Best microwaves for every type of kitchen

Microwaves

Though the microwave became a household staple in the late 1970s, the first home-use model had been invented years earlier, in 1955.

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Which microwaves are best for your kitchen?

No modern kitchen is complete without a trusty microwave. These convenient appliances are great for cooking, thawing, and reheating a wide variety of food and drinks. Whether you’re looking for a compact microwave that will save space in a small apartment or a built-in microwave that can enhance the design of a larger kitchen, there is bound to be a model that suits your specific lifestyle and cooking requirements. 

From power and wattage to price and size, you should consider several factors when deciding on the best microwave brand for your home. 

Features to look for when buying a microwave 

Style

Modern microwaves come in various styles and appearances that can add to the aesthetics of your kitchen. 

Countertop microwaves act as standalone appliances and are available in compact and larger sizes, making them great for any type of kitchen. 

Built-in microwaves are meant to fit into your existing cabinet space conveniently or can even be installed as a pull-out drawer, allowing them to blend with the overall style of your home, freeing up counter space. 

Over-the-range options also utilize a built-in design and are installed over your stove. Though they operate the same as standard countertop models, they also feature a ventilation system that acts as an exhaust hood while you’re cooking. 

Power

A microwave’s power is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the more powerful your microwave. Most microwaves will fall somewhere from 600-1500 watts. Depending on what you intend to cook, you’ll want to choose a microwave with enough power to get the job done. 

Size

Size is a crucial factor in choosing the best microwave for your space. The interior of compact models can measure as small as 0.5 cubic feet, while large models can range over 2 cubic feet. Everyone’s kitchen is different, so measuring your space beforehand can help you narrow down your options. 

Cooking method 

You can opt for either a standard microwave, a grill microwave or a convection microwave, with each style sporting its own benefits. 

A standard microwave, also known as a solo microwave, is great for reheating, defrosting and cooking frozen foods. 

Grill microwaves take it a step further and can grill food traditionally cooked on a stovetop, including certain meats and fish. 

Convection microwaves can not only reheat, defrost and grill, but can actually bake and roast several types of food as well, making them a great multi-purpose option. 

Controls 

Some basic microwave models will feature simple controls and minimal preset options. This can be useful if you don’t plan on using your microwave regularly. Other more advanced models will feature various preset modes, timers, sensors, smart controls and other convenient features. 

Top microwaves for your kitchen in 2021

Best countertop microwaves

Toshiba Microwave with Smart Sensor

Toshiba Microwave with Smart Sensor

A stylish mid-sized countertop microwave, this Toshiba model is available in both 1.2 and 1.3 cubic feet. This best-selling option is a great value featuring a smart sensor, energy-saving eco mode and even a child safety lock.

Sold by Amazon 

Amazon Basics Microwave

Amazon Basics Microwave

One of the best countertop microwaves for 2021, this 700-watt compact model sports 0.7 cubic feet of internal cooking space. Compatible with Alexa, you can take advantage of preset voice commands and other easy-to-use controls.

Sold by Amazon

Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter

Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter

With the efficient cyclonic inverter technology, your food will cook quickly and evenly. The Sensor Cook option allows you to reheat with precision, and though it has a sizeable 2.2-cubic foot interior, it manages to take up minimal counter space in tighter kitchens.

Sold by Amazon 

BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven

BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven

You’ll have the ability to choose between four distinct size and power options, ranging from 0.7 cubic feet with 700 watts of power to 1.4 cubic feet with 1000 watts. Designed with 10 power settings and an express cook option, you can achieve the ideal conditions for your snack or meal.

Sold by Amazon

Nostalgia Retro Microwave

Nostalgia Retro Microwave

For those who prefer a retro style over a modern design, this unique option is one of the best small microwaves available, adding a vintage touch to your kitchen. Though the controls may look basic, it still features 12 pre-programmed heating functions and 800 watts of power.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Best built-in microwaves

KitchenAid Built-in Microwave

KitchenAid Built-in Microwave

Anyone looking for a powerful microwave that also includes a convection feature should consider this KitchenAid model. The price may be high, but the quality construction, touch screen controls and 1600 watts make it a worthwhile investment.

Sold by Home Depot 

Sharp Microwave Drawer

Sharp Microwave Drawer

This pull-out drawer-style microwave will save space on your countertop and make for easy cleanup. The auto-touch feature lets you automatically open or close the drawer when you find yourself without a free hand.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Frigidaire Gallery Built-in Microwave

Frigidaire Gallery Built-in Microwave

Designed to blend in with your kitchen decor, the smudge-proof stainless steel will remain sleek and clean. This built-in microwave includes more than 30 settings, so you can tackle various cooking and reheating situations.

Sold by Home Depot 

Frigidaire Stainless Steel Built-in Microwave

Frigidaire Stainless Steel Built-in Microwave

Those in need of a large microwave will appreciate the 2.2 cubic feet included in this streamlined Frigidaire microwave. You also won’t have to stress about overheating your food, as the built-in sensors will help prevent any mishaps.

Sold by Home Depot 

RecPro Built-in RV Microwave

RecPro Built-in RV Microwave

RV owners who hope to cook on the go can benefit from this 900-watt built-in microwave designed for camper kitchens and recreational vehicles. The LED display, eight express cook settings and 0.95 cubic feet of space offer traditional microwave properties for a nomadic lifestyle.

Sold by Amazon 

Best over-the-range microwaves

GE 1.6 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

GE 1.6 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

The air ventilation system helps improve air quality while cooking, and the nonstick interior makes cleanup a breeze, even after messy meals. You’ll also receive 1.6 cubic feet of space and 1000 watts of power.

Sold by Home Depot 

Samsung 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

Samsung 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

Seeing as you’ll be using this large capacity microwave above your cooktop, the built-in lighting options are ideal for adding more visibility to your counter and stove. There is even a grease filtration system to minimize residue.

Sold by Home Depot 

LG Electronics 2.0 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

LG Electronics 2.0 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave

By utilizing this LG model’s bi-level cooking racks, you can cook and defrost multiple items simultaneously. Pair that with a surprisingly quiet ventilation fan, and you’ll quickly appreciate this high-quality option.

Sold by Home Depot 

Whirlpool 1.1 Cubic Feet Low Profile Over-the-Range Microwave

Whirlpool 1.1 Cubic Feet Low Profile Over-the-Range Microwave

While this style may not be for everyone, the slim, low-profile build has a sleek appearance and space-saving design great for all types of kitchens. Even with a shorter interior, you’ll still be able to fit tall glasses and bowls without a problem.

Sold by Home Depot

Best convection microwaves

KitchenAid 1.9 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

KitchenAid 1.9 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

Easily bake at temperatures up to 425 degrees in this professional-quality convection microwave. Additionally, the steam cleaning feature will aid in removing stuck-on grease or other food residues.

Sold by Home Depot 

Toshiba Countertop Convection Microwave

Toshiba Countertop Convection Microwave

This Toshiba microwave offers convection cooking in a moderately-sized countertop model, meaning you won’t have to deal with an additional installation process. The individual baking and roasting presets make it simple to select the appropriate setting.

Sold by Amazon 

GE Over-the-Range Speed Cook Convection Microwave

GE Over-the-Range Speed Cook Convection Microwave

Pricey but mighty, the 175 separate recipe settings mean you can save time when trying out a new meal, while the handy halogen heat feature eliminates the need to preheat before use.

Sold by Home Depot

Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave

Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave

This impressive microwave can seemingly do it all. With broiling, air frying, convection and traditional microwaving properties, you’ll be able to cook, bake or toast virtually anything.

Sold by Amazon 

 

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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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