Microwaves are some of the most innovative kitchen tools of all time. The best models can have multiple functions like reheating foods like pizza, popping popcorn, and thawing frozen veggies or meat. The countertop microwave dates back to 1940, but the convenience it can bring to your kitchen is timeless.
Finding the best microwave is a process that calls for lots of time and involvement. You will need to compare several models before making the final purchase decision. In most cases, one of the main factors that influences the decision to buy a microwave is its price. Another critical factor is the type of microwave one wishes to buy.
Types of Microwaves
When looking for the best microwave, there are three types to consider:
- 1Countertop microwaves
- 2Over-the-range microwaves
- 3Built-in microwaves
Countertop models are the most common types of microwave ovens. They’re easy to install and extremely pocket-friendly. Over-the-range microwaves can be installed above the range, saving you some counter space. These models come with vent systems that illuminate the cooktop and replace the oven hood. The built-in models can be placed among custom cabinets. It can also be paired with conventional ovens.
Best Microwaves: FAQ
1. What Is a Microwave?
A microwave is an electric kitchen appliance that is used for various food-related tasks like cooking, reheating food, thawing frozen food, and defrosting.
2. How Does a Microwave Work?
Microwaves work by channeling heat energy directly into food molecules to make the food hot. They work similarly to how the sun heats your skin, through radiation. Microwaves carry a considerable amount of energy if they are working correctly.
3. Is it Safe to Use a Microwave?
Despite the convenience that comes with using a microwave, you may want to use it sparingly. Some experts believe that the radio waves emitted by these appliances break down food molecules and lead to nutrient depletion.
4. Where Can I Buy a Microwave?
Many local stores and big-box retailers sale electric kitchen appliances including microwaves. You can also order them online from Amazon or eBay from vendors who specialize in their shipment.
5. Are Microwaves Energy-Efficient?
Microwaves operate at wattages between 600 and 3,000. They're powered by electricity not gas, and the most conventional ones are less efficient than the standard ones. They require a lot of energy to cook your food within the short time they do.
How We Reviewed
We asked our team of experts to review various microwaves available on the market. They reviewed a selected list of microwaves based on each unit's parameters, features, pros & cons, price, retailer, and warranty. To determine the best microwave, we surveyed users who got the chance to use these products.
Overall Price Range
Microwaves' prices are largely determined by their features. You may come across a microwave that costs as little as $25. For such a price, it's likely that the microwave has only essential functions like reheating food. Other types of microwaves can cost as much as $5,000. Most pricier products come with multiple features and functions. They also tend to consume more energy.
Before you shell out the money to purchase any microwave oven, make sure it has all the features you need. We hope our review of the best microwaves of 2018 can serve as a buying guide.
Microwaves We Reviewed
Breville Quick Touch Crisp
The Breville Quick Touch Crisp has 10 power levels that can be used to adjust the power from 10 to 100 percent by just twisting a dial. It also automatically adjusts power levels and cooking times based on the smart grill/cook, reheat, and defrost settings. You can also change the time and power settings during a cooking cycle. The Sensor IQ Reheat and Cook function automatically tweaks cooking time based on the amount of humidity of the food being cooked. This microwave comes with a pre-heat function that prevents foods from becoming soggy and mushy when preheated. It also has a grill function and a child lock safety feature.
The Breville Quick Touch Crisp comes with a limited warranty of 1 year.
GE PEM31SFSS Profile Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave
This microwave uses 800 watts and has ten power levels. The in-built sensor cooking controls give you a wide variety of options for different food types. The turntable ensures your food cooks evenly, plus you can add 30 seconds of cooking time automatically. The patented control lockout button prevents the unsupervised use of the oven by locking out the oven controls. The minute timer is also a very useful feature.
The GE PEM31SFSS microwave has a limited warranty of one year.
Daewoo KOR07R3ZEL Retro Countertop
If you are into the retro look, know that this microwave oven from Daewoo is one of the few models that gets the retro look right while having all the functions of a modern microwave oven. The unit is a pleasure to look at and work with, according to customer reviews. It is the perfect choice if you struggle with very limited space in the kitchen.
It may take you a bit to understand how this model works as its functions are all electronic, but can be accessed through a knob probably to make it look more retro. It is a nice investment if you want to add a spark to a dull kitchen or if you are a single person/living in a dorm room or apartment.
The Daewoo KOR07R3ZEL Retro countertop microwave has a limited warranty of 1 year.
Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave Oven
- 1.2-cubic-foot capacity, 1000 watts
- Brushed stainless with embossed Cuisinart logo and dark tinted glass window
- Stainless steel interior absorbs no odors and is easy to sanitize, Rotating 12-Inch glass tray, Reversible grill rack
The Cuisinart CMW-200 comes with a stainless interior that is excellent at absorbing odors, rotating glass tray, and reversible grill rack. It is very easy to clean. The two defrost functions work based on weight or time, and the microwave can both convection roast or convection bake.
This Cuisinart microwave has a warranty of 3 years.
Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB 1000-Watt Microwave Oven
- 1000 watts of cooking power and 10 power levels allow you to adjust the power from 10% to 100%; Multi-stage cooking for...
- 1 through 6-minute Express Cooking quick start controls and Add 30-Seconds control
- 6 One-Touch cooking functions for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage, or a dinner plate; Memory Function...
Farbeware classic microwave comes with 1000 watts of cooking power. Its ten power levels let you adjust power up to 100% depending on what you plan to cook. This microwave also has six automatic functions for foods like pizza, popcorn, frozen food, dinner plates, or beverages.
You can easily defrost frozen food by time or weight. Farbeware has digital controls and LED display for a convenient use.
The Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB has a warranty of one year on parts and labor.
Westinghouse WCM770B 700-Watt Counter Top Microwave Oven
- 10 cooking power levels provide great cooking flexibility
- 6 convenient quick cook settings include popcorn, baked potato, pizza, beverage, reheat and frozen dinners
- Plenty of power at 700 watts but a small footprint makes it perfect for a small apartment or studio
With hundreds of positive reviews, this Westinghouse countertop microwave is among the best microwaves, ideal for food and snack preparation and reheating. Its robust and compact construction makes it a durable microwave that doesn't take up too much counter space. It is extremely easy to clean and move around, and does its job excellently. We recommend it for heavy duty use.
So, if you're a single person or live in a dorm or small apartment, this basic microwave is the one for you. Its small compact size and portability make it an excellent fit for small spaces. It has two defrost functions by speed and weight, respectively.
This microwave has a warranty of two years on parts.
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven
- Compact size 19.2 x 15.9 x 11.5 inches(W*D*H), 0.9 cubic feet capacity, cavity 12.36*13.66*8.7 inch(W*D*H), turn table...
- 900 watts with 10 power settings, kitchen timer, and defrost by time or Weight. Rated Voltage 120V~ 60Hz
- Digital control panel with interior LED light, glass turntable, black Stainless Steel exterior
The Toshiba EM925A5A-SS could be the best microwave you'd ever buy if you're looking for convenience. It has ten power settings for a variety of food types. It also comes with two defrost functions and a kitchen timer. Plus, it has a digital control panel, an interior LED light, and stainless steel exterior.
The one- touch pre-programmed controls are designed with six types of foods or meals in mind, including dinner plate, pizza, popcorn, potato, or frozen vegetables. The power saving mode makes the microwave very energy-efficient, while the oven's sound on-and-off option and child safety lock makes it the perfect choice for a family.
The Toshiba EM925A5A-SS microwave has a warranty of one year.
Panasonic NN-SN936W Countertop Microwave
- Panasonic Microwave: This 1250-Watt high power, 2.2-cubic-foot capacity black countertop microwave delivers a seamless...
- Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power and delivers...
- Large Family Size: This countertop microwave with 16-1/2-inch turntable is thinner, lighter and more efficient, allowing...
The Panasonic NN-SN936W runs at 1250 watts for super fast cooking times. It is based on microwave inverter technology which ensures a seamless stream of power for maximum cooking efficiency. The Inverter Turbo Defrost feature lowers the defrosting time and increases efficiency. The more than a dozen preset menu items and Genius Sensor automatically adjust the time it takes to cook different foods.
This microwave is ideal for use by large families because of its big capacity. An outstanding feature of the microwave is the keep-warm function that keeps gravies and soups warm till you serve.
Panasonic NN-SN936W Countertop Microwave has a limited warranty of 1 year
Toshiba EM131A5C-SS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor
- Pre-programmed sensor menu for optimum heating of popular foods like pizza, potatoes, veggies and more
- Stainless Steel finish, 20.5 x 17.1 x 12.8 inch(W*D*H), large 1.2 cubic feet capacity, cavity 13.07*15*9.5 inch(W*D*H),...
- 1100 watts with 10 power settings, clock, and kitchen timer
This solid microwave has a pre-programmed sensor menu which helps you heat optimally foods like potatoes, pizza, and vegetables. The stainless steel body is easy to clean and maintain and the finish doesn't display fingerprints like other stainless steel models usually do. If you are looking for a microwave powerful enough to be reasonably fast without taking too much counter space but being tall enough for anything you want to put in it, then the Toshiba EM131A5C-SS is for you.
This 1100-watt Toshiba model has a large digital display, power saving features, and easy-to-read control panel. It has an auto-defrost feature and a Smart Sensor that automatically adjusts the cooking temperature based on the amount of steam sensed while cooking.
The Toshiba EM131A5C-SS microwave has a one-year warranty.
When choosing a microwave oven, pay close attention to wattage, various features, size, what makes it stand out, and maintenance. The oven's size might not be the first aspect to pop up in one's mind when looking for a microwave, but if your kitchen is small, a compact model can make a world of difference. Also, wattage is extremely important as models with lower power will require longer cooking times than their more powerful counterparts.
We hope our list can give you a quick overview of the best microwaves available on the market this year. If your favorite model hasn't made it to our list or you already own one of the reviewed models, feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.