Best Microwave Oven

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Kitchen trends come and go, but certain appliances like the microwave have made an indelible mark on American culinary culture. Today's microwave ovens range from basic, no-frills appliances to feature-heavy models boasting convenient features and cooking options. The following lists will help you narrow down your options based on cooking needs, available space, and budget. You'll also find a microwave buyer’s guide below to help you with your purchasing decision.  

Best Countertop Microwave:

For many years, countertop microwaves have been a mainstay of most modern kitchens. These freestanding models can be easily moved or replaced while tending to be much more affordable than over-the-range or built-in alternatives.

Modern microwaves offer impressive amounts of technology to improve the overall performance and convenience of these already-convenient appliances. This includes inverter technology, which contributes to even and consistent heating  while other microwaves cycle on and off to mimic different temperature levels, resulting in hot and cold spots.

Another feature commonly seen on even more basic microwaves is multi-stage cooking, which allows for programming multiple stages of cooking times and temperatures at once; when one stage ends, the next begins automatically.

All of our selections have at least basic features such as one-touch options, as well as sufficient power to heat items without too long of a wait. We've chosen microwaves that vary in capacity and size, but all are capable of accommodating items such as a dinner plate or a bag of popcorn.

Panasonic Countertop Microwave NN-H765BF

The Panasonic NN-H765BF is a good example of a top-tier all-around modern microwave. Although slightly pricier than the others on this list, this microwave offers a large capacity, plenty of power and features, and good overall performance and design. Read Full Review

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    Panasonic Countertop Microwave NN-H765BF

    Panasonic NN-SN651B 1200-watt Genius Sensor Microwave

    This Panasonic microwave offers much of the technology and features of the company's more expensive models, but sacrifices some capacity to be more affordable. The NN-SN651B is a great choice for someone who wants lots of features in their countertop microwave, but who doesn't need the largest capacity available. Read Full Review

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      Panasonic NN-SN651B 1200-watt Genius Sensor Microwave

      Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

      Despite having a separate list dedicated to microwaves with convection capability, the Cuisinart CMW-200 earns its spot on this list for its excellent versatility at a price much lower than most comparable convection-capable microwave ovens. This model offers a decent capacity, basic features, and the ability to both bake and grill items as well. Read Full Review

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        Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

        Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

        If you're looking to make the most efficient use of counter space possible, the Whirlpool WMC20005YD might be a good choice. This microwave has a curved back, allowing it to fit in the corner of the counter. Although it has a smaller capacity and doesn't have a lot of features, this is a good option for those who a simple and compact option. Read Full Review

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          Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

          Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

          If you simply need a basic and affordable countertop microwave, the Kenmore 73902 is a solid overall choice. This microwave has a smaller capacity, but still offers plenty of features and good performance for the money. Read Full Review

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            Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

            Best Budget Microwave:

            Microwaves are an essential part of most modern kitchens with this technology having been around long enough to produce multiple cost-effective options. Although the most budget-friendly models will generally tend to have a smaller capacity and less features overall, there are plenty of choices under or around $100 for a wide variety of needs.

            We've selected the best budget microwaves ranging from very basic models to some that still include a good amount of features such as multi-stage cooking and a variety of one-touch options. With budget-friendly microwaves, the most important thing is to ensure that the model you choose has enough power to meet your needs. All of our picks are reasonably powerful and while they might not all be able to boil water in half a minute, they can heat food evenly within a relatively short amount of time.

            Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

            Kenmore is an obvious choice for good quality and affordable home appliances. Their 73092 countertop microwave offers a good blend of price, capacity, power, and features - making it an excellent overall budget-friendly choice. Read Full Review

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              Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

              Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

              This Frigidaire microwave offers a good amount of features and performance for the price. Despite being compact and affordable, the FFCM0724LW can easily accommodate larger items such as a dinner plate, and heats items quickly and evenly. Read Full Review

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                Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

                Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

                The curved back of this unique microwave makes fit easily in a corner, allowing for a more efficient use of counter space. The Whirlpool WMC20005YD is otherwise quite basic, but offers good overall performance and simple controls. Read Full Review

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                  Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

                  Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

                  If you want a reasonable amount of features, power, and capacity in a mid-sized and affordable package, the Frigidaire FFCM0934LW may be an ideal option. This microwave is quiet and offers good overall performance for the money. Read Full Review

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                    Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

                    Danby DMW111KBLDB 1100 Watt Microwave

                    If you want a basic and affordable microwave without sacrificing capacity, the Danby DMW11KBLDB is an excellent choice. Although this model does not have a lot of features, it offers 1.1 cubic foot of space and 1000 watts of power on high for a low price. Read Full Review

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                      Danby DMW111KBLDB 1100 Watt Microwave

                      Best Over the Range Microwave:

                      An over-the-range or microhood microwave is a great option for freeing up kitchen counter space. They offer the functionality of a microwave as well as venting the cooktop below, making them a convenient and versatile choice. These microwaves can vary quite widely in price, although some of the more basic models can be surprisingly affordable.

