Best Microwaves – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Microwave ovens are probably the most essential small appliance for almost every size household, lifestyle, and budget.
Fast and efficient, this multi–purpose kitchen “workhorse” has many functions, which include, but are not limited to:
- Cook Frozen Meals
- Bacon (with a bacon cooking tray)
Finding the best microwave that fits within your personal needs, finances, and style of living can take time and gathering information from various sources.
Visiting stores, browsing on-line, reading appliance reports & reviews, shopping newspaper ads and inserts , etc, can take a lot of time.
Because microwave ovens have become almost a non-negotiable kitchen appliance, there are a number of manufacturers offering different types of microwaves in the market.
This is also one of the main reasons why we have decided to review and compare the 10 best microwaves available.
Moreover, this is why we have engaged a number of experts to test and evaluate the selected microwaves in order to make sure we included in our list only the most outstanding ones.
There are three main types of microwaves available for reheating your food. The one that you need will depend on how many people are planning to use it and what you expect your new kitchen appliance to do.
The price range will vary for each one, but as it can be assumed, the more your new machine can do, the higher the price will go.
These are your entry-level microwaves, simple and straightforward without any fuss, perfect for smaller households.
If you find that you are not looking for anything other than reheating and cooking the basics such as noodles and popcorn, then this is the microwave for you.
To take your standard microwaving experience one step further, we recommend a grill microwave.
With the original purpose of reheating, these machines bring extra grilling accessories with it, suitable for grilling meat and vegetables.
This kitchen appliance is perfect for creating that delicious crunch to your bacon as it can quickly crisp and brown your food.
Often, these microwaves bring with them grilling racks, that come in handy. These will be discussed further as you read on.
This is the appliance for you if you are looking for a high-end machine that can do basically anything in the kitchen.
Acting as a grill, standard microwave, and even an oven, this is the all in one microwave for anyone looking to make their time in the kitchen easier.
Convection microwaves come with an in-built fan to help circulate the hot air to make your food cook faster and more evenly.
With a grill, bake, and reheat option, you can get creative with whatever you decide to cook in there.
Additionally, you can take it up another level by purchasing a convection microwave with a steam feature.
Cooking with steam is healthier, and it means your food will contain more of its original nutrients and won’t dry out.
This investment is for those who plan on using the microwave for more than just a quick reheat.
10 Best Microwaves
1. Panasonic NN-SN651BAZ
As opposed to standard old microwaves which solely depend on pulse-on/off cooking options of way lower temperature ranges, this microwave boasts a hefty amount of power to any temperature setting with the help of a brand new, patented Inverter Technology. This means that you will be able to enjoy evenly prepared meals every time. Thanks to this innovation your food also retains even more color, texture and nutrients.
Features and Specifications
13 1/2″ Turntable
Interior Dimension: 9 15/16″ x 13 15/16″ x 14 3/8″
Outside Dimensions: 12 1/4″ x 20 11/16″ x 15 13/16″
Weight: 25.3 lbs.
Though a bit more pricey than some other microwaves available on the market, this Panasonic microwave is great value for the cost. It has a ton of added, helpful features and has been noted to be incredibly durable and reliable.
While this microwave does have a few minor annoyances, there is really nothing major that should keep you from purchasing. It cooks evenly, efficiently, and though a bit more costly than a few others that have been mentioned, it does its job very well and is all in all a really great microwave.
2. Hamilton Beach EM720CGA-PMB
Probably the best part about this super cute microwave is the fact that it literally boasts all the best features of an incredibly expensive microwave at an attractively affordable price! The color itself is absolutely perfect, the design impeccable and the simple details of the appliance are perfect for any of your kitchen needs.
Features and Specifications
Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.2 x 13.4 inches
Item Weight: 24.6 lbs.
0.7 Cu. Ft.
The price of this microwave? You just can’t beat it. Not to mention the fact that if you are in the market for a more compact microwave that has all the simple features of a much larger one, then this is the one for you!
