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

- $15.28Bestseller 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...
Bestseller No. 2
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu.ft, Black Stainless
867 Reviews
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu.ft, Black Stainless
  • 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...
  • 900 watts with 10 power settings, kitchen timer, and defrost by time or Weight
- $38.11Bestseller No. 3
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 countertop/built...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
- $55.04Bestseller No. 4
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
746 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1250 Watt high power, 2.2 cubic foot capacity stainless steel countertop/built...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
Bestseller No. 5
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
934 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1250 Watt high power, 2.2 cubic foot capacity black countertop microwave...
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
- $7.50Bestseller No. 6
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
Bestseller No. 7
AmazonBasics Microwave, Small, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W, Works with Alexa
1331 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 device...
  • Automatically reorder popcorn when you run low and save 10% on popcorn orders-enabled by Amazon Dash...
Bestseller No. 8
Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven with 1200 Watts of Cooking Power, Sensor Cooking, Popcorn Button, Quick 30sec and Turbo Defrost - NN-SN67KS - 1.2 cu. ft (Stainless Steel / Silver)
60 Reviews
Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven with 1200 Watts of Cooking Power, Sensor Cooking, Popcorn Button, Quick 30sec and Turbo Defrost - NN-SN67KS - 1.2 cu. ft (Stainless Steel / Silver)
  • Microwave cooking made easy - space-saving, 1. 2 Cu. Ft. 1200W stainless steel countertop oven with 11...
  • Inverter technology - generates a seamless stream of microwave cooking power for evenly heated foods...
- $4.51Bestseller No. 9
Kenmore 70719 Countertop Microwave, 0.7 cu ft, Black
164 Reviews
Kenmore 70719 Countertop Microwave, 0.7 cu ft, Black
  • Compact size perfect for most College dorm rooms and small kitchen areas.
  • Exterior in inches: 17. 7W x 10. 2H x 12. 5D
- $10.89Bestseller No. 10
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
Bestseller No. 11
Panasonic Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In Cyclonic Wave with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W, NN-SN97JS (Silver)
32 Reviews
Panasonic Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In Cyclonic Wave with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W, NN-SN97JS (Silver)
  • PANASONIC COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE OVEN CYCLONIC INVERTER: This 1250-Watt high power, 2. 2-cubic-foot...
  • INVERTER TECHNOLOGY WITH TURBO DEFROST: patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power...
Bestseller No. 12
Breville Quick Touch Intuitive Microwave w/ Smart Settings - BMO734XL
13 Reviews
Breville Quick Touch Intuitive Microwave w/ Smart Settings - BMO734XL
  • SMART MENU SAVES TIME The Quick Touch's intuitive and intelligent auto menus - from Smart Cook & Grill to...
  • SHORTCUTS PANEL The shortcuts panel on the inside door makes the microwave very easy to use. The...

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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