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The Best Kitchen Countertop Microwaves for Home Use

Whether you consider yourself a modernist or not, the microwave is one of the more useful appliances that has come out within the last millennium. The ability to heat up food so evenly and quickly is a very modern concept that most people just take for granted. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t have a microwave, or you just need a new one, there are some really nifty models in the market these days.

Kitchen Countertop Microwave

Almost every brand of kitchen appliance seems to have a different model of microwave, so the trick to this game is simply finding the one that works best for you. While most may think that every microwave is basically the same, well think again! We’ve got a simple list of some of the best microwaves you can find today.

Top Picks:

Samsung Microwave – grilling element for keeping food crispy

Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave – 1-touch menu and adjustable power levels

LG Countertop Microwave – energy efficiency

Benefits of a Microwave

It may be silly to talk about the benefits of a microwave, but in case you’re within the very small percent of people who’ve never used one, microwaves are super great at efficiency. They heat up food quickly and evenly and cut out so much time you’d otherwise spend over a hot stove.

Microwaves are essential for families with kids, as you can simply pop some frozen snacks into the microwave and feed a hungry horde in no time. Microwaves are also the staple for families that enjoy leftovers, so they are definitely going to save you some money, too.

How to Choose a Countertop Microwave

When opting for a microwave, it’s mostly about the features and programs that it comes built with. These are the things that people take an interest in because they want to know what the microwave can do in terms of performance.

Removable racks are a good feature to have in a microwave because having two levels allows you to heat/cook two different types of food at the same time, which is efficient both in terms of saving time and energy consumption.

Auto-reheat is a common feature on a lot of microwaves and it allows you to reheat your meals with a single push of a button.

The defrosting feature is great for when you don’t have time to let your steak naturally defrost or when you’re into some spontaneous meals and require defrosting your ingredients first.

Auto-cook is a feature that allows you to prepare different kinds of food without monitoring the microwave every step of the way (works for everything from popcorn to quiche).

Quick-minute functions are found on some models and they literally allow you to add one more minute to your cooking time with a single press of a button.

The keep warm feature holds the microwave at a steady temperature to prevent the food from getting cold until you’re ready to set the table.

The child lock feature is nice to have if you have children that shouldn’t be messing around with kitchen appliances, yet you can’t afford to spend every waking moment monitoring their actions.

However, aside from these features, you also want to know the size of the microwave because you likely don’t have unlimited countertop space and you want the product you buy to fit into whatever space you have available. The wattage of the microwave is also important if you want to be able to cook food fast. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the wattage, the faster it will be able to cook/heat up your foods. Most microwaves have an average wattage of 1,000, but there are products that combine different wattages for different functions.

Types of Kitchen Microwaves

Before you spend money on a new microwave, it’s important for you to know the differences between the existing types that you can currently find on the market.

Countertop microwaves

Countertop microwaves

These are the most common types of microwaves out there. They bear this name because they are designed to sit on top of your kitchen counter, measuring between 0.5 to 2 cubic feet. There are plenty of countertop microwave models on the market, with different capacities and power levels. They are convenient solutions for people that have a little bit of countertop space available and they can be easily moved around if needed.

Over-the-range microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves

These are mounted above your cooktop/range. They have built-in ventilation systems that prevent smoke and steam elimination. Most models come with enhanced cooking capabilities, and they usually have more than 800 watts of power. You can choose between multiple venting options (such as recirculating or external venting) and come with plenty of features that allow you to cook versatile meals every time.

Built-in wall microwaves

Built-in wall microwaves

Usually placed inside a wall opening or a cabinet, completely getting them out of the way when you don’t need them. They do require investing more money upfront and will require calling in a professional to install them.

The toaster oven alternative will help you replace the need for a microwave in certain situations. They have multipurpose cooking abilities, using a heating technique that’s similar to that of a microwave.

The Best Microwaves For Your Kitchen

Whether you like a nice, traditional microwave or you’re interested in what types of modern designs there are, we’ve got the perfect roundup for you. Any of these microwaves will definitely get the job done, but its up to you to decide which will fit your cooking style.

Samsung Microwave

Samsung MicrowaveView in gallery

Samsung isn’t just one of the world’s top handheld device manufacturers, but the company has made quite a name for itself when it comes to electronic appliances as well. From TV sets to smart fridges, Samsung makes pretty much everything you’ll need around the house in terms of electronics, and does it very well. Microwaves are no exception, with Samsung’s products offering one of the best price-to-quality ratios on the market.