Upon extensive research, you will find that there are virtually no bad reviews regarding this microwave. It is super reliable, incredibly affordable, and looks amazing. Our final decision is a huge go for it!
- 10 Power Levels
- LED Display
- 6 Quick-Set Menu Buttons
- Child-Safe Lockout Feature
- Reliable Kitchen Timer and Clock.
- Weight and Time Defrost
- Excellent Return Policy
- Depending on Where You Purchase, it May Not Be Available in Red
- Warranty Unknown
3. Danby DMW077BLSDD
It is made of stainless steel with a chrome finish and really is a looker! It offers all of the convenient options with an attractive price tag. You can’t go wrong with the Danby Designer.
While so many people will shun having a chrome or stainless finished kitchen appliance, this one remains to be incredibly easy to clean and has actually been noted to not harbor as many fingerprints and smudges as others of similar design. The reason behind it remains to be seen, but who can argue that an attractive chrome/stainless steel microwave is a lot of people’s first choice in the looks department!
Features and Specifications:
Item Dimensions: 17.31 x 14 x 10.12 in
Item Weight: 22.5 lbs
Black and Stainless Steel
It certainly has an affordable price along with some really great features. But there were a few complaints about the microwave itself that makes one question the overall value.
While this microwave boasts a really attractive price tag, the issue of mechanical problems by way of the glass shattering and cracking on the microwave door may be a red fla. I would exercise caution with this one and do some more research to determine if it is the best option for your needs.
- 0.7 cu.ft. Capacity
- 700 Watts
- Stylish Black and Stainless Steel Exterior
- 10 Power Levels
- Simple One-Touch Cooking Options for 6 Popular Uses
- Excellent Return Policy
- Glass on Door Noted to be Faulty (Cracks/Shatters)
- Reportedly Retains Odors
- Push Button Noted to Stick
4. Westinghouse WCM770B
All Around Awesome
A uniquely designed microwave that does its job with the utmost efficiency and reliability, at an affordable price is something that is not so easy to find. However, you get all the best features of a far more expensive microwave, at a price that fits any budget.
Features and Specifications
10 Power Levels
Outer Dimensions: 19 x 14.25 x 11.1 Inches
Weight: 23.1 lbs
This microwave is incredibly well priced. Though you may find cheaper options available in terms of pricing, for the reliability and simplicity that this one offers you just can’t go wrong.
This truly is a great little microwave for your general needs. The pros outweigh the cons, and this appliance is noted to do its job very well. Its compact and lightweight design is perfect for dorms, small apartments or just kitchens with little counter space.
- 10 Power Levels
- 6 Quick Cook Levels
- Speed Defrost
- Multi-Stage Cooking
- LED Display
- Child Lock Function
- Super Affordable
- Buttons Hard to Push
- Poor Customer Service
- Slides Easily
5. Samsung MG14H3020CM
A Microwave that Grills
There are very few microwaves available on the market that give you the option to put a pizza in them and actually grill it to perfection. Especially for a budget price. There are a ton of added features, and you will find yourself truly astounded by all it can do to help you out in the kitchen.
Features and Specifications
1.4 Cubic Feet
Item Dimensions: 21.9 x 18.1 x 12.3 in
Item Weight: 41.9 lbs
Black Mirror Finish
On the pricier side, but the value alone speaks for itself. This microwave has a ton of great options and features, including the awesome grill feature.
Overall, the pros of this microwave outweigh the cons. It is remarkably a good looking and reliable microwave that will help you prepare meals for years to come. The main complaints are regarding the door not opening and the lever that stops opening the door after extended use.
- Scratch Resistant
- Easy to Clean
- 10 Power Levels
- LED Display
- Shiny Mirror Design with Sleek Asymmetrical Shape
- Auto Cook Options
- Grilling Element with Ceramic Plate
- Some Complaints of Door/Lever Not Opening After Extended Use
- Return Policy Ends After 30 Days of Purchase
- Noted to Move Easy/Vibrate When Cooking
Criteria for Evaluation
First, it’s worth mentioning that our tests and evaluations have been based on some criteria and pre-defined standards.
