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You should look at features such as power ratings, capacity, presets, and controls when shopping for a new countertop microwave. We have selected some of the best microwaves to consider and put together some tips to help you choose the right kitchen appliance for your needs.
What’s The Best Countertop Microwave? Top Nine Revealed
A countertop microwave is a must-have kitchen appliance. These small appliances allow you to easily warm-up leftovers or prepare frozen meals. It’s important to choose an appliance that will be convenient to use and adapted to the amount of counter space that is available in your kitchen. Here are a few recommendations to help you find the best countertop microwave.
How We Chose Our Ratings
We selected nine countertop microwaves and assigned ratings according to these criteria:
- Compact design. We looked for models that have between one and two cubic feet of capacity without taking up too much space on a countertop.
- Power rating. We gave higher ratings to the microwaves with the best power ratings since these appliances will cook food faster.
- Settings and presets. We compared the settings of these different microwaves. We selected appliances that let you adjust power and heat levels and that include pre programmed settings.
- Easy to use. We have high ratings to the microwaves that are easy to use and clean.
- Reviews. We looked at reviews written by shoppers to make sure the microwaves met their expectations.
Top Nine Countertop Microwaves
These nine appliances are made by reliable manufacturers and are worth considering if you are shopping for a new countertop microwave.
Samsung MS14K600AS 1.4 Cu Ft Countertop Microwave Oven
This compact countertop microwave from Samsung is a great option if you are looking for an appliance with a built-in sensor. The microwave is equipped with a sensor that keeps track of the temperature and moisture to automatically adjust the heat and cooking time.
The heat distribution system stands out. The microwave is designed to cook your food evenly by using three distribution points.
We like this appliance because of its ceramic enamel interior. This material is easy to clean and won’t scratch.
The buttons let you adjust the power level, set the cooking time and choose from 12 different presets to prepare your favorite foods. The microwave also has a convenient button that adds 30 seconds to the cooking time.
The display can be turned off when the appliance is not in use, and the sleek design of the microwave will easily blend in.
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS 0.9 Cu Ft Microwave
This Toshiba countertop microwave is a great no-frill appliance from a reliable brand available at an affordable price. The 0.9 cubic feet capacity is ideal if you need to prepare meals for one or two people.
The 900 watts power rating is sufficient for warming up leftovers, preparing frozen meals, and cooking a few dishes. You will find six pre-programmed buttons for different types of foods.
The microwave features a child safety lock makes this appliance a great option for families with small children.
The large handle door is another interesting feature. It makes closing and opening the microwave easier, even if you have your hands full.
The only downside of this appliance is that the buttons are somewhat smaller than what you can find on other microwaves.
Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Microwave Oven
This microwave is an extremely versatile kitchen appliance. You can easily switch between the microwave and convection oven modes thanks to the simple controls.
The 1.5 cubic feet capacity is a good compromise if you need to prepare meals for your family even though you don’t have much counter space.
The microwave features a sensor that can automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature. You will find different built-in settings, including roasting, baking, and defrost modes.
There are six presets to choose from when you use the regular microwave mode. There are buttons that let you add 30 seconds to the cooking time, and two buttons that let you add or subtract time as needed.
We like the large buttons, the convenient handle, and the stainless steel interior that is easy to clean. You will also find three favorite buttons that you can program with different time and power settings to prepare your favorite dishes!
This versatile microwave is a must-have if you don’t own a traditional oven or need a secondary convection oven.
Sharp 0.5 Cu Ft 700-Watt Countertop Microwave
This 700-watt microwave is the best countertop microwave if you are shopping on a budget. The 0.7 cubic feet capacity might not be sufficient for a family, but it is suitable if you live alone.
Keep in mind that this is a microwave with a power rating of 700 watts. This won’t be sufficient for cooking meals from scratch, but 700 watts will be plenty for most frozen meals.
The appliance features the basic controls you would typically expect to find on a microwave, including an auto defrost feature, and two preset buttons to make popcorn and warm up a beverage.
You will also find an express cook function that you can use if you need more power to warm up your food. We like this microwave because of the large buttons and simple controls, but the capacity and power rating might be somewhat limiting.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
This Daewoo countertop microwave stands out thanks to its retro design. All microwaves tend to look the same, but this appliance is truly original with its soft rounded edges and silver accents. This microwave will fit right in if you have a 50s-themed kitchen!
The compact design of this microwave will help you save counter space. You will find a popcorn pre-set, a defrost mode, an auto-cook feature, and a button you can use to select five different power settings.
The downside of this microwave is that it doesn’t feature a traditional pad you can use to select the cooking time. Instead, you will have to use a dial to add or subtract cooking time. The dial is an important element of the retro design of the microwave, but this is a feature that requires some getting used to.
The maximum power setting you can use is 700 watts, which is suitable to prepare frozen meals but won’t be enough if you want to cook dishes from scratch.
Hamilton Beach 1.1 Cu Ft 1,000 Watt Microwave
This countertop microwave comes with ten power levels. The maximum power setting is 1,000 watts, which is suitable for warming up food quickly and even preparing some simple dishes from scratch.
You will find six presets buttons to reheat pizza, make popcorn, warm up a beverage, and other functions. We like this microwave because there is a built-in child safety feature, and it doubles as a kitchen timer.
You will also find two defrost settings. You can use the time defrost setting if you know how long you will need, or use the weight defrost setting if you aren’t sure how much time you will need.
The 1.1 cubic feet capacity should be sufficient for a small family. You can also choose from three finishes. The copper finish is very original since this isn’t a color you will often find when shopping for a microwave.
