Best Countertop Microwave 2017

Few appliances have made an impact on kitchens around the world quite like the microwave. Microwaves have made cooking, reheating, and defrosting easier than ever. In just minutes, you can reheat leftovers, heat up soup, or get your frozen chicken ready for the oven.

Installing a countertop microwave is as simple as setting it on a counter, shelf or microwave stand and plugging it in. If you’re really squeezed for space, you may want to consider an over-the-range or drawer microwave, which we discuss in-depth in our section on built-in microwaves elsewhere in this report. If you think a microwave with a convection feature would be a useful addition to your kitchen, see our discussion of the best convection microwaves.

This appliance is a kitchen staple for families, those who lead very busy lives, and anyone that appreciates convenience. Whether you’re thinking about replacing a microwave or purchasing one for the first time, knowing more about this small appliance will aid you in making a smart purchase.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Countertop Microwaves

RankPictureNameBrandPriceRating
1Breville BMO734XL Quick Touch Microwave OvenBreville$$$$4.9
2Panasonic NN-H765BF Genius 1.6 cuftPanasonic$$$$4.6
3Westinghouse WCM660W 600W Counter Top Microwave OvenWestinghouse$4.5
4Panasonic NN-SN773SAZ Stainless 1.6 Cu. Ft. Countertop MicrowavePanasonic$$$4.8
5Kenmore 0.9 cu. ft. Countertop MicrowaveKenmore$$4.6
6Panasonic NN-SN651B Black 1.2 Cu. Ft Countertop MicrowavePanasonic$$$4.8
7Danby 1.1 cu.ft. Countertop MicrowaveDanby$4.3
8Frigidaire FFCM0724LB 700-watt Countertop Microwave, 0.7 Cubic FeetFrigidaire$$4.5
9Sunbeam SGS90701B-B 0.7-Cubic FootSunbeam$4.2
10Oster OGB81101 1.1 Cubic Feet Microwave OvenOster$$4.6

Our Countertop Microwave Reviews

Westinghouse WCM660W 600W Counter Top Microwave Oven – Best Cheap Countertop Microwave

Sometimes, going back to basics is what works best. If you want a microwave that’s simple to use, doesn’t have a ton of confusing buttons and features, but also provides you with even heating and a simple design that looks good in your kitchen, this microwave from Westinghouse has what you’re looking for. With a 0.6 cubic foot capacity, it’s compact enough to fit on small countertops or in cramped dorm rooms. Don’t be fooled by its size, though. This microwave is ready to perform.

You can choose from six different power options and set a timer up to 30 minutes. Instead of buttons, two knobs make it easy to set your microwave for cooking. This microwave easily wipes clean, and the turntable is removable for a more thorough cleaning job.

Pros:

  • The simple design is easy to operate
  • It’s available in your choice of two colors
  • It heats quickly and evenly
  • Its compact size fits in almost any space
  • The price is very affordable

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have a clock
  • It doesn’t have any one-touch functions
  • The low wattage contributes to longer cook times

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Panasonic NN-SN773SAZ Stainless 1.6 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave – Best Countertop Microwave for the Money

Size and power are what stand out on this affordable countertop microwave. With 1.6 cubic feet and 1250 watts of power, you can rest easy knowing your food will cook evenly and quickly with every use. This model also uses Panasonic’s Inverter Technology that is the smarter way to cook. You don’t have to worry about burning the edges or overcooking your food. There’s also a Turbo Defrost option for fast defrosting of your frozen items.

There are many different features on this microwave, including a one-touch popcorn button, sensor cooking that takes the guesswork out of heating your food, and a warming option. This microwave is easy to program and use. It even has a child safety light that prevents the microwave from running when buttons are pushed.

Pros:

  • It has plenty of power for fast, even cooking
  • It is affordably priced
  • It is easy to use
  • It has several quick functions
  • It has sensor cooking technology
  • It is easy to clean
  • It is a great size for families

Cons:

  • Hinges may loosen over time, leading to a door misalignment
  • It is very large so it won’t work in smaller spaces
  • The plastic door feels cheap

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Breville BMO734XL Quick Touch Microwave Oven – Best Countertop Microwave Overall

This high-end microwave is the perfect addition to any modern kitchen. Gone is the traditional microwave touch pad and in its place are smooth stainless steel knobs and one-push buttons. A large LCD display shows the time when not in use, and it displays power level and cooking time while it’s running. The exterior is shiny, stylish stainless steel.

You won’t have to try to figure out how to reheat your leftovers or cook your meal with Sensor IQ Cook and Reheat buttons that cook and heat to perfection. Is your food not quite done yet? Push the “A Bit More” button for extra time. You can also adjust the power level and cooking time while the microwave is running. This top-of-the-line microwave even has a kitchen timer and a unit conversion option.

