – Avoid storing heavy or fragile items next to the microwave that could fall and cause injury.

Other Microwave Placement Options

If you’ve decided against putting your microwave over the fridge, here are a few other ways to free up counter space:

Microwave Drawer

Microwave drawers install below the counter in standard cabinet cutouts. They have a pull-out door that lowers the microwave to a safer and easier height for access.

Wall-Mounted Shelf

You can purchase wall-mounted microwave shelves that attach securely to wall studs. Keep in mind the shelf must be deep enough for the microwave.

Under Counter

Some kitchen layouts allow you to install the microwave below the counter in its own designated niche or cutout. This keeps it out of sight but easily reachable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to put a microwave on top of a fridge?

No, as long as the weight limits are observed and proper mounting, electrical, and ventilation requirements are met. The height can make removing hot items tricky. Use caution to avoid spills and burns.

What is the best height to mount a microwave?

Ideally between 1 foot and 1 foot 6 inches from the counter to the bottom of the microwave is the ergonomically recommended height for the average user. Having it eye level when standing is best.

Can I mount a microwave under a cabinet?

Yes, you can install a microwave under a wall cabinet or upper shelf as long as there is proper clearance and room under the cabinet. There should be at least 2 to 3 inches of space above the microwave.

How do you mount a microwave to a wall?

Use a wall-mount bracket secured to wall studs with lag screws. Attach the matching mounting plate to the back of the microwave. Hang the microwave on the bracket and lock it in place per the manufacturer instructions.

Should I turn off my fridge when installing a microwave?

No, it’s not necessary to turn off the refrigerator. Just take care not to push the appliance into the back of the fridge to avoid damaging the condenser coils.


Installing your microwave above the refrigerator can be a smart space-saving solution for many kitchens. With its high use, keeping the microwave readily accessible at eye level helps promote safety and convenience. Just be sure your fridge can handle the weight, and take precautions with the electrical, ventilation, and mounting.

While the height makes caution with hot foods necessary, a microwave perched on top of your fridge can gain you valuable counter real estate. Just follow the tips provided, and you can confidently maximize your kitchen workspace by moving microwave duties overhead.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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