Home & Kitchen

12 Best Microwave Ovens Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

Go beyond defrosting, reheating, and popping popcorn! The heat is on as microwave ovens now feature smart technology, convection, and faster speeds. View our ratings and reviews and browse our buying guide to find the best microwave oven for your kitchen.

Top 12 Microwave Ovens

Bestseller No. 1
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, Black Stainless Steel
2,808 Reviews
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, Black Stainless Steel
  • Stylish Black Stainless Steel with easy-to-clean interior, external Dimension (wdh): 20. 517. 112. 8...
  • Pre-programmed sensor menu for optimum heating of popular foods like pizza, potato, vegetables and more
Bestseller No. 2
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu. ft/900W, Stainless Steel
1,779 Reviews
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu. ft/900W, Stainless Steel
  • Stylish Stainless Steel with timeless design, external Dimension (wdh): 19. 215. 911. 5 inches, internal...
  • Pre-programmed menu for 6 popular foods like popcorn, pizza, potato and more. Rated Voltage is 120V~ 60Hz
Bestseller No. 3
BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push-Button Door,Child Safety Lock,700W, Stainless Steel, 0.7 Cu.ft
558 Reviews
BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push-Button Door,Child Safety Lock,700W, Stainless Steel, 0.7 Cu.ft
  • Pre-programmed buttons for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage and dinner plate
  • 700 Watts with 10 power settings, clock and kitchen timer, 30 Seconds Express Cooking
Bestseller No. 4
AmazonBasics Microwave, Small, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W, Works with Alexa
6,493 Reviews
AmazonBasics Microwave, Small, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W, Works with Alexa
  • Now it’s easier to defrost vegetables, make popcorn, cook potatoes, and reheat rice. With an Echo...
  • Automatically reorder popcorn when you run low and save 10% on popcorn orders—enabled by Amazon Dash...
Bestseller No. 5
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cubic Foot, 1200W
3,770 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cubic Foot, 1200W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1200 Watt high power, 1.2 cubic foot capacity stainless steel countertop/built...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
Bestseller No. 6
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cubic Foot, 1250W
2,540 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cubic Foot, 1250W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1250 Watt high power, 2.2 cubic foot capacity black countertop microwave...
  • Large Family Size: This countertop microwave with 16 1/2 inch turntable is thinner, lighter and more...
Bestseller No. 7
COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off, ECO Mode and Easy One-Touch Buttons, 0.7Cu.Ft/700W, Pearl White
1,039 Reviews
COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off, ECO Mode and Easy One-Touch Buttons, 0.7Cu.Ft/700W, Pearl White
  • Stylish (black) stainless steel finish, Compact Size: 0.7 cubic-foot capacity, 700 watts and 11 power...
  • Mute Function, settings, clock, kitchen timer, Child safety lock, Easy auto-cook functions: Popcorn,...
Bestseller No. 8
Farberware 1.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven With 6 Cooking Programs, LED Lighting, 1000 Watts
1,996 Reviews
Farberware 1.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven With 6 Cooking Programs, LED Lighting, 1000 Watts
  • Spacious & stylish: with 1. 1-Cu. feet Of cooking capacity, a sleek Stainless Steel exterior and...
  • Six cooking programs: auto cooking programs (popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, dinner plate)...
Bestseller No. 9
Toshiba ML-EM45P(BS) Countertop Microwave oven with Smart Sensor, Sound on/off Function and Position Memory Turntable, 1.6 Cu.ft, Black Stainless Steel
  • This 1200-watt high power microwave with 10 power levels includes a pre-programmed sensor menu for...
  • 1.6 cubic foot capacity with one touch popcorn button, energy-saving Eco mode and sound on/off function
Bestseller No. 10
ODK Kitchen Baker's Rack, Utility Storage Shelf Microwave Oven Stand 3-Tier+3-Tier Table with 10 S-Shape Hooks for Spice Rack Organizer Workstation, Metal Frame, Vintage Brown
  • 【3-TIER AMPLE STORAGE】Designed with 5 sturdy shelves (total size: 35"L x 15.7"W x 52"H), this kitchen...
  • 【INDUSTRIAL STURDY CONSTRUCTION】This kitchen utility shelf is contruscted of high-quality vintage MDF...

