Top 9 Best Microwaves for the Money

Top 9 Best Microwaves for the Money

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Everyone is looking to add convenience to their lives and save time. And what could be a more convenient appliance to have than a microwave? With this one tool, you can defrost, cook a variety of different foods, steam, reheat, and more and all in much less time than it would take on your stovetop.

People have become so reliant on microwaves that according to statistics, in 2017, more American households had microwaves than a range and it was one of the most common appliances, second only to the refrigerator.

Due to how popular microwaves have become, the market has become saturated with so many different brands and manufacturers putting out their versions of the product. The sheer number of choices can be formidable, but some microwaves stand out above the rest.

How We Chose Our Ratings

Honesty is essential to us, so to come up with our ratings, we pored over customer testimonials and reviews, brand reputation, and available data or information about microwaves.

Top 9 Best Microwaves

Panasonic Countertop Microwave 2.2 Cu ft

If you’re cooking for a large household and need an option that can accommodate a lot of food, then you might be interested in the Panasonic Countertop Microwave with the 2.2-cubic foot capacity. This extra-large family-sized microwave is designed to help you cook for many people at once. It is available in black or white.

Make sure you have the counter space to fit this model that measures about 14 inches in height, 24 inches in width, and 20 inches in depth. The turntable has a diameter of 13.4 inches.

With 1250 watts powering this oven, cooking times should be short. Panasonic’s patented Inverter technology ensures that foods cook evenly, and you don’t bite into something that’s hot on the surface but cold or undercooked in the middle. The microwave also has Turbo Defrost so if you forgot to leave the chicken out defrosting again, this Panasonic has you covered.

Nine preset menu items can help to take the guesswork out of figuring out how long it takes to prepare foods like:

  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Soup
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Rice
  • Potatoes

An automatic sensor adjusts the power times for different foods to avoid any overcooking disasters that could sabotage your meal. One-touch controls can be used to enable the sensor reheat, keep warm, and popcorn functions.  

Over 80 percent of the nearly 900 Amazon reviews give this Panasonic Countertop Microwave either a four or five-star rating. Fans say that Panasonic microwave ovens are incredibly durable, easy to use, and the sensor reheat and Inverter technology produces evenly cooked food fast.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

AmazonBasics Microwave

If you’re a fan of smart appliances and already have an Amazon echo and ask Alexa to help you with everything, then you’ll probably like the AmazonBasics Microwave. With the AmazonBasics, you can say things like, “Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee,” and the oven does the rest. You can ask Alexa to cook, defrost, microwave, add time, pause, and stop the microwave.

Also, Alexa is designed to get smarter and add new presets based on your activity. There is also an Alexa button on the panel so that you don’t have to say “Alexa” or “Microwave.” You can voice activate the oven by pressing the Alexa button and saying your desired cook time. Not only that, but you can automatically reorder popcorn supported by Amazon Dash Replenishment.  

The microwave is small with a 0.7-cubic-foot capacity, uses a maximum of 700 watts for power, and has ten different power levels. The oven is about 17 inches wide, 10 inches high, and 14 inches deep. The turntable has a diameter of 10 inches.  

Although it is a pretty basic microwave in terms of size and power capacity, it does include a child safety lock.  

Nearly 80 percent of buyers who purchased the AmazonBasics Microwave give it four or five stars. Some even admit to thinking that it was a little gimmicky to use Alexa but are now fans of how much it has simplified their lives. Other users revealed that they tested Alexa or tried to trick her, but the microwave has safeguards in place to prevent overly long cooking times.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

hOmelabs Countertop Microwave Oven

The hOmelabs Countertop Microwave Oven has an interior capacity of 1.3 cubic feet which can fit about 6 quarts of food and uses 1050 watts. The oven measures about 13 inches in height, 13 inches in length, and 9 inches deep. The exterior is a matte black, but it has a stainless steel handle for a bit of a different look with a combination of the two most common finishes for kitchen appliances.

