Guide for the best microwave for your needs

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BEST VALUE
Whirlpool 30 in. W 1.9 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel...

The Whirlpool 1.9 over the range microwave features heavily in this review because it’s a fantastic appliance across the board. The dual-layer cooking rack complements its enormous capacity, and while the 1000 Watts might seem a little low, it doesn’t affect the performance.

Sensor cooking, a non-stick interior, and nine presets give this Whirlpool appliance incredible versatility. Though one downside to this microwave is it’s challenging to install.

BEST OVERALL
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On-Off,...

Toshiba’s EM131A5C-BS is a powerful and versatile microwave with all the hallmarks of the brand’s quality. The black stainless steel exterior is both sleek and stylish, which betrays its incredibly low price point.

The ‘Eco-mode’ is environmentally friendly and helps cut down on energy consumption, while sensor cooking technology stops food from being over-cooked. Tough there is a handy ‘auto-defrost’ function, it’s a little sketchy and will take some getting used to.

There is no ‘One Size Fits All’ approach when it comes to microwaves (or any small kitchen appliance); we’re all different people with different needs. 

After spending hundreds of hours researching and reviewing more than 50 microwaves for KitchenFold, we’ve compiled a definitive list of ‘best’ appliances to cover every possible eventuality.

No matter what your budget is, how much space you have (or need), what you want to use your microwave for, or if you want something pretty to compliment your new kitchen, we’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to.

Best microwaves by price

The price points of microwaves are wide and varied, depending on their size, type, quality, and features. It’s possible to buy the most basic appliance for around $60, while premium feature-packed high-end microwaves can stretch to well over $1500.

The best value for money can usually be found in appliances with mid-range price points.  These microwaves generally have a selection of essential features, sport a decent capacity and build quality, there are products for all budget ranges if you’re willing to make some concessions.

Establishing your budget will instantly narrow the selection of microwaves you can choose from. So, here are some of the best appliances at budget, mid-range, and premium price points.

Best Budget Microwaves

Toshiba 1.2 Countertop Microwave (EM131A5C-BS)

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On-Off,...

At under $150, this Toshiba countertop microwave is one of the best appliances in its price range on the market. It has an excellent selection of one-touch presets that accompanies the superior build quality. This microwave also has sensor cooking, a fantastic ‘auto defrost’ function, and an ‘eco-mode’ that’s environmentally friendly and will save you money on your energy bills.

Galanz 0.7 Retro Microwave (GLCMKA07RDR-07)

Sale 25%
Galanz GLCMKA07RDR-07 Microwave Oven, LED Lighting, Pull Handle Design, Child Lock,Retro Red, 0.7...

The Galanz 0.7 Retro microwave is the most affordable, functional appliance on the market and perfect for folks on a tight budget. While it’s small, not very powerful, and funny looking, this microwave is easy on your wallet, won’t take up much space, and can perform small tasks adequately.

Magic Chef 1.6 Over-the-Range Microwave (MCO165UB)

1.6 cf Over the Range Microwave-MCO165UB

There was a time when buying an over the range microwave for under $200 was unthinkable until Magic Chef paved the way. Yes, it is a basic model, and the exhaust fan is a little loud, but for this incredibly low price point, you get a reliable microwave that’s easy to install, looks great and will save tons of kitchen space.

Best Mid-range Microwaves

Panasonic 2.2 Countertop/Built-In Microwave (NN-SN966S)

Sale 17%
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and...

The Panasonic 2.2 microwave has a little bit of everything for a very reasonable price point. Enormous capacity, substantial power output, turbo-defrost, genius sensor, and inverter technology for an excellent performance. Additionally, you can buy a trim kit that transforms the microwave from a countertop appliance into a built-in microwave.

Whirlpool 1.9 Over the Range Microwave (WMH32519HZ)

Whirlpool 30 in. W 1.9 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel...

The Whirlpool 1.9 over the range microwave has a cavernous capacity that is further extended via an internal shelf. It looks great, is easy to clean, and is one of the best performing, most highly-rated products on the market. This isn’t the last time you’ll read about this appliance in this review.

