The In-Depth Buyer's Guide 2019

Best Microwaves

Over 30+ Hours Testing & Reviewing 10 Best Microwave Ovens.

Top Microwaves

Your microwave is one of the most essential pieces of your kitchen, but it's not one that you typically think about. As such, we’ve examined and tested the 20 of the best microwave models to find the best options for your kitchen.

We put each model through extensive cook and feature tests to measure things like capacity, premium features and ease of use. And the results of this buying guide are in: the Panasonic NN-SN966S Microwave exceeded the pack with its high-tech features and size to be named the best microwave on the market in 2019.

The 1,250 watt rating is enough to nuke even thick foods easily, the 2.2 cubic capacity is large enough for most dishes, and the slick screen interface makes it easy to choose from 10 power levels and sensors that detect moisture and more. Unless you absolutely need an over-the-range microwave, this Panasonic model will bring you into the new age quick cooking. Keep reading to learn more about the Panasonic and the other 9 microwaves that made the list.


Panasonic NN-SN966S

9.8 out of 10

Top 10 Countertop Microwave Ovens Compared

How We Decided

4 main factors come down to picking the top microwaves.

​7-1.5 CF

Auto Cook

1000+ Watts


Editor's Choice/Best


Panasonic NN-SN966S

out of 10
  • High tech controls
  • Great sensor performance
  • Stylish stainless steel
  • May not be intuitive for all users
  • Some issues with defrosting accurately

Why We Like It: The Panasonic NN-SN966S does everything well. That’s why it is our best microwave overall. It is top rated, with over 1,250 watts and 2.2 cubic feet of space to work with, you won’t have to worry about it being underpowered or wearing out too quickly. But the model gets really impressive when you start looking at the programming options. Best Features- Panasonic’s handy, high-tech microwave can handle anything.

Best Countertop Microwave

Toshiba EM925A5A-SS

out of 10
  • Accurate sensor heating
  • Customization for multi-stage and favorite cooking times
  • A high failure rate within a year of use

Why We Like It: Toshiba’s solid countertop model is especially affordable. The Toshiba EM925A5A-SS is a simple, powerful microwave that’s ideal if you want an effective countertop model that doesn’t try to confuse you with too many features.

Best Over The

Range Microwave


out of 10
  • Easy to use
  • Good venting system
  • Accurate cooking sensor 
  • Bland design
  • Dark buttons

Why We Like It: GE’s powerful over the range microwave has extra space. Extra options are plentiful here, including the ability to switch the turntable off, the ability to automatically choose power levels for foods, and detailed defrosting options. There aren’t many one touch buttons, but you do get one for popcorn and one for potatoes, which are useful for nearly any type of microwave.

Best Small Microwave

AmazonBasics Microwave

out of 10
  • Has all features you may require
  • A Proven brand
  • Offers good value for money 
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Buttons may require a little more force

Why We Like It: This compact model gives up very little while saving on space. The specs for this Amazon model are decidedly lower than our other top picks – which is a necessity for the best compact microwave options.

Best Convection Microwave

 Cuisinart CMW-200

out of 10
  • Easy to clean
  • It has grill capabilities
  • It makes the food warmer quickly 
  • Noisy
  • Very hard button

Why We Like It: If you’re interested in a classier microwave that goes above and beyond traditional features, this Cuisinart model is for more professional kitchens that require serious heating/reheating capabilities. Rich features, large space, and convection oven capabilities set this model apart.

Why You Should Buy a New Microwave

What is a microwave ovens role in your home? Do you need the best compact microwave to fit on a tiny counter and travel with you when you switch apartments? Do you need the best built in microwave that works with your oven range? No matter your kitchen appliance situation, if you’re stuck with a clunky, ugly microwave, it’s time to improve your cooking situation.

A new microwave can provide extra options that you may not have not – including sensors for more accurate cooking times, inverter technology that creates more accurate power levels, and customized cooking menus for the food you love. If you do a lot of cooking, a modern microwave can also serve as an able assistance, with programmable defrosting, butter melting, and warm-up functions that make your cooking projects that much easier. One of these new models may also provide faster cooking times, child locks for great safety, and more consistent cooking/thawing for a variety of foods.

And let’s not forget about design! Today’s microwaves come in sleek, stainless steel frames that will look great in your kitchen and match your other appliances well. Microwave doors are easier to open, too. And if your current microwave is a little too small on the inside for your plates or cups, you can always upgrade to more cubic feet of space so you can use the dish of your choice! These microwaves cook your food better than ever.

Read More: MAID Oven is the Perfect Kitchen Assistant

Microwave Features to Look For

The devil is in the details folks.


A Large Enough Capacity for Your Dishes 

Capacity is a measurement of the inside cooking space in your microwave, and it can vary drastically from model to model. In other words, the dishes that fit into your old microwave may not fit into a new one…which is why capacity is an important feature for the best microwave brand. It needs to at least hold a dinner plate.

Microwaves below 1 cu ft may not be large enough for all plates, platters, or tall mugs. Saving space is great, but don’t do it at the expense of the dishes you prefer to microwave.



Many microwaves, particularly larger versions, come with turntables, which turn your food as it is cooked. The feature isn’t particularly necessary except when microwaving large amounts of food, so it’s either going to come in very handy or be an unnecessary annoyance.

