• February 25, 2024, 11:42 pm

The best countertop microwaves in 2023 SoftAIT

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Update : Friday, November 10, 2023

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Some food snobs may scoff, but countertop microwaves can make your culinary life simpler and more efficient. They reduce heat times, require less dishes, and revive leftovers in just a few minutes. The most innovative microwave ovens can even provide more convenience, with automatic programmed modes for commonly microwavable items such as “popcorn,” “defrost chicken,” or “reheat leftovers.” We appreciate a smart appliance that does even more of the work for us. 

In order to choose the best countertop microwave, we scoured the internet for customer favorites and best microwave brands that consistently make quality products. Here are five of the best countertop microwaves for you and your crew to enjoy.

How we picked the best countertop microwaves

In order to provide a reliable list of the best microwave brands and microwave ovens that satisfy your needs, we paid special attention to reviews. We wanted to ensure that customers were having consistent positive experiences such as even cooking, less splatter, auto-timed buttons, and other special features.

We made sure to pay attention to reliability, ease of use, and quality that lasts a decade. We also considered the types of microwaves you may be looking for, so you had a range of options. Some users may need mini microwaves, while others are looking for stylish, stainless steel countertop microwaves that look cool on the counter.

We also wanted to offer a range of price points, from around $100 budget buyers to $300+ luxe models. All of the microwaves come with standard features and good brand recognition. 

The best countertop microwaves: Reviews & Recommendations

Microwaves make life easier, provided you pick the right model for the needs of you and your household. Here are our favorite options of what’s available on the market today:

Best overall:  Panasonic Microwave Oven

Why it made the cut: When it comes to large microwave ovens, we love the Panasonic because it’s one of the most reputable microwave brands. It features a spacious 2.2-cubic-foot capacity, and Patented Inverter Technology for optimal power without wasting electricity.

Specs

  • Capacity: ‎2.2 cubic feet
  • Item Weight: ‎37 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 23.9 x 14 inches

Pros

  • Extra spacious
  • Excellent brand recognition
  • Over 7,300 positive Amazon reviews
  • Patented Inverter Technology
  • Super even cooking

Cons

  • Pricey
  • “Heating by sensors” slightly confusing process for some
  • Heavy

Tired of trying to jam your large plates into a tiny microwave? Clocking in at 19.4 x 23.9 x 14 inches, this extra-spacious countertop microwave is a great choice for feeding large families or big households. One reviewer even noted they could fit a 5 kilogram turkey.

This 1250-watt, 2.2-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel countertop microwave features a 16.5-inch turntable and patented Inverter Technology that promises more consistent power and even cooking. No more frozen centers with extra hot edges.

For added convenience, it also features a Genius Sensor cooking button that creates a one-touch, finely tuned, real-time calibration for proper cooking. There’s also 14 auto-cook options to make your cooking times even quicker. Note that some found the learning curve on this microwave to be a bit challenging, and that you’ll actually need to thoroughly read the manual to fully understand how to work it.

Faberware classic microwave oven

Why it made the cut: For less than $100, you can get a high quality budget-countertop microwave that’s compact, space-saving, and gets the job done.

Specs

  • Capacity: ‎0.7 cubic feet
  • Item Weight: ‎22.5 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 12.99 x 10.14 inches

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Space-saving and compact design
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Somewhat loud
  • 700W may not be powerful enough; more cooking time may be needed

This 700-watt stainless steel microwave oven is a great budget option for smaller kitchens, office spaces, or anyone looking to save a few bucks. It features six one-touch cooking options, 10 power levels up to 700 watts, a large digital screen, and even a memory function to save previous cook times for your most common microwavable meals. 

Note that 700W may not be powerful for some recommended cooking times. This is usually remedied by adding more cooking time to dishes. One reviewer noted that there’s some moisture build up after each use, but they leave the door open for a minute or so to counteract that. For the price, it does a solid job and won’t take up a lot of space so it’s useful for an apartment or a college dorm.

Best countertop microwave toshiba

Why it made the cut: This quiet countertop microwave offers a mute button to prevent the “finished” alert sound from beeping.

Specs

  • Capacity: ‎0.9 cubic feet
  • Item Weight: 27.3 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 19.1 x 11.5 inches

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Space-saving and compact design
  • Mute button
  • Over 13,000 positive Amazon reviews
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Closing door is still loud

If you’ve got a newborn, roommates, or simply hate the obnoxious sound of a microwave “all done!” alert, you’ll love that this quiet microwave oven comes with a mute button. Simply hold down on the number eight for three or so seconds to shut off the sound.

This 900W microwave features a stylish stainless steel finish, easy defrosting by weight/time, six auto menus, 10 power levels, express cook buttons for 1-6 minutes, as well as memory function and an energy saving ECO mode.  

