The Evolution of Microwaves, from Tabletop Beasts to Built-in Drawers

Sharp Microwave Drawer

Microwaves and Microwave Drawers

What is a Microwave Drawer?

Well, it’s a microwave that slides open like a cabinet drawer. Simple, right?

Not so fast! So, first, let’s understand that microwave technology has not really changed much over the years. What does the heating in a microwave is the magnetron. The magnetron is like the heart of the microwave like the compressor is to a fridge. A magnetron sends out microwaves to utilize the moisture in foods to heat them from within.

It’s old technology that has been proven over time. Over the years, you would see the big countertop units, first from brands like Litton, then Sharp and Panasonic, etc.

As the technology improved the units started to come in various sizes and started to be found not just on the counter, but over the range, where it acted as a vent hood as well saving counter space and having dual functionality. 


GE Spacemaker Microwave

Later, you started to see trim kits added to give microwaves that in-cabinet built-in look and allow them to breathe and vent properly while maintaining aesthetics. Not much has changed from there except for some new features like sensor cook, and of course, the famous popcorn button we all use and love, even if they tell us not to use it on the bag!

Now, everyone is in the game. Hello, Amazon Alexa microwave and cookware producer Faberware making microwaves to boot! 

AmazonBasics Microwave

Convection microwaves made it into the limelight, offering units that can brown food and act as ovens when need be.

Eventually, a problem arose when many microwaves were being put in islands and under counters and it made them hard to use, as you had to practically get on the floor to put in food and take it out! Also, the panel was hard to read, and it really didn’t look great.

GE Swing door microwave built in

Low and behold the microwave drawer was conceived by Sharp and it was a game-changer for kitchen designers and homeowners alike! It allowed you all the features of a microwave in a clean built-in unit that installs like an oven. No longer was a trim kit needed to achieve that clean edge. It even self-vents from the front. Literally, at the press of a button the unit slides out like a drawer, you drop your food in and press close. The controls are easy to read, and they function very well.

They are offered in a 24 and 30-inch width on the outside, yet the inside doesn’t change in capacity, this is done to help with different sized cabinetry. Sharp is the main producer of drawer microwaves and owns the patent. You can now find matching units from all your favorite brands, but they are probably made with Sharp guts and maybe a KitchenAid name or a Wolf branded front. There are subtle differences from brand to brand, but the overall functionality is the same. Some brands now offer flush inset installation capabilities so be sure to check that out if doing inset cabinetry.

Sharp Microwave Drawer

They initially were not offered with connection capabilities. Then, in 2021, Sharp announced that they were going to be offering a microwave drawer with dual convection fans and a dedicated heating element, Model # SMD2499FS. Just like the non-convection Sharp drawer microwaves, it is a turntable-free unit. It has extra modes like baking, roasting, grilling, and even air frying. This unit has three Speed Cook modes that mix convection and microwave heating. So, it can be used as a regular microwave, a convection oven, or combine both for faster cooking!

These Sharp microwaves come with a dishwasher-safe porcelain cooking dish and 2 racks. It is also a smart unit! Via wi-fi, you can connect it to the Sharp Kitchen App to enable its smart features. These can also be flush-mounted with no extra kit required and these even have the wave to open feature as well.

The electrical requirements of these microwaves are also very simple! They work off of standard 110 volts.

I have been using one in my own kitchen for years and never looked back! Downsides may be interior height or lack of a turntable, but I can tell you they cook great and use “stirrer “technology, that is when the unit itself stirs the microwaves to help eliminate the need to keep turning the food all the time.

Plus, these Microwaves match almost any kitchen appliance setup!

Doing a microwave under the counter line? Consider a microwave drawer and get with the times!

Model numbers: SMD2489ES, SMD2470ASY, SMD2470AH, SMD3070ASY, KB6524PSY, SMD2480CS


Sharp Microwave Drawer
Sharp Microwave Drawer With Convection
Sharp now makes these drawer microwaves with convection capabilities built-in. Model number: SMD2499FS

Have a Sharp microwave drawer in your home?

Be sure to comment below and let us know where you have it setup to help inspire others.

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