We took into consideration the highest needs any microwave owner would have and options that might be wanted.
We organized the needs you will be most concerned with and feel are important when it comes to a microwave, then put together the list of criteria we used to make sure we only reviewed the best quality appliances.
Our evaluation criteria include:
- Material Quality
- Ease of Use
- Care and Maintenance
The best microwaves are made of strong and reliable materials.
For instance, if you are looking for the best microwaves in the market you are looking for an outer case made of metal.
The inner sides should be made of stainless steel or galvanized with a final touch of acrylic enamel.
Considering the cooking plate, it is usually made of high heat resistant glass.
The hardware that enables the power transmission and other process related functions related should be made of different types of materials that are considered to be highly resistant to temperature and other environmental elements.
You should also be focused on finding sustainable and qualitative parts.
The front door for example. Its opening/closing mechanism should be reliable in order not to lose temperature and in order to avoid unnecessary incidents.
The power cord should be appropriately attached to the appliance and should be accurately isolated with the relevant materials that ensure heat resistance.
These are all things we took into consideration before including a microwave on our list of best products.
What about the performance? How can it be measured and evaluated?
Well, first of all efficiency has to be measured in terms of power consumption.
Does this kitchen appliance consume considerable power energy? Microwaves usually use from 600 – 1,200 watts of power.
The microwave power consumption is related to its dimensions. The larger the microwave the higher its power consumption rate.
In order for you to buy the most suitable microwave, consider your family demands in terms of dish size and number of servings. The higher the wattage the faster the cooking process.
The best appliances are considered to be those with the highest number of automatic processes:
- Defrost functions
- Customizable power levels
- Multiple-stage cooking options
These predefined automatic processes increase performance since you can set the appliance for the right cooking processes without the risking of overcooking the food mixture.
Another important element during the evaluation of performance is the even heat distribution.
Generally, because of the microwave technology, this type of kitchen appliance is considered to be a great even cooker.
However, it is the inner walls material that highly impacts the performance. Also, the positioning of the cooking plate is important.
In order for the food mixture to be properly cooked it should be placed in a centered position. Otherwise, uneven heating or cooking will be experienced.
We checked that our selection of microwaves had the most automatic options and best materials to insure even cooking.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is another important element to be considered when buying a kitchen appliance.
Despite the technological advancement, human interaction is necessary to make things properly work.
To lessen the time you spend on making a microwave function, we concentrated on those that ensured maximum ease of use.
As mentioned above, the automatic processes contribute to the general performance evaluation of this type of kitchen appliance.
Thus, the highest the number of automatic processes, the highest the ease of use and customer satisfaction as well.
Weight is another element that affects the ease of use.
Although microwaves can be placed somewhere in the kitchen, yet you might need to move it from one place to another, depending on your needs.
Therefore a heavy weight microwave might not be as user friendly as a light weight one.
In order to choose the perfect microwave you need to consider what would be the most frequent processes you will apply.
This will help you choose the best one at the most affordable cost.
We tested how easy it was to use the options on our list and selected the lightest choices when it comes to weight.
Care and Maintenance
Microwave oven manuals give the proper and safe cleaning methods, such as warm soapy water if wiping down with a paper towel is not enough to wipe clean.
Organic ingredients such as water combined with lemon can also be used.
Some newer models also come with a stem clean selection by inserting a bowl of water and allowing the steaming process do the “dirty work”.
As far as food flavor being kept on the internal walls, there are several over-the-counter solutions that might be taken into consideration.
For instance, individuals might apply fresh coffee beans.
This ingredient should be placed in a towel inside the microwave and left to rest for at least one night. After this application, the microwave odors will disappear.
As far as the outer side is concerned, we need to mention the fact that, in order to have a neat and nice appearance, microwaves usually come in light colors.
