Monday, September 26, 2022

What Is A Recirculating Microwave

Are you looking for an article to help you better understand a recirculating microwave? Then, this article on what is a recirculating microwave will be helpful.

In this article, I will start by giving an overview of a recirculating microwave. This will provide you with a clearer picture of what the subject matter is all about.

Next, I will explain how a recirculating microwave works. After this, I will move on to give its features as well as its pros and cons.

Moving forward, I will be giving some recommendations for the recirculating microwave. I will be doing this by ranking them from the 1st to the 5th best.

Furthermore, I will be answering some frequently asked questions. Lastly, I will be concluding the article by giving my final thought.

Hence, to enjoy this article further, you need to follow it closely.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Overview

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Overview

Microwave ovens are a device for heating food. It uses a microwave, which is electromagnetic radiation similar to radio waves, to heat food.

Since it heats food, it tends to produce cooking odor, smoke, and moisture that rise from the cooking surface. Hence, some microwave oven comes with a ventilation system to prevent this.

This ventilation system is in two forms; convertible or exterior vent and recirculating or ductless vent. Moreover, the focus of this article is on the recirculating microwave.

A recirculating microwave uses high-speed fans to filter the exhaust from the microwave through a charcoal or grease filter and back into the kitchen.

In other words, it has a built-in exhaust fan that pulls air through the filter and exhausts that air back into the kitchen. This filter sits in a stainless steel cavity on the microwave.

Thus, you can remove and replace the filter regularly. Unfortunately, over time, the charcoal filter tends to lose its effectiveness.

Hence, you can replace the filter every six to twelve months. In addition, some microwave unit comes with a charcoal filter that helps to trap some particulate matter and odors.

Thus, a lot of the heat and moisture, as well as some particles, remain in the house. Also, some microwave units come with aluminum filters that trap grease.

Moreover, this venting option is quite popular in the over-the-range microwave. Nevertheless, some built-in microwaves also have this venting option.

Also, countertop models usually have recirculating venting system. Since the recirculating microwave does not require venting the air outside, it tends to be an energy-efficient way to improve the indoor air of your kitchen.

Although this venting option may not be as effective as other types, it is very good at clearing your kitchen air of most pungent cooking odors.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: How It Works

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: How It Works

Recirculating filtration is one of the simplest forms of ventilation in a microwave oven. A lot of freestanding microwaves have this venting option.

A recirculating microwave is a built-in venting system that tends to recycle air via microwave vents. It pulls the air through some filters, including; charcoal, stainless steel, or carbon.

A charcoal filter is very common and easily replaceable. Hence, you can also make use of the other filter types.

However, this microwave has a simple working principle. The recirculating microwave has a fan that sucks the air inside the microwave through the filters, and then this air travels back into the kitchen.

This fan usually works at high speed to help remove cooking odor, smoke, or moisture from the kitchen. Then, all you need to do is to activate the recirculating filter.

To do this, you will locate the auto fan button on your microwave control panel and then click on it. Some models offer you the option to adjust your fan speed manually.

Hence, this type of microwave requires minimal maintenance. However, since most models make use of charcoal filters, it usually requires replacement every 6 to 12 months.

The replacement of the charcoal filter is very cheap. However, aside from replacing the filter, you must also regularly clean the grease filter.

This will help to ensure that the fan pulls as much air as possible. Also, you can clean the filter cover.

To do this, use soapy water and a rag. In the case of built-up grease, you can make use of a brillo pad for more scrubbing power.

While the fan is spinning, you should not block the stainless steel vent. This is because instead of filtering the kitchen air, it can, in turn, burn out the fan motor.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Features/Factors To Consider

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Features/Factors To Consider

Factors To Consider

Installation Types

Most recirculating microwaves come with three types of installation. These installation types include; countertop, built-in, and over-the-range.
The countertop type is a freestanding microwave that allows you to place it wherever there is space on a countertop and close to an electric outlet. You can easily store this type in a cabinet or pantry when not in use.

The range type can double as a range hood. Hence, you can install this type above your cooktop or kitchen range.

This type has a fan and a vent system at the underside of the microwave that helps to remove smoke, odor, and moisture. In addition, some model tends to come with a temperature sensor or task lighting to light up the kitchen space.

The built-in type is usually costly and requires a professional installation. However, this type is usually incorporated into the kitchen design and enhances the overall beauty of the kitchen.


In terms of dimension, most microwaves are usually 29 to 30 inches wide, 15 to 16 inches deep, and 16 to 18 inches tall. Hence, you need to measure your space to determine the one that will suit your needs.

Most countertop types can take up a lot of space, so you need to measure the length, width, and height of the top of the counter to the bottom of the cabinet.

Over-the-range types require you to measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the microwave, which is not more than 54 inches. This is to ensure safety as well as provide easy access.

