Ah, microwaves, where would we be without them? Picturing a microwave-less life feels like ages ago. Now, we can prepare dinner in under ten minutes, make freshly popped popcorn in thirty seconds and reheat pizza from last night—all without suffering for 20 minutes as we eagerly await the ding of an oven. They’re basically the closest thing to magic that you’ll find in the kitchen (other than our Secura Electric Wine Opener, of course). That said, our microwaves are a multifunctional tool that should meet every quick-cooking, reheating and defrosting need with ease. Below, find five of the best microwaves you can buy, based on size, durability and added features.

Best Countertop Microwaves: Winners, at a Glance

  1. Best Overall: Toshiba Microwave Oven
  2. Best For The Basics: Amazon Microwave Oven with Alexa
  3. Best Design: FarberWare Microwave Oven
  4. Best Heavy-Duty: Panasonic Microwave Oven
  5. Best On A Budget: Commercial Chef Microwave Oven

How to Choose the Right Countertop Microwave

  • Size: As the name suggests, you’ll want a microwave that can easily fit on your countertop without taking up all your meal prep space. We recommend measuring your counter beforehand and selecting something that takes up no more than 30 percent of your overall space. Trust us; there’s nothing more frustrating than a bulky microwave getting in your way as you’re slicing and dicing.
  • Wattage: More watts equals more power, and most standard microwaves have anywhere from 600 to 1,200 watts. Our advice? After you’ve determined the size of your microwave, select the highest wattage you can find. After all, cooking in an Easy-Bake Oven is only fun when you’re a kid (and don’t have multiple hungry mouths to feed).
  • Quick keys: This one really boils down to your cooking preferences. For example, if you’re an obsessive popcorn eater, you’ll want a quick key that’ll ensure it comes out fluffy (and not burnt) every time. However, if you’re more interested in whipping up quick dinners, you might want to go with something that has keys for warming potatoes, rice, vegetables or frozen pizza. Some people use quick keys every day, while others never even notice they’re there. It’s all about how you plan on using your microwave.


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1. Toshiba Microwave Oven

Best Overall

If you’re looking for the holy grail of single-button cooking, this microwave brings an entirely new meaning to hassle-free meal prep. Not only does Toshiba’s model feature a pre-programmed menu for popular food items, like pizza, rice, vegetables, and frozen entrées, but it’s also packed with features, like an automatic sensor, defrost setting choices and child-lock. Plus, it comes in a compact 20- by 17-inch size, AND it boasts 1,100 watts (so you don’t need to worry about sacrificing counter space for function).

Pros:

  • Large capacity
  • Mute option
  • Durable
  • Appearance

Cons:

  • Some presets may need further adjustment

$147 at Amazon

2. Amazon Microwave Oven with Alexa

Best For The Basics

Remember the movie Smart House? This microwave quite literally brings our childhood fantasies to life with a microwave that is fully Alexa compatible. Its compact 17- by 14-inch size makes it perfect for small counter spaces, and we love how it comes with a quick-cook preset option, child lock safety and an LED display. Just shout, “Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee,” in the morning, and you’ll have a fresh cup of joe waiting for you before you take the kids to school.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Hassle-free clean-up
  • Easy storage
  • Alexa Compatible

Cons:

  • 700-watt power could mean longer cooking time
  • Standard-sized plates may not fit

$75 at Amazon

3. FarberWare Microwave Oven

Best Design

Looking for something as chic as it is functional? We get it; nothing ruins a cohesive kitchen aesthetic like an outdated microwave oven. This one’s modern design and superior performance effortlessly combines form with function. It’s by far the sleekest one on this list, with a stainless steel exterior (that also comes in metallic red). Plus, the microwave features 1,000 watts of power and has six cooking programs, including quick keys for popcorn, potato, pizza and frozen vegetables for easy cooking.

Pros:

  • Modern design
  • High wattage
  • Roomy
  • Accurate heat settings

Cons:

  • Larger than other models
  • The beeping is a bit loud

$110 at Amazon

4. Panasonic Microwave Oven

Best Heavy-Duty

If overall power and durability is what you’re after, look no further. This premium-quality microwave uses patented inverter technology, which basically means it can quickly heat up and defrost foods with no danger of overcooking. Plus, it includes all of the bells and whistles, with 14 preset options, as well as “delay start” and “keep warm” features.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • High wattage
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile cooking options

Cons:

  • Beeps are quite short and easy to miss

$163 at Amazon

5. Commercial Chef Microwave Oven

Best On A Budget

If all of the quick keys and extra settings seem unnecessary to you, why pay for them? This microwave handles all of your essential heating and defrosting needs—and it won’t take up too much of your counter space. At 18 by 12 inches, it’s great for cramped kitchen spaces, like in RVs or small apartments, and its rotary controls are particularly convenient for people who prefer dials to buttons. Sometimes less is more, and old school is where it’s at.

Pros:

  • Energy-saving
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to use
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Lacks LED display and express cook controls

$63 at Amazon


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