These types of colors demand frequent cleaning. You can apply a sponge soaked in soap or again lemon juice to remove the food spots or the fat spots from the outside layer of the microwave.
Microwaves are electric appliance and do not have removable/ detachable parts (apart the cooking plate), thus dishwasher is not an option in any case.
As far as maintenance is considered, vendors usually take care of this in order to provide an excellent customer experience.
Most of the items on our list are offered with a one to two years of warranty.
In conclusion, to make sure you only get the 10 best options on the market when it comes to microwaves, we tested our choices against these criteria and included in our list just the ones that performed the best.
There is a rather extensive list of features you’ll want to take into account before buying a microwave.
Without these in mind, you might be disappointed and your newest kitchen appliance that is supposed to make your life easier- will simply be a waste of space.
Your food will be heated and cooked in the microwave, so you want to make sure that it will have the right amount of power to meet your needs.
Microwave power is measured in watts, ranging between 700W to 1200W.
The more watts your microwave has, the better it will heat your food, we recommend looking at appliances with a minimum of 900W for your most basic needs.
Microwaves are very versatile and don’t only offer different features, but their placement is crucial when making your purchasing decisions!
As each kitchen is built differently, there is no one-size-fits-all style, model, or placement for microwaves. This will depend on your kitchen size, distribution, and your personal preferences.
The following placements are the most popular, and at least one, if not all, will be an excellent match for any kitchen.
These microwaves can be moved around and are plugged into any electrick socket you have in your kitchen.
They are easy to transport if you are moving houses or even just remodeling your kitchen.
A downside is that you might have to plug it in and out if you have a lot of other electric kitchen appliances.
Over the range
Your microwave can also be placed above your gas or induction stovetop. When placed here, they are usually either standard or convection microwaves.
These are a great option for anyone looking to save space on their countertops and to have it at a higher reach, to avoid bending down.
Their average width is between 27” and 30”, and they come with vent fans and lights to recirculate and give you more visibility while cooking over your stovetop.
Designed to give the kitchen a seamless look, these microwaves are great for anyone who wants to avoid any visible cables or to have the microwave just sit on the counter.
They are typically placed in the wall, either above or below a built-in-oven to give users dual-action while cooking.
We recommend keeping it at a higher level to avoid bending down.
And if the microwave is too high up, it can cause accidents with any liquids that you might heat up or cook.
Above counter (suspended)
As the name suggests, these microwaves are built in to be suspended under your cabinets.
It is attached to the bottom of your cupboard, giving the illusion that it is floating above your counter.
This one is great for anyone with limited countertop space or anyone who wants their microwave to be at a higher level to avoid bending down.
Depending on where you plan on placing your microwave, you will need to make sure it will fit in the kitchen.
We recommend measuring out the space in which you are planning on putting your newest cooking appliance.
If you are limited on space, you would be best with a standard/solo microwave, with either an above-counter or over the range placement. That way, you have sufficient countertop space for chopping.
When we talk about capacity, it also falls under the category of ‘size’. Except for this time, we are referring to the inside of the appliance.
The capacity of a microwave is measured in liters and typically ranges between 17L to 32L.
The capacity of your microwave will depend on the use you want to give it, the size of your dinnerware and other kitchen appliances that you might want to use in combination.
For example, some bacon racks are rather tall and would not fit inside a microwave with a smaller capacity of 17L.
Some microwaves come with a removable rack that you can place on little ledges to let you cook more items at once.
The racks act as a divider that creates a two-level microwave which can come in handy when you want to cook multiple items.
The fact that they are removable means you are not locked in, using that style.
Microwaves can sometimes burn your food or sometimes even make it soggy due to the small space and high temperatures.
Having the sensor cooking feature means that it automatically will calculate the humidity and moisture in your food and adjust the power accordingly.
This is an excellent investment and can help make sure your food is always at the right temperature and consistency.