LG Electronics NeoChef 1.5 Cu Ft Countertop Microwave
This modern microwave is packed with features designed to help you cook. The microwave is equipped with a sensor that will stop the microwave when your food is ready and includes several power levels and cooking modes.
There is a total of ten power levels that you can adjust manually if you don’t want to rely on the built-in sensor. You can choose from four defrost options depending on the type of food you are defrosting.
The inside of the microwave is made from an antibacterial material that is easy to wipe clean. We like the bright LED light that let you easily see the food that is cooking and make sure that the inside of the appliance is spotless.
There is an inverter feature so you can get precise results and cook food evenly. The maximum power rating of this microwave is 1,600 watts.
The microwave has a very modern and minimalist design. It uses glass controls, which are more discreet than traditional buttons. You will need to get used to the glass controls, but this shouldn’t be an issue since the different features are easy to navigate.
Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2 Cubic Foot Convection Microwave Oven With Grill
This is one of the most versatile microwaves we came across. You can use it as a traditional microwave or take advantage of the convection and grill modes to prepare your family’s favorite meals.
You can easily switch between the microwave, convection oven, and grill mode thanks to the large buttons. There are six microwave presets to choose from, and three presets for the convection mode.
You will find two defrost buttons that you can use to defrost food by time or weight. The keep warm button is an interesting feature, especially if you often prepare large dinners!
The maximum power level is 1,000 watts, and the appliance has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet. The best thing about this microwave is that you can program customized cycles. You could, for instance, program the appliance to defrost for a set amount of time before switching to the grilling or convection mode.
GE 1.1 Cu Ft Countertop Microwave
This countertop microwave is an option you should consider if you want a reliable appliance with simple controls. GE Electronics is a brand that has a great reputation, and this microwave will last for years.
You won’t find any advanced features on this microwave. There is an express cook function that lets you set the desired amount of time with a number pad, and nine different presets.
You can also use this microwave to defrost frozen foods thanks to the time and weight defrost buttons. The 1.1 cubic feet capacity should be suitable for most families.
There are a couple of downsides associated with this microwave. You will have to use a push button to open the door, which can be less convenient than a handle. The other downside is that there are no child safety features.
This microwave is still an excellent choice if you don’t need any advanced controls and want a stainless steel appliance that is easy to clean and use.
How To Choose The Best Countertop Microwave
There are a few things to consider when shopping for a new small appliance. Make sure your new countertop microwave is a good match for your needs by following these tips.
Advantages Of A Countertop Microwave
Countertop microwaves are convenient since you can set them on a counter and don’t have to go through an installation process. These small appliances are affordable and you will find a wide range of power ratings and sizes.
Countertop microwaves typically have a power rating between 600 and 1,200 watts and a capacity of 0.5 to 2 cubic feet.
There are a couple of other options to consider that might be a better match depending on how much space is available in your kitchen. You can find over-the-range microwaves designed to be installed on top of your cooktop range to replace the oven hood.
These microwaves help free up counter space, and the size and wattage are comparable to countertop microwaves. However, the installation process is more complex.
You can also find built-in microwaves. These appliances are similar to a wall oven and typically come with some advanced features.
Countertop microwaves are often the go-to option because they are versatile, easy to install, and you can easily find a wide range of sizes and features.
Your new microwave should have large buttons that are easy to press. This is an important feature to look for since large buttons will help you get used to the new appliance quickly and will help you save time when preparing a meal.
All microwaves have a button dial you can use to set the time, but some appliances have convenient buttons that let you add 30 seconds or a minute to the cooking time.
You should also look for features like an automatic defrost button and some pre-programmed settings for foods that you often eat.
A turntable is a standard feature that warms up your food evenly, but you might want to look for a microwave that gives you the possibility to pause the rotation of the turntable, especially if you are getting a small microwave.
Make sure the inside of the microwave is easy to clean. There should be a built-in LED light so you can easily spot the areas that need to be cleaned.
Wattage And Capacity
Larger microwaves tend to have higher wattage. This is usually reflected in the price of the appliance.
The capacity of a countertop microwave typically varies from 0.5 to two cubic feet. A small model with a capacity of 0.5 to one cubic foot would be ideal for a single person but look for a larger appliance if you need to prepare food for an entire family.
The power rating of a microwave ranges from 600 to 1,200 watts. An appliance with a power rating of 1,000 to 1,200 watts will be powerful enough to cook frozen meals evenly.
A microwave with a power rating under 1,000 watts is a good choice if you will primarily use it to warm up leftovers. However, a microwave with a power rating under 700 watts might not heat food evenly and will take longer to cook your food.
A higher wattage represents a higher power consumption, but the faster cooking time will make up for it. Your electricity bills might go up if you use a 600 watts microwave to cook frozen dinners since you will have to use the appliance longer.
Advanced Features To Consider
There are some advanced features that will help you get more out of your new microwave. Consider getting an appliance with a convection feature. A convection microwave is similar to a regular convection oven and opens up a lot of new possibilities for cooking.
You can also find some microwaves with a broiler setting. An inverter setting is another feature to look for if you want to cook food evenly.
A removable rack is another convenient feature if you plan on using your microwave to cook food rather than prepare frozen meals.
Some microwaves come with sensors that can detect how much time is needed to finish cooking your food based on the amount of steam.
Start by measuring how much counter space you can use for your new microwave before you start shopping for a new appliance. Make a list of the features that would help you with preparing meals to get a better idea of what to look for.