Frigidaire 2.2 Built-In Microwave (FGMO226NUF)

FRIGIDAIRE Built-in Microwave Oven, 2.2, Stainless Steel

The Frigidaire built-in microwave is not only one of the most affordable appliances in this genre, but it also has the most substantial capacity, making it a superb choice for large families. While it does have limited features (which is understandable considering the price point), sensor cooking and massive power output ensure this microwave is a top performer.

Best Premium Microwaves

Panasonic Home Chef Convection Microwave (NN-CD87KS)

Panasonic NN-CD87KS Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer, Convection Bake, FlashXpress...

This premium-quality appliance is one of the most expensive countertop microwaves on the market, with good reason. Very few microwaves have this much versatility and can cook, bake, roast, and air fry. It essentially makes all other kitchen appliances redundant.

Bosch 800 Series 1.2 Built-In Drawer Microwave (HMD8451UC)

Bosch HMD8451UC 800 24" Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer

The Bosch 800 Series is a super stylish drawer microwave that oozes quality. The drawer function is silky smooth (if not a little slow), and the control panel is sleek and responsive. A lack of a turntable can cause uneven cooking on larger items, but this is commonplace among drawer microwaves.

GE Profile 1.7 Built-In Microwave (PWB7030ELES)

GE PWB7030ELES Microwave Oven

The most expensive appliance on our list is, unsurprisingly, one of the finest products on the market and will feature in more than one category thanks to its immense power, good-sized capacity, and a massive amount of features. It’s a good looking microwave, too.

Best microwaves by size

One of the primary things you must consider before buying a new microwave is ‘how big a microwave do I need?’. That depends on two things; how much kitchen space do you have? And what are you going to use it for?

Best Small Microwaves

Small microwaves are generally lower-powered and more suited to simple tasks such as reheating dinner plates, warming cups of coffee, or defrosting small items. Their compact internal capacities are suitable for heating travel mugs, tv dinners, and small 10-inch dinner plates. These types of appliances are usually much more affordable than larger devices.

LG NeoChef Countertop 0.9 Microwave (LMC0975ST)

LG NeoChef 0.9 Cu. Ft. 1000W Countertop Microwave in Stainless Steel

This compact LG microwave has a tiny footprint, which is ideal for space-saving in smaller kitchens. Despite its small stature, it’s packed full of useful features for everyday tasks and perfectly cooked food.

Toshiba 1.2 Countertop Microwave (EM131A5C-BS)

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On-Off,...

Toshiba has crammed a whole bunch of features into this compact 1.2 cu.ft microwave; it has a superb build quality and is one of the most powerful small capacity microwaves on the market.

Best Large Microwaves

On the other hand, large microwaves tend to have much higher power outputs and are geared towards actual cooking tasks. In some cases, these massive products have room inside for cooking, baking, and roasting entire joints of meat on almost any type of microwavable container imaginable. Of course, you can expect to pay more for this style of microwave.

KitchenAid 1.9 Over-the-Range Microwave (KMHC319ESS)

Kitchen Aid KMHC319ESS 1.9 Cu. Ft. 1000W Stainless Over-The-Range Microwave

KitchenAid has made it possible to own a microwave with a substantial capacity that doesn’t take up all your counter space with their over the range model. It also includes a dual-layer rack to increase the already large cooking space further.

Panasonic 2.2 Countertop/Built-In Microwave (NN-SN966S)

Sale 17%
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and...

This microwave has one of the largest capacities on the market. It has an excellent ‘turbo-defrost’ feature, which is aided by the 1250 Watts of power. An additional trim kit can transform this microwave from a ‘countertop’ appliance to ‘built-in’.

Best Mid-sized Microwaves

Or, you can split the difference, and land somewhere in the middle and buy a microwave with a mid-sized cooking capacity that has the ability to house a 13-inch dinner plate. This makes mid-sized microwaves extremely popular among consumers.

