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Small Kitchen Appliances

Best Microwave Oven

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 oven buyer’s guide below to help you with your purchasing decision.  

Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

The Cuisinart CMW-200 offers you tremendous versatility, with the addition of both convection and grill capabilities on top of basic microwaving. This microwave has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet with a 12-inch turntable. This is plenty of space to make full use of the oven's features, which allow it to cook and bake everything from toast to pies, breads, and even meats.

Many users report that the CMW-200 takes over as their primary all-around oven, as it’s much easier and more efficient to use than a typical full-sized oven. The touch controls are simple to use, and offer nine preset options as well as the ability to defrost items by weight or time. Multi-stage cooking is also included. Unlike earlier all-in-one microwave oven models, the CMW-200 is easy to clean and can be had for a relatively reasonable price.

Kenmore Elite Stainless Steel, Countertop Convection Microwave 75153

Kenmore has a solid reputation for producing solid appliances at reasonable prices. The Kenmore 75153 offers both microwave and convection cooking, with 10 power levels with the highest being 1000 watts or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This microwave has a 1.5 cubic foot capacity and a stainless steel interior that’s easy to clean.

The appliance can be used for cooking, baking, and reheating, and can be used solely as convection or microwave oven alone, or a combination of the two. Multi-stage cooking and multiple automatic modes are included, as well as a timer, child lockout, and 30 second add button. Although the wire rack is a bit on the flimsy side, the Kenmore 75153 is a great affordable option.

Sharp R930AK Countertop Microwave

Thanks to its ability to microwave, convection bake, broil, and roast, the Sharp R-930AK can accomplish nearly all your cooking and baking needs. This convection microwave has a 1.5 cubic foot capacity and 900 watts on power on its highest level, including both a turntable and high/low oven racks.

Many users report that this appliance becomes their main oven, thanks to its ability to quickly and evenly bake and cook foods. Sensor settings and manual temperature settings are included, and the microwave is easy to use overall. Although this convection microwave might not have the most modern appearance, it promises to offer reliable performance for years.

Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

The Samsung MC17F808KDT justifies its high price tag with its high-end appearance, features, and performance. This over-the-range microwave offers multiple convenient options, such as the ability to do convection baking, broiling, and toasting. It also includes the unique Slim Fry feature, which allows for creating a crispy fried-like effect without the oil.

This microwave has a 1.7 cubic foot capacity and plenty of cooking power, while its glass touch controls and knob dial are elegant and simple to use. The ceramic enamel interior is easy to clean, even when messes are baked onto the surface.

The MC17F808KDT includes multiple features such as sensor cooking, and a total of 115 preset menu options. Venting doesn't create too much noise, and the bright LED cooktop light provides excellent illumination. If you're willing to spend more for an extremely versatile appliance, this is a great choice.

GE PEB9159SFSS Profile Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Microwave

The GE PEB9159SFSS convection microwave is an excellent option for those who want a simple appliance from a mainstream brand at a decent price. This microwave offers both microwave cooking and convection baking capabilities, including both a turntable and a removable oven rack.

This unit offers a 1.5 cubic foot capacity with 1000 watts of power on high, making it perfectly well-suited for most kitchen tasks. Though this model is fairly light on features, with just sensor cooking, control lockout, and a simple control dial, it delivers solid basic performance and a reasonably modern appearance.

Samsung MC17F808KDT Over The Range Convection Microwave

The Samsung MC17F808KDT justifies its high price tag with its high-end appearance, features, and performance. This over-the-range microwave offers multiple convenient options, such as the ability to do convection baking, broiling, and toasting. It also includes the unique Slim Fry feature, which allows for creating a crispy fried-like effect without the oil.

This microwave has a 1.7 cubic foot capacity and plenty of cooking power, while its glass touch controls and knob dial are elegant and simple to use. The ceramic enamel interior is easy to clean, even when messes are baked onto the surface.

The MC17F808KDT includes multiple features such as sensor cooking, and a total of 115 preset menu options. Venting doesn't create too much noise, and the bright LED cooktop light provides excellent illumination. If you're willing to spend more for an extremely versatile appliance, this is a great choice.

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

The Frigidaire MWV150KB over-the-range microwave is a great overall option, offering good value-for-money. This microwave has a 1.5 cubic foot  capacity and a 14-inch turntable, providing plenty of space for even larger items. Although it’s not the most modern-looking microwave available, touch controls are responsive.

There are also several convenient features included such as multi-stage cooking and multiple one-touch options including sensor cooking. The venting fan with dual intakes is reasonably quiet, and has a choice of two speeds. This is a powerful and affordable over-the-range microwave that doesn't sacrifice on features or size.