Find out which! Some questions to ask include: what size of turntable to I want? Do I want a turntable that can be locked when necessary? Is the turntable easy to take out and clean? 


Sensors and Smart Features

In our experience, sensors and other smart features make microwaves more useful than they’ve been in the past. Technology that can detect the moisture in your food or note the size of what you’re cooking – and making cooking decisions for you based on that data – is almost always worthwhile. Just remember to give those sensor cooking features a try instead of ignoring them! It might make your baked potatoes perfect.

A sensor reheat feature is good for reheating leftovers to perfection for instance, but might not be best for frozen vegetables. This cook setting is useless if you don’t use it. There are even specialized microwaves like the grill microwave and voice controlled models.


Over the Range Features

If you need a new oven range microwave, then it needs to have the right features for your oven setup. Not only does it need to fit in the same space, but it also needs to handle the same (if any) venting capabilities. Our GE pick is a great option because it can fit in many different types of kitchens, but you need to match features to your requirements.

Also when possible, always try to stick with the same brand as your oven for both aesthetics and compatibility. If you’re looking for the best wall oven/microwave combo, make sure features like gas lines and electricity are compatible before your purchase.


The Right Kind of Door

Microwave doors generally come with either push-to-open buttons or handles, and they open either to the right or to the left. We’re fans of the door handle version, which allows you greater control and is easier on the long-term fate of the door. However, when it comes to direction make sure you note if you need a right-opening microwave to fit your kitchen’s layout.


Easy-to-Clean Buttons

An under-appreciated feature of modern microwave is the button layout. If you’re wondering the best way to clean microwave surfaces, look for glass touch panels with no crevices that could hide dirt and grime for months without you knowing about it.

Read More: Best Chef Knife 2019

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Top 10 Microwaves Compared

We like data, too. Especially tests that show which microwave oven is objectively the best of the bunch. 


Device Name






1.2 Cu. Ft.



1.2 Cu. Ft.



1.6 Cu. Ft.



0.7 Cu. Ft.



1.2 Cu. Ft.



1.6 Cu. Ft.



0.7 Cu. Ft.



1.6 Cu. Ft.



0.7 Cu. Ft.



0.7 Cu. Ft.

What Else You Should Know

Microwave brands like Toshiba microwave, the Homelabs countertop microwave oven, Hamilton Beach, Magic Chef, Sharp microwaves, and Panasonic microwave all put the latest technology into their appliances.

These brands make some of the best selling models on the market like the Toshiba em925a5abs, Toshiba em131a5cbs, Panasonic nnsn651b, the Toshiba em925a5abs microwave oven, the Amazonbasics microwave, Panasonic nnsd945s, GE Profile, the Panasonic nnsn966s, and the Cuisinart cmw200.

Microwave ovens come in a variety of styles to fit all your home decor needs. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about otr microwaves or countertop microwaves. Some are black stainless steel, others are shiny stainless steel finish for the modern kitchen. If you have retro decor, there is also a retro microwave for you. Many people prefer a stainless steel exterior. It is easy to find the right model that blends right into your kitchen and matches your, espresso machines, food processors, coffee makers, air fryers and other appliances. Many of today’s models can even work with other smart home devices if your home is a smart home.

In addition to our #1 Pick, you may want to take a look at similar devices to see what can complement your kitchen. Interested in the difference between toaster oven vs. microwave models? Take a look at the latest toaster oven news to find out how these units differ and which foods cook better in one vs. the other.

Of course, once you buy your favorite microwave model, you need to start thinking about what to put inside it! Fortunately, we can help there, too. We’ve also got answers if you’re wondering if styrofoam is microwave safe – or are trying to find the best microwave popcorn for movie night (even low-calorie options). You can also keep up with latest microwave inventions out there, like Samsung’s healthy frying microwave!

Our microwave buying guide has everything you need to make the right choice for your kitchen, but if you buy on Amazon, check out every Amazon reviewer for your favorite models and see what they had to say. After all, they have already purchased it. To see it in person, go to a store like Home Depot and get a first-hand look at all of their microwave ovens, overtherange microwave
or convection microwaves.

Mistakes to Avoid

Not Measuring Before You Buy: We can not reiterate this enough: always measure and compare your space with the dimensions of the microwave you plan to buy beforehand. This is absolutely necessary if you have a cabinet or space specifically for a microwave, but it’s also important if you are buying a counter microwave. The best cheap microwave in the world isn’t going to you much good if it doesn’t fit in that corner when you’re short of kitchen space.


Ignoring How Power Levels Work

Not Adjusting for Wattage

Ignoring Airflow and Additional Features

Buying Based on New Features and Not the Buttons You Use

Worrying About Radiation

How We Choose the Best Microwave

To find the best microwave brand choices and ultimately find out what is the best microwave, we looked at several important specifications. Let’s talk about them a little to give you a frame of reference:

  • Size and Capacity
  • One Touch Options
  • Menu Buttons
  • Power Levels

Larger microwaves tend to have 10 power levels to choose from. This is a good indication of a high-quality, customizable microwave (especially with inverter technology), but less necessary for compact models. Power levels are also closely related to wattage, which should be over 1,000 watts if possible.

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