A microwave is now seen as an essential element of any kitchen, whether you’re a home cook or commercial chef. No longer just seen as a device to heat up a microwave meal for one, these clever appliances have the capabilities to create amazing meals, at a fraction of the time of the oven or hob. There are lots of different types of microwaves out there, with different power settings and wattage levels, as well as colors and styles. Knowing which one is the right one for you takes research and time, which is why we’ve outlined some of the best microwaves on the market. Whether you’re after a small microwave to heat soup or gravy, or something a little more robust to defrost chicken or fish, take a look at the options below and see which one is best suited to your cooking needs.
The Best Microwave
AmazonBasics Microwave is our best pick microwave and Amazon have really knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s smart, it’s functional, and it’s modern, plus the price range is on point. This amazing microwave allows you to control cooking with your voice through Alexa, so you can pop something in, ready for cooking later on in the day, or if you’ve got your hands full, then simply ask Alexa to start microwaving. It’s also compact and powerful, with up to 10 power levels, a kitchen timer, and child lock. Setup is easy and straightforward, allowing you to plug in and go, or simply connect to the internet through the Alexa app and get talking. This makes a great food gift to your loved ones.
Power / capacity: 10 power settings / 700W
Warranty: 1 year, with the option to extend if necessary
- Weight21.9 lb (9.9 kg)
Confusing microwave settings are now a thing of the past with the Alexa function
Setup is straightforward, even with the technology involved
Microwaves popcorn perfectly and keeps track of how many bags you have left!
Echo device is required for voice function to work, but not included in the purchase
Can overheat food unnecessarily
Heating power is weaker than most on the market
Toshiba are known for their electronical products and for producing high-quality items. This microwave oven is no different and even comes with a smart sensor, that can tell how much steam is being emitted, and adjust cooking times to ensure your food is the best it can be. It also has lots of food options, which means you can just press a button and go, whether that’s potatoes, pizza, or vegetables. One of the more unique features of this product is the door handle, as opposed to push button, which many modern microwaves choose. Perfect for people looking for something a little more traditional. The 1100 wattage means that Toshiba EM131A5C-SS Microwave is extremely powerful, providing you with optimal cooking results and no disappointment when it comes to the perfect popcorn. Be sure to also check out our list of the best bread machines for more great items like this.
Power / capacity: 10 power settings / 1100W
- Weight34.6 pounds
Quick button options, so you don’t have to press lots of buttons (e.g 30 seconds, 1 minute)
Door handle instead of push button to open up
Powerful and spacious
Quite high price point for a microwave, but is extremely powerful
Irregular fan speeds
Internal light can flicker or not work
It’s the mint green machine of your dreams. The Daewoo Retro Countertop Microwave Oven is perfect for those of you looking to add a pop of color to your kitchen. It also comes in a range of color options, such as red and white too. The Daewoo not only looks great, but it’s functional too. Although lacking in power levels and wattage compared to some other microwaves on this list, the Daewoo does its job, as well as having 4 auto cook programmes. It’s great for families too, with a child lock function and loud reminder end signal to make sure you don’t forget about that cup of tea (again) or all-important mac n’ cheese. Our handy guide to the best kitchen torches features more great products like this.
Power / capacity: 5 power levels / 700W
Warranty: 1 year
- Weight23.4 pounds
Retro design and great color options for something quirky
Although less powerful than others, it still heats food well
It’s a great size and fits into most areas
Not powerful for cooking all food types
Slightly poor quality as buttons can sometimes stick or even fall off
Although cute and well designed, the Daewoo does not function as well as others
If you’re looking for a functional and practical microwave that does what it needs to do, without all the bells and whistles, then the Commercial Chef Microwave Oven is ideal. Although not the prettiest or most attractive on our list, the Commercial Chef knows what its job is and gets to work. The mechanical dials and door handle make this a popular choice for people who prefer something simple and straightforward, without the need for advanced technology to be involved. It’s lightweight, so be moved around in your kitchen easily, but unfortunately only comes in black, which might not suit everyone’s tastes. However, you really do get what you pay for with the Commercial Chef and there’s no hidden agenda. Love this product? Check out our review of the best waffle makers for our top picks.
Power / capacity: 6 power levels / 600W
- BrandCommercial Chef
- Weight23.1 pounds
Mechanical dials, instead of touch buttons or voice function, meaning it’s great for technophobes and those who prefer the manual option
Great for small apartments or kitchens
Although it is a lower wattage, it heats up effectively
Slightly boring design
Low power level and wattage, which might not be suitable for some people
Quality matches the low price, so may not be to everyone’s taste
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S is a slick and modern microwave, as well as being extremely powerful. Panasonic are another well-known brand and this appliance fits their bill of being high quality, technology-driven, and robust. It’s stainless steel, which means it’s built to last and there’s no bulkiness at all, which provides a seamless design. The 1250 wattage is impressive, but the price tag matches that high power. However, it’s definitely worth it if you’re looking for something for a bit more pizazz and style. With smart cooking settings and sensors, as well as Panasonic’s Inverter Technology for more efficient cooking, this is a clever piece of equipment and especially useful if you do a lot of microwave cooking. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best portable induction cooktops.
