Best Countertop Microwave 2018
Whether you’re an avid cook or someone who just wants to heat up a frozen dinner at the end of a long day, a microwave oven can be a very convenient tool, making for a valuable addition to your kitchen. If you already have one, it has probably saved you more hours and money on the electricity bill than you could ever imagine.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that 97% of all households in the U.S.A. have a microwave and have had one for quite some time now. With an average life expectancy of 8-10 years, at some point, every microwave owner needs to consider getting rid of the old one and purchasing a new replacement.
Compare: The 10 Top Rated Countertop Microwaves
|1||Breville BMO734XL Quick Touch Microwave Oven||Breville||$$$$|
|2||Panasonic NN-H765BF Genius 1.6 cuft||Panasonic||$$$$|
|3||Westinghouse WCM660W 600W Counter Top Microwave Oven||Westinghouse||$|
|4||Panasonic NN-SN773SAZ Stainless 1.6 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave||Panasonic||$$$|
|5||Kenmore 0.9 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave||Kenmore||$$|
|6||Panasonic NN-SN651B Black 1.2 Cu. Ft Countertop Microwave||Panasonic||$$$|
|7||Danby 1.1 cu.ft. Countertop Microwave||Danby||$|
|8||Frigidaire FFCM0724LB 700-watt Countertop Microwave, 0.7 Cubic Feet||Frigidaire||$$|
|9||Sunbeam SGS90701B-B 0.7-Cubic Foot||Sunbeam||$|
|10||Oster OGB81101 1.1 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven||Oster||$$|
Our Countertop Microwave Reviews
This one is our pick of choice for the best cheap countertop microwave of 2017. It is a very simple and basic model, ideal for those living in a small studio apartment or a college dorm room. It is small and compact, with an interior capacity of 0.6 cubic feet and a turntable of 9.5 inches. The construction itself is also very lightweight. The inclusion of curved edges and an easy-to-grip handle for opening and closing the door make it very handy.
The operation itself couldn’t be easier and is done entirely through the use of two mechanical rotary dials, one for heat settings and the other one for setting the time. Just rotate the knob to the desired settings and let the microwave run.
It features six pre-programmed heat settings. You can use the lower settings for lightweight tasks like softening butter and warming beverages, etc. Reheat your leftovers or cook vegetables on the middle heat settings. The defrost, and higher heat settings let you prepare frozen dinners and cook frozen meat. An automatic, audible ding alarm at the end of the heating cycle lets you know when your food is done. If you wish to use your microwave for simple, everyday tasks, you definitely won’t be disappointed with this one.
- Six power levels for cooking (high, medium/high, medium, medium/low, defrost, low.)
- Easy-to-grip handle for opening and closing the door.
- Exceedingly simple operation with the use of two rotating knobs for heat and time.
- Small and compact at 0.6 cubic foot of volume plus a 9.5-inch turntable.
- At a power rating of only 600 watts, it is time-consuming and is suitable only for straightforward and elementary jobs.
When it comes to getting your money’s worth, it can’t get any better than this microwave oven from the world-renowned Panasonic. This model is an all-in-one solution and hosts a ton of features which makes it immensely powerful and versatile. It has a power rating of an impressive 1250 watts, an interior capacity of 1.6 cubic feet along with a 15-inch turntable which allows you to cook a large amount of food in a really short time.
But the highlight of the product is the inclusion of inverter technology, which delivers a continuous and uniform stream of cooking power. Most microwaves provide low and medium power settings by continuously pulsing the heat on and off. However, this model has the capacity to deliver real, variable degrees of power from low to high, making for uniform, consistent textures throughout the food item being prepared inside. This feature makes for excellent cooking of all types of meals from casseroles and desserts to pizzas and meats.
It features an intelligent one-touch sensor button. With the simple press of this button, cooking becomes entirely automated. The microwave detects the amount of steam produced during cooking and varies the heat and time settings accordingly. This takes all the guesswork out of cooking a non-standard meal.
It has a turbo defrost feature which makes for exceptionally fast defrosting, much faster than all the previous models. The microwave also has a ‘keep warm’ feature which keeps its contents warm, without ever overcooking or overdrying them. So you can just keep your food in the microwave to remain warm until you’re ready to serve it.
- High heating capacity of 1250 Watts.
