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There’s something so satisfying about microwave meals. Just pop it in, wait a few minutes, and bam. You’ve got a hot, delicious meal without any of the fuss. Plus, microwaves are great for reheating leftovers. No stove required. Microwaves also help preserve the nutrients in your food.

We’ve put together a guide and a list of the 10 best microwaves on the market based on quality, value, style, size and more. Check our our list below.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 21 x 17 x 13″ • Power: 1100 W • Colors: 2

This microwave oven is packed with features that make it easy to use and clean, and it’s eco-friendly, too. The smart sensor cooks your food perfectly every time by automatically adjusting cooking time based on the food’s moisture content. And the easy clean interior means you’ll spend less time scrubbing.

You can also add an optional inverter. This ensures food is cooked with consistent power so it’s never burned or ruined. The ECO mode saves you energy and money and the sound on/off option is a nice bonus for late night snacking. If you’re unsure, this is the one to get.

Love
Also an inverter model
2 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
Alexa won’t work outside US
What Reviews Said

Many users and testers said this microwave was very easy to use. Quite a few customers loved the look, because of its sleek design. One user commented on the useful features, such as the sensor feature that ensures the right cooking temperature and time.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 17 x 20 x 12″ • Power: 1100 W • Colors: 2

The Toshiba Smart Microwave Oven is a 1.3 cu. ft, 1100 watt microwave that works with Alexa. It is an affordable option for those who do not need the size of a more expensive model. It also includes presets that can be voice controlled with any Echo device, or manually if you don’t have one. A child lock, turntable and 10 power settings are just icing on the cake.

Love
Also an inverter model
2 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
Alexa won’t work outside US
What Reviews Said

Customers were very pleased with this product due to its functionality. They also loved the reheating sensor setting and the inverter technology. People like the design of this microwave, and how well it functions – many said the door opens and shuts quite smoothly.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 15 x 30 x 17″ • Power: 1000 W • Colors: 1

With 1.6 cu. ft. of capacity, this over the range model is perfect for smaller spaces. This microwave features 1000 watts of power, 10 power levels, and cooking controls that make it easy to cook your food perfectly. Plus, the fingerprint resistant stainless steel finish is easy to clean and looks great in any kitchen. It comes with features like a charcoal filter for cleaner kitchen air and a turntable on/off button to allow for larger dishes. And it includes lighting below to brighten your stovetop. This was the best selling microwave across all of the retailers we looked at.

Related: The 10 Best Ice Makers

Love
Swivel and height adjust
11 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
Weak inner light
What Reviews Said

This unit was much better than expected. This is due to the extra features and how it is powerful without being overly fancy and hard to figure out. Users loved the style of this one as much as our retro pick. However, it was rated lowest on value for the money.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel, plastic • Size: 13 x 17 x 10″ • Power: 700 W • Colors: 2

This is the perfect solution for small spaces. With its 700 watts of power, 11 power levels, and six autocook menus, this microwave can handle any cooking task. The eco mode helps conserve energy, and the sound on/off feature allows you to enjoy your food in peace. The optional child lock is great for families with kids. The one-touch buttons make it easy to use, and the sleek design is sure to complement any kitchen space. A 4.5 rating from over 15,000 reviews makes this our top small size microwave.

Love
Good for small spaces
2 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
0.7 cubic feet
What Reviews Said

This microwave is very easy to operate. Some people described it as exactly what they wanted, however others criticize the durability of the product, as it only lasted a few months before having issues. In addition, while most customers like its compact size, others complain that it isn’t as powerful as bigger microwaves.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel, glass • Size: 14 x 18 x 10″ • Power: 700 W • Colors: 4

The Galanz Microwave Oven is our favorite retro model and tied for Best Small Size. The microwave has an LED light that makes it easy to see what is cooking inside and the pull handles makes it simple to open and close the door. It’s available in four colors, three sizes, and two retro styles so you can find the right match for your décor. The microwave comes with a glass turntable that rotates food as it cooks, ensuring even heating and consistent results. And the child lock feature ensures that your little ones are safe when the unit is in use.

Love
Also a modern version
4 color choices
3 size options
Be Mindful
No warranty listed
What Reviews Said

A lot of customers commented on the quirky and retro design of this microwave, with one user noting that it looks like something out of the fifties. Customers also like how compact and lightweight the product is as it does not take up much space but still works as well as a bigger microwave.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 13 x 17 x 10″ • Power: 700 W • Colors: 3

For the price and high rating, this was the best value in our research. This microwave oven is designed with safety in mind. The push button makes the door easy to open and the child lock function ensures toddlers won’t be able to open the door. It’s also packed with features like 10 power settings and an LED digital display. The digital controls are easy to use, and the turntable ensures even cooking. Plus, the unit comes with a one-year warranty.

