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Best Microwaves

Top 10 Rated Microwaves 2024


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.

2.2 cu. ft.
14” H x 23 7/8” W x 19 15/16” D
1250 watts
Stainless steel

As soon as we tested the Panasonic NN-SD972S’s cooking power, we were impressed by how quietly this model ran. The spin dial is something different but is easy to get used to… read more

GE JES2051DNBB  9.5/10

2.0 cu. ft.
13.75” H x 19.50” D x 24.12” W
1200 watts

If you appreciate having a large countertop microwave that can hold large casseroles and make cooking dinner easy, then you’ll probably find the GE JES2051DNBB a perfect fit. This 2.0-cubic-foot microwave has an array of convenient features… read more

1.6 cu. ft.
1250 watts
Stainless steel
22 in. W x 19-1/2 in. D x 12 in. H

One thing that especially impressed us with the Panasonic NN-SN752S was that, while it has a generous 1.6 cubic foot capacity, it is still compact enough not to take up too much counter space. And the cooking performance of this model… read more

1.4 cu. ft.
Stainless steel
950 watts
18.1 x 21.9 x 12.3 inches

Guaranteed to lend a modern edge to a kitchen with its sleek, asymmetrical design, the Samsung MG14H3020CM impresses not only with its design but its grilling element that makes it possible to grill foods like pizza so that they stay crispy… read more

1.6 cu. ft.
1200 watts
Stainless steel
13” H x 17.25” D x 21.75” W

The sensor heating is one of the nicest features of the Whirlpool WMC30516AS, as it eliminates the guesswork involved in heating up food the appropriate level. This model has 10 cooking levels, which makes it easy to boil… read more

0.9 cu. ft.
800 watts
Glass turntable
Interior dimensions 12.5 in. L x 11.5 in. W x 8 in. H

If you’re tired of the plain black, white, or stainless steel appliances, you’ll likely love this retro Nostalgia Electrics RMO400RED microwave, which has a cheery red color, chrome accents, and oval window… read more

0.7 cu. ft.
700 watts
10.19” H x 14.25” D x 17.31” W
Glass turntable

Perfect for college students and apartment dwellers, the Danby DMW077BLSDD has a small footprint but doesn’t sacrifice on quality of design or performance. Although you’ll probably use it mainly… 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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Comfort food is a necessity when the cold winter months hit. What kind of food is that exactly? We turn to stews, roasts, soups, and chili. Crock pots and slow cookers make preparing these types of dishes more than easy. All you’ve got to do is put the indredients… [more]

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