The 7 Best Microwaves to Buy in 2018

Shop the best microwaves from top brands like Panasonic, Amana, and more

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In the market for a new microwave? The available options can be overwhelming. Once you start shopping, there are a few factors to consider. Yes, you want a microwave that heats your food quickly and pops your popcorn evenly, but it’s also important to pay attention to the wattage of the unit you buy, along with the extra features, and, of course, how much space it will take up on your countertop or over your stove. The good news is that there is a perfect microwave out there for you.

Here are the...MORE seven best, most user-friendly microwaves on the market right now.

  • Panasonic NN-SN686S Countertop/Built-In Microwave with Inverter Technology, 1.2 cu. ft. , Stainless

    Best Overall: Panasonic NN-SN686S Countertop/Built-In Microwave

    Power, efficiency, a space saving design, and all for a reasonable price? It’s no wonder that this Panasonic model is our top pick. The midsize microwave fits on most countertops without taking up all your cooking space. Yet it is still large enough to fit a full-size dinner plate or a 9-inch square glass baking dish. It packs 1,200 watts of power, which is ideal for most households, and it comes with plenty of extras like an option to keep food warm, a sensor that adjusts both cooking time and...MORE power depending on the food and, of course, the ever-important popcorn button.

    It also comes with a feature Panasonic calls “Advanced Inverter Turbo Defrost” which will defrost foods more quickly than other models, a helpful feature when you forget to take the chicken breasts out of the freezer the night before. Finally, it wins points for its sleek stainless steel design—it’s a perfect fit in most modern kitchens.

  • Samsung MS11K3000AS 1.1 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven with Sensor and Ceramic Enamel Interior, Silver Sand

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung MS11K3000AS Countertop Microwave Oven

    A top seller in its category, here’s another microwave you might want to consider. What makes this one from Samsung great and noteworthy is all the features. Thanks to vapor-sensing technology, it can automatically adjust the cooking time based on how quickly the food is heating up in there. It’s also got an easy-to-clean ceramic enamel interior, so if you do happen to make a mess in there, you can effortlessly remove the grease or oil with a cloth. Three microwave distribution points help food...MORE cook more evenly and thoroughly.

    It’s a little bit bigger than our top pick in terms of dimensions and weight, but if you have room for it, perhaps it’s worth the money you’ll save since this one is less expensive. Customers love the modern look of it and say that it works great. It’s very user-friendly although one recommended keeping the instructions around when you first start using it to look up cooking settings for each dish. Overall, the majority of customers say they’d recommend it to others.

  • Westinghouse WCM660B 600 Watt Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven, 0.6 Cubic Feet, Black

    Best Budget: Westinghouse WCM660B 600 Watt Counter Top Microwave Oven

    Not only does the low price point make this model attractive, but the compact size makes it perfect for a college dorm room or first apartment. The dial controls are a bit of a throwback in place of the more modern buttons, but this 600-watt model has six different power levels—high, medium-high, medium, medium-low, defrost, and low. Simply choose the power level and cooking time—up to 30 minutes—and you're ready to go.

    Keep in mind that because the wattage on this microwave is half that of...MORE our top choice, it will take food a bit longer to warm your food, but if you’re heating up a bowl of soup or popping popcorn, the time shouldn’t be a huge difference. Once you get into defrosting meals it will take a little longer. That’s what makes this machine ideal for simple reheating or cooking for one.

    Finally, one last point in this model’s favor is how easy it is to clean. The turntable is fully removable and dishwasher safe, or easy to clean with soap and water, if you're using it in a dorm room.

  • Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB 1.1 Cubic Foot 1000-Watt Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel

    Runner Up, Best Budget: Farberware Classic Microwave Oven

    This 1.1 cubic foot microwave is a bargain with 1,000 watts of adjustable cooking power, multi-stage cooking options, express cooking for up to six minutes, and an easy way to add 30 seconds of cooking time. There are also one-touch buttons for popcorn, pizza, potatoes, frozen vegetables, beverages, or a dinner plate full of food. You can also defrost by time or food weight. It has digital controls, an LED display, a clock, and a timer.

    For safety, there’s a keypad lock, so youngsters won’t...MORE accidentally start it. The finish is stainless steel for a classic look.

    This is only 12 inches tall, so it fits easily under counters with space in front, but it can still accommodate large dinner plates or most standard baking dishes.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill

    Best Convection Model: Cuisinart Convection Microwave

    A convection microwave is the perfect combination of speed and versatility. And this model lets you combine the microwave and convection features in different ways to cook any number of dishes. It has presets for simple microwave and convection cooking along with grilling, roasting, and baking. It also has settings for common foods like popping popcorn or defrosting frozen vegetables.

    The microwave also comes with a grill rack and an easy to clean rotating tray. Plus the 1.2 cubic foot capacity...MORE means you can cook a lot in a small amount of time.

    One word of caution with this model, the exterior gets quite warm when you use the convection mode. So be careful touching the sides when removing your food. And it’s best to put it in a location that gets plenty of air flow to help it cool down more quickly.

  • Samsung MG14H3020CM 1.4 cu. ft. Countertop Grill Microwave Oven with Ceramic Enamel Interior, Black Mirror Finish

    Best High-End Microwave: Samsung Countertop Microwave Oven with Grill

    One of the biggest complaints about microwaves is that food never gets brown and crisp. This oven solves that problem with its grill feature that combines microwaving with a grilling element and a ceramic plate so food can crisp and brown while taking advantage of super-fast cooking.

    This has 10 power levels, a 1.4 cubic foot interior, and an LED display that’s easy to read, even from a distance. For an elegant look, this has a shiny mirror finish and an asymmetric shape.

    The interior has a...MORE ceramic enamel interior for easy cleaning, while also being scratch resistant. Auto-cook options make it easy to cook common foods without guesswork.

    This has a slightly lower wattage at 950 watts, but the additional cooking functions speed the cooking time, so it can be as fast, or faster than, microwaves that don’t have the additional features.

    While the mirror finish looks good, it means you can’t watch the food as it cooks. A slightly smaller version of this model with a windowed door is also available.

  • GE JVM3160DFBB 30" Over-the-Range Microwave Oven with 1.6 cu. ft. Capacity in Black

    Best Mountable: GE Over The Range Microwave Oven

    If you don’t want to use counter space for a large appliance, this 1,000-watt microwave oven is designed to mount above your range. It has a large, 1.6 cubic foot capacity so it can handle more food and larger containers. The vent system can be set to recirculate the air or vent to the outside.

    It has both auto and timed defrost options as well as buttons for popcorn, beverages, potatoes, and reheat so it’s easy to use for the most common foods.

    While this is made in the USA, the user manual can...MORE be confusing with regards to installation, as though it might have been translated. Professional help might be wise if you’re not familiar with similar installs.

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