Almost every kitchen is going to have a microwave oven in it. They typically are used on a regular basis, though some may use every day (even multiple times a day) whereas others only rely on their microwave a couple of times a week. Most people use them to heat up leftovers, but you can also use them to quickly defrost frozen food, melt butter or chocolate, or even do some cooking. You can choose between a countertop microwave and an over-the-range microwave depending on your kitchen setup. Most people want a microwave that is easy to use in terms of navigating its interface. A microwave that functions well in terms of heating and defrosting food quickly and evenly is important. It should have a cooking power of at least 1,000 watts. For large families, a bigger microwave might be important to accommodate more food at once. A microwave that is aesthetically pleasing is always nice, as well as one that is budget-friendly. A good warranty doesn't hurt either.
Best Countertop Microwave Overall: Cuisinart CMW-200
The Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2 Cubic Foot Convection Microwave Oven and Grill measures 21.2 inches by 19 inches by 12.2 inches and has a weight of 38 pounds. It has a rotating 12-inch glass tray to ensure even heating.The grill rack is necessary since it heats from above. There are three combination microwave/grill options. G1 is 100% grill, G2 is 30% microwave and 70% grill, and G3 is 55% microwave and 45% grill. When you are halfway through grilling time, the microwave will alert you so you can choose if you want to flip your food over for a more even grill. Keep in mind that because of the convection feature, you need to leave at least 12 inches of clearance space above the microwave oven. It also has options for keep warm and defrost. A child lock option can be used to prevent unwanted microwave oven use. This microwave performed well and we liked all of the functions. It comes with operating instructions and recipes. It comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Best Over-the-Range Microwave Overall: Samsung ME21F707MJT
The Samsung ME21F707MJT is an over-the-range microwave with a large 2.1 cubic foot capacity, perfect for heating large dishes. It measures 18.1 inches by 29.8 inches by 16.9 inches. The interior is made of scratch resistant ceramic enamel that is durable and easy to clean. It operates on 1000 watts of power. The controls are horizontal along the bottom portion of the microwave door. The filter should be cleaned once a month, and is easy to eject from the microwave unit. The "add 30 seconds" button lets you conveniently add 30 seconds of cook time to your food. There is a child lock that allows you to prevent the microwave from being operated accidentally. Eco Mode reduces the standby power usage. There is a 1-year parts and labor warranty and 10-year parts on magnetron warranty.
Runner Up Over the Range: LG LMV2031ST 2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven
The LG LMV2031ST 2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven has a beautiful stainless steel exterior. This microwave measures approximately 30 inches by 16.5 inches by 16 inches. It has a large 2 cubic foot capacity, making it great for anyone who wants to heat a lot of food at once. It operates on 1000 watts. The turntable measures 14.2 inches. It includes a child lock for safety. There is an "add 30 seconds" button which we love for its convenience. This microwave proved easy to clean. We did find some reviews complain about the microwave not working over the long term, and it seems a common problem is when consumers don't activate the fan feature when using the stovetop to cook (particularly when boiling liquids), so keep that in mind. It is a limited 1-year parts and labor warranty and 10-year limited warranty on Magnestron. It has an EnergyStar rating for saving energy.
Another Great Countertop Microwave: GE JES1145SHSS 1.1 Cubic Foot Microwave
The GE JES1145SHSS 1.1 Cubic Foot Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave is a countertop microwave that runs on 950 watts, so it's a little less than the idea 1,000 watts. It has a stainless steel exterior and a white interior. It includes a glass turntable that rotates throughout the heating cycle. We like the convenient "add 30 seconds" feature to quickly add cook time. It includes a child lock, kitchen timer, and weight and time defrost functions. A limited 1-year warranty is available from the manufacturer.
Budget-Friendly: Panasonic NN-SN651B Countertop Microwave
The Panasonic NN-SN651B is a countertop microwave with a 1.2 cubic foot capacity. It operates on 1200watts. It measures 12.25 inches by 20.68 inches by 15.81 inches. It has a 13.5-inch turntable. You can choose a black or white exterior, and the microwave has a white interior. A child safety lock is also included. This budget-friendly microwave works well though without all the extra features of some higher priced models. Panasonic offers a 1-year labors and parts warranty, and 5-year warranty on magnetron tube parts. You can add a 3- or 4- year protection plan on Amazon for less than $10.
Also Nice: Breville Quick Touch
The Breville Quick Touch Microwave is a countertop microwave with a 1.2 cubic foot capacity. It measures 18 inches by 20.5 inches by 12.5 inches. The interior turntable plate measures 12.4 inches. It operates on 1100 watts to heat your food and has ten power levels. The exterior is stainless steel while the interior is white.There have been some complaints of lettering wearing off the buttons over time. There is also a child lock you can engage for safety. A smart cook setting automatically cooks the selected food to the correct time. Food cooked well with even heat distribution. It comes with a one-year warranty. You can add a 3- or 4-year protection plan on Amazon.
The first thing you should think about when choosing a new microwave is whether you want a countertop one or an over-the-range model. Our favorite countertop microwave oven turned out to be the Cuisinart CMW-200. Our favorite over-the-range microwave oven was the Samsung ME21F707MJT. Decide what size you want based on your needs – how much food do you plan on regularly heating at once? Some people just want a simple microwave similar to those of yesteryear, whereas there are those who won't be happy without the extra bonus features that some microwaves now have. Finally, consider your budget as well as the long term durability of the microwave you're about to buy, so as to get good quality for the value.