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The Best Microwave Ovens

Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated May 2023

Ovens are unparalleled when it comes to baking meals from scratch, but preheating them just to reheat yesterdays feast can be a pain. Here are several microwave oven options to save you the time and hassle.

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  Best for Countertops Best Over-the-Range Best Value Best Retro Best Larger Capacity
Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor
Over the Range Microwave
EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven
Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
NN-SN966S Microwave Oven
Our SummaryThis microwave oven heats meals quickly and effectively and sports an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. It's also equipped with handy pre-programmed cooking functions.This sleek over-the-range microwave stands out for its powerful wattage and simple cooking functions.What this microwave oven lacks in size, it makes up for in its functionality, 11 power levels, and child safety lock feature.This countertop microwave offers a vintage design and fun color options inspired by 1950's aesthetics.This powerful, high-capacity microwave is tailor-made for large families who reheat a lot of meals.
Pros✓ Large capacity
✓ Scratch- and fingerprint-resistant
✓ Great for frozen food
✓ Sleek, modern design
✓ Bright light and powerful vent fan.
✓ Powerful reheating
✓ Compact design
✓ Affordable price
✓ Defrost by weight or time.
✓ Retro vibe
✓ Color and size options
✓ Auto cook and reheat modes
✓ High wattage, high capacity
✓ Keep warm setting
✓ Sensor cooking/reheating
Cons✗ Countertop use only
✗ Takes up a lot of space
✗ Excessive beeping
✗ May be tricky to install
✗ Limited capacity
✗ Takes longer to heat food
✗ Interface will not appeal to all
✗ Less powerful models not for impatient
✗ Some may find complicated
✗ Ages like milk
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LifeSavvy is an independent publication focused on a single goal: helping you make the best purchase possible. We don’t just recommend the best Dutch oven for your needs, we show you how to take care of it so it lasts a lifetime and we recommend delicious recipes to help you get the most out of owning it too! Read More »
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21 Models Evaluated

10 Hours Researched

43 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Microwave Ovens

A woman puts a glass dish of vegetables into a microwave.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Microwave Ovens

Hands close a microwave oven and select a cook time.

Why buy a microwave oven?

Microwave ovens are extremely convenient inventions that have become a modern kitchen staple for a good reason. They can be used to warm up leftovers, defrost frozen foods, and heat up hot drinks like tea as well as hot foods like canned soups. While most of these tasks can be achieved in a regular oven or on a stovetop, a microwave oven offers one distinct advantage—speed. You don’t have to preheat a microwave oven or wait for it to warm up. You can simply pop in your food or drink, set the timer (and power level in some cases), and hit “start,” and you’ll have a hot cup of cocoa, some defrosted chicken, or some steamed broccoli in a matter of minutes.

What should you look for in a microwave oven?

  • Size: To determine what size microwave will work great for you, it’s a good idea to measure the plates or casserole dishes that you’ll use in it. If the microwave that you like has a rotating turntable, its size should be considered to ensure that it’s large enough for your plates. If you plan on reheating large meals for an entire family in your microwave, choosing a large, powerful microwave oven is best.
  • Power: At its highest power setting, a high-wattage microwave will heat your food much more quickly and thoroughly than a low-wattage model. Thus, if you like your microwave to do its job as quickly as possible, then choosing a model that uses 1,000+ watts is a good idea. That being said, low-wattage microwaves can still do a wonderful job heating your food. It might just take an extra minute or so.
  • Features: There are also some features to keep an eye out for when shopping for a new microwave. A rotating turntable will help heat your food more evenly. Also, pre-programmed heating functions can be really helpful for everything from defrosting frozen meat to preparing delicious microwave popcorn. Additionally, if you tend to make a mess, be sure that you choose a model with an easy-to-clean interior that resists scratches and stains.

How much can you expect to spend on a microwave oven?

Like any decent-sized kitchen appliance, a microwave oven is going to cost a decent amount of money. Depending on the type and size, however, you can find quality units that are more budget-friendly. If you don’t mind a microwave oven with limited capacities, you can buy a good, small model for around $70 or so. Mid-sized microwave ovens, the most common kind, have a wider price range depending on their features, brand, model, and other factors. Around $200 is a good median price for a mid-sized microwave oven, although there are quite a few quality options closer to $100 or $150. Over-the-range microwaves will be a bit more expensive on average, usually priced somewhere between $250 and $500.

Our Picks for the Best Microwave Ovens

Best for Countertops

Toshiba Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor

This microwave oven heats meals quickly and effectively and sports an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.

Pros: This microwave oven features an intuitive, easy-to-use interface and an eco-mode that could lower your energy bill by limiting standby power usage. It’s scratch-resistant and has a fingerprint-free finish. The interior is easy to clean, and the smart sensor modes take the guesswork out of cooking frozen food.