Pros:

  • It is very modern and stylish
  • It is a great size
  • It has plenty of power for even heating
  • The sensor options are convenient
  • It has a safety lock feature
  • It has easy to use buttons and knobs
  • It has a large LCD that displays a clock, timer, cook time, and power level
  • Settings can be adjusted while in use
  • It has hidden buttons inside for one-touch cooking

Cons:

  • It is loud when in use
  • It is more expensive than other microwaves on the market

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Our Top Rated Countertop Microwaves

 

Best Overall

Best For The Money 

Best Cheap 

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. A touch panel is on the front, and it has buttons that can be used to set the power level, as well as set the cook time. Countertop microwaves can heat anything from canned and frozen vegetables to soup, rice, pasta, and potatoes.

Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm (1–1.5 inches) of a homogeneous, high water content food item; food is more evenly heated throughout (except in heterogeneous, dense objects) than generally occurs in other cooking techniques.

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 microwave is great for defrosting; you no longer have to leave meat out on the countertop or in the fridge for long periods of time when you’re in a hurry.

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Microwave ovens are popular for reheating previously cooked foods and cooking a variety of foods. They are also useful for rapid heating of otherwise slowly prepared cooking items, such as hot butter, fats, and chocolate. Unlike conventional ovens, microwave ovens usually do not directly brown or caramelize food, since they rarely attain the necessary temperatures to produce Maillard reactions. Exceptions occur in rare cases where the oven is used to heat frying-oil and other very oily items (such as bacon), which attain far higher temperatures than that of boiling water.

Microwave ovens have a limited role in professional cooking, because the boiling-range temperatures produced in especially hydrous foods impede flavors produced by the higher temperatures of frying, browning, or baking. However, additional heat sources can be added to microwave ovens, or into combination microwave ovens, to produce these other heating effects, and microwave heating may cut the overall time needed to prepare such dishes. Some modern microwave ovens are part of over-the-range units with built-in extractor hoods

Many modern microwaves also have great style, so they enhance the décor of your kitchen. Microwaves are great for families, are easy enough to be used by children (when supervised), and are a college dorm room staple. Countertop microwaves require no installation, and once removed from the box, simply plug it into an electrical outlet and it’s ready for use immediately.

What Are The Different Types Of Microwaves?

There are three main types of countertop microwaves, and they are all distinguished by size. When selecting a microwave, it’s important to note how much counter space you have available so you select the right size.

  • Compact Microwaves – Compact microwaves are the smallest of the three types. These microwaves have a capacity of less than one cubic foot. Compact microwaves are best for small spaces, including cramped kitchens, apartments, office break rooms, and even dorm rooms.
  • Mid-Size Microwaves – These microwaves are larger than compact models, but still easily fit in most spaces. The capacity of a mid-size microwave is between 1.0 and 1.4 cubic feet.
  • Full-Size Microwaves – Full-size microwaves are the largest of the three. These have a capacity between 1.5 cubic feet or larger. These are ideal for larger kitchens, as well as for people who cook for large groups or a bigger family.


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. That is why it is important to become informed about the different features you may see while you’re shopping for your new small appliance. Before you begin your search, keep these considerations in mind to make a more informed purchase.

Size

As mentioned before, it’s important to evaluate the size of your available counter space before you make a purchase. The last thing you want to do is buy a microwave, unbox it, and discover that it is too large or small for your counter. Measure your space carefully and make sure you find out the dimensions for each product you are considering.

Finish

Many people like their microwaves to match their other appliances. This is why most countertop models are available in black, white, or stainless steel. If you want to add a fun pop of color to your kitchen, there are even models available in red, teal, and other bright colors.

Convection Oven

Why might you want a microwave that is also a convection oven? If you are in a space that does not have room a traditional oven, this allows you more freedom in your cooking. Additionally, if you often host holiday dinners, it gives you an extra spot for baking.

Energy Efficiency

In general, energy efficient microwaves will not make you eligible for a tax rebate. The primary reason for choosing an energy efficient model is because you are concerned about the environmental impact.

Buttons

In general, pre-set buttons are not a big deal. However, if you are trying to help a child gain more independence, they can be quite helpful. As for the child-lock buttons, your need for that is, of course, dependent on you having a small child in the house.

Sensors

Sensors can be very helpful, but what you need to ask yourself is if they are vital. In most cases, you will only need them if you plan to frequently cook large items that take a while to warm through and are difficult to check the temperature on.

Wattage

Look at the wattage specifications – power is important! A general rule of thumb is that a microwave with higher wattage cooks more quickly and evenly than one with lower wattage. Most microwaves use anywhere from 600 to 1,200 watts.

Price

Microwaves range in price from less than $100 to over $500. If you’re on a strict budget, you might want to stick with a smaller, more basic microwave. If you’re more concerned with style and performance than price, choose a model with all of the bells and whistles. It’s also important to note that all other considerations should be looked at before you use price as your deciding factor.

Conclusion

Whether you rely on it for your daily meals or you just need a convenient way to pop some popcorn, everyone needs a microwave.  However, there are thousands of options on the market, which makes it difficult for you as a consumer to navigate this decision.  But have no fear, this article is here to give you the information you need on the best countertop microwaves to make the right choice for you.

A microwave is a necessity for every home, whether you’re a master chef or you just want to heat your bowl of soup. It’s important to keep size, style, and convenience features in mind which is why the Breville Quick Touch is a top choice. Despite the higher price tag, this stylish microwave looks great while perfectly cooking your food.