When it comes to heating food, nothing can beat the time, efficiency, and convenience of a microwave.
Whether it's defrosting frozen meat in order for it be properly cooked, warming up tasty leftovers, or popping some deliciously buttery popcorn, you can do it all with a microwave.
But like with any kitchen product, there are choices that stand above the rest. And when it comes down to it, it can be hard to choose between something that looks good or something that works well.
Well, we made it easier for you and created this list of the best microwaves on the market. Whether it's for a house, office, college dorm or apartment, we narrowed down the options to these top 5 choices.
Best Rated Pick:
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor
Power, dependability, and ease of use make this microwave a top choice.
The Toshiba Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor is our pick for the top microwave and for many good reasons. In our opinion, the #1 factor for any kitchen appliance is reliability; after all, you can't use something that doesn't work or work well. This microwave is fantastic because it blends power and size with convenience and utility.
This microwave is sleek, stylistically simple, and sized where you don't have to worry about cramping the inner space with food while saving counter-top space. Since the turntable is made of glass, it's easily cleaned and hefty to the point where it solidly sits in the inner cavity.
We've put heavier items on the edges of cheaply-made microwave turntables while in a rush before, which tilts the turntable and creates a big mess that's a pain to clean; we don't have to worry about that with this one.
The microwave operates at 1100 watts with 10 power settings, which is plenty powerful for cooking even large items. You can also choose to use less power, of course, but most people tend to stick to the highest.
There is also a basic clock and kitchen timer. The clock doesn't show am or pm, instead opting to cycle the first 12 hours. We personally enjoy having the am/pm option, but not having that small convenience isn't the end of the world.
There's also the standard defrost feature, which is efficient at heating up frozen foods without accidentally cooking them.
The heating options are diverse and easily usable. There are one-button options for a variety of foods, such as potatoes, pizza, veggies, meats, popcorn, entrees, etc.
This is useful because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of commonly heated foods, meaning less time figuring out how to heat something for faster, high quality results. This is achieved with sensor technology that's designed to customize the heating time based on whatever lies on the turntable.
The only bad thing about the heating options being sensor driven is that too little or too much weight can throw off the sensors, leading to skewed heating times.
This rarely happens though, considering most people heat food at acceptable sensor weights. You would have to go out of your way to try and mess up the sensors.
There are easy-select minutes that you can use for speedy heating, the start button automatically adds 30 seconds to heating time when in-progress, and you can mute the buzzer whenever you want (for late night use).
This microwave is a great, solid choice for #1 pick. It may not have all the bells and whistles of some other microwaves, but it has the essentials, some very useful extra features, and the size to place on any counter-top.
The AmazonBasics microwave combines the ease and convenience of technology with the classic take your traditional microwave.
By utilizing Alexa through Amazon Echo, you link microwave to your virtual assistant. This allows for the microwave to "hear" you and perform whatever function you want from it, assuming that it's within its power to do so.
For example, you can tell the microwave to heat up a cup of coffee for two minutes. Instead of going through each button and figuring out all how to properly heat up your cup, you can just say "heat coffee for two minutes" and the microwave will take care of everything else.
Technology already exists in so many other parts of our lives; it makes sense that kitchen appliances would also have smart tech integrated into them.
What's nice is that you can be as detailed as you want with your commands, or you can stick with basic settings and give simple commands. The flexibility afforded by talking to your microwave is very nice:
- Walk away from the microwave and give commands from far away
- Tell it when to start and stop
- Give detailed commands or simple ones
This microwave can also, if you allow it, order replacement popcorn of your choosing when you start to get low (and get a 10% discount to boot). That's a bit much for us, but some people would consider that a big plus.
As Alexa continues to be refined by Amazon, your microwave will also develop new presets and gain further functionality, meaning more worth for your money.
Keep in mind that you can only use the voice-command if you have an Amazon Echo device synced to it.
But even without the voice-command feature, the microwave is still a solid choice.
It has a kitchen timer, child lock, 10 power levels, defrost feature, and is quite compact. That means that you won't have to worry about this appliance taking up much of your counter space.
If you already have an Echo, I definitely recommend with microwave. If not, you can consider picking up one as a bundle or choose to go without way.
Either way, this microwave won't disappoint.
This microwave blends the benefits of a low cost with the convenience of good heating functions.
Here are some of the features built inside of the microwave:
- 1-Touch cooking presets from 1 min to 6 mins
- 11 power settings
- Clock and Kitchen Timer
- Mute button for quieter heating
- Defrost by time/weight
- Energy-saving ECO mode
We like that all of the most important heating functions are present. Sometimes lower-priced microwaves skimp on the functions, leaving you out to dry.
