The 10 Best Microwaves

Updated December 07, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Microwaves
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Never trust anyone who doesn't own a microwave." OK, that might not be true, but the fact is these little appliances are some of the most convenient devices in the world. Below, you'll find affordable selections perfect for warming up leftovers, nuking a bag of popcorn, or heating a cup of tea — and many of them won't monopolize your counter space, either. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best microwafe on Amazon.

10. Nostalgia RMO770RED

The Nostalgia RMO770RED boasts a retro 1950s-inspired design with all the modern conveniences. It has raised chrome buttons and a large knob to set the timer, making it great for older or visually-impaired users, as they can easily find the controls they need.
  • fits nicely under most cabinets
  • not good for long cooking times
  • interior can't hold large plates
Brand Nostalgia
Model RMO770RED
Weight 26.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Breville BMO734XL

The futuristic-looking Breville BMO734XL takes the guesswork out of cooking with its innovative Sensor IQ technology, which detects humidity in the chamber and adjusts the heating time accordingly. You can also set the timer manually, if you prefer.
  • can add cooking time while in use
  • excellent for melting ingredients
  • very dark inside
Brand Breville
Model BMO734XL
Weight 43.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Westinghouse WCM660W

The Westinghouse WCM660W has basic rotary controls, so if you can't be bothered to fuss with dozens of buttons, this is an excellent choice. There's no digital display, so you'll have to pay attention to it, but that means there's no clock to reset when the power goes out.
  • good for use in rvs or campers
  • doesn't use a lot of electricity
  • door is hard to open
Brand Westinghouse
Model WCM660W
Weight 24.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Whirlpool Look

While it may look like an old, disemboweled TV set, the Whirlpool Look is actually a pretty awesome microwave. It's small enough to fit in just about any space, and there's no handle to break. The lack of numbers takes some getting used to, though.
  • has a unique appearance
  • fits snugly into corners
  • front panel scratches easily
Brand Whirlpool
Model WMC20005YD
Weight 32.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Farberware Classic

If you're particular about your nuking process, the Farberware Classic has 10 different power levels. It also comes with a removable glass turntable and has a keypad lock to prevent unsupervised use by small children (or dieting spouses).
  • inside is easy to clean
  • 6 express-cooking settings
  • loud enough to wake the dead
Brand Farberware
Weight 34.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Hamilton Beach

This offering from Hamilton Beach is perfect for those who only use their microwaves occasionally. At 700 watts, it's not as powerful as some other options, but it's small, easy to use, and fantastic for reheating leftovers or a cup of coffee.
  • comes in bright red or classic white
  • good for studio apartments
  • not ideal for making popcorn
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model EM720CGA-PMB
Weight 24.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Panasonic NN-SN736B

While most microwaves weigh about as much as your standard cannonball, the Panasonic NN-SN736B is light and easy to move around, and it won't collapse a small shelf if you keep it somewhere other than your kitchen counter. Even so, there's plenty of space inside.
  • wonderful turbo defrost
  • intuitive controls
  • beeper is relatively quiet
Brand Panasonic
Model NN-SN736B
Weight 35.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Panasonic NE-1025F

It won't win any awards for style and there are no bells or whistles, but if your only concern is how it cooks, the Panasonic NE-1025F is an excellent choice. It has a simple dial on the face and that's it — and that's all you really need.
  • heats food quickly
  • good for older users
  • perfect for the office
Brand Panasonic
Model NE-1025F
Weight 39.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Magic Chef

If you don't want the neighbors to know that you're eating Hot Pockets for the 9th meal in a row, this Magic Chef is one of the quietest appliances you'll find. There's plenty of room inside as well, so you'll be prepared if they invite themselves over.
  • handle instead of push-button opener
  • user manual is very helpful
  • nifty additional 30 seconds button
Brand Magic Chef
Model HMM1611ST
Weight 41.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. HomeLabs Countertop

The HomeLabs Countertop has special settings for certain foods, like popcorn, but it's fantastic for just about any dish you might be craving. It looks sleek and elegant on your counter, but more importantly, it won't leave frozen spots in the middle of your pizza.
  • small footprint
  • excellent for dorm rooms
  • can hold a regular-sized plate
Brand hOmeLabs
Model HME010002N
Weight 38 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Heat Waves

There's a lot of technology we take for granted in this world. The lights come on because you flip a switch. The car starts when you turn the key in the ignition, and it goes when you apply the gas, stops when you hit the brakes. As long as these things all function the way they should, we don't have a lot of impetus to figure out what's going on behind the scenes.