Sharp R-1405 Over the Range Microwave

The Sharp R-1405 offers a cheaper option than many other brand name models, while still offering better quality than cheap generic models. This over-the-range microwave does not include too many features in an effort to remain budget-friendly, but offers good basic performance for the price.

The R-1405 has a 1.4 cubic foot  capacity and 950 watts of power on high, making it large and powerful enough for most tasks. Although the built-in exhaust fan can get a bit loud at times, it works well. Venting can be set up to be horizontal, vertical, or recirculating, providing a variety of installation options. Features include a programmable display with touch controls, as well as an “add minute” feature and timer.

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

The Amana AMV1150VAS offers good features, performance, as well as an attractive stainless steel appearance that will blend in well with most modern kitchens. This over-the-range microwave has a 1.5 cubic foot  capacity and 1000 watts of power on high, providing plenty of space and power for most tasks.

The exhaust fan can vent either out the top or the back, and has a choice of two speeds. Charcoal filters are also included to eliminate cooking odors, with an indicator to let you know when they need to be replaced. Touch controls are easy to use, and the cooktop light provides sufficient illumination. Added features include a timer delay and plenty of auto cook options.

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

The Whirlpool WMH31017AD offers a modern appearance, large capacity, and good amount of power for a reasonable price. This over-the-range microwave has a 1.7 cubic foot  capacity and offers 1000 watts of power on high. This is plenty of space for even very large items, and enough power to effectively heat through foods quickly and evenly.

A 220 CFM venting system with a two-speed fan is included, and runs reasonably quiet when in use. The blue LED display is clear and easy to read, while the touch controls are simple to use. This is a basic over-the-range microwave that works well and looks nice.

Whirlpool Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YW)

This compact microwave promises to be a conversation-starter, with its design that makes it look almost more like a small TV than a microwave. The Whirlpool WMC20005YD is designed to be placed in a corner, making it ideal for saving as much counter space as possible. Despite its small footprint, this basic microwave offers ten power levels with a max of 750 watts on high.

The turntable is large enough for a dinner plate, and the bright interior light illuminates everything inside. Features include an add 30 seconds button, a popcorn button, and more. Although the touch controls don’t include a keypad that would allow for directly entering in a cooking time, the plus and minus buttons to do so work better than expected. Good for quick and simple jobs, this small microwave is an excellent choice for those who need something basic and compact.

Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

This affordable microwave is reasonably quiet and powerful for its size and low price. The Frigidaire FFCM0934LW offers a decent 0.9 cubic feet of space, with a 10.6-inch turntable that can easily accommodate larger items such as a dinner plate. With 900 watts on high and a choice of ten power levels, this microwave has enough juice to quickly heat most foods.

Despite the affordable price and relatively small size, this microwave has a good amount of features including multi-stage cooking, four auto cook options and reheat option, a lock, interior light, and a clock/timer for a total of 23 touch pad controls. Although it’s certainly nothing fancy, this microwave is a good all-around choice.

Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

This budget-friendly countertop microwave is an excellent choice for those working with limited counter space or a limited budget. The Kenmore 73092 offers a 0.9 cubic foot capacity with a dishwasher-safe 10.6-inch turntable. Although this isn't huge, it should be plenty of space for most basic microwaving needs.

Ten power levels offer 900 watts on high, multi-stage cooking, as well as a memory feature to save favorite cook time and power level combos. You can also increase cook time in 30-second increments, and six “one-touch” settings are included. Although fairly simple, this microwave is efficient, quiet, and works very well.

Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

The Frigidaire FFCM0724LW countertop microwave offers a good amount of features in a compact and affordable package. This microwave has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity with a 9.6-inch turntable; small, but still large enough to fit a dinner plate. Ten power levels offer 700 watts on high, which is decently powerful for most basic tasks. Most users report that cooking is completed much faster than expected, despite the lower power.

Unlike many budget microwaves, this model offers a good amount of features such as auto cook, reheat, and defrost. More include two-stage cooking, one-to-six minute quick start, add 30 seconds, and four one-touch options. Items are heated evenly, and the microwave is small and lightweight, making it easy to move as needed. Overall, this microwave is excellent for the size and price.

Haier 700 Watt Microwave - HMC720BEWW

This compact countertop microwave offers very basic performance for an affordable price. The Haier HMC720BEWW has 0.7 cubic feet of capacity and a relatively small footprint, allowing it to take up minimal amounts of space on the counter.

700 watts of power at the highest power level isn't outstanding, but it’s enough for most basic tasks; however you might find your cook times will be a bit longer. In its effort to offer simple functionality at a budget-friendly price, this microwave has almost no features at all. The beeper can be irritating and cannot be shut off, but as a compact and affordable choice, this is a solid option.

Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

This budget-friendly countertop microwave is an excellent choice for those working with limited counter space or a limited budget. The Kenmore 73092 offers a 0.9 cubic foot capacity with a dishwasher-safe 10.6-inch turntable. Although this isn't huge, it should be plenty of space for most basic microwaving needs.

Ten power levels offer 900 watts on high, multi-stage cooking, as well as a memory feature to save favorite cook time and power level combos. You can also increase cook time in 30-second increments, and six “one-touch” settings are included. Although fairly simple, this microwave is efficient, quiet, and works very well.

Frigidaire FFCM0724LW 700-watt Countertop Microwave

The Frigidaire FFCM0724LW countertop microwave offers a good amount of features in a compact and affordable package. This microwave has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity with a 9.6-inch turntable; small, but still large enough to fit a dinner plate. Ten power levels offer 700 watts on high, which is decently powerful for most basic tasks. Most users report that cooking is completed much faster than expected, despite the lower power.

Unlike many budget microwaves, this model offers a good amount of features such as auto cook, reheat, and defrost. More include two-stage cooking, one-to-six minute quick start, add 30 seconds, and four one-touch options. Items are heated evenly, and the microwave is small and lightweight, making it easy to move as needed. Overall, this microwave is excellent for the size and price.

Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

This compact microwave promises to be a conversation-starter, with its design making it look almost more like a small TV than a microwave. The Whirlpool WMC20005YD is designed to be placed in a corner, making it ideal for saving as much counter space as possible. Despite its small footprint, this basic microwave offers ten power levels with a max of 750 watts on high. The turntable is large enough for a dinner plate, and the bright interior light illuminates everything inside.

Features include an add 30 seconds button, a popcorn button, and more. Although the touch controls don’t include a keypad that would allow for directly entering in a cooking time, the plus and minus buttons to do so work better than expected. Good for quick and simple jobs, this small microwave is an excellent choice for those who need something basic and compact.

Frigidaire FFCM0934LW 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

This affordable microwave is reasonably quiet and powerful for its size and low price. The Frigidaire FFCM0934LW offers a decent 0.9 cubic feet of space, with a 10.6-inch turntable that can easily accommodate larger items such as a dinner plate. With 900 watts on high and a choice of ten power levels, this microwave has enough juice to quickly heat most foods.

Despite the affordable price and relatively small size, this microwave has a good amount of features including multi-stage cooking, four auto cook options and reheat option, a lock, interior light, and a clock/timer for a total of 23 touch pad controls. Although it’s certainly nothing fancy, this microwave is a good all-around choice.

Danby DMW111KBLDB 1100 Watt Microwave

The Danby DMW11KBLDB microwave offers 1.1 cubic feet of space, with both an interior light and a turntable. Although this microwave is basic and affordable, it offers plenty of power with 1000 watts at the highest settings. Basic features include one-touch cooking for six uses, a clock, and a timer. Touch controls are simple to use, and the digital display is large and easy to read. If you don't need something expensive or fancy but still want a reasonably large capacity and a good amount of power, this is a good choice.

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

The Electrolux E30MO75HPS built-in microwave features a drop-down door design and a stainless steel finish, providing a modern and attractive appearance at home in any high-end kitchen. Electrolux's Wave-Touch electronic controls illuminate when you touch the surface and fade away when you're done.

This built-in microwave offers convection cooking with the ability to broil, roast, and bake. Plenty of automatic and sensor cooking options are included along with 1.5 cubic feet of space and 900 watts of power. Although some users have issues with reliability when it comes to Electrolux E30MO75HPS, most enjoy the unit’s high-end appearance and performance.

Sharp Built-in Microwave Drawer - KB6524PS

The Sharp KB6524P built-in microwave offers a stainless steel finish and a drawer design. The front-mounted touch controls are easy to use and offer access to plenty of features and performance options. This built-in microwave has a 1.2 cubic foot  capacity and 1000 watts of power on the highest setting.

Although the capacity is a little on the smaller side, this microwave has been designed to fit in 24-inch spaces. The drawer can be opened and closed with the touch of a button for added convenience. Sensor cooking and reheating settings are included, and this built-in microwave is overall a solid option for someone who wants the drawer design.

KitchenAid Architect Series II KBMS1454BSS Built-in Microwave Oven

The KitchenAid KBMS1454BSS built-in microwave has an attractive stainless steel appearance with easy-to-use electronic controls and a control lock feature included for safety. This microwave has a 1.4 cubic foot  capacity and 1000 watts of power on its highest of ten levels. There’s one-touch sensor cooking options, as well as automatic reheat and defrost settings.