These can be a lifesaver! For anyone who wants an easy and straightforward experience, having pre-set programs will take the guesswork out of cooking.
Whether it means having pre-set timers, temperatures, or just to make it defrost your chicken, they can save you time and effort for your basic needs.
The wonderful kitchen appliance that so many of us now have was in fact invented by accident during radar research using megatons.
To date, nearly 90% of Americans own a microwave, and it can make you wonder about their history.
Microwave ovens were invented at the end of World War II, but they were seen as a luxury item for many years until the 2000s.
With the advance in technology, these kitchen appliances became popular and in America, labeled as the number 1 technology that made their lives easier.
How-to Care for Your Microwave:
Unless there is a spill or mini-explosion, you won’t be needing to clean your microwave after every use.
We recommend giving it a bi-weekly deep clean to make sure it doesn’t start smelling, or that does not get oils and fats stuck to the walls of your appliance.
Giving it a rub down with a non-abrasive sponge is a great start, and there are many cleaning detergents made for the microwave.
But using vinegar is an age-old staple when cleaning microwaves that have proven to work time and time again.
And the best part? You probably already have the vinegar at home.
Here is a quick step by step guide:
- Pour water and white vinegar into a measuring cup (about half-half)
- Place the measuring cup in the microwave for approximately 5 minutes
- Let the measuring cup sit in the microwave for a further 5 minutes
The steam produced by the water and vinegar mix will remove any unwanted smells and stains from the inside of your appliance. You can then go ahead and clean as you would normally.
Best tips when using your microwave
If you are new to microwaves, there are a few pointers we want to give you (and if you have had them before, here’s a quick reminder!).
- Cover your dishes to avoid splattering and speed up cooking time
- Make sure to place your foods evenly, with the thicker sides pointed towards the walls
- Remove any plastic or tin foil that could be covering the food as you want to avoid any unwanted materials melting in your food
The following items should not be placed inside a microwave at any time:
- Non-microwavable plastic
Know which type of microwave you need
The first question to ask yourself is, “how often will I be using my microwave?” and, “what do I want it to do?”
Once those two questions have been answered, you can start deciding on what microwave will suit your needs.
It is vital for you to look at the power and capacity aspects as they will determine not only the pricing but also the way in which the microwave can be of use to you.
If you are looking for an appliance that can do almost anything, we recommend purchasing a convection microwave.
They will definitely make your cooking life a lot easier, and if you make sure it has the added steam feature, it means your food will come out much healthier too!
However, for anyone that simply wants a microwave to reheat food or a cup of joe, make the occasional popcorn, a standard microwave would work well and meet your expectations.
Try not to buy a microwave that is simple to use, and that meets your needs.
Best Microwave Brands
A household name, Panasonic, offers its customers a wide range of electronic home appliances ranging from televisions to kitchenware all the way to sound systems.
Originally created in 1955, Panasonic only supplied audio speakers and over the years, grew to meet a broader market, which makes it the brand it is today.
This microwave brand has been working to become more sustainable for the environment and take part in the movement to produce more sustainable products.
No matter your budget, Panasonic has ample choices that can meet your needs.
While Hamilton Beach no longer manufactures microwaves, there are still several models circulating the web and available for purchase.
They offer affordable prices, and their appliances tend to be of good value for the money.
A drawback that the Hamilton Beach microwaves is they tend to run a bit louder while reheating your food. Probably not a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind.
Danby is a family-owned business that has been around for 65 years, bringing electric appliances to the home.
This particular brand for microwaves offers buyers budget-friendly and high-quality kitchen appliances.
The brand focuses on affordability while providing high value and versatility. Their warranty options are of the longest among the industry.
FAQs about Microwaves
Q. What exactly are microwaves?
Microwaves are kitchen appliances that use short waves of electromagnetic energy in order to warm or cook food.
The speed of these short electromagnetic waves can reach 186,282 miles per second.
These appliances have sparked controversy in the health community throughout the years, with people claiming that these short electromagnetic waves are bad for the health.