Power / capacity:Inverter Technology / 1250W
Warranty: 1 year
- Weight37 pounds
14 pre-set menu options to choose from for ease of use
Huge in size, providing options for different types of food
Inverter Technology means that defrosting is a breeze
Issues seem to occur after the 1 year warranty, which is frustrating
Panasonic customer service can be hit and miss
Previous Panasonic microwaves seem to last longer and be higher quality than this model
Another Panasonic on the list! Following on from the initial model mentioned, NN-SN686S microwave oven is also stainless steel, with a push button door, and compact design. Again, high wattage means great performance and the Inverter Technology and smart sensor means that the microwave can adjust its cooking levels to suit the food that you’ve put inside. There’s also a Keep Warm feature, which allows to keep anything, such as gravy or soup, warm until you need it. Great for those big meals you might be preparing for friends and family. The Turbo Defrost function does exactly what you would expect and speeds up the defrosting time dramatically. This is a great functional microwave, that should not only stand the test of time in regards to cooking, but also from a design point of view too. Price point is a tad more than what you might like to spend, but it’s well worth it for something that’s built to last – and perform. Make sure you also check our guide to the best convection ovens.
Power / capacity: Inverter Technology / 1200W
Warranty: 1 year
- Weight25.5 pounds
Large cooking capacity, but not bulky, so easy to position in your kitchen
Lightweight, yet sturdy
Stainless steel design matches other appliances
Higher price point, which may not suit all pockets
Again, Panasonic customer service is not as responsive as others
Sensor reheat option can become faulty after a number of uses
One of our most expensive microwaves on this list, the Sharp commercial microwave oven is perfect for the more professional chef, who’ll be using the appliance multiple times throughout the day. The price point is probably a little too steep for those of us choosing to defrost a chicken breast or get the popcorn sorted for a movie night. However, this 1000 watt device is powerful and robust, perfect for a commercial environment. Stainless steel design and easily accessible door handle means that even the messiest and clumsiest of chefs won’t have a problem. It also has a huge interior, which can accommodate larger food options, such as platters and pans. You may also like to check our guide to the best food dehydrators.
Power / capacity: 1000W
- Weight37 pounds
Can literally cook anything you want it to
High wattage so perfect for the commercial environment
Great design that matches the rest of your kitchen devices and surfaces
Customer service not very helpful
Very expensive product, which requires research into whether investment is worthwhile
Quality could be brought into question because of certain defects
Beautifully designed and reasonably priced, the Emerson Griller Microwave Oven is a great asset to any kitchen. With 9 pre-set programmes, it’s easy to find the perfect setting for your choice of dish, whether that’s pizza or frozen vegetables. It has touch control functions, which mean not annoying dials or knobs to clean around. With a removable grill feature, the Emerson is definitely a multifunctional appliance and allows you to choose healthier methods of cooking for your family. There are also 9 pre-set programmes, which include popcorn, frozen vegetables, beef, pork, and more. The glass turntable inside is easy to remove and clean and the pull open door means you don’t have to worry about sticking push buttons. It’s compact but durable, and at a reasonable price point too, so a worthwhile investment. If you love cooking, check out our guide to the best Dutch Ovens.
Power / capacity: 11 power levels / 1100W
Warranty: 90 days
- Weight36 pounds
Affordable price point for a high-quality product
Spacious on the inside for different types of food
High wattage and sleek design
Small warranty period of 90 days
Buzzing noise when in operation
No 30 second extend button, which can be frustrating
This is one of the heavier products on our list, so make sure you have a helping hand when installing it. The Farberware Microwave Oven is black stainless steel, so offers a unique and slick look to any kitchen. This combination microwave provides the use of both oven and grill, giving you lots of different cooking options. It’s a smart machine that can adjust its power levels whilst cooking, providing you with the very best outcome for your food. There’s also a digital clock and timer, giving you peace of mind that everything is on track, as well as a child safety lock, so little fingers can’t get caught. With a 1.2 cubic foot capacity, you can easily heat up soup or pizza, but ensure that it fits neatly onto your countertop. It’s a great quality piece of equipment from a lesser known brand. Our selection of the best pizza stones offers more great products so check it out.