                      We've chosen over-the-range microwaves that will suit different budgetary needs, with models ranging from basic and budget-friendly to feature-laden and expensive. However, they all have in common good basic performance, with enough capacity and power to perform most kitchen tasks. Each pick offers cooktop venting, with a reasonably quiet fan. Features and appearance vary depending on price, but each of the following selections offers good value-for-money.

                      Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

                      Although this over-the-range microwave is easily the most expensive on this list, it also offers the most versatility. The Samsung MC17F808KDT has a large capacity, plenty of power, and offers the ability to use convection baking. A high-end appearance and plenty of features add even more value, making this an excellent overall choice. Read Full Review

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                        Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

                        Frigidaire MWV150KB 1.5 Cu. Ft. Over-The-Range Microwave

                        This over-the-range microwave offers excellent overall performance for the money, with plenty of features and good capacity. Although the Frigidaire MWV150KB looks basic, it has all the functionality and convenience you'd expect at an affordable price. Read Full Review

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                          Frigidaire MWV150KB 1.5 Cu. Ft. Over-The-Range Microwave

                          Sharp R-1405 Over the Range Microwave

                          This over-the-range microwave from Sharp offers good quality and performance for a reasonable price. The R-1405 doesn't include many features, but despite being the smallest unit on this list, it has a decent capacity and good amount of power. Read Full Review

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                            Sharp R-1405 Over the Range Microwave

                            Amana AMV1150VAS, 1000-Watt Stainless Steel Over the Range Microwave

                            If you're looking to get the most out of each dollar spent, the Amana AMV1150VAS is a good option. This over-the-range microwave blends features and performance in an affordable and attractive package. Read Full Review

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                              Amana AMV1150VAS, 1000-Watt Stainless Steel Over the Range Microwave

                              Whirlpool WMH31017AD 1000-Watt, Stainless Look, Over-the-Range Microwave

                              If a laundry list of features isn't a priority for you but you still want your over-the-range microwave to look modern, the Whirlpool WMH31017AD is a good option. This microwave offers a good amount of space and power, while being relatively affordable. Read Full Review

                              Whirlpool WMH31017AD 1000-Watt, Stainless Look, Over-the-Range Microwave

                              Best Convection Microwave:

                              Microwave ovens help us save time in today's fast-paced world, and when combined with a convection oven, they can become extremely convenient all-in-one appliances. We've chosen some of the best convection microwaves available without going into ultra-expensive models. Although most of our selections are countertop models, we have included an over-the-range option as well.

                              When choosing the following convection microwaves, we looked at overall value-for-money. As a result, all of our picks offer good capacity and power, as well as multiple convenient features. Each selection is also easy to use and keep clean, ensuring overall convenience and time-savings.

                              Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

                              In terms of versatility and performance at an affordable price, the Cuisinart CMW-200 is hard to beat. This convection microwave offers excellent all-around performance and multiple features at a price much lower than much of the competition. Read Full Review

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                                Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

                                Kenmore Elite Stainless Steel, Countertop Convection Microwave 75153

                                This convection microwave offers solid all-around performance at an affordable price. The Kenmore 75153 has a large capacity, plenty of power, and multiple features than make it an excellent value. Read Full Review

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                                  Kenmore Elite Stainless Steel, Countertop Convection Microwave 75153

                                  Sharp R930AK Countertop Microwave

                                  The Sharp R-930AK is an excellent overall choice for a convection microwave thanks to its ability to do everything well. This is a relatively affordable, large capacity microwave with good basic features. Read Full Review

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                                    Sharp R930AK Countertop Microwave

                                    Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

                                    The Samsung MC17F808KDT convection microwave is an excellent choice when you're willing to pay for the best. This pricey over-the-range microwave offers multiple features and options, excellent performance, and a modern appearance. Read Full Review

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                                      Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

                                      GE PEB9159SFSS Profile Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Microwave

                                      This simple microwave offers convection baking and basic features such as sensor cooking, while having a large capacity and good amount of power. The GE PEB9159SFSS convection microwave is a good overall choice if you don't need to have a lot of features. Read Full Review

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                                        GE PEB9159SFSS Profile Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Microwave

                                        Best Built In Microwave:

                                        Preparation space in a kitchen is always at a premium, so any chance to remove appliances from the countertop is usually welcome. Built-in microwaves seek to help save space without sacrificing convenience, while also often adding a higher-end custom look to the kitchen.

