Whether your kiddo is off to college in the fall or you're stepping up your late-night leftover game, a microwave oven is an absolutely essential kitchen appliance. Plus, they'll save you serious time and energy during your busy weeknight dinner prep.
Back when you were a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed college student, you may have only been using your microwave to pop popcorn or make Cup Noodles. But, in the adult world, there are actually a ton of uses for a top-quality microwave. Need to defrost meats in a hurry? Boom! Reheat last night's leftovers? Bam! A microwave oven is up for the task.
When shopping for the right model, consider the size, price, and type (countertop or over-the-range), depending on your kitchen space. Over-the-range microwaves are usually mounted over your stovetop, and they have a light and ventilation underneath. Depending on the model, you can also have the countertop or over-the-range microwave built into your kitchen setup. The options are limitless, fam!
Here are our picks for the best microwaves!
Best Budget Pick
This top-selling GE microwave will definitely give you the most bang for your buck. It’s not loaded with many bells and whistles, but for the price, you’d be surprised at how much it can accomplish.
Affordable, versatile, and sleek, this medium-sized 1.1-cubic foot stainless steel microwave oven from GE has stellar reviews. With one touch instant-on controls, 950 watts of power, and a large 16-inch turntable, this microwave gets our vote for best budget pick.
LG’s 2-cubic-foot-wide, 1,000-watt microwave is the perfect option for an over-the-range microwave. This appliance has easy-to-use controls that get the right amount of heat for whatever you’re cooking. It also comes with a glass turntable plate that makes it easy to clean up any spills or splashes.
Once mounted, the microwave has a light on the bottom to shine down on what’s cooking below if you hang it above your stovetop - you can even use it as a night light! It also comes with 10 cooking power levels and preprogrammed options, so you don’t have to guess how long your food should warm up.
Customers love that this microwave comes with a bi-level cooking rack to help you cook more than one item at a time. How great is that?
Best for Families
Another best-selling countertop microwave, this sleek white option from GE will instantly make your kitchen setup look more modern. It also comes in chrome and black if you're worried about a white surface showing smudges or stains.
Its 2.0-cubic-foot-capacity means this is a slightly bulkier model than some of the other countertop picks on this list, but it has plenty of easy-to-use features, including preset defrosting times, instant-on controls, and an extra-large 16-inch turntable.
Plus: With a very mighty 1,200 watts of power, you’ll be able to defrost and cook entire meals (and not just side dishes) in minutes. Pizza bagels for days!
Daewoo offers a retro vibe that gives you that pizzazz your kitchen so desperately needs. Plus, it comes in this cool city blue hue, as well as other fun options like mint, red, white, and cream.
The microwave is a very petite 0.7 cubic feet wide, which makes it a perfect space-saving pick for smaller kitchen spaces. It features five power levels, so you can adjust the heat for more delicate foods, as well as an auto-cook menu for a few commonly prepared foods.
Best Smart Features
Aside from the 10 power levels that this microwave offers, the most impressive feature of the Breville Quick Touch is the Sensor IQ function that automatically adjusts the cooking time for your food - meaning your microwave automatically measures the humidity that's being released from the food you’re reheating or heating, and calculates the cook time.
The 1,100-watt microwave comes with a large LED display panel for easy programming, and unlike most microwaves, you can actually adjust power levels and cook while your food is heating up without stopping the cycle. You’ll be able to see what setting and function the microwave is working on at all times.
It's also worth noting that Good Housekeeping tested this model and reviewed it positively for its range of power levels, easy-to-read LCD screen, and Sensor IQ settings that auto-adjust to the perfect cook time and temperature. They also dug the easy-to-grip bar handle on the front door (versus a traditional button release).
Your kitchen tasks will get so much easier with auto functions like soften butter, melt chocolate, reheat beverages, or make popcorn. Just one push of a button, and voila!
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