This height allows the space between the cooktop and the microwave to be 18 inches to ensure an adequate cooking room. Also, most building codes require a clearance of 36 inches between the cooktop and the bottom surface of a shelve or cabinet.


The capacity of the recirculating microwave depends on your needs. There are small microwaves that can suit a small kitchen and a spacious one that is enough for a large family’s needs.

The capacity of the microwave is usually measured in cubic feet. Hence they range from as small as 1cu. ft. to as large as 2cu. ft.


The power capacity of a microwave is usually measured in watts. Microwave power tends to range from 700 to 1500 watts.

Hence, a microwave that has lower wattage tends to emit less power. Therefore, this type usually helps cut down the power consumption cost.

Those with higher wattage tend to emit more power and are usually more expensive. Hence, they can heat food more quickly and thoroughly.

This type often has more cooking capabilities than those with lower wattage.

Venting Type

Most recirculating microwave tends to have a recirculating venting system. This venting system allows air to pass through a filter before blowing that air back into the kitchen.

Most over-the-range microwaves have this type of venting system. Also, countertops and some built-in models offer this type of venting system.

Fan Speed

Most recirculating microwave usually features two to four-speed fans of ventilation. This recirculating fan has a speed that ranges from 300 CFM to 400CFM.

Some models even offer a lesser speed. Also, some microwave models allow you to adjust the fan speed manually so you can set it to your desired speed.


Most recirculating microwaves often have different types of filters. These filters include; charcoal, stainless steel, or carbon.

A charcoal filter is the most common type of filter, and it is easily replaceable. Some models also come with a grease filter that helps to remove odor and smoke.

Also, some models come with both charcoal and grease filters. Filters are easily removable from the microwave.

Thus, they require minimal maintenance by cleaning or replacing them regularly.


Most microwaves, if not all, come with a rotating turntable. This turntable tends to rotate while the food is heating.

The rotating turn table helps disperse the heat evenly throughout the food. Also, it helps to prevent burning.

The turntable often varies in size, and it depends on the size of the microwave itself. Most recirculating microwaves offer glass turntables.


Most recirculating microwaves have a stainless steel exterior, with some models offering a stain-resistant body. This helps to provide the durability of the microwave.

Also, they often come with glass doors. The interior materials are usually easy to clean, with some models offering a ceramic interior.

A ceramic interior can easily clean and wipe off any stain.

Other Features

Recirculating microwave tends to offer other features. They include; LED lights, auto preset settings, child or safety locks, timer, signal alert, sensor cooking, and so on.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Pros And Cons

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: Pros And Cons


Exhaust Effectiveness

A recirculating microwave pulls air through a filter and exhausts that air back into the kitchen. In addition, it uses filters to trap odors, smoke, and moisture.

Since they don’t vent the air outside, they tend to offer an energy-efficient way to improve the indoor air quality of the kitchen.

Vent Installation Cost

When it comes to installation, the recirculating microwave is easier and cheaper to install. This is because it does not require ductwork or an external venting cap.

It also does not require you to pierce into the wall, ceiling, or roof. Instead, you can easily install the recirculating microwave on the interior wall.

Also, you can easily move it relatively. It does not require a lot of costs since you will not be paying to cut through the wall to install the vent.

Odor Control

A recirculating microwave may not have removed the smoke and steams from the kitchen, but they help to mitigate odor. They tend to achieve this with the aid of the filter.

The filter helps in clearing the most pungent odor in your kitchen. Also, it further provides better air quality in the kitchen.

Vent Requirement

Since the recirculating vent does not have exterior components, they don’t require a lot of venting requirements. However, some local building codes specify the minimum distance between the microwave and the cooktop.

Also, most types of microwaves usually come with a manual containing the installation requirement.


Poor Air Quality

Though the recirculating microwave helps to deal with steam, smoke, and moisture, they don’t offer a better air quality than the exterior venting.

This is because the exterior vent removes those particles away from the kitchen. Therefore it also expels them away from home.

Loose Effectiveness

Since the microwave helps to remove odor via a filter, this filter tends to lose its effectiveness over time, especially the charcoal filter.

The charcoal filter often needs replacement between six to eight months. Hence, it is not costly to replace them.

Requires Regular Maintenance

The filter of the microwave usually requires minimal maintenance. However, for charcoal filters, you need to replace them periodically.

Generally, this filter tends to last for six to twelve months. Moreover, frequent microwave cooking can reduce the filter’s lifespan.

Aluminum filters often require regular cleaning. You can clean it with soapy water that contains a degreasing detergent with a rag to clean it.

