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Convertible Vent Vs Recirculating Microwave Ovens | Options

Convertible vents vs recirculating microwave ovens is a topic of discussion if you're looking for the best microwave.

Convertible Vent Vs Recirculating Microwave Ovens

Several alternatives are available, from basic units for the kitchen countertop to over-the-range microwaves and various built-in and convertible microwave ovens.

Each of these varieties will be discussed in this post, along with their benefits and drawbacks, a feature comparison, and more!

Continue reading to discover your best option and revitalize your kitchen!

What Does a Microwave’s Vent Type Mean?

What Does a Microwave’s Vent Type Mean?
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

Microwaves can have various ventilation options; the vent type refers to the ventilation option chosen for the microwave.

The most typical form is the recirculating venting, which circulates air back into the oven after capturing steam and other airborne particles with charcoal filters.

Apartments and other small cooking places frequently use recirculating vents.

Another choice is the externally vented microwave, which safely directs steam and cooking aromas vent outside the house via ductwork.

Finally, some microwaves include a combined vent option combining the advantages of an external vent type and a recirculating venting.


Fumes invariably accumulate inside the appliance, regardless of whether the oven employs electromagnetic radiation, superheated air at the time, or sensor cooking. Some foods, such as grapes, may store electromagnetic energy that may cause dangerous repercussions.

What Various Types of Vents Are There for Microwaves?

Internal recirculating, exterior recirculating, under cabinet, and over-the-range microwave are the four basic varieties of microwave venting.

Recirculating vents inside the microwave oven take warm air in and recirculate it, lessening the steam and aromas associated with cooking.

External ventilation removes warm air from the microwave and circulates the exterior walls.

As the name implies, the microwave cabinet is vented by under-cabinet vents.

Although these microwave vents are the weakest of the four, they are frequently the most useful for homes lacking the necessary ductwork for external ventilation.

Over-the-range microwaves often exit through an exterior wall and direct warm air outside. The loudest and most powerful microwave vents available are also over-the-range microwaves.


The manufacturer will supply vent installation instructions with your microwave, but they might not contain guidelines that adhere to all of your local building codes.

Convertible Vent Overview

Convertible Vent Overview

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As the name implies, the term convertible denotes the ability of a microwave or convection microwave oven to switch, as needed, between venting and non-venting ducting modes.

It offers variable installation and ventilation choices because it is made to operate with various microwave models.

Finding the correct recirculation kit part number, ordering from an authorized parts distributor, and performing some do-it-yourself are required.

It's crucial to remember that almost all building codes require an exterior vent for over-the-range microwaves and kitchen stove.

A good ventilation system is legally mandated to handle the fumes generated by an over-the-range microwave oven.

Hence, a recirculating venting system with these kinds of appliances where the microwave vents internally is not an option.

They might transfer it to a countertop far enough away from the kitchen stove to avoid the stovetop surface.

Something that might be substantially less expensive than outright buying a new microwave oven.

Particularly if you purchased the best microwave, which, in the case of external venting microwaves, can be rather pricey, you could afford it in the first place.

Learn more about how the microwave's fan activates when the door opens.


Most grease filters can also be washed in a dishwasher, but before you put yours in, check your owner's manual to ensure.

Recirculating Microwave Overview

Modern kitchen in luxury house. Recirculating Microwave Overview

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A microwave oven called a "recirculating microwave" uses moving air instead of direct heat to heat food.

Recirculating microwaves use a recirculation vent and filter system to draw air from the cooking chamber and recirculate it inside the oven.

After being filtered to eliminate any food particles in the air, the air is brought back into the kitchen and heated once more.

Because they maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking process, recirculating microwaves can be useful for cooking food more evenly.

Also, this microwave oven is typically quieter than those with direct vents because it is harder to hear the fan circulating the air.

Also, it may contribute to a more uniform cooking temperature, avoiding cold spots and producing even results.

On the other hand, because it can emit particles from burning and cooking, microwave recirculation may worsen indoor air quality.

Moreover, recirculation might not be required if your kitchen has adequate ventilation currently.

Making a choice appropriate for your scenario after researching is ultimately the best action.

You might want to be wary of these microwave myths.

Convertible Vent vs Recirculating Microwave: Comparison of Features

Convertible Vent vs Recirculating Microwave: Comparison of Features

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With a convertible range hood, also known as exterior venting, you may send the air from your kitchen through the exterior walls of your home.

The system uses a ducted range hood and fan power for built-in venting.

Recirculating vented microwaves and ductless range hoods are built-in ventilation systems that circulate indoor air through the microwave vents.

The recirculating ventilation forces the air through charcoal filters or others. The most typical filter is a removable charcoal filter, although you can also use stainless steel or carbon filters.

But, if you don't know the difference between defrosting vs. microwave cooking or reheating vs. an oven, a vent might not be useful.

Alternately, depending on your chosen model, certain appliances—like an infrared oven instead of a microwave oven—might be superior to the microwave.

Check out the top compact and small microwaves of 2023.

Warning: If you don't have the option to have an externally vented range hood, a ductless model may be your only choice. You must routinely replace your carbon filters for the finest indoor air quality.

Criteria 1: Versatility

Recirculating ventilation and outside venting are both options for convertible microwaves.