GE Profile 1.7 Built-In Microwave (PWB7030ELES)

GE PWB7030ELES Microwave Oven

The 1.7 cu.ft capacity of this GE microwave is the only thing about this appliance that is ‘middle of the road’. This extravagant, powerful and beautiful built-in microwave will meet your capacity needs while exceeding all your other expectations.

Toshiba 1.6 Countertop Microwave (B071WCB1T6)

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On-Off,...

Toshiba’s 1.6 microwave hits all the right notes in terms of its average capacity, appearance, and cooking capabilities. This microwave is not just affordable; it’s energy-efficient, too, so you’ll save money when you’re using it.

Best microwaves by features

Technology has advanced a long way since the microwave was first introduced. There’s been a meteoric rise in features on small kitchen appliances to increase their versatility with that advancement.

Some of the most popular microwave features include:

  • Pre-programmed Settings: Simple, one-touch buttons that set your microwave’s power and time levels based on specific food such as popcorn, frozen vegetables, and pizza.
  • Sensor Cooking: Special sensors detect your food’s humidity levels and adjust your microwave’s power and time to ensure your food is perfectly cooked.
  • Convection Microwaves: While standard microwave ovens will heat foods to adequate levels, microwaves with convection capabilities can cook, bake, and roast foods as you would in a traditional oven.
  • Turbo-Defrost: A super-fast defrost function that can be up to 50% quicker than standard models.
  • Multi-Level Microwaves: Models with dual-level cooking (whether via shelves or removable rack) effectively double the appliances cooking capacity and allow you to cook different types of food simultaneously.
  • ‘Keep Warm’: Once your food has finished cooking, the appliance will keep it warm until you’re ready to eat.
  • Air Fryers: Built-in air fryers give microwaves a healthier way to cook foods without the use of fats and oils.
  • Steam Cooking: This feature allows you to quickly and effectively steam your vegetables.
  • Safety Features: Some appliances come equipped with additional safety features such as child-locks and panel deactivation to prevent accidental use.
  • Personal Preference Features: Many different features don’t affect how a microwave performs but are a nice touch for the consumers. Some examples are a mute function to turn off annoying notification beeps, a ‘Night-light’ which dims the LEDs in dark settings, volume control, and ‘add 30 seconds’.

Here are some of the best feature-heavy microwaves on the market.

Panasonic Home Chef Convection Microwave (NN-CD87KS)

Panasonic NN-CD87KS Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer, Convection Bake, FlashXpress...

This countertop microwave from Panasonic almost completely removes the need for any other cooking appliance in your kitchen. With the ability to microwave, convection bake, broil, and air fry, it’s one of the most comprehensive machines on the market. It also has a ‘genius sensor’ to ensure your food isn’t overcooked and a turbo-defrost setting for those last-minute jobs.

Whirlpool 1.9 Over the Range Microwave (WMH32519HZ)

Whirlpool 30 in. W 1.9 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel...

The Whirlpool 1.9 over the range microwave is a substantial appliance and is one of the best performing devices on our list thanks to its extensive features. Nine pre-programmed settings and dual-layer cooking give this microwave tremendous versatility, while the sensor cooking ensures perfect results. It’s one of the few microwaves with a non-stick interior that make it incredibly straightforward to clean.

Sharp 1.1 Over-the-Range Convection Microwave (R1874T)

Sale 28%
Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave, 1.1 Cubic Feet, Stainless Steel

Sharp’s 1.1 microwave is crammed full of features to complement its space-saving over the range design. With a massive 25 pre-programmed settings, this appliance covers all the bases, while a four-way convection system, smart sensor, and easy sensor will ensure all your food is evenly cooked. A ceramic turntable, multi-level rack, and built-in exhaust system round out this comprehensive set of features.

GE Profile 1.7 Built-In Microwave (PWB7030ELES)

GE PWB7030ELES Microwave Oven

This is the second time this appliance has featured so far, thanks to its impressive array of features. The GE Profile 1.7 has an excellent selection of presets, convection cooking, save custom settings for your favorite recipes, steam cooking capabilities, warm/proofing, and a dual-layer cooking rack to go along with its enormous cooking space and power.