Power / capacity: 10 power levels / 1100W
Warranty: 1 year, but according to some reviews, it is only 3 months
- Weight39.2 pounds
High-quality mid-size microwave
Heats food up incredibly quickly
Sensor feature really allows you to get the very best out of your microwavable cooking
Customer support seems to be non-existent
Warranty window is not very big
Very noisy when in use, which could be the problem if you’re hoping to sneak downstairs for a midnight snack…
This lovely, functional microwave comes in three colors, but we think you’ll agree that red really is its color. It has a 0.9 cubic foot capacity, which is smaller than some, but perfect if you’re a little short on space. This is a great option if you’re looking for something to match the rest of your kitchen décor or just looking to add that pop of color. It doesn’t have any special features or bells and whistles, but does heat your food effectively and provides you with some pre-set cooking options. The hand 30 seconds feature is perfect if you need to add time on to your cooking. With an affordable price point and functional usage, the Hamilton Beech microwave is perfect for those of you looking for something simple and straightforward, with an easy to use interface.
Power / capacity: 900W
- BrandHamilton Beech
Easy to clean and stylish
30 seconds add on button is extremely useful and helps with the cooking process
Good value for money and cooks food evenly through
End beeps last a lot longer than they need to, sometimes you will struggle to even turn them off
Quite loud when in use
Overall size of the device could be perceived as too large
Microwave Buying Guide
It’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for when making a microwave purchase. You’re probably going to be using it on an almost daily basis, so it needs to be robust and functional. That’s why we’ve developed our buying guide below, to give you the information you need to make the right choice for your cooking needs.
How We Chose Our Selection Of Microwaves
Deciding on the right microwave can be a tricky decision, as there are so many different types out there and it’s important to know the different between wattage levels, a convection microwave (microwaves that have a function to work as an oven, with an internal fan – be aware that these do tend to be a lot more expensive than regular microwaves) or a combination microwave, push-button handles, pre-set programmes, and so much more. We chose our selection of microwaves by ensuring we included a large range of different brands, although it’s important to note that most microwaves use the same hardware – but the brands can change the programming, making the appliance function a lot better. We then investigated user reviews to really ensure we were getting an honest opinion of the product and weighing up if various customers had had the same issues with certain makes and models. Price was also an important factor for us, as we wanted to include a decent range, so you can make an educated decision on the amount of money you’re willing to invest. Remember, the best quality appliances aren’t always the most expensive, but make sure you keep any eye out for those ones that seem to cheap to be true as well.
Features To Look For In Microwaves
Whether you’re a professional chef or not, all microwaves need to function in a similar way, as well as incorporating essential features. We’ve outlined some of the most important ones below, so you can pick out which ones you really need and how important they are to you.
Size – they say size doesn’t matter, but that’s not the case when it comes to microwaves. You need something that’s compact enough to fit easily into your kitchen, but robust enough, with a large interior space, to cook the different types of food you might need. Most brands will have different sized microwaves in their model ranges, so it’s simply a case of choosing the most appropriate one for your kitchen.
Wattage – generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the better the cooking capabilities of your microwave. We’ve included a range of different wattage levels in our best buy list as a higher wattage level tends to come with the higher price tag. However, smaller microwaves don’t necessarily need that higher wattage because they have a smaller cubic foot – and that doesn’t limit their cooking abilities either, as long as the device is made efficiently.
Ease Of Use – tricky and confusing buttons? Don’t know which way to turn the dials? Can’t work out how to defrost? All these things are important and most of us expect to know how to use a microwave (any make or model) without having to read the instruction manual. Make sure you’re happy with the user interface, as well as being able to clean it easily. Dials and knobs can be difficult to wipe down, especially if food becomes embedded in them. Think about what you prefer in terms of opening and closing the microwave door too. Are you more satisfied with a handle that you can physically pull open or do you prefer a push button, so the handle doesn’t stick out? You should choose whatever is easiest for you.
Smart Features – If you’re feeling like you fancy something more technologically advanced than your standard microwave, then look out for smart features on your chose devices, such as voice-activated control and smart sensors. Smart sensors mean that the microwave can adjust its cooking settings, if it senses too much steam coming off a food product, allowing your food to be cooked optimally.
Heat distribution –this is a very important element of a microwave. If heat is not evenly distributed, then your food won’t cook properly. Some microwaves perform better at different tasks, such as defrosting or cooking a whole potato. Investigate reviews to see what people think works best and then choose one most suited to what you use the appliance for the most.
Settings –ideally, your microwave should come with the following settings to enable you to perform every type of cooking process:
- Pre-set features for specific types of cooking and food, such as frozen pizza or popcorn
- Defrost function that gives you options depending on the type of food you’re attempting to defrost
- A timer that allows you to set your desired time, rather than the microwave
- Quick function buttons, such as 1 minute or 30 seconds
Some microwaves even come with volume control for the beeps at the end of cooking, but this isn’t always a necessity.
Ease of cleaning – microwaves can get notoriously dirty and full of food debris, so it’s important to make sure you can easily wipe down and clean your appliance. If you’re using your microwave on a weekly or even daily basis, you can clean it easily by placing a small bowl of water in there and putting it on a high power level. This allows steam to gather as water, which you can then use to wipe away any mess. Make sure you’re using a clean sponge. Try not to spray cleaners into the microwave or in the outside, as this can affect the mechanisms and technology inside.