I have a lot of friends in the health foods industry. These are the people you meet who only drink alkaline water, who eat a mostly raw diet, who don't drink coffee, etc. They all swear that microwaves are inherently dangerous, evil machines. Whenever they say this, though, I like to ask them why they think microwaves are so dangerous. It's usually at this point that I find out they don't know how microwaves work, and once I tell them, they see just how safe these machines are when used properly.

A microwave isn't any more dangerous than your cell phone. If you break your phone open and consume the cadmium inside, you might see some adverse effect. Likewise, if you rig a microwave up to run with the door open, and you stand staring into it while it runs, you'll probably encounter a problem or two. Beyond those ridiculous examples, you're perfectly safe.

That's because microwaves don't produce dangerous amounts of radiation that'll poison you. They won't even produce enough radiation to harm you from half-way across a small room. What they do produce is a very short wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, the same kind of radio waves that power your FM and AM stations. It just so happens that wavelengths of energy in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum have a ton of energy in them.

Those waves pass through foodstuffs the same way that light passes through a thick, colored pane of glass. A lot of the energy fails to make it all the way through the food, mainly because it transfers that energy to the molecules of the grub, causing them to vibrate. The faster the molecules vibrate, the hotter the substance.

The moment the microwave turns off, any residual waves lose their energy either in the food or from bouncing off the reflective metal insides of the microwave. This is a near-instantaneous energy loss, so even if you pull open the microwave doors mid-cook, the unit immediately shuts down, and you're perfectly safe.

Micromanaging Your Space

Kitchen real estate is some of the most valuable space in the home, and any appliance that's intended to live on your counter top had better be deserving. I've seen some pretty useless items given a permanent home on the counters of friends and family, only to slowly make the transition from the counter to the cupboard, from the cupboard to the closet, the closet to the garage, and finally from the garage to the garage sale.

The usefulness of a microwave is unquestionable, but that doesn't mean it'll be easy for you to find the perfect spot for it. That's why it's crucial for you to take stock of the dimensions of each microwave on our top ten list. You probably want the highest capacity you can get your hands on, so find out what that is in a size that'll fit somewhere sensible in your kitchen.

Once you've found a couple models that fit, you can compare their features. Today's microwaves all have pretty good programmed settings, as well as kitchen timers, clocks, and express heating functions. On that last note, check to see if the express heating function is a 30 second or one minute auto-cook.

When it comes to microwaves, the fewer buttons you have to push, the better, so if you know what you cook the most you can look for those specific programmed settings, or for the express time interval that suits your style the best.

Speaking of style, the last thing you'll want to consider, which you can integrate into the first point in this section, is the look of the microwave. For example, if everything in your kitchen is stainless steel, a white microwave might stick out like a sore thumb. Try to find a unit that looks as nice as it works, and you'll be more than pleased with your selection.

Melts In Your Pocket

The main element in a microwave, the thing that actually converts the electrical energy into a specific electromagnetic wavelength, is called a magnetron. Technicians and scientists originally employed them in radar technology until one such scientist, a man by the name of Percy Spenser, showed up to work with a chocolate bar in his pocket.

When he fired up the magnetron in his lab, it almost immediately melted the bar he'd brought as a sweet little snack for himself. The discovery led him to eventually patent a "Method of Treating Foodstuffs" in the early 1950s. These early microwave ovens were enormous and expensive, but like all such technology, the competitive marketplace finds ways to make things smaller, faster, and less expensive.

In the 1970s, the microwave really took off, and it has since become a mainstay across the industrialized world. Between 2006 and 20016, sales of microwave ovens dipped below 10 million per year only in the depths of the recession, never dropping below 9 million each year and peaking at nearly 14 million in 2006. I guess you could say that sales are really cooking.

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Last updated on December 07, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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