How does a microwave work?

According to the FDA, microwaves inside the oven are produced by an electron tube called a magnetron. Those waves then bounce around inside, off of the oven’s reflective surfaces. Microwave radiation is simply microwaved that cause water molecules to vibrate. Those vibrating molecules, not the microwaves themselves, produce the heat that cooks food.

Is microwaved food bad for you?

The FDA assures that, “The microwave energy is changed to heat as it is absorbed by food, and does not make food ‘radioactive’ or ‘contaminated’ … Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding waste.”

So how do I get my food to cook more evenly in the microwave?

Microwaves work by increasing energy in water molecules, so foods with more water in them (broccoli) will heat much quicker. If the water content is lower, you’ll want to use lower power to avoid uneven cooking. Spreading out dense foods and microwaving meals in separate parts can help achieve a more evenly cooked meal.

What else can I use my microwave for, besides heating up food?

A few other, unexpected challenges that microwaves can conquer:

  • Peeling peaches: Place a peach in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with warm water. Microwave it for about 1 min and then let stand for 5-10 min. Drain, then peel.
  • Decrystallizing honey: Uncover the honey jar (if it’s glass) and heat on 50% power for 30 sec-1 min.
  • Ripening an avocado: Place the unripe avocado on a paper towel and prick the skin a few times, then defrost for 2 min. Turn the avocado over and repeat for 30-60 seconds.

Guide to Microwaves

Consider your space

Size and appearance will play a role in your decision to buy an appliance. We preferred microwaves with capacities that hovered just above one cubic foot. If you know that the dishes you use to store leftovers need more room, keep that in mind. For appearance, take into account the finish and “look” of any appliances already in your kitchen.

Expect to spend at least $100

Most microwaves under $50 didn’t meet our 800-watt requirement, meaning they aren’t powerful enough to heat your food quickly. If you’re looking for a true budget option, you’ll sacrifice performance significantly.

How We Chose the Best Microwaves

Out of a field of adequate appliances, we looked for the few that had a combination of crucial, next-level characteristics.

Speed

Fast cooking was our top priority — if a microwave can’t prepare a meal speedily, it isn’t the best. Ray Boxman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Tel Aviv University, told us microwaves cook fast “because the microwave energy penetrates into the food, in contrast to conventional heating, which only delivers heat to the surface of the food, and a lot of time is needed for the heat to diffuse inward.”

Exactly how quickly the machine cooks is a matter of wattage, and most microwave models range from 600 to 1,200 watts. How much does wattage matter? Quite a lot, it turns out: Heating a cup of cold water to boil would take about one minute and 30 seconds in a 1,200-watt microwave, but four minutes in a 600-watt microwave.

Reliability

Reliability problems are deal breakers. Microwaves that don’t turn on or don’t cook food at all, machines with buttons that won’t respond, and ovens that fall apart don’t make sense to own. We talked to Bob Schiffmann, President of the International Microwave Power Institute for 18 years, who has worked with microwaves since the 1960s and consulted for frozen food companies.

He told us that cheaper microwaves use cheaper components and end up costing more to fix than they’re worth. By digging through reviews and crunching some numbers, we found that the risk of buying an unreliable microwave double (at a minimum) once you go below that $100 mark. We didn’t consider anything under that price.

Ease-of-use

The best microwaves have a few characteristics that make them simple to operate:

Effective shortcuts: A 30-second shortcut button is a must, and presets should be reliable. For example, the “Popcorn” setting should produce a well-popped snack: a few kernels, no charring.

Visibility: Its window should allow you to check in on your food’s progress without pausing cooking.

No babysitting required: You should be able to pop a frozen meal into the microwave and get an edible product by following on-package instructions — without on-the-fly improvisation of cook times and power levels.

No annoying dealbreakers: Little things like a prolonged “your-meal-is-done” chime or a tough-to-open door can turn a convenience into a hassle.

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