Cons: This microwave oven was designed specifically for countertop use, so it can’t be installed in a built-in slot or otherwise mounted over your regular oven. The vents aren’t properly placed for over-the-stove use. Since it’s a larger microwave, it will take up more space on your kitchen countertops.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for something that’s microwave spacious and powerful enough to serve the whole family, this offering from Toshiba is as good as it gets. As long as you have the space and don’t mind a microwave oven that has to be used on your kitchen countertops, you should get good mileage out of this model.

Best Over-the-Range

Frigidaire Over the Range Microwave (FFMV1645TS)

This sleek over-the-range microwave stands out for its powerful wattage and simple cooking functions.

Pros: Featuring a sleek, modern appearance that looks great over just about any stainless steel kitchen range, this microwave from Frigidaire stands out for its powerful but quiet vent fan and bright LED lighting. In terms of power, this product definitely delivers, and its 1,000-watt cooking performance makes it easy to heat your meal fast. It also offers a nice assortment of basic preset functions (such as reheat and defrost modes) that are easy enough to implement into your daily routine.

Cons: It’s worth noting that this microwave may be slightly tricky to install for those who aren’t especially handy.

Bottom Line: While there are more powerful over-the-range microwaves that can be purchased with a plethora of complex cooking presets, this one offers more than enough to justify its price. As such, those looking for a powerful microwave that is easy to use without poring over a complex user manual will find this model to be a worthy addition to their kitchen.

Best Value

COMFEE' EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven

What this microwave oven lacks in size, it makes up for in its functionality, 11 power levels, and child safety lock feature.

Pros: This countertop microwave oven is nice and compact, so it won’t take up a lot of extra space on your kitchen countertops or whatever other surfaces you choose to place it on. It has plenty of power levels and auto-cook functions to choose from despite its small size. You also have the choice of defrosting your food by weight or time, depending on your preference. The mute function is extremely handy for anyone who shares a small space (like a dorm room), has a newborn at home, or is noise-sensitive, since it allows you to heat up or cook food late at night with minimal noise and no beeping. As a miniature microwave oven, it also costs less money.

Cons: The small size (0.7-cubic-foot capacity with a 10-inch turntable) does mean that this microwave oven can’t fit or heat larger portions of food. It also has a smaller wattage and thus, takes more time to reheat leftovers or defrost food than a midsize or large-capacity microwave does. This means that you’ll likely have to adjust your cooking or heating times, which might take some experimenting if you’re used to a larger model.

Bottom Line: For those who are seeking a compact, budget-friendly microwave oven, this model is right up your alley. It’s also a great choice for anyone who’s living in a dorm room or who otherwise has a smaller kitchen or living space, as it won’t take up much extra room, yet still packs a decent amount of power. Overall, this microwave oven should work nicely for people who live alone or even for couples, but it probably won’t be large or strong enough for larger families.

Best Retro

Pros: Featuring classic color options and a style that’s straight out of your grandmother’s kitchen, the Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave Oven is perfect for those seeking a retro vibe. It comes in three sizes that feature 700-, 900-, and 1,000-watt power increments and does away with the standard button-laden interface thanks to its use of a single dial. Despite its simplicity, this microwave has a couple of nifty features up its sleeve as well, such as its rotating glass turntable and auto-cook and preheating settings.

Cons: Realistically, those who aren’t keen to try new things will probably not be elated by this product’s pressable dial, since — as simple as it is to use — it’s not as intuitive as a full numeric keypad. Also, some reviewers gave the less powerful versions of this microwave poor marks in terms of cooking speed, with some saying its even slower than other microwaves with a comparable wattage rating.

Bottom Line: While this product from Galanz probably won’t be many people’s first choice for an everyday microwave, it’s definitely still a good buy for those who are fall in love with its unique vintage charm. Additionally, it’s clean interface offers plenty of cooking schedules — for those who read the manual and learn to master the unit’s quirky controls.

Best Larger Capacity

Panasonic NN-SN966S Microwave Oven

This powerful, high-capacity microwave is tailor-made for large families who reheat a lot of meals.

Pros: Sporting 1250 watts of cooking power and a large 2.2 cubic foot capacity, the Panasonic NN-SN966S is a fantastic option for large families who need to get large meals on the dinner table in a hurry. Despite its affordable price point this model also offers some advanced features, such as its “Genius Sensor” cooking and preheating modes, which automatically adjusts power and cook time to deliver a perfectly-heated meal.

Cons: Unlike most microwaves, users will likely need to read the instruction manual in order to get the most out of this product. Also, some reviewers noted that they were more impressed by the product’s performance than they were by is longevity, so don’t be surprised if this microwave fails to outlast your old model or becomes prematurely rusty.

Bottom Line: While this microwave oven probably won’t last for a decade, it’s hard to imagine any kitchen appliance lasting that long at this price point. However, it does deliver predictable, dependable performance without a whole lot of guesswork on the part of the user — that is, if you know how to use it correctly.

Final Thoughts

No matter how busy or calm your lifestyle might be, everyone can benefit from keeping a microwave oven in their kitchen. They help you to save time and effort on certain cooking tasks, offering a level of convenience and speed that a regular oven and stove just can’t match.

Zachary McCarthy Zachary McCarthy
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read Full Bio »
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