It’s one of the best compact microwaves, budget-friendly, and features a bright LED digital display for easy handling. With over 13,000 Amazon reviews, this model can be trusted to deliver on a pain-free experience. Do note that some reviewers say shutting the microwave can still be loud, even with extra care. 

Best countertop microwave Black+Decker

Why it made the cut: For tight spaces, apartment dwellers, offices, and other compact needs, this mini microwave is super affordable and comes with all the necessary features. 

Specs

  • Capacity: ‎0.7 cubic feet
  • Item Weight: 22.5 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 17.3 x 10.2 inches

Pros

  • Compact, Small microwave
  • Child lock feature
  • 10 power levels
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • May be too small for some dishes
  • Buttons could be more sensitive

The Black + Decker 0.7 Cubic Foot 700 Watt Stainless Steel Microwave is tiny and affordable, without sacrificing all the features and perks you’d look for. It has 10 power levels, a removable glass turntable, and a spacious interior that’ll fit your dinners with ease without overpowering your kitchen counter.

This portable microwave model comes with Sensor technology for consistent heating results, six pre-programmed buttons, and a large LED digital display. At ‎13 x 17.3 x 10.2 inches, you can easily slide this into any kitchen or room corner.

The small microwave for countertop also has a safety lock feature to ensure your children’s safety. Some downsides are the buttons may not be sensitive enough for certain users, and a tiny microwave might not fit all your larger dinner-sized dishes. However, it’s simple, practical, and a great price point for what you get.

Best countertop microwave sharp

Why it made the cut: If you love the look and functionality of a stainless steel model, this Sharp microwave is super stylish, spacious, and reliable with a retro feel.

Specs

  • Capacity: 1 cubic foot
  • Item Weight: 37 pounds 
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 12 inches

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Cool retro feel
  • Spacious interior
  • Powerful yet gentle cooking
  • Even cooking

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Auto restart if you open the door

This spacious stainless steel countertop microwave gives a retro feel with modern technology. It features a classic dial timer that can be set up to six minutes, and features a 1.0-cubic-foot capacity that can fit a 13-1/2′-inch platter. It’s more expensive than other models, but can feed the whole family with that roomy interior and looks great on your counter.

Stainless steel exterior wrap and interior makes it easier to clean. Reviewers rave that the cooking is very even, without much splattering.

Some reviewers noted they were surprised that there’s no outright “defrost” mode or way to reduce the intensity of power, but the heating is gentler anyway. They love the simplicity of the controls, but don’t like that the time automatically resets if you open the door before time runs out. Sharp says they do this to save energy, but it annoys some users.

Things to consider before buying the best countertop microwaves

When shopping for the best countertop microwaves, you’ll want to consider a few key factors.

Brand and reputation

First, look into shopping with the best microwave brands that have a consistent reputation for building quality products that last. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending $100+ on something that breaks after two weeks. This is likely one of those situations where you’ll want to stick with a brand you’re familiar with so they can offer a useful, honest warranty if things go badly.

Space

Assess your living space in order to hone in on the type of model you’ll need. For example, if you have a small apartment without much countertop space, an extra large model probably won’t be suitable for you. Look for terms like “compact microwaves,” “mini microwaves,” or “portable microwaves,” in the description. Always look at production dimensions! It’s absolutely worth it to measure the space you expect it to sit so you can get an idea of how much room it really eats on your counter.

Smart features and program modes

There’s also smart models for people who value tech-forward models. Safety features are also important if you have little ones – so be sure to look out for child lock safety modes. Most microwaves will come with standard features like auto-timed buttons or correlated times with names of popular foods like “defrost chicken” or “popcorn.”

If you find that microwaves haven’t been powerful enough for you in the past, or you tend to cook items that are more involved than just a simple Chinese takeout reheat, pay attention to the Wattage for more power. The options on this list vary between roughly 700 watts at max power, up over 1,250 watts.

FAQs

Q: Do countertop microwaves need to be vented?

Yes! Because there’s metal inside a microwave, this metal can quickly become so hot that it either melts the microwave parts, fuses together, or causes burns when you touch the inside. You need to have a properly vented microwave in order to prevent excess heat from transferring to your kitchen or ruining the microwave model. 

Q: Can I put my countertop microwave in a cabinet?

Yes, as long as the necessary precautions are taken. These include: ensuring proper ventilation, ability to hold the weight of a microwave without buckling, and wire management. Most cabinets don’t have holes for passing cables through to a power bank, so you may need to drill one.

Q: How long do countertop microwaves last?

Most microwaves last around 10 years with proper care. But, that can vary quite a bit. It depends on the manufacturer, your usage, and your willingness to do the necessary cleaning and maintenance to keep it in good shape.

Final thoughts on the best countertop microwaves

Finding the right microwave for you depends on how you plan on using your microwave, your space requirements, budget, and style. Whether you need a quiet microwave, a portable microwave, or an extra large microwave to feed the whole family, these five microwave ovens are your best bet to choose from.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.



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