Related: The 10 Best Water Coolers

Love
2 size choices
One year warranty
Good for small spaces
Be Mindful
0.7 or 0.9 cubic feet
Dim display
What Reviews Said

This microwave is described as quiet, efficient, and easy to use. Many people said it fit perfectly if you have a smaller space. Customers comment on how well priced the microwave is for the quality. Nearly all said it cooks food very well, and is equally as powerful as a bigger microwave.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 16 x 30 x 16″ • Power: 1000 W • Colors: 6

Looking for a unit that sits above your stove? This one from GE is a great option for those who want a simple, yet effective, microwave oven. This model is equipped with sensor cooking controls that adjust the cook time and power level based on the food being cooked. This ensures that your food comes out cooked evenly every time. Sensor cooking controls with weight defrost let you enter the weight of your food so it defrosts at just the right temp and time. And the odor removing filter clears the air while you cook. The stainless steel exterior is easy to clean and adds a touch of style to your kitchen.

Love
Sensor adjusts heat
6 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
Pricey
What Reviews Said

This microwave has a ton of features, meeting the needs of most customers very well. Testers were pleased with its look and performance. People said this one was the easiest to clean of any our list. Overall, it is a high quality model that many said has lasted them years.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: 24 x 14 x 20″ • Power: 1200 W • Colors: 3

This is the most powerful microwave in our top 10 with 1200 watts of power. The sensor cook feature automatically adjusts the cooking time and power to ensure your food comes out perfectly cooked. And the add 30 seconds feature allows you to add additional time with the touch of a button. It can be ordered in three color options so you can match your other appliances with ease. If you’re looking to cook food quickly, this is the one you want.

Love
Fast cook time
3 color choices
Sensor to adjust heat
Be Mindful
No warranty listed
What Reviews Said

Customers love how big this microwave is, fitting in larger bowls and casserole dishes with ease. They also love all the functions, especially the reheat feature. Users also compliment the look of the microwave and how easy it is to clean. It cooks and warm food extremely well.

SPECS
Make: Aluminum • Size: ~19 x 24 x 14″ • Power: 1250 W • Colors: 2

This model uses an inverter to evenly cook food at a lower temperature, preserve nutrients, and prevent overcooking. It also serves to keep food warm while waiting to be removed. The microwave features a ‘genius sensor’ that automatically adjusts power and time to any food type. And its 14 presets and Turbo defrost mode make it easy to cook any food quickly and easily. The 2.2 cubic foot capacity is perfect for large families or busy weeknights. The best part: users say it’s super quiet and easy to clean.

Love
Perfect for large families
2 color choices
One year warranty
Be Mindful
Pricier than others
What Reviews Said

Most users said it is still going strong after quite a few years, whereas a few others said it lasted a couple years. On the whole, people compliment how easy to use and easy to clean this microwave is. Customers rated the quiet noise level most highly.

SPECS
Make: Stainless steel • Size: ~24 x 16 x 23″ • Power: 1000 W • Colors: 1

This over the range microwave is perfect for busy families who need a quick way to cook their meals. With 1000 watts of power, presets and an add 30 seconds button, it has everything you’d expect in a microwave. Two things are unique about this microwave. First is the hidden control panel. It’s concealed behind the door for a more minimalist look. The second is its low profile. The unit is tall enough for a glass to stand in but shorter than standard models, which makes it great for small spaces. The unit comes in white, black or stainless steel.

Love
Good for small spaces
Flush with cabinets
One year warranty
Be Mindful
1.2 cubic feet
Hidden control pad
What Reviews Said

While customers like this microwave because of its safe and easy design, there are also a few complaints about the microwave not lasting a very long time. However, the product is said to be simple to install and very easy to use. Users said the keypad buttons need to be pressed a little harder than usual.

Microwave Buying GuideHow to Choose the Perfect One

Since their earliest days, microwaves have been a staple in the home. They are an incredibly convenient, reliable, and affordable way to cook food.

Today’s microwaves are much more advanced than they once were. There are now many designs and styles of microwaves to choose from, all equipped with different features.

This guide will review the types of microwaves, their features, size and cost. All of this will prepare you in making the right choice of microwave for your home.