A keep warm function is included as is the ability to add to the cook time in one-minute increments. This built-in microwave is fairly pricey, but is easy to use and handles large items very well. It is a good overall choice for someone who wants their appliance to perform well overall and have a high-end, modern appearance.

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

The Panasonic NN-SD972-S microwave can be used as a countertop or built-in model, offering versatile installation options. This microwave features a modern stainless steel appearance and a full-size 2.2 cubic foot  capacity. This generous interior room and 1250 watts of power on high provide plenty of space and cooking power to perform just about any task.

The NN-SD972-S uses Panasonic's Inverter Technology, which delivers even and consistent results, more so than non-inverter models. This microwave has the ability to automatically set power levels and cooking times for guess-free use, while multiple one-touch sensor cook and reheat features make it extremely convenient. 18 preset menu items are included, as is a keep warm feature.

Panasonic Countertop Microwave NN-H765BF

Panasonic tends to produce some of the best microwaves available, although they often cost a fair bit more than the competition. The Panasonic NN-H765BF microwave offers a large 1.6 cubic foot capacity and a 15-inch turntable to ensure that dinner plates and other large items will easily fit inside. Ten power levels with 1250 watts on high offers plenty of power to quickly and efficiently heat items, while Panasonic's Inverter Technology means consistent, even cooking.

This microwave features one-touch sensor cook and reheat, which automatically sets both the power levels and cooking times for guess-free cooking. Multi-stage cooking is also included along with quick minute button, keep warm feature, delay start, popcorn button, and a clock and timer. There’s also a programmable function key and a child safety lock. Overall, this popular microwave looks nice, is reasonably quiet while in use, and has an easy-to-read display and easy-to-use controls.

Panasonic NN-SN651B 1200-watt Genius Sensor Microwave

The Panasonic NN-SN651B offers you excellent value, with many of the same features as more expensive models. Although this microwave does sacrifice a bit of space, a 1.2 cubic foot capacity and 13.5-inch turntable is plenty of room for most items. This allows the microwave to be a good, medium size; it doesn't take up too much counter space, but it has enough room to fit dinner plates, popcorn, and more.

On high, 1200 watts of power provide the ability to quickly heat items through, while Panasonic's Inverter Technology ensures even and consistent results. One-touch sensor cook and reheat make cooking and reheating items quick and easy. Multiple features include keep warm, delay start, quick minute, a dedicated popcorn button, a timer, and a child safety lock. This microwave feels high quality and works well, while being reasonably priced.

Cuisinart CMW-200 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

The Cuisinart CMW-200 offers you tremendous versatility, with the addition of both convection and grill capabilities on top of basic microwaving. This microwave has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet with a 12-inch turntable. This is plenty of space to make full use of the oven's features, which allow it to cook and bake everything from toast to pies, breads, and even meats.

Many users report that the CMW-200 takes over as their primary all-around oven, as it’s much easier and more efficient to use than a typical full-sized oven. The touch controls are simple to use, and offer nine preset options as well as the ability to defrost items by weight or time. Multi-stage cooking is also included. Unlike earlier all-in-one microwave oven models, the CMW-200 is easy to clean and can be had for a relatively reasonable price.

Whirlpool Stainless Look Countertop Microwave (WMC20005YD)

This compact microwave promises to be a conversation-starter, with its design making it look almost more like a small TV than a microwave. The Whirlpool WMC20005YD is designed to be placed in a corner, making it ideal for saving as much counter space as possible. Despite its small footprint, this basic microwave offers ten power levels with a max of 750 watts on high. The turntable is large enough for a dinner plate, and the bright interior light illuminates everything inside.

Features include an add 30 seconds button, a popcorn button, and more. Although the touch controls don’t include a keypad that would allow for directly entering in a cooking time, the plus and minus buttons to do so work better than expected. Good for quick and simple jobs, this small microwave is an excellent choice for those who need something basic and compact.

Kenmore 73092 900 Watt Countertop Microwave

This budget-friendly countertop microwave is an excellent choice for those working with limited counter space or a limited budget. The Kenmore 73092 offers a 0.9 cubic foot capacity with a dishwasher-safe 10.6-inch turntable. Although this isn't huge, it should be plenty of space for most basic microwaving needs.

Ten power levels offer 900 watts on high, multi-stage cooking, as well as a memory feature to save favorite cook time and power level combos. You can also increase cook time in 30-second increments, and six “one-touch” settings are included. Although fairly simple, this microwave is efficient, quiet, and works very well.

Buyer's Guide

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.

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