Of course, not everyone is in the market for a microwave that’s full of complex and confusing features and would instead prefer a basic appliance that’s easy to use and gets the job done. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Magic Chef 1.6 Countertop Stainless Steel Microwave (MCM1611ST)

Magic Chef MCM1611ST 1100W Oven, 1.6 cu.ft, Stainless Steel Microwave

Magic Chef’s microwave has a decent size capacity, an impressive power output, and is relatively friendly on your bank balance. It only has features that are standard on most microwaves, such as six presets, ‘add 30 seconds’, and a safety lock. This microwave focuses on performance and is incredibly straightforward to use.

Best microwaves by design

While the appearance of your microwave will not increase its performance or versatility, it’s nice to have a good-looking appliance sat in your kitchen. It’s possible you’ll be looking at it for many years to come, so you may as well choose one that’s easy on the eye.

There are many different styles from which you can choose, including retro, contemporary, digital, and analog. Countertop, over-the-range, and built-in appliances all offer a different aesthetic too.

Of course, appearance is subjective, so here are the best-looking microwaves in our opinion.

Best design countertop microwaves

Nostalgia 0.9 Retro Countertop Microwave (RMO4AQ)

Sale 24%
Nostalgia RMO4AQ Retro Large 0.9 Cu Ft, 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven 12 Pre-Programmed Cookin,...

This retro-style microwave looks like it came right out of a 1950s diner. It’s available in five striking colors, all of which are stunning when coupled with the silver trim. While the microwave has a digital display, the analog dial is a lovely touch. Sure, it’s not the best microwave in the world, but the price point is reasonable.

LG NeoChef Countertop 0.9 Microwave (LMC0975ST)

LG NeoChef 0.9 Cu. Ft. 1000W Countertop Microwave in Stainless Steel

LG’s NeoChef microwave has a unique exterior that is unlike any other appliance. The sleek stainless steel door spans the entire width of the machine, which conceals the control panel behind it, giving it the appearance of a wider microwave, despite its compact nature. An internal LED illuminates the appliance beautifully.

Best design over-the-range microwaves

Whirlpool 1.1 Over the Range Microwave (WML55011HS)

Whirlpool WML55011HS 1.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

The Whirlpool 1.1 over the range microwave is possibly one of the best looking appliances on the market. It has a ‘low profile’ design while being ultra-wide, giving it a very distinctive appearance. The pale blue LCD and embossed Whirlpool logo only further the pleasing aesthetic.

Whirlpool 1.9 Over the Range Microwave (WMH32519HZ)

Whirlpool 30 in. W 1.9 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel...

The second Whirlpool microwave to feature in this category has a more traditional appearance, but the quality speaks for itself. The stainless steel exterior is made from high-end materials, and the chunky, curvaceous handle gives it a solid, well-built look. The control panel is beautifully laid out, making it easy to use. It’s no surprise this gorgeous microwave is one of the best over the range microwaves you can buy.

Best design built-in microwaves

Sharp 1.2 Drawer Microwave (SMD2470ASY)

Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven, 24-Inch 1.2 Cu. Feet, Stainless Steel

The Sharp 1.2 microwave not only has the sleek drawer-style appearance that many consumers find so appealing, but it also has a concealed control panel, which is one of our favorite features on any small kitchen appliance. The rotating panel folds away when you’re not using it and spins out to a convenient 45-degree angle when it’s time to cook.

Bosch 800 Series 1.2 Built-In Drawer Microwave (HMD8451UC)

Bosch HMD8451UC 800 24" Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer

They say ‘you get what you pay for’, and this super expensive Bosch built-in microwave is not only a superb appliance, it’s also absolutely gorgeous. The low profile design screams premium quality. The stainless steel finish is high-end, while the microwave window is fashioned from smooth, toughened glass, and the control panel is minimalistic yet classy.

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