You can also wash some grease filters in a dishwasher, but you need to confirm if it is dishwasher safe from the manual.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: My Recommendations

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: My Recommendations
ProductsDimension WeightCapacity Wattage Installation type
Sharp R-1514 1-1/2-Cubic-Foot 1000-Watt Over-the-Range Microwave33.1 x 19.3 x 15.57 inches55 Pounds1.5 Cubic Feet1000
Sharp SMO1854DS Over the Range Microwave Oven29.9 x 16.3 x 15.9 inches51.1 Pounds1.8 Cubic Feet1100 
GE PVM9179SKSS Microwave Oven15.5 x 29.75 x 16.25 inches75 Pounds1.7 Cubic Feet‎950 WattsOver-the-Range
FRIGIDAIRE FGBM19WNVF 30″ Gallery Series Stainless Steel Over The Range Microwave 29.88 x 15.75 x 16.38 inches55 Pounds1.9 Cubic Feet1000 WattsOver-the-Range
FRIGIDAIRE FGMV17WNVF Over The Range Microwave Oven 29.88 x 15.03 x 16.41 inches59.9 Pounds1.7 Cubic Feet1000 WattsOver-the-Range

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Recirculating Microwaves Good?

The recirculating microwave is not as effective as other venting options, but it still achieves the aim of clear in the kitchen air of cooking odor, smoke, and moisture.

2. Do You Need To Vent The Recirculating Microwave?

The answer is No. This is because this microwave filters the air and recirculates the air back into the kitchen.

3. What Is The Difference Between Convertible And Recirculating Microwaves?

While the convertible type sends the air through a vent outside of the kitchen, the recirculating type filters the air and sends it back into the kitchen.

4. What Is Better, Convertible, Or Recirculating Microwave?

While the recirculating microwave offers an energy-efficient way of improving your kitchen air quality, the convertible type has higher-speed fans for quicker ventilation.

5. Are All Over The Range Microwave Recirculating Microwaves?

The answer is No. All over the range are either convertible or recirculating microwaves. This means they can either vent air to the home’s interior or exterior.

6. Do All The Range Microwaves Have Exhaust Fans?

The answer is Yes. They have exhaust fans that aid in venting the kitchen air either inside or outside the home.

7. How Does A Recirculating Microwave Work?

This microwave uses a high-speed fan to filter the microwave exhaust via a filter, charcoal or aluminum, and then sends it back into the kitchen.

8. What Does Recirculating Venting Mean?

Recirculating means air has to pass through filters to help capture or trap grease and odors.

9. Where Is The Filter On The Recirculating Microwave?

The filter on this microwave is usually at the bottom of the microwave.

10. How Effective Are The Recirculating Microwaves?

They are not as effective as their counterpart, but they are good at clearing most pungent odors from the kitchen.

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: My Final Thoughts

What Is A Recirculating Microwave: My Final Thoughts

Microwave ventilation may not be mandatory, but if you have a highly functional one, then you need to consider it. A recirculating microwave is an excellent option if you need a microwave without an external duct.

This microwave comes with built-in fans that help filter the air and recirculate this air back into the kitchen. This option is an energy-efficient way to improve the air quality of your kitchen.

Not only that, it is usually cheaper and easy to install. So though it has its drawbacks, you should not overlook its benefits.

In this article, I have been able to provide adequate details on the subject matter, “what is a recirculating microwave.” Also, I went further to give some recommendations for recirculating microwaves.

These recommendations are part of the best recirculating microwaves. Thus, you can make a choice and pick the one that will suit your needs.

I hope you found this PowerVersity pick helpful.

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “Leave a Reply” form found towards the end of this page.

Finally, you may want to read other articles like this. Visit our below pages:

5 Best Electric Pizza Oven

Best 1000 Watt Microwave

5 Best Instant Pot

Oreoluwa Falujo
Oreoluwa Falujo
Oreoluwa Falujo is a Lead Content Editor at She has a bachelor's degree in political science. She likes to watch movies, play games, and listen to music. At, Oreoluwa writes buyer guide articles, best picks, and technology-explained articles. She also leads a content writing team.


What is an Electric Hot Plate

What Is An Electric Hot Plate?

Are you looking for a fast and convenient way to cook and probably thinking of how to get the best electric cooking plate? Then,...
5 Best 43-Inch TVs

5 Best 43-Inch TVs

Do you want the best budget TVs that offer great value for their price? Then, continue reading this article on the 5 Best 43-Inch...
5 Best 13x19 Photo Printer

5 Best 13×19 Photo Printer

Are you a photographer looking for a high-quality photo printer? Then, take your time to read through this article on the "5 Best 13x19...
What Is Solar Power Solar Energy Systems

What Is Solar Power: Solar Energy Systems

Are you willing to broaden your knowledge of what solar power is? Then, explore this Powerversity article to clear your curiosity and increase your...

By using this website you agree to accept our Privacy Policy