                                        Integrated into cabinets or walls, these useful appliances offer all the same functionality as a regular microwave. Many countertop models have a mounting kit that can be purchased separately, allowing them to be installed as a built-in model. If you have a favorite model that isn't included on our list of best built in microwaves, there may be a kit available for your preferred model.

                                        Beyond all being built-in models, the microwaves on this list were selected for their overall performance in terms of capacity, power, and features. We looked for microwaves with enough power and capacity to complete larger cooking tasks, and added convenience features. We also chose some built-in microwaves that have a drop-down door or drawer design, further contributing to their high-end, built-in look. Price points vary per model as do the amount of included features beyond the basics.

                                        Frigidaire Gallery Stainless Steel Built-In Microwave Oven - FGMO205KF

                                        This built-in microwave from Frigidaire offers multiple features and a stainless steel finish for an affordable price. The Frigidaire FGMO205K has a large capacity and plenty of power, making it a solid overall choice. Read Full Review

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                                          Frigidaire Gallery Stainless Steel Built-In Microwave Oven - FGMO205KF

                                          Electrolux Icon E30MO75HPS 1.5 cu ft Built-In Convection Oven Microwave

                                          If you're willing to pay a premium for a high-end appearance and features, the Electrolux E30MO75HPS built-in microwave is a good choice. This microwave features a drop-down door design and stainless steel finish, as well as Wave-Touch controls that fade away when not in use. Read Full Review

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                                            Electrolux Icon E30MO75HPS 1.5 cu ft Built-In Convection Oven Microwave

                                            Sharp Built-in Microwave Drawer - KB6524PS

                                            This built-in microwave offers the convenience and high-end appearance of a drawer design; the drawer can even be opened and closed with the touch of a button. Although it’s not cheap, the Sharp KB6524PS is a solid all-around option priced for the design and performance it offers. Read Full Review

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                                              Sharp Built-in Microwave Drawer - KB6524PS

                                              KitchenAid Architect Series II KBMS1454BSS Built-in Microwave Oven

                                              This built-in microwave from KitchenAid offers plenty of capacity, power, and features to justify its relatively high price tag. The modern stainless steel appliances also helps, making the KitchenAid KBMS1454BSS a good overall choice for someone will to pay a bit more. Read Full Review

                                              KitchenAid Architect Series II KBMS1454BSS Built-in Microwave Oven

                                              Panasonic NN-SD972-S Stainless Steel, 1250-watt, Built-In Microwave Oven

                                              Remarkably affordable for its design and performance, the Panasonic NN-SD972-S is an excellent overall choice. This microwave can be used as a countertop or a built-in mode, and includes multiple convenient features. Read Full Review

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                                                Panasonic NN-SD972-S Stainless Steel, 1250-watt, Built-In Microwave Oven

                                                Best Compact Microwave:

                                                Since microwaves are already associated with quick convenience, it makes sense to find them in places such as dorm rooms, garages, RVs, and anywhere else where space is at a premium. Each of our selections has a considerably smaller footprint than their mid- and full-sized peers; however, always measure your space and double check listed dimensions for the model you're interested in.

                                                Although price and features vary, the majority of the following microwaves tend to be more basic and quite affordable. While this generally means less features and often a less “stylish” appearance, we've ensured all of our picks offer solid basic performance in terms of the ability to quickly and evenly heat items all the way through.

                                                Whirlpool Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YW)

                                                This unique microwave uses a curved-back design to make more efficient use of counter space, as it can be place in a corner. The Whirlpool WMC20005YD might not be feature-rich, but its compact design and solid performance make it an overall good choice. Read Full Review

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                                                  Whirlpool Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YW)

                                                  Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

                                                  The Frigidaire FFCM0934LW can accommodate even larger items like a dinner plate while having a relatively small footprint on the countertop. This microwave offers a good amount of power and features while remaining compact and affordable. Read Full Review

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                                                    Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

                                                    Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

                                                    The Kenmore 73092 countertop microwave offers a good capacity while maintaining relatively compact exterior dimensions. With decent power and performance as well as multiple features, this is an excellent overall choice. Read Full Review

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                                                      Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

                                                      Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

                                                      This countertop microwave from Frigidaire offers a good blend of features and price in a compact package. The Frigidaire FFCM0724LW might not have tremendous power, but it has more than enough to complete most basic tasks. Read Full Review

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                                                        Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

                                                        Haier 700 Watt Microwave - HMC720BEWW

                                                        The Haier HMC720BEWW offers decent basic performance in a compact and budget-friendly package. This countertop microwave doesn't include many features, but it is a solid choice for simple cooking tasks where space is at a premium. Read Full Review

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                                                          Haier 700 Watt Microwave - HMC720BEWW
                                                           

                                                          Microwave Oven Buying Guide

                                                          Microwaves are no longer as simple as they once were as modern technology has enhanced them with a range of high tech features. The best way to cut through the confusion is to identify your needs before beginning your search. A microwave oven suited for your family's needs will take into consideration the amount of space you have available, the features you need, and of course your budget.

