Best Microwaves

Top 10 Rated Microwaves 2014

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As we looked at various countertop microwaves, several factors came into consideration. Ease of use is always important; many top-line models try to impress you with countless options, but they run the risk of overwhelming the user and being stuffed with frivolous “bells and whistles.” At the same time, a variety of options are favorable, giving the microwave versatility and usefulness in a wide range of settings. Other basic qualities we took into account while compiling this top 10 list include:
1. Size and appearance
2. Cooking time
3. Quality construction
4. Heating performance
With this list, you’ll find a selection of quality microwaves for any budget and your choice of unique features. If you know what features you need to suit your family’s cooking habits, making a smart purchase will be even easier. See the microwave comparison and ratings below with a link to the full review of each.

Colors: Black and White
2.2 cu. ft. capacity
1,200 watts
16″ glass turntable
13 11/16″ x 21 3/8″ x 24″

With intuitive, easy-to-navigate controls, this Frigidaire countertop model offers various cooking options with one-touch buttons. Frozen foods defrost quickly and easily. An LED screen clearly displays…read more

LG LMV1683  8.5/10

Color: Stainless Steel, White, Black
1.6 cu. ft. capacity
1,000 watts
12.5″ turntable
15.7″ x 29.9″ x 16.4″

I noticed the solid and top quality construction as one of the best features of this LG countertop microwave. While many other microwave have a flimsy swinging door…read more


Color: Black and White
1.4 cu. ft. capacity
1,100 watts
12.4″ glass turntable
12 3/8″ x 17 ¼” x 20 3/8″

A stylish design and low price, just $99.99, sets this Frigidaire counterpart microwave apart from competing models. The console is arranged in a clean, simple grid with the buttons accented. The door pops open easily…read more


Colors: Black, White, Stainless Steel
2.0 cu. ft. capacity
1,200 watts
16″ glass turntable
13 3/8″ x 24″ x 19 1/8″

At $349, the Frigidaire Gallery countertop microwave is a more expensive model that offers several convenient and smart cooking options. Available in black, white, or stainless steel, it will complement any kitchen décor…read more


Maytag MMV6180WB  8.5/10

Colors: Stainless Steel
1.8 cu. ft. capacity
1,100 watts
Rotating turntable
17.8″ x 29.5″ x 17.2″

As far as aesthetics go, this Maytag over-the-range microwave has a clean design that doesn’t demand all the attention in the kitchen. A more than generous capacity of 1.8 cubic feet…read more


Colors: Stainless Steel
1.1 cu. ft. capacity
1,100 watts
Sunken glass turntable
11.9″ H x 21.2″ W x 15.6″ D

This may be one of the smaller countertop microwaves on the list, but GE has provided plenty of durability and power with this one. It’s a small and boxy model, but 1,100 watts…read more


Colors: Black, White, Bisque, Stainless Steel
1.5 cu. ft. capacity
1,200 watts
Sunken glass turntable
12 1/2″ x 17 1/8″ x 21 7/8″

A stable, recessed glass turntable means more space in this Whirlpool countertop model. With a Maxwave cooking system, food heats up evenly and quickly. It’s a small and boxy model, but 1,200 watts…read more


Kenmore 6633  7.5/10

Color: Black
1.2 cu. ft. capacity
1,200 watts
Rotating turntable
20″ x 15″ x 25″

Available for $139 at Sears, the Kenmore 6633 is a popular choice for a mid-size countertop microwave. With 1.2 cu. ft. of space, it has an adequate cavity for holding dishes. A bold black finish makes…read more


LG LMV1680ST  8/10

Colors: Black, White, Stainless Steel
1.6 cu. ft. capacity
1,000 watts
12.7″ turntable
29 15/16″ x 15 5/8″ x 16 7/16″

Bright white lettering and colorful designs stand out starkly against the black console, making this LG over-the-range microwave a shiny, pretty model. The wide, deep … read more



 

Microwaves Buying Guide

How Your Microwave’s Wattage Affects Cooking

Visiting the appliance store, I found a wall of microwave ovens of all sizes and colors, countertop, combination, and over-the-range models. For someone looking for a new microwave, the wide spread of choices could be staggering. A helpful salesperson explained some of the key features to consider when buying a microwave. “I would pick any model that has at least 1,000 watts,” he said. Any microwave with less than 1,000 watts won’t have the heating power to justify the space it takes up.

The microwaves on display ranged from 600 to 1,200 watts, with most falling above the 1,000-watt mark. Surprisingly, even top-performing models with powerful cooking power are reasonably priced. The knowledgeable salesperson explained that microwaves in general have come down in price over the years; families can get quality models for reasonable prices. The fact that buying a microwave is not as big a financial investment as it once was is certainly good news. I decided to research more about microwave wattage and how it affects heating food.

How many watts a microwave has determines how long it takes to cook food. The higher the wattage, the faster food heats up. The instructions for microwaving food are usually geared toward a 800-watt microwave. If your microwave has 1,000 or more watts, you may need to adjust the cooking time to avoid burning or overheating your meals.

It’s also important to know the microwave wattage for food safety reasons. No one wants a cold, undercooked meal. Not only does it not taste as good, but it may contain harmful bacteria if not cooked and stored properly. You can typically find your microwave’s wattage in the instruction manual, inside the door, or on the back serial number label. If those methods fail, there’s a simple test you can use to estimate how many watts your microwave uses.

The time to boil test: Measure a cup of cold water in a clear glass and set it in the microwave on high for four minutes. Watch through the window to see when it starts to boil.

Boils In Wattage
Less than 2 minutes 1000 or more
2 ½ minutes 800 to 1000
3 minutes 650 to 700
3 minutes or more 300 to 500

For the best performance and efficiency, look for microwaves with at least 1,000 watts. Even a wattage of 800 is considered high, though. If you go any lower, you’ll be sacrificing time and performance for a few saved bucks: not worth it in the long run.

Brittany Rowland Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany

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