8 Best Microwaves for 2022: Complete Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

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Looking for the best microwaves to buy for your kitchen? Well here are our best picks from the best overall microwaves to budget-friendly ones to countertop ones:

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Best Easy-to-Use Microwave
Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave
4.5
$347.00

Durable and easy-to-use microwave oven that fits for older folks and non-digitally savvy.

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT
Best Value
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S
$309.95

The versatility of this microwave contributes to the value, and that’s why even though it already enters the $200 range, I don’t feel like this one is a rip-off!

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT
Best Entry-Level Digital Microwave
BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven
4.5
$114.99 $103.49

It’s quiet, compact, and provides all the basic features like a higher model.

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT

Microwaves are a kitchen appliance with a long shelf life. A sturdy microwave can last for a decade and we don’t really need to get a new one unless the old item commited suicide. However, by the time you really need a new one, there are so many functions and questions popping in that raise your eyebrows. 

Will you get the same model from the same brand? Do you want a larger, over-the-range microwave with a digital panel or a compact countertop microwave with a retro feeling to it? In this ultimate buyer’s guide and review, I debunked all the major questions you’re encountering.

Plus, I suggest 8 best microwaves I have tested and used. Each of them is dedicated to a different purpose with a different price tag.

Dig in and see what I have to say!

6 Elements to Consider Before Buying a Microwave

microwaves

1. Should You Go for a Solo, Convection, Or Inverter Microwave?

While many buyers rely on the designed installation when buying a microwave, for me the type of microwave plays a crucial role. There are different types of microwaves in the market but they can be boiled down to either a solo, conventional or inverter microwave.

You’ve probably heard of them before. Let’s put it simply:

A solo microwave is the most basic type. The only functions it gives you are reheating, cooking, and defrosting.

A convection microwave is a higher-end model which covers the basic functions of a solo microwave. 

Other than heating and defrosting, a convection microwave can roast, crisp food, grill, and bake. A solo microwave is usually the cheapest item in the range, while convection microwaves are much more likely to be expensive.

Finally, we have an inverter microwave

The major difference between an inverter and a standard microwave is the mechanism of the power supply. While a convection microwave uses an in-built convection fan to distribute hot air, which uses a greater amount of power to cook food in a shorter duration. 

In the case of inverter microwaves, they supply power using an inverter circuit. This circuit distributes an exact amount of voltage rather than having a transformer switching the magnetron system on and off to maintain power and heat. As a result, the cooking process in an inverter microwave is consistent, creating a uniform outcome of the food.

So in terms of cost, both convection and inverter microwaves are more expensive than solo microwaves, with inverters topping the price chart.

2. Which Range of Power Is Acceptable?

Technically speaking, higher power yields more heat to defrost and cook your food. The lowest power you should go for is somewhere between 900 and 1000 watts. Cheaper items distribute only 700 watts, and I personally don’t recommend you to go that low.

Amongst these three types, an inverter microwave is more energy efficient because you can control the power output. One of my favorite inverter microwaves is the Panasonic NN-SN766S which yields 1250W.

3. Sensor Is A Must

Inverter microwaves deliver a steady stream of cooking no matter which setting it’s on. However, if you aim at a traditional microwave like the first two types I mentioned above, make sure to keep a close eye on sensors! A sensor will detect the amount of moisture emitted from the food to automatically adjust the cooking time. 

Therefore, a microwave with a sensor eliminates guesswork and double checks on your food every 30 seconds. You hit the start button and it runs on one swift operation. The best microwave oven with a built-in sensor you can consider is the Toshiba EC042A5C-BS I reviewed below.

4. Look Out for Sturdy Material

Speaking of good materials, I want to mention the lining material which is constructed on the inside of the machine. Those microwaves on the cheaper range of the price spectrum can be made of acrylic while better microwaves have stainless steel interiors. This type of construction is easier to clean and lasts longer. 

5. Size and Capacity

For me, choosing the dimension I want is not as crucial as the actual space I can afford for the microwave in the kitchen. You don’t want to go for a massive, fancy-looking countertop microwave just to end up realizing that there’s nowhere to fit! So first off, measure your available space before buying one. Solo microwaves are usually the smallest microwave out of three.

Now here comes the capacity! Make sure to keep an eye on the capacity because it defines how large of your cookware can go in. The largest microwave I have tested is the Samsung MG14H3020CM countertop microwave with up to 1.4 cubic feet. Space-friendly microwaves are also very popular.

6. Do You Like A Turntable or Flatbed Microwave?

A few elements are coming down to the choice of a turntable or flatbed microwave. A microwave with a turntable at the base of the appliance will rotate the dish to absorb the heat for evenly cooking. 

Meanwhile, a flatbed microwave takes advantage of technology to evenly distribute microwaves and heat throughout the interior of the machine without relying on a rotating disk. Therefore, flatbed microwaves won’t give you a hard time cleaning up!

Given all things considered, flatbed microwaves are larger and more expensive than turntable microwaves. So to decide which one works best for you, look into your budget – how much you can afford one? How often do you cook and how large is the food?