You can adjust your cooking to ten different power levels and with one touch select from eight cooking functions like fish, pizza, fresh vegetables, popcorn, and meat. A memory feature is available so you can program the microwave to know how long to cook your favorite meals and snacks. An interior light lets you keep track of the cooking progress if you need to.

The revolving glass plate can fit plates up to 12 inches in diameter, is BPA-free, and can be removed for cleaning in the dishwasher. Kids like to touch buttons and numbers, but there’s a child lock feature to prevent children from accidentally operating the oven.

Buyers of the hOmelabs Microwave Oven say that it’s very convenient and user-friendly, it’s very powerful but doesn’t take up too much space. Other reviewers say that it’s stylish, easy to clean, and durable. A few users even said they liked this model so much, they’ve bought more than one which is easy to believe since almost 80 percent of over 500 reviews have given it four or five stars.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Panasonic Microwave Oven

The stainless steel Panasonic Model NN-SN766S Microwave Oven has 1250-watts of power and a 1.6-cubic-foot capacity. Equipped with patented inverter technology, it provides continuous power to produce evenly cooked food without drying. The Inverter helps to poach, braise, and steam foods and ensure they’re fully cooked and not just hot on the outside and cold in the middle.

This compact countertop microwave oven has a turntable with a 15-inch diameter and measures about 12 inches in height, 22 inches wide, and is around 19 inches deep.

The Panasonic has lots of convenient features like 14 programmed menu items which include oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, and more. The Turbo Defrost is designed to defrost frozen foods quicker, so you can eat sooner.  The keep warm function can keep your foods warm until it’s time to eat. If you have children, you might be interested in the child safety lock.

Around 80 percent of the hundreds of buyers who have reviewed their purchase of the Panasonic Microwave Oven give it a four or five-star rating. Many customers cite the product’s versatility, durability, say that it’s easy to clean, and confirm that the Inverter technology lives up to its promise of delivering evenly cooked food.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Emerson Griller Microwave Oven

This Emerson Griller Microwave Oven has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet of cooking space. There are nine pre-programmed options that you can choose from to cook with the touch of a button if you’re preparing any of the following:

  • Frozen pizza
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes
  • Beverages
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Dinner plate servings

You can set the digital timer up to 99 minutes and 99 seconds for cooking, and it has a clock function that can serve as an additional spot to check the time for when the microwave is not in use.

You can choose from 11 different power levels to adjust to what you are preparing, and the Emerson has a grill power level you can use to grill food. A glass turntable rotates in the microwave to ensure even cooking, and you can remove it when you need to wash it or clean the interior of the oven.

If you need to defrost something and know how much it weighs, you can enter the weight, and the microwave will automatically determine and set the defrost time and power level. If you have children that can reach the microwave, the Emerson has a lockout function safety feature so that it doesn’t turn on.

Over 70 percent of reviewers on Amazon have rated the Emerson as four or five-stars with many who think it is a good value for the $110 price point, easy to use, and durable.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Toshiba Smart Sensor Microwave

The Toshiba Smart Sensor Microwave has 1.2 cubic feet of cooking space. It’s about 13 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 10 inches high. The interior turntable is 12.4 inches in diameter, and the glass is removable. The sizeable easy-to-read control panel has a digital display.

If you need to keep things quiet, you can mute the microwave so that it doesn’t buzz when the time is up. The Toshiba Smart Sensor has ten power settings and 1100 watts of power. You can choose from stainless steel or black stainless steel. Both options sell between $115 to $120.

You can use the one-touch option for cooking foods like rice, veggies, potatoes, and frozen pizza. The microwave senses how much steam has been producing during the cooking process, and adjusts automatically to prevent overcooking.

Almost 75 percent of Amazon buyers give the Toshiba Smart Sensor a four or five-star rating. Many reviewers enjoy how easy it is to use, think it looks sleek, and some like that it doesn’t show fingerprints as with some other stainless steel appliances.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Faberware Microwave Oven

With 1300 watts, this Faberware Microwave Oven delivers some serious power for cooking, reheating, and defrosting foods and the 1.6-cubic-foot capacity can make it so that you can prepare meals for multiple people at once.