Yet, due to construction regulations, contemporary built-in microwaves typically only feature a ducted range hood.

Like contrasting microwave push buttons and handles, the device with fewer moving parts should experience fewer problems over time.


Convertible Vents.

Criteria 2: Air Quality

Only convertible or ducted range hoods that can be opened and closed employ exterior venting. Compared to ductless models, ducted applications offer better air venting.

Meanwhile, recirculating range hoods flow through the air within your home or any place it is built on, courtesy of filters made of stainless steel mesh or charcoal.

It will assist you in controlling smoke and steam, but it cannot provide the same level of air quality as outdoor venting.


Some ductless models include carbon filters which can help with removing odors and dirt.


Convertible Vents.

Criteria 3: Odor Reduction

A range hood removes smoke and steam from your kitchen with exterior venting.

In addition, the exhaust vent is more energy efficient than a ductless range hood for venting odors outside your house.

Although grease filters in a ductless range hood will eventually lose their effectiveness, they should still assist in reducing cooking odors.


Convertible Vents.

What Is the Difference Between a Convertible and Recirculating Range Hood?
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

What Is the Difference Between a Convertible and Recirculating Range Hood?

The two range hoods intended to remove smoke and steam from a kitchen are convertible and ductless range hood.

The method of air filtration and the mechanism of air venting are the two key distinctions between a convertible and ductless range hood.

Because the air is filtered and released directly into the surrounding space, ductless range hoods do not need ducting.

A charcoal filter is typically present in this style of range hood, which aids in removing grease, debris, and aromas.

They are cheaper than convertible microwaves and intended for kitchens where ductwork is not an option.

Recirculation and ducting are air-filtering techniques used in convertible microwaves. The range hood can filter and circulate the air back into the kitchen if a duct isn't in place.

The air can be ducted out of the kitchen if a duct is present. Because they don't rely solely on a charcoal filter, these range hoods are more effective at eliminating odors and smoke.

Are ductless range hoods worth it? It is. Ductless hoods are adequate for the cost.


With air ventilation outside the kitchen, convertible vents provide better air quality. They can also be changed into a ductless range hood. A ductless recirculating vent draws air, passes it through a filter, and exhausts it into the kitchen.

Installation Fees for External Venting Systems

For most households, choosing between the two microwave types is pretty easy. Microwave ovens made to be installed above the gas stove require a ducted range hood connection outside.

Since they are specialized microwaves that can only be deployed in specific locations, there is no substitute option.

Given that the microwave serves two purposes, it might still be more affordable than building a range hood from scratch.

A microwave can be placed anywhere in the kitchen in other situations. This is essentially the only practical alternative if external venting through a duct isn't an option.

What Type of Vent Should You Get for a Microwave?

A microwave vent normally removes air from the kitchen through recirculating or exterior venting.

Air from the kitchen is pulled from a vent and passed through a charcoal filter before being returned to the kitchen.

Kitchens without enough room for external venting might use this microwave vent. Often mounted to an exterior wall or roof, an external venting exhausts air outside the house.

Although it takes more room for installation and access, this style of vent is the most energy efficient at eliminating air and smoke from kitchens.


Air from your kitchen is circulated through several aluminum, carbon, or charcoal filter vents via recirculating microwave vents. They provide a cost-effective approach to improving the air quality in your home. A convertible vent system, however, includes faster-moving fans for faster ventilation.

Convertible Vent Vs Recirculating Microwave FAQs

  • The following are the frequently asked questions concerning recirculating microwaves and convertible vents:

  • What Does Convertible Venting Mean on a Microwave Oven?

    Convertible refers to the ability to convert it from venting to not venting by employing a duct to vent through the wall or ceiling.

  • Does a Recirculating Microwave Vent Work?

    Although a recirculating filter is less effective than other microwave venting options, it removes the strongest cooking smells in your kitchen.

    Moreover, built-in microwaves often use the same filtration as countertop units, which typically have a recirculating vent.

  • Is the Over-The-Range Microwave Still Popular?

    Although it has been around since the 1980s, the range microwave oven can nevertheless appear to be very contemporary.

    Moreover, current building codes mandate exterior venting to control indoor air quality.

    If style is important to your kitchen, you may choose the finest built-in microwave, 2023, installed tastefully inside the wall.

  • Final Verdict: Which One Is Best for You?
    © Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

    Final Verdict: Which One Is Best for You?

    Which is the best option for you, then? Have a look at the rundown below.

    Use a Convertible Vent If...

    • You want something easier to remove grease and steam from your cooking surface.
    • You want something adaptable and compatible with both ducted and ductless range hoods.
    • If you don't want to worry about replacing your current ductwork.

    Use a Recirculating Microwave If...

    • There is no need to construct a ventilation system if you want something quieter.
    • You want something that uses less energy and doesn't need ducts or vents to go through the microwave.


    There is no "better" or "worse" choice among the numerous microwave kinds, as was mentioned at the outset.

    Your microwave's ventilation system will depend on where you plan to place it.

    Building codes require a range microwave, which simultaneously functions as a range hood, to have an external venting system.

    But you can choose a microwave with a recirculating venting system and save money to place it elsewhere in the kitchen.