- Spacious with a volume of 1.6 cubic feet and a 15-inch turntable.
- Advanced inverter technology for fast and consistent cooking.
- Intelligent Sensor Cooking Mode for automatic cooking.
- Turbo Defrost And Keep Warm Feature.
- Easy-to-use control panel with shortcut keys and a clock/timer.
- Child-Safety Lock.
- Power-intensive because of the high wattage.
- Takes up quite a bit of space on the kitchen counter.
This microwave oven from Brexville is our pick of choice for the best countertop microwaves and for excellent reasons. The first thing that strikes you about this one is that it is very aesthetically pleasing, with a complete stainless steel finish and a large LCD screen which displays every single detail about the food being made. It is large enough with an interior capacity of 1.2 cubic feet and a turntable of 12.5 inches. It is also sufficiently robust with a power rating of 1100 Watts.
However, the best feature of this oven is the automatic reheat and cook functionality which detects the humidity levels of the food inside and judges the cooking time and power accordingly, thereby eliminating the need to do so manually. Another brilliant feature is the ability to change the time and heat settings on the fly while the food is already being prepared. A rotating dial lets you choose from 10 different power levels, ranging from 10% to 100% of the heating capacity. A unique feature of this model is the ‘A Bit More’ button which when pressed, gives you a little additional cooking time.
In summary, the broad range of features including automatic cooking and dynamic modification of power levels and timer make it one of the most advanced countertop microwave ovens on the market today. These features, coupled with the high heating capacity indeed makes it a very worthwhile purchase and should make your role in the kitchen a lot easier.
- Even and uniform heating pattern.
- Easy to read control panel and easy programming, with lots of shortcut keys.
- The door handle is very easy to grasp and use.
- Visibility during cooking is excellent.
- The automated cooking sensor does an outstanding job, without ever overcooking the food.
- Dynamic adjustment of power levels and timer.
- 1-year replacement warranty.
- The price tag is slightly hefty, but it’s well worth it because of the high-quality of the product.
- Cooking alert at the end of cooking is a little hard to hear.
Our Top Rated Countertop Microwaves
What Is A Countertop Microwave?
A countertop microwave is a small appliance that, as the name suggests, sits on your countertop. A microwave has a door, and inside, it has a glass plate that may or may not turn, optional racks, and a built-in light. So how does it work? In essence, it is a simple device which cooks food using microwaves, a type of very short radio waves. These waves when directed upon an item, energizes the molecules within it and makes them vibrate, thereby heating up the molecules which in turn, heats up the entire object itself.
When food is heated inside a microwave oven, the oven emits these waves which bounce around the walls of the microwave and into the food repeatedly, making the food molecules heat up, thereby effectively cooking the food.
What Are The Advantages Of Using A Countertop Microwave?
Countertop microwaves are all about convenience. If you don’t feel like cooking dinner, you can reheat last night’s leftovers in a microwave-safe dish or make a microwaveable meal that’s ready to eat in just minutes. A few other advantages are as follows:
- The primary advantage of a microwave is that it cooks a lot faster than traditional ovens because of the high concentration of radio waves which are focused solely on the food itself and not everywhere.
- It cooks a lot more evenly than traditional ovens because the heat isn’t just focused on the outside, but rather the waves penetrates right into the core of the food and heats up the inside to the same degree as the outside.
- A microwave saves a lot of energy, taking a huge chunk off of the electricity bill. The energy required to preheat a conventional oven or kettle is usually multiple times higher than that of a microwave.
- Its applications include defrosting frozen food like pizzas or ground meat and also, heating and reheating food like potatoes, yesterdays leftovers or even beverages.
- It can be used to cook dishes like instant noodles, pasta or popcorn, basically, any instant food item which requires solely heat for preparation.
- Depending on the type of model you buy, you can even bake, roast and grill in your microwave oven, just as you would with a conventional oven only in half the time.
- You can cook entire meals without overheating your kitchen as the heat is localized inside the microwave. You also would not need to stand guard over your food personally, periodically checking to see if it’s done as it is automated to turn off as soon as the food is cooked.
What Are The Different Types Of Microwaves?
There are primarily 3 types of microwave ovens, but the most popular choice by far is the simple Countertop Microwave Oven.