The MG11H2020CT is a Samsung microwave model with a few jaw-dropping features that you wouldn’t expect to see in a product in its price range. It seems to have found a way around some of the frustrations that surround the use of a microwave, but we’ll get to all of that in a minute.

With 1,000 watts of power, the MG11H2020CT seems to be a little more than bargained for. It has 1.1 cubic feet of space that allows you to prepare or heat up different kinds of meals (which is cool, even if you can’t fit a large pizza inside). Made with an interior of pure ceramic enamel, the MG11H2020CT is not prone to easy scratches like other models made from stainless steel (we all went through the pain of discovering scratches in the interior of our microwave, it’s always painful to see). 

The MG11H2020CT is a Samsung microwave modelView in gallery

That leads us to another benefit of this product: ease of cleaning. The ceramic surface is pretty easy to clean, so there is no scrubbing to be done (especially if you follow the tutorial we spoke of earlier). Measuring 11.69” H x 20.38” W x 15.81” D, this is the type of microwave that could easily find space to reside on your countertop, so there’s always the benefit of not having to worry about where you’re going to put it.

It comes with 10 different power levels so that you can customise how those 1,000 watts are put to good use, granting you more control over the varieties of meals that you can prepare. Most microwaves will allow you to set a low, medium, or high power level, but the MG11H2020CT offers precise selection, which makes this particular microwave more unique and purchase-worthy.

While there are plenty of features and functions on the MG11H2020CT, the auto-cook function is the one that you’ll most likely get plenty of use out of. With a single press of a button, you can defrost, cook, reheat, and prepare plenty of delicious meals without having to select a power level and a cycle time.

The MG11H2020CT doesn’t really have any major downsides, but one common complaint would be that you can’t really use it as an oven. The grilling element isn’t one of its best features, but it still manages to deliver crispy food way better than traditional low-end microwaves can.

Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave

Galanz Retro Countertop MicrowaveView in gallery

Sure, there are cheaper alternatives to the Samsung microwave and they’re actually pretty decent if you limit your expectations to match the price of the product. The Galanz Retro is such an example, one that’s available in a truly retro design and comes in a red and light blue variant.

With 700 watts of power, this little baby has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity, offering a few features that will allow you to perform some pretty basic microwave stuff. It comes with six auto-cook options, including pizza and popcorn. Measuring 10.3” H x 17.8” W x 12.7” D, this microwave is a dream come true for those who can’t afford to take up too much countertop space. It includes a timer, a turntable, but no sensor cooking.

LG Countertop Microwave

LG Countertop MicrowaveView in gallery

If LG is a home brand that you trust, their countertop microwave is bound to be to your liking. It sports a very interesting design, with buttons that are concealed behind the door’s panel, offering a very elegant design that we can totally get on board with. The LED lighting makes it easy to track the food’s progress even with the food shut.

Measuring 11” H x 18.7” W x 14.5” D, this microwave has a capacity of 0.9 cubic feet, so it should be enough to prepare decent-sized meals and heat up that leftover plate of pasta. It offers 1,000 watts of power that can be distributed as you please using the 10 different power levels on this gem. There are plenty of auto-cook buttons to help customize your meal preparations, from frozen vegetables to hot beverages.

Amazon Basics Microwave with Alexa

Amazon Basics Microwave with AlexaView in gallery

The Amazon Basics Microwave is small, but mighty. This appliance does look like one of the more traditional styles, but it works with Alexa. How cool is that? You simply hook up your Alexa capabilities with this microwave and give it demands. You can ask it to reheat a cup of coffee or even pop some popcorn and it will cook your items perfectly.

This is a great appliance for an apartment or a small house. It may not be able to do very large jobs, but for what it lacks in size it makes up for in power and efficiency. Plus, the Alexa hookup is pretty darn cool.

Best small microwave
Amazon Basics Microwave with Alexa
Amazon Basics Microwave with Alexa

With an Echo device, quick-cook voice presets and a simplified keypad let you just ask Alexa to start microwaving.

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Pros:

  • Works with Alexa
  • Can be connected to Amazon for easy shopping
  • Energy saving design
  • A few different colors
  • Easy to read key pad

Cons:

  • May be too small
  • Needs an Echo for Alexa to work

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave OvenView in gallery

This Toshiba microwave is, by far, the best responsive microwave in the market right now. It is incredibly easy to use, has a large number pad and even has quick shortcuts you can touch to heat things up quickly. This touch button system is great for frozen veggies, popcorn, canned soup, and other things that are easily gauged.