                                                          Clearly Identify Your Needs

                                                          Make note of what you like and don’t like about your current model. Determine how much space you want to dedicate to installing the microwave, and whether you need a specialized model that can be installed over the range or built into the cabinetry.

                                                          Determine Your Microwave's Role

                                                          For reheating occasional leftovers, you won't need an expensive, feature-laden model. If you have kids or plan to use your microwave frequently, look for features which add to the convenience factor such as preprogrammed buttons and sensor cooking. The amount of features also determines how much power you're likely to need with around 1,000 watts usually being adequate. Lower-cost models tend to have less power so be sure you're not sacrificing convenience and performance.

                                                          Consider Ease of Use

                                                          Many newer microwaves feature large displays with sophisticated controls which can be confusing to older family members. If your microwave is likely to be used by elderly or young family members, look for large buttons, simple controls, and an easy-open door.

                                                          Major Microwave Types

                                                          Countertop Microwaves
                                                          The microwave types most commonly found in the homes. These units sit on your countertop, making them easy to install with a suitable outlet nearby. Countertop microwaves have the widest range of models available from budget-friendly options to expensive, feature-laden wonders.

                                                          Be sure to identify how much counter space you're willing to give up before even beginning to consider what features you're likely to need. Since counter space is often already at a premium in the kitchen, the main problem with these models tends to be the amount of space they take up.

                                                          Over the Range Microwaves
                                                          Over the range microwaves work the same as a regular counter top model, but include built-in vent systems allowing them to be installed over the range in your kitchen. These microwaves have a large feature and price range, but require precise measurements and a more complicated installation process. These units are more on the expensive side in terms of purchase price and installation

                                                          Built-In Microwaves
                                                          There are a huge range of choices in this typically higher-end and more expensive category, ranging from drawer models that can be integrated into cabinets to combination microwave/oven units. If your kitchen already has a built-in microwave, take the correct measurements and ensure your power source is adequate. If you're doing a remodel and want the custom look of a built-in microwave, find out how much space you have to work with and ensure that your cabinet cutout matches the microwave's cutout specifications before narrowing down desired features and price range.

                                                          Microwave Features

                                                          This is where it becomes difficult as the number of available features on a microwave can be overwhelming. If you already have a microwave at home, ponder what you like most and least about your existing unit. Perhaps it has convenient one-minute or 30-second buttons for entering or adding time.

                                                          If you use a particular feature a lot, ensure your new microwave includes the same option as well. If you have kids, a microwave with dedicated buttons for foods such as popcorn may be a good idea.

                                                          Inverter Technology
                                                          This keeps the power level consistent whereas most microwaves will switch back and forth between power levels to reach an average of the power level you want. The inclusion of inverter technology allows for more delicate cooking tasks such as eggs.

                                                          Convection Technology
                                                          Microwave ovens with this technology blow heat around to speed up cooking times and provide even cooking results. A convection microwave will be better suited for actual cooking versus simply reheating items.

                                                          Sensors
                                                          Most modern microwaves use sensors for accurate cooking and even reheating. Although this technology is expensive, it drastically enhances microwave cooking capability. Some microwave ovens equipped with a cooking sensor also detect when your food has been thoroughly reheated and will automatically shut off cooking.

                                                          Wattage
                                                          Simply put, wattage equals power with 1,000 watts usually being enough for the average kitchen. The more watts a microwave has, the faster your food will be heated. Less expensive models will generally have less power while more expensive units will have more.

                                                          Leave a Question or Comment
                                                          2 comments
                                                          • peterburke774 peterburke774

                                                          Panasonic make great microwaves.I can personally recommend the Panasonic NN-H765BF Genius.After doing much research after our old Panasonic died (8 years), we finally selected this unit. We loved the features it offered and have found the sensor selections work very well.Read more: http://ibookmarkedit.com/panasonic-nn-h765bf-genius-1-6-cuft-1250-watt-sensor-microwave-with-inverter/

                                                          Posted on 2/3/2013 1:28 pm | Reply
                                                          • Sandra Sandra

                                                          Thanks for the review. It really helped me decide on a Sharp r-230. I hope that  <a rel="follow" href="http://www.appliancepartspros.com/Sears-Parts.aspx">Sears parts</a> delivers this to Europe.

                                                          Posted on 3/2/2009 7:49 am | Reply