Ten power levels allow you to adjust the cooking power from as low as 10 percent to as high as 100. The black stainless steel finish minimizes the appearance of fingerprints. The Smart Sensor settings let you select preprogrammed options to cook:

  • Frozen pizza
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Potato
  • Meat
  • Popcorn

The Faberware Microwave using Inverter cooking technology for precise cooking without overheating and loss of flavor. If you have a go-to item that you always whip up in the microwave, you can take advantage of the customizable memory function. Besides the presets, you can also choose one to three-minute express cooking from the digital interface.  

This countertop microwave measures about 13 inches in height, 19 inches in width, and 22 inches in length. Don’t worry if your little ones can reach the counters and the microwave because this model has a child safety lockout function which can prevent them from accidentally starting the appliance.

Nearly 80 percent of the Amazon reviews give the Faberware Microwave four or five stars. Many buyers say they are happy with their $200 purchase, reiterate that it’s simple to use, and consider it to be a good value for the money.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Daewoo Retro Countertop Microwave

If you’re shopping for a microwave that’s different from the standard black or stainless steel options, then you might be interested in the Daewoo Retro Countertop Microwave. With a bit of a 50s throwback look, the Daewoo doesn’t have your standard digital numbered control panel, and it comes in white, blue, cream, mint, and red.

This small microwave could be ideal for a dorm or home office. The interior has a 0.7-cubic-foot capacity, and it has a maximum of 700 watts of power. It measures about 17 inches wide, 10 inches high, and 13 inches deep. The turntable has a diameter of ten inches.

Four push-button options let you choose from popcorn, defrost, adjust the power level, and auto cook. The auto cook selections are for beverages, soup, baked potato, fresh or frozen vegetables. You can also manually adjust the cooking time in 30-second increments with one button.

Out of over 900 reviews, most users rated the Daewoo with four or five stars. Buyers love the retro look and the color options that allowed them to give their kitchen a different look or save counter space. Others like how easy it is to clean, say it’s easy to use even without the digital touchpad that many people are accustomed to, and that it works great.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

GE Smart Sensor Countertop Microwave Oven

The GE Smart Sensor Countertop Microwave Oven is GE’s first smart microwave that connects to WiFi and works with Alexa. Voice-enabled controls let you tell Alexa to fire up the oven and get to cooking, defrosting, or reheating.

This GE model also has Scan-to-Cook functionality which allows you to scan the bar code on your favorite frozen foods with your phone. With Scan-to-Cook, the microwave will automatically adjust the cooking times and power levels to prepare the food so that you don’t have to waste time reading the box and checking your microwave’s wattage.   

This small stainless steel GE microwave has an interior capacity of 0.9 cubic feet and operates with 900 watts. Preset options let you cook pizza, potatoes, popcorn, vegetables and more.

Although many buyers enjoy the microwave’s basic functionality, some say it doesn’t live up to the high-tech promises advertised because the GE app does have issues from time to time with not finding recipes when users try to implement the Scan-to-Cook feature.

Despite some glitches, nearly three-quarters of those who have reviewed the GE Smart Sensor Countertop Microwave, give it four or five stars. Some users who are visually impaired find the voice-activated controls make their lives easier and others like the convenience of having a smart microwave they can control from pretty much any room in the house through the Alexa feature.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Buyer’s Guide

It can be overwhelming to narrow down the massive selection of microwaves out on the market down to just one. But when shopping around, there are a few things to take into consideration that could help simplify the decision-making process.  

  • Size: How much counter space are you willing to give up for your new microwave? Keep in mind not just the length but the height and width. Plan for leaving some room around for ventilation, and so that any radiating heat doesn’t cause any problems on your counters, cabinet bottoms, or walls.
  • Wattage: How much power do you need? Let’s say you’re looking for a small microwave for the office or dorm room; you don’t want to get something with too much power that can require a lot of electricity. However, typically the higher the wattage, the quicker your food will be ready.
  • Appearance: Keep in mind the appliances you already have. Do you need a microwave that’s white, black, stainless steel, or some other color that fits in with your kitchen or the room where you’ll be using it?

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