Types of Microwaves

As you begin to consider microwaves for your space, first think of the type of microwave you are interested in, and what would fit your space best. Some of the most popular types on the market include:

  • Countertop
  • Over-the-range (OTR)
  • Built-in
  • Drawer
  • Portable

To decide which type is right for you, think about a few questions. How big is your kitchen? Do you have enough counter space? Analyzing your kitchen ahead of time will help you choose the correct type.

Also consider your needs. Will you or your housemates be using this microwave a lot?

Countertop Microwaves

Countertop microwaves are the most standard type found in homes. The units range in size, but they are always rested on the counter.

Countertop microwaves are defined by their size, which is measured in cubic feet. These include a three-prong plug that requires a nearby outlet.

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Countertop microwaves can be the most affordable option, starting as low as $60. They also require no installation. Simply remove it from the box, plug it in, and you are ready to use it.

Generally, countertop microwaves use 700 to 1,200 watts depending on their size. Be mindful of the cost—most models last about seven to eight years.

(put links to studies in all guides)

Over-the-range (OTR) Microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves come with a vented hood overtop. In fact, this design optimizes the most of your space and also provides excellent air flow. OTR microwaves are mounted to a wall, so counter space becomes maximized.

Vented hoods send the air from the microwave outside, as opposed to other models which circulate the air inside the unit.

OTR models have a sleek design that look great in an elegant kitchen. These microwaves require hard-wiring or a simple plug.

In general, you should plan on having an expert install an OTR microwaves. They typically use 950 to 1,100 watts.

If you love the look of an OTR microwave but don’t have the space, consider looking into low-profile OTR models. They have the same style and functions but are smaller and slimmer in their design. These are much more practical for homes with limited room.

Built-In Microwaves

Built-in microwaves are the next level above OTR microwaves. They are disguised amongst the rest of your cabinets.

These models are built-in with the rest of your appliances and are a great way to still have the same convenience.

They can also be placed underneath a counter space, with lower cabinets. They are very accessible which makes them a great option.

Built-in microwaves typically use 900 to 1,200 watts. We should note that these normally require a trim kit. Many come with the kit but always check to be sure.

The trim kit is placed around the edges of the microwave to create a frame. Keep that in mind when you are taking measurements for the microwave.

Drawer Microwaves

A microwave drawer is located inside of a cabinet, which is opened to access the unit. These are similar to built-in microwaves but they are even more concealed. Usually these are located at an easily reachable height.

This is an excellent option if you love the functions of a microwave but not the look. Tuck it away in a cabinet and no one will know it is there.

Portable Microwaves

Portable or car microwaves look like insulated lunchboxes. They plug into the outlet in your car to warm food on the go.

These are perfect for camping or road trips when you don’t have a stove or time to build a fire. Most portable microwaves cost around $35.

Microwave Features

There have been huge strides in the functions of microwaves. Microwaves are now being designed in ways that are making it even easier to operate. Today they have a range of features.

  • Smart technology
  • Inverters
  • Grilling
  • Convection
  • Steam
  • Higher power
  • Sensors
  • Speed cooking features
  • Shortcut and quick keys
  • Turntables and trays
  • Racks
  • Child locks

Let’s dive deeper into some of the features that will guide your choice on a microwave. Not all of these may be needed, and remember that cost will rise as more features are added.

Smart Technology

Much like other features of the home, microwaves are now being created with smart tech. There are microwaves which use Bluetooth and apps to be controlled on your phone, such as Alexa.

You can dictate the microwave with your voice and it will reheat your food for you. With smart tech microwaves, you don’t even need a button.

Inverters

An inverter controls the temp of the microwave and ensures the power is being evenly dispersed. This produces better quality food, since there is consistent heat the entire time.

Grilling

Grilling features cook the food from the outside, similar to the effects of a grill. This is a way to create delicious and crispy meals without using oil. The grilling option also prevents the rubbery feel of meat or the soggy texture of pizza.

Units with a grilling option come with a special metal rack. While metal normally creates sparks, this rack is actually designed to be safe for microwave use. The best part is you can leave the rack in even when you’re not using this feature.

Convection

Some microwaves now offer convection. This is a way of cooking food that is done by a fan circulating hot air, evenly heating your food. This normally results in a crispier dish that is similar to being broiled. Picture a mini-oven on your countertop!

Steam

Steaming is an easy way to prepare vegetables. Steaming adds water to food without adding extra fat. It creates a moist, soft result. Steaming is an excellent option for fish and eggs, as well.