Countertop Microwave Oven
This one is hands down, the most popular choice among consumers today. Its popularity can be attributed to its ease of setup and use, requiring no installation whatsoever and only a power outlet to function. They are kept on the kitchen counter; thus they do take up some space on the kitchen counter. The usual size of a countertop microwave oven is around 1 – 2 cubic feet in volume.
Depending on the number of features, the size, and heating capacity, the price tag for these ovens can start from as low as below $100 and can go up to more than $700. The wattage used varies from 500 to 2000 Watts. Their portability, convenience, and versatility are the primary reasons beyond their widespread usage.
Over-The-Range And Built-In Microwaves
As the name suggests, over-the-range microwaves are designed to be installed above the kitchen range, directly above the stove-top. Because they are installed above the kitchen range, you save a lot of space on the kitchen counter.
They also have other benefits, like they usually have lights at the bottom to illuminate the cooking range below. They are also equipped with a ventilation system, which can be used to remove odors and fumes, much like an exhaust fan does. Over-the-range microwaves are widely seen as a very luxurious and sophisticated addition to your kitchen.
Built-in microwaves are designed to fit into just about any space that is large enough to accommodate it. The usual choices include a cabinet or a drawer. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, the addition of a built-in microwave oven can be very aesthetically appealing if it matches the look of your other appliances.
These types are usually more expensive and also require professional installation.
Convection Microwaves (Countertop And Over-The-Range)
This type of microwave uses an entirely different heating mechanism which is similar to traditional ovens, instead of the electromagnetic heating method of other microwaves. High-heat temperatures along with an internal fan are used to circulate hot air within the microwave to cook the food in this particular variant of an oven.
Because of its unique mechanism, it is the most versatile of all microwave ovens and gives you the liberty to cook in ways other microwaves wouldn’t allow, like roasting, broiling, baking, and grilling. They are available in both countertop and over-the-range variants. If you want a versatile, all-in-one cooking solution, this should be your microwave of choice although it can prove to be a little expensive.
Considerations for Choosing the Best Countertop Microwave
You want to ensure you get an appliance that fits your kitchen and the needs of yourself and your family. Before you begin your search, keep these considerations in mind to make a more informed purchase.
Countertop microwaves come in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small to exceptionally large. When deciding on the size, try to visualize beforehand the kind of meals you’ll be cooking in it and the size of the plates you’ll need to fit into the microwave. For example, if you want to make pizza in it, take note of the size of the pans you usually use to cook pizza. Also bear in mind, the amount of space you have on your kitchen counter.
The rule of thumb here is, the higher the wattage, the faster it’ll cook the food inside and also, the more evenly it’ll distribute the heat within. Be wary of the ones with low wattage as they may often prove to be unreliable. Anything equal to or above 1000 watts should be fine.
You usually need to manually set a timer and also the power of the heating element before cooking. However, if you have a pre-programmed setting designed for exactly the kind of dish you’re preparing, for example, a pre-programmed setting to cook mashed potatoes, then that takes away all the guesswork out of the equation, and all you need to do is select that setting.
Most microwaves usually come with pre-programmed settings for defrosting or a popcorn setting. Try to keep in mind the kind of items you’ll usually cook in your microwave and then buy one, which already has those settings pre-programmed in it.
Turntables and Racks
Turntables keep rotating your food to ensure it’s cooked evenly. Without one, you’ll have to rotate the dish manually every couple of minutes. Racks let you prepare multiple dishes simultaneously, placing one on top of another, having both the dishes feed off the heat of one another. It is imperative that your microwave at least has a turntable.
The primary safety features you should be interested are the inclusion of a child lock, keeping it out of the prying hands of a curious child. Another important feature is an auto-sensor which will shut down the microwave when cooking has concluded, without burning your food or accidentally setting fire to your house.
Now that we have taken you through the entire guide, you should have an idea of what features to look for in a microwave. You should remember that once you get yourself a microwave, you’ll start to use it more and more, even for preparing dishes you didn’t think you would use it for, in the first place.
Taking this into consideration, it would be wise to get a relatively advanced model with a power rating of at least a 1000 watts. If your microwave has an automatic cooking feature, it will make your job a lot easier, as you won’t have to constantly monitor the food while it is being cooked.
If you have children, it’s imperative to have a child lock as the radiation from a microwave can be very harmful when exposed to the human body. All said and done, you should purchase one from a reputable company to ensure that the microwave lasts a decent number of years.