However most of these information are based on misconception and no proofs for such statements have been found in scientific research.
Q. How does it work?
Microwave ovens are electric appliances. This means that their energy derives from the power outlets and it is transmitted through the power cord incorporated into it.
From the electrical cord, the energy is transmitted to power circuits. These circuits are made of different fuses and protectors which protect the oven from possible electrical shorts.
In these cases, they automatically shut it down to protect it.
Q. Is microwave radiation the same as radioactive radiation?
In nature there are two types of radiation. The ionizing radiation and the non-ionizing radiation.
The radiation that microwaves emit is a non – ionizing one.
It has the ability only to vibrate the water molecules which will start producing the energy that is necessary to cook the food in the oven. The radiation level is at 2450 MHZ.
This type of radiation is very different from the ionizing one that can have a damaging impact.
The non-ionizing radiation works with low frequencies, and its energy is reduced when compared to the ionizing radiation.
Q. How do microwaves cook food?
These waves can pass through different transparent materials such as plastic, glass or paper.
Basically, the waves are reflected by the metal sides. This effect is similar to that of a ball and a wall.
These metal sides are surrounding the cooking area act like a resonator. The racks are positioned in such a way they avoid energy pattern disruption.
Once the machine is switched on, its waves begin being absorbed by the food composition, and the energy starts to gradually decrease.
Q. Why does metal in a microwave cause arcing?
The energy produced by microwaves is reflected by metal. This can be considered as one of the most specific features.
The level of reflection is related to the type of metal, and it can vary accordingly.
With some types of metals such as stainless steel or aluminum the reflection ratio is high, and with some other types of metals, it can be lower.
Regardless, reflection is considered as a phenomena when microwaves touch metal surfaces.
This interaction is also found responsible for the arcing effect.
Q. Is eating food cooked in a microwave oven harmful?
There is a common misbelief and misinterpretation in regards to the safety of using this type of oven regarding healthy eating.
But, it has been scientifically accepted that using these ovens to cook and heat food is not harmful to our health.
Just like we use heat or gas or electricity, in order to prepare our meals, we use short electromagnetic waves as a source of energy to cause changes in the physical properties of the ingredients.
This process is commonly know as cooking. All of these sources of energy are initiating the cooking process.
Because of this, we can derive to the conclusion that the food that is being cooked in a microwave oven cannot be considered contaminated, harmful or radioactive.
Q. How can the burnt smell be removed?
First of all, it is necessary to remove all the remains of the product that have been burnt in the oven.
The removal and cleaning should be done with a cleaner that is recommended by the provider.
After that, you can add several lemon slices and water in a container.
Put the bowl in the oven and wait for the water to boil. After the water has completely cooled down, you can remove it from the oven. In the end, you can use coffee grounds.
Put them on a towel and insert them in the microwave oven and leave them there at least 12 hours in a row.
Q. What is the general weight?
Just like in the case of any other kitchen appliance, the weight of the microwave is relevant to its dimensions.
Those machines that have a capacity of 29 liters will be ranging between 14.5 to 17.8 kilograms.
These are the most typical ones. While other types that might be wider and higher will accordingly be heavier as well.
For instance, those microwave ovens that measure up to 30” might reach the weight of 45.4 kg.
Q. What is the average size of a microwave?
There has not yet been defined a standard in regards to microwave oven size.
In any case, it can be mentioned that a normal countertop microwave measures:
- Width: 24 inches
- Height: 14 inches
- Depth: 16 inches
Q. What is the best wattage for a microwave?
First of all, we should mention that the higher the wattage is, the faster and more even the cooking will be.
Thus, one that is working with 1,000-watt will deliver an evenly cooking in the shortest time. Those working with fewer watts will cook slower.
Finding the right microwave for your personal needs and desires most certainly does not have to be a thing of stress!
Be sure always to do your research and plan accordingly in order to make the most out of our purchase.