The Best Microwaves to Upgrade Your Kitchen
Microwaves are a kitchen staple for reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen meals, and cooking raw vegetables. You can find microwaves that are built into the wall and open like a drawer, or over-the-range models that sit above your stovetop.
A good microwave will be efficient and easy to use, with features that fit your specific needs. Look for models with a smooth control panel and sleek touchpad, plus presets for popping popcorn, heating beverages, and more.
Panasonic Inverter Countertop Microwave
A microwave is a mainstay of most kitchens, whether it's on your countertop or nestled into an appliance cabinet. Panasonic's NN-SN936 offers top-tier performance for its price, with a spacious interior that defrosts and reheats food evenly. It uses an Inverter power unit, which converts direct current into alternating current for a more consistent flow of microwave energy.
In our tests, it was one of the most consistently powerful and quiet models we've tested. It also comes with an impressive 19 preset menu options, including sensor cooking, auto defrost, and fast-cook functions. Its sleek exterior and easy-to-clean interior make it a stylish addition to any home. A smudge-proof window and one-touch buttons add to its appeal. It also costs less than the most expensive model on this list. That makes it a great choice for a first apartment or someone who wants the basics.
Sharp SMC0912BS Countertop Microwave
This top-rated microwave is a good choice for anyone who wants a basic model with all the essential functions. It has a roomy interior that accommodates family-size meals and a sleek exterior with a smudge-proof finish. It also features child locks to prevent accidental use and shortcut keys to quickly cook common foods like frozen pizza or popcorn.
Other features that some buyers find useful are the ability to change the sound of the beeping that lets you know your food is ready and a pull-down door that makes it easier to open. Others like that this model is energy efficient, running at only 701 watts.
While this microwave does not have a turntable, some reviewers say it heats evenly without one. It is also easy to clean. Some users find the beeping sounds a bit noisy, but most can be easily muted.
LG HM6040U Countertop Microwave
This microwave is one of our top picks for its sleek design, large interior capacity, and reliable performance. It also comes with trim kits that allow you to install it as an over-the-range or built-in microwave.
In our tests, this model heated frozen burritos and popped popcorn quickly and evenly. It also earned high marks for its intuitive interface and variety of cooking functions, including sensor technology and convection baking.
Microwaves run the gamut from functional and pared-down to expensive with lots of extra bells and whistles. If you’re not sure what you need, this midsize microwave has a basic touchpad control and basic cooking settings, making it a smart choice for any kitchen. This countertop appliance is easy to install and fits a standard microwave hole. It also has a child-safety lock and bright interior light to help you keep an eye on your food.
Samsung SMART Countertop Microwave
While it doesn't have the fancy features of our top picks, this Samsung microwave is still a solid choice for anyone who wants to upgrade their kitchen. During our testing, it heated frozen burritos evenly and popped popcorn with minimal unpopped kernels. The interior was quick to clean from butter spatter, and the brushed stainless exterior is easy to wipe down for those who dislike fingerprints.
It also comes with a variety of pre-programmed settings, including an Auto Defrost setting that automatically adjusts power levels to ensure even defrosting. It's also equipped with Eco Mode, PowerGrill Duo functionality (turns your microwave into an air fryer), and a sleek mirrored finish.
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LG HM6540U Countertop Microwave
If you’re not a foodie and simply need a microwave for basic warming and reheating tasks, a pared-down model can save you some money. This Toshiba is one example: It offers a touchpad control panel with basic settings and a sleek, dark design that looks sophisticated in any kitchen. It even allows you to mute the loud beeps that let you know your meal is done.
Microwaves run the gamut of how precise they are (and expensive). But, according to Steph Chen, founder of Anyday Cookware, if you’re willing to wait a bit longer for your food to heat and you don’t want or need extra bells and whistles, you can find a good microwave for less than $200.
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Samsung SMART Countertop Microwave with Sensor Cooking
Microwaves come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different kitchen layouts. Some are designed to sit on a countertop while others are built into cabinetry or mounted above the stove. Others have features for grilling, steaming, and convection cooking.
Unless you're an advanced home cook, chances are you don't need a bunch of extra bells and whistles on your microwave. Those functions cost money and usually take up space on your appliance's control panel. For everyday use, you want a reliable, efficient model that will work when you need it. That's what we found in the understated Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Countertop Microwave, which earned top marks for heating frozen burritos, popping popcorn, and evenly reheating a potato. It also has a smart feature set that works with Alexa and a durable interior that's easy to wipe clean.
LG SMART Countertop Microwave with Convection Cooking
If you want to do more with your microwave than reheating frozen meals, consider a convection model. These can roast, bake, and crisp foods, transforming your microwave into a second oven. They are available in countertop, over-the-range, and built-in models, but you will likely pay a premium for the added functionality.
In our tests, this LG model was the best countertop microwave with convection cooking, and it comes with a few extra features that can make your kitchen more efficient. For instance, it can automatically add extra time to an order of pizza or use its auto-pizza setting to bake a crust that’s browned and crispy. You can also customize the settings to turn off beeps when your food is ready. That’s a nice touch if you have roommates or children who can be awakened by the sound of a microwave’s beep.
LG SMART Countertop Microwave with Sensor Defrost
This dependable microwave has the basics down pat and doesn’t cost as much as others with added functions like grilling, steaming, or convection cooking. It still packs in plenty of functionality, such as defrost settings and a 30-second button, but also features a sleek, easy-to-use interface that works well on either the keypad or smartphone app.
Unlike many of the other models we tested, this one doesn’t beep at the end of a cycle—a welcome feature for households with kids or roommates who don’t want to hear every time something finishes heating up. Plus, the smooth surface of the control panel wipes clean, avoiding unsightly smudges and spills. It’s also equipped with LG NeoChef’s innovative Hexagonal-shaped stabilizer ring that allows the turntable to rest on 6 wheels instead of 3, so it won’t tip over while reheating.
LG SMART Countertop Microwave with Sensor Cooking
This LG microwave offers a lot of features that make it stand out from the competition. For starters, it has a Hexagonal-shaped stabilizer ring that provides 6 wheels for the turntable to rest on instead of just 3 wheels, providing more support and ensuring that tall or heavy dishes don’t tip while cooking.
It also comes with Smart Inverter technology and humidity-sensing capability that lets you cook and defrost meals more evenly than conventional microwaves. It also comes with a convenient automatic shutoff feature that helps prevent overcooking or undercooking foods.
In terms of design, this LG microwave has a sleek, modern look that would complement any kitchen. Its smooth glass controls are designed with practicality in mind and wipe clean easily. This model also has a child lock and bright LED lighting. It can also handle a wide range of food ingredients and recipes.
LG SMART Countertop Microwave with Convection Cooking
The LG SMART Countertop Microwave with Convection Cooking offers all the benefits of a full-blown oven in a countertop appliance. It roasts, bakes, and grills with microwave power and has 22 recipe presets to get your meals started.
This midsize microwave is perfect for a family kitchen and comes with all the basics like different power levels and a sensor for even heating. It also looks sleek and fits on the counter with ease.
It's a little louder while reheating and didn’t melt chocolate chips as well as the best models in our tests, but it offers glass controls instead of the touchpad and has a quiet mode to avoid the beeps that interrupt your cooking. It also has a slim design, making it easy to clean. It’s also available in a stainless steel finish that fits modern kitchen designs.
Upgrading your kitchen with a high-quality microwave can make daily tasks faster and easier. By considering factors such as wattage, size, and features, you can find the perfect microwave to fit your needs. Whether you're looking for a simple model or a more advanced option, investing in a reliable microwave can enhance your cooking experience and add convenience to your daily routine.