12 Best Microwave Ovens Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

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

- $28.84Bestseller No. 1
Toshiba  EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, 1100W, Black Stainless Steel
836 Reviews
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, 1100W, Black Stainless Steel
  • Pre-programmed sensor menu for optimum heating of popular foods like pizza, potatoes, veggies and more
  • Black Stainless Steel exterior, 20. 5 x 17. 1 x 12. 8 inch(w*d*h), large 1. 2 cubic feet capacity, cavity...
- $38.11Bestseller No. 2
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cu. Ft, 1200W
411 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cu. Ft, 1200W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1200-Watt high power, 1.2-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
- $50.00Bestseller No. 3
PANASONIC Countertop Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology, Genius Sensor, Turbo Defrost and 1250W of high cooking power - NN-SN736W - 1.6 cu. Ft. (White)
918 Reviews
PANASONIC Countertop Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology, Genius Sensor, Turbo Defrost and 1250W of high cooking power - NN-SN736W - 1.6 cu. Ft. (White)
  • COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE OVEN - 1250 Watts of High Power with Panasonic Inverter Technology for fast, even...
  • MICROWAVE CONTROLS - 14 Preset Auto Cook Menu Items, 15" turntable; Delay Start and Timer; More/Less...
- $5.12Bestseller No. 4
Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB 1.1 Cu. Ft. 1000-Watt Microwave Oven with LED Lighting, Stainless Steel
877 Reviews
Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB 1.1 Cu. Ft. 1000-Watt Microwave Oven with LED Lighting, Stainless Steel
  • 1000 watts of cooking power and 10 power levels allow you to adjust the power from 10% to 100%;...
  • 1 through 6-minute Express Cooking quick start controls and Add 30-Seconds control
- $20.00Bestseller No. 5
Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Convection Function Smart Sensor and LED Lighting, 1.5 Cu.ft, Black Stainless
248 Reviews
Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Convection Function Smart Sensor and LED Lighting, 1.5 Cu.ft, Black Stainless
  • Use microwave or convection cooking all in one appliance
  • Sensor cooking and reheating functions
- $24.60Bestseller No. 6
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SD945S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
770 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SD945S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
  • POWER + INNOVATION - 1250 Watts of High Power with Panasonic Inverter Technology for fast, even cooking...
  • MICROWAVE CONTROLS - 19 Preset Auto Cook Menu Items, 15" turntable; Delay Start and Timer; More/Less...
- $2.64Bestseller No. 7
Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill
1218 Reviews
Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill
  • 1.2-cubic-foot capacity, 1000 watts
  • Brushed stainless with embossed Cuisinart logo and dark tinted glass window
Bestseller No. 8
BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push-Button Door,Child Safety Lock,700W, Stainless Steel 0.7 Cu.Ft
34 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
- $45.49Bestseller No. 9
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.6 Cu. Ft, 1250W
289 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.6 Cu. Ft, 1250W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1250-Watt high power, 1.6-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
Bestseller No. 10
Kenmore 70919 Countertop Microwave, 0.9 cu. ft, Black
115 Reviews
Kenmore 70919 Countertop Microwave, 0.9 cu. ft, Black
  • Cooking is fast with 900 watts and 10 power settings.
  • One touch Express cooking for 1-6 minutes, plus add 30 seconds button.
- 11Bestseller No. 11
Comfee EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off, ECO Mode and Easy One-Touch Buttons, 0.7cu.ft, 700W, Black
64 Reviews
Comfee EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off, ECO Mode and Easy One-Touch Buttons, 0.7cu.ft, 700W, Black
  • Express one touch cooking for one to six minutes and +30 second button
  • 700 watts with 11 power settings, clock and kitchen timer
- $29.80Bestseller No. 12
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN651B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cu. Ft, 1200W
1310 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN651B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cu. Ft, 1200W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1200-Watt high power, 1.2-cubic-foot capacity black countertop microwave...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...

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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