Higher Power

Wattage refers to the power of the microwave. Wattage is what controls the cooking speed and quality of the food. Higher wattage microwaves prepare your food much quicker than lower wattage. It also ensures an even re-heating which makes food taste better.

Microwaves come in a variety of power levels, from 500 watts to 1800 watts. If you are only going to use your microwave to heat up food, a lower power level will be sufficient. However, if you plan on using your microwave to cook food, you will need a higher power level.

The outlet you use must be able to support the wattage of the microwave. If you are running the unit on a lower powered outlet, do not select a high watt microwave. This generally applies to microwaves in dorm rooms or apartments.

Sensors

Many microwaves come with sensors that prevent your food from overcooking or burning. They will automatically adjust the time and temperature so your food won’t be ruined. Some sensors take it even further and will shut off if the food is overheating.

Speed Cook

Speed-cooking buttons are the ultimate feature of convenience. With the touch of a button, your food is set to cook for 30 or 60 seconds (on most models). You can also tap the button as the food is being heated to add more time.

Shortcut & Quick Keys

Quick keys are designated keys that have been programmed to heat your food to the perfect temp at the perfect time.

Different microwaves are expanding their quick key options and including more foods and drinks. This is a great option for reheating leftovers, popcorn, pizza, frozen meals, or potatoes.

Turntables & Trays

These are what spin your food around as it’s heating to ensure it is being warmed evenly.

Racks

Racks are a smart addition because you can place multiple things in the microwave at once. Racks are also great because they can be taken in and out. If you want to reheat multiple dishes at once, a rack is a great add-on.

Size

An important factor to consider before buying is the size of your kitchen. If you are tight on space, you may also be limited to a smaller, countertop model.

These microwaves are usually less than two cubic feet in size, so they’re easy to tuck away on a counter or shelf.

If you have a large kitchen, family or entertain often, you may want to consider a full-sized microwave.

These microwaves typically have a capacity of two to three cubic feet, so they can fit large platters and casseroles. Full-sized microwaves also usually have more wattage, so they can cook food faster.

If you are placing your microwave on the counter, take the width, height, and the length of the surface to ensure your microwave will fit.

You also don’t want to purchase a microwave that won’t fit beneath your cabinets. Always compare the dimensions of your kitchen to the size of the microwave.

Also keep in mind that countertop units can take up a large amount of counter space, especially the larger models.

If this is something you don’t want to risk losing, this may not be the wisest option for you. In that case, a built-in or OTR unit might work best.

If you are looking to install a built-in or OTR microwave, don’t forget to take into account the trim that will line the outside of the microwave. This will be an extra inch or two on either side.

The NKBA says that OTR microwaves require at least 54 inches from the floor to the bottom of the microwave. This height allows for the most convenient access.

Additionally, leave at least 18 inches between the stovetop and the bottom of the microwave.

Something else to consider is the capacity of the microwave. This refers to the amount of cooking space inside the unit.

Depending on your personal needs, you may require more or less internal microwave space. Of course, larger models will cost more, but may be worth it if you are feeding a big family. Just make sure your wall can support a microwave of this size.

Budget

Consider your budget when you are shopping for a microwave. The most affordable and basic microwave type is the countertop model. These could be as cheap as $55. However, a built-in model could run you as much as $3,000.

If you don’t intend to use your microwave often, or are limited in space, it might be best to start small with a countertop unit.

The more features the microwave has, the more it will cost. The size of the unit will also add to the price. Consider these factors in your shopping process.

Summary

Since they were introduced, microwaves have been a luxury. Today microwaves are evolving appliances that have become a staple in nearly every home. They are functional, easy to use and can even be stylish additions to your home.

Microwaves have advanced to include a number of features, from smart tech, cooking settings, racks, quick keys and turntables.

Microwaves can be found in a variety of sizes that are sure to meet the needs of all. Many are compact and can be designed to be hidden within or next to your kitchen cabinets. They can also lie on top of the counter or be taken on the road with you.

Not to mention, they are very affordable and are a great purchase for a first-time homeowner or college student. With so many different models on the market, it’s easy to find one that’s perfect for your needs.

Cameron S

Cameron S

Cameron is a freelance writer who specializes in home décor and the outdoors. She grew up on a farm, so she's always been close to nature. She has a passion for helping people make their homes more beautiful and stylish, and she loves finding new ways to use everyday items in creative ways. You can usually find her hiking, baking or cuddling with her cats.

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