Clearance for a Microwave Above a Cooktop

Nobody seems to know the rule, but here are some individual answers. April 17, 2013

I am building a kitchen cabinet with a combination vent hood/microwave. The architectural drawing shows the bottom of the vent hood/microwave even with the bottom of the top cabinets. This means it will be 18" off the surface of the cook top. Is that enough room or should I raise the bottom 6" or so to give better access to the cook top without moving the microwave up too far to reach?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
I always build 24" from the stove top for electric and 30" for gas.

From contributor C:
I have found the best solution is to have the bottom of the microwave/hood around 3" or so above the bottom of the upper line of cabs. The uppers are 18" off the counter and the microwave bottom is around 21" or so above the cooktop.

From contributor K:
I go by 18" minimum for electric and 24" minimum for gas. All of the manuals I’ve viewed have indicated this.

From contributor B:
Check to see if there is a local code on how high a MW should be. It should be 52" max for the feet, otherwise safety is a concern. It is a different issue than the stove to hood.

From contributor H:
I'd throw it back in the lap of the architect who drew it. Eighteen inches is too low and he/she should have known that. I usually deal directly with the homeowner and go over that detail with them using the manufacturer’s drawings for the appliance as a starting point. There is no standard but there is a point at which a pot won't fit.

From the original questioner:
The unit is an all-in-one hood/microwave. I knew I couldn't put it too high or they couldn't reach the microwave but at 18" it would be hard to put a big pot and stir it.

From contributor L:
I've never seen any concrete rule. I always ask the customer. Some are shorter, and some want more clearance for larger pots. I seem to always end up with the decision at about 20" to the top of the cooktop. I always suggest using a spacer, 2" at most that can be removed or narrowed. The microwave can be lowered.

From contributor W:
I usually use 66 inches from finished floor for the bottom of the range hood. I used the dimension from the specs of a range hood manufacturer. It works well for me.