The option to turn off that loud "heating is done" beeping is especially useful; as people who have owned a microwave that lacked this function, the mute button is now a standard for all of our microwaves.
This microwave is also compact, making it ideal of places with limited counter space like apartments, offices, dorms, or vacation homes.
What truly makes this microwave shine though is its energy-saving ECO mode.
After a period of it not being used, the microwave will turn off the LED display, minimizing energy usage. This also means less money coming out of your pocket when the electricity bill is due.
Due to its compact size, however, you might struggle with heating larger or wider items. It's also not the strongest, coming in at just 700 watts.
This isn't a big problem though. It's still plenty strong to heat everyday food, and it's unlikely you'll use a microwave to heat big or hefty items anyways.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly microwave that doesn't lack important features, we recommend this one.
Looking for something a little more retro? If so, then we think you'll definitely like this microwave.
Coming at at 0.9 cubic feet with 800 watts of power, this microwave is doesn't take up much counter space and has enough power to quickly cook/reheat food.
The sleek retro look isn't the only thing that this microwave has going for it. It also comes equipped with:
- 12 pre-programmed cooking settings
- Delay timer
- Express cooking for popular items (popcorn, pizza, veggies, etc.)
- Digital Clock/Interface
- Easy-to-use program dial
- Adjustable power level
This microwave also has a control panel, sleek chrome door handle, and accents that add flair to this unique kitchen appliance. It's fashionable while staying functional.
We especially like the the delay timer and the ability to easily adjust power.
Most microwaves don't have the ability to delay cooking on a timer, which can be useful for scheduling food to be heated and warmed at your convenience. You can pop some leftovers into the microwave, set the timer, take a shower, and have your food perfectly warmed without any wasted time.
And while microwaves can allow you to set arbitrary power settings like low, medium and high, few operate on percentage, which we find is easier to not only fine tune but also understand. 50% is 50%, but something like "medium" doesn't always mean 50%.
With 12 pre-programmed cooking settings, you also have the choice to just pick one of the settings and leave the rest of the work to the microwave. Combined with the delay timer, it really takes the guesswork out of heating and leaves more time for you to do other things.
One thing to note, however, is that there is a bit of a learning curve when using it for the first time. Like it's retro-design implies, it's not operated like your modern microwave which can be confusing.
But rest assured, it comes with an instruction leaflet which should provide you all of the basics that you need to get started.
If you are looking for a microwave that not only looks great but also functions beautifully, we recommend checking this one out.
If you are looking to mount a microwave, then we think that this microwave is by far the best choice.
But not to worry: if you don't have anywhere to mount this microwave, it also functions on a counter top.
Coming it at a hefty 1.6 cubic feet with 950 watts of power, this microwave is big and powerful. You definitely won't have to worry about the heating power of this microwave, as it can evenly heat items both large and small quite easily.
Some of its features include:
- Auto and time defrost
- Automatically/Manually programmed power levels
- Complete turntable control
- Two-speed, 300-cfm venting system
- Pre-programmed convenience settings
- Express cooking settings
What's really nice about the microwave is it's size.
1.6 cubic feet is a lot of room, especially since most microwaves are compact-sized (around 0.9 cubic feet). With that much room, you can heat larger foods that would otherwise struggle to be heated in a smaller microwave (big soups, large veggies, big meats, etc).
The reheat function is also very useful. Most microwaves can only heat in two main ways: heat to cook and defrost. If you want to warm up your food, you need to be careful not to heat it to the point of cooking. Even then, standard heating will still cook your food a bit.
But with the reheat function, the microwave is able to apply just enough heat to warm your food while minimizing the actually cooking effect. This is great for certain veggies, pizza, and stuff like pasta where you really don't want to cook it anymore than necessary.
The theme of this microwave is centered around giving you as much control over your heating as possible. You have control over the turntable itself, meaning you can choose how you want to spin it. Some items actually heat better than they are not being spun, while others heat more evenly while spinning.
The venting system is also very handy, as it's designed to remove steam and smoke, meaning you don't have any of those weird smells or smoke that can come with heating in other microwaves.
Something that we noticed though was that this microwave has a surprising lack of functions. The features that is has are great, don't get us wrong, but we wish that it had some of the more standard features that appear on other microwaves of its kind.
Overall, it's a robust and easy-to-use microwave. Its size and features make it a choice pick for those who are looking for a stronger microwave and mountable microwave. We definitely recommend checking this one out.
We hope you enjoyed our list!
Have a question or have an awesome microwave that you think we missed?
Leave it down in the comments below!