Even better, this model of Toshiba microwave is large enough to fit large containers inside of it. That means you can heat up a leftover casserole with no problem, as long as it’s in a microwave safe dish, that is. This is an ideal sized microwave for a large family.

Best Responsive Microwave
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

Pre-programmed menu for 6 popular foods like popcorn, pizza, potato and more

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Pros:

  • Responsive button pad
  • Has shortcuts for easy heating
  • Great for a large family
  • A few different colors
  • Large key pad

Cons:

  • May be too big
  • Colors are limited

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686SView in gallery

This Panasonic microwave oven is perfect for keeping soups, gravies and pastries nice and warm inside of it until you’re ready to use them. This microwave sort of incubates the food and keeps it warm even after the machine has been turned off.

This is also a great microwave for handling larger dishes. It also has a genius sensor which is ideal if you’re trying to defrost something frozen or reheat something like rice or soup. It’s an easy to use device that has speed buttons to heat up preprogrammed food like popcorn or coffee.

Best inverter microwave
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S

It’s incredibly nifty for those times you are having people over and want to keep some appetizers fresh.

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Pros:

  • Responsive button pad
  • Inverter setup keeps food hot
  • Large size
  • A few different colors
  • Modern design

Cons:

  • May be a bit too expensive
  • May be too big

Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven

Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave OvenView in gallery

The Farberware stainless steel countertop microwave oven is ideal for the person who likes a more traditional spin to things. The classic design can’t be mistaken for an old model, however. Inside this design lies a special upscaled version of the classic, easy to use microwave we all knew and loved.

The major differences here in this modern design is the effectiveness of it’s cooking methods. It has six different cooking programs for things like popcorn, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, etc. It’s also equipped with a child’s lock that makes it impossible for a child to open the microwave while in use, or even while idle.

Best traditional style microwave
Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven
Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven

This counter top microwave delivers power, style, and convenience to any kitchen

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Pros:

  • Six cooking programs
  • Good size
  • Easy to use button pad
  • Traditional design
  • Great for multiple sized families

Cons:

  • May be a bit too pricey
  • May not be large enough

COMFEE’ EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven

COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave OvenView in gallery

The Comfee countertop microwave oven is the best ecofriendly design that we’ve found in the market. It has several different settings in order to keep your food piping hot all while keeping the environment in mind with emissions. This is a great design for those families that try to do their extra part to make this world a better, safer place, as no little step will go unnoticed.

This design has efficient cooking settings with one touch buttons that make pre programmed cooking a breeze. It also has a year warranty which makes it easier to take the plunge and purchase a new microwave.

Best Eco-Friendly Microwave
COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven
COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven

One Touch Express cooking function with 1-6 minutes and +30 seconds functions, and two defrost settings (by weight or by time)

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Pros:

  • Efficient cooking
  • Eco friendly capable
  • Easy to use button pad
  • Comes in a few colors
  • Great for multiple sized families

Cons:

  • May be a bit too pricey
  • May not be large enough

FAQ

What is the standard size for a countertop microwave?

Countertop microwaves usually have between 16 to 20 inches in depth, about 21 to 24 inches in width, and about 13 inches in height.

Do countertop microwaves need a vent?

Yes, microwaves need air clearance on all sides, especially the rear and the top in order to function properly, and countertop models are no exception.

What is the difference between over the range and countertop microwave?

The main difference between these two types is right there in the name: countertop microwaves are designed to rest on top of your kitchen counter, while over-the-range units are installed above a range or a cooktop, saving you countertop space.

How to Clean a Microwave

How to Clean a Microwave

Truly one of the worst things about owning and using a microwave is having to scrape food residue and get awful smells out of it. Most people associate a dirty microwave with a lot of work to be done in order to clean it, but is that really always the case? Using some ingredients that you have around the house (like a cup of water, a bowl that’s safe to use in the microwave, a clean dish towel, and a lemon), you can create a mixture that gets rid even of the most stubborn microwave stains yet.

The idea behind this tutorial is that heating up lemon juice will cause condensation inside the microwave, thus allowing solid food residue and grease to loosen, making it easy to wipe the interior of the microwave clean afterwards.

The Rundown

As you can see, there are so many great microwaves you can choose from. Whether you prefer a more traditional design or a high functioning modern model, all of these microwaves on this list will surely get the job done.

All you need to do now is determine which one is best suited for your family and get to ordering it. A good rule of thumb if you’re on the fence as to which one to buy is to look at previous customer reviews. These reviews can help you gain better insight into what kind of machine you’re about to purchase and the longevity it can hold. Your next amazing microwave could just be a simple click away!