Best Microwaves Detail Review

1. Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven

Sharp SMD2470ASY
Photo Credits: Sharp

The best solo microwave that’s still staying with me is Sharp SMD2470AS. This one is a drawer microwave and it was the first choice our family settled with for our new island kitchen. I love the way it gave me a large capacity which reached up to 1.2 cubic feet. 

Compared to other solo microwaves in the market, this Sharp received a lot of attention across the board. One of the most talked-about features is the sleek design. It’s not overly flamboyant to steal the spotlight in my kitchen. Instead, it coordinates pretty well with the overall kitchen design thanks to that shiny, well-cut stainless steel exterior. 

There’s no turntable for this one which means cleaning is easy. I need to mention that this one automatically opens and closes with one touch on the digital pad. It may seem like a state-of-the-art function but I don’t think it’s necessary. You don’t even need to wait that long for the door to slide in and out. 

Overall, this Sharp is straightforward to use. This is literally one of the best basic microwaves you can go for at this price range.

PROS

Large capacity accommodates a large meal for a whole family.
The sleek, clean-cut, and contemporary design reside well with today’s kitchen.
It’s easy to operate with basic features for a high-performance solo microwave.

CONS

The door takes too long to slide in and out.
The numbers and buttons are not visible enough due to the absence of back-lighting reflection.
Best Solo Microwave
Sharp SMD2470AS Microwave Drawer Oven
4.5
$1,579.99 $1,249.99

The best solo microwave that’s still staying with me.

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT

2. Galanz GLCMKA07BER Retro Microwave Oven

Galanz GLCMKA07BER 07 Retro Microwave Oven
Photo Credits: Galanz

I can’t stress enough how cute and eye-pleasing this Galanz is! Don’t get me wrong! Its retro, mid-century housing is a clear winner but it’s not the only thing persuading me to bring it home! 

As I mentioned above, this appliance is one of the best choices out there for a small kitchen. Within the under $100 price range, this Galanz model is definitely a steal! It gives you a sleek and sturdy handle, six power levels, interior light, and a child lock to keep your kids on the safe side. 

0.7 cubic feet is generous enough for a compact microwave. I must say that all details are catered to the ease of use. The curved handle makes opening and closing a snap. 

For some reason, I really like how straightforward it is! The dial knobs are visible and neat, which means it’s easy to figure out compared to the soft-color buttons like what I got on the Sharp SMD2470AS above. However, the push-button is not necessarily a must-have for me unless you go for an ultra-modern digital appliance.

My only issue is low power. 700W is not the end of the world but it takes way longer to heat the food than other microwaves I’ve owned so far. Other than that, if you consult the manual properly, there won’t be any problem.

PROS

The removable glass turntable is durable and easy to clean.
The mid-century design makes it a conversation starter in your kitchen.
This is a compact and lightweight appliance to store on your countertop.

CONS

Low power takes it longer to heat the food.
If you don’t consult the manual guide and leave the microwave on without clearing the timer, you may encounter a fire hazard.

3. BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven 

BLACKDECKER Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push Button Door
Photo Credits: BLACK+DECKER

If you’re on the way to upgrade your old-fashioned microwave to a modern, digital-controlled item without breaking the bank, get this BLACK+DECKER and you’ll be more than happy! 

For me, this one can be considered as an entry-level digital microwave oven. A 0.9-cubic-feet container for me is a great fit for daily dinner with your family. It fits a big plate of food and can also accompany a full-size bottle. 

It’s quiet, compact, and provides all the basic features like a higher model. The kitchen timer and digital clock are also available on the panel. The child lock feature also comes in handy. 

At the end of the day after you play around with it after it arrives, you would see that it’s so easy to use. If you take my Galaz microwave above, give it a modern twist, a bit more power, and a tad bigger size, you got this BLACK+DECKER! 

The two are so easy to use. Both have a turntable in each with similar preset controls. My only problem has to do with the “done” chimes. It beeps five times with a high pitch and I wish I could figure out how to turn it off!

PROS

This BLACK+DECKER is a great entry-level microwave with a digital control panel.
The operation is straightforward, quiet and cleaning is easy.
Ten power levels give you more flexibility when cooking.
The interior is large enough for a regular family dinner.
The memory button lets you three memory times.

CONS

The “Done” beeping sound cannot be turned off.
The exterior metal paneling is heated during the event so make sure you won’t touch it!

4. Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven

Panasonic Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven
Photo Credits: Panasonic

When I was searching for a durable and easy-to-use microwave oven for my granny, I was sort of hesitating between this one and the retro Galanz GLCMKA07BER above. But after weighing the pros and cons, this Panasonic NE-1025F won me over thanks to the comprehensive written cooking guide on the panel and straightforward operation. 

Both items give me a sturdy handle and visible control buttons but Panasonic NE-1025F heats things faster. It also comes with anti-theft protection and a dial timer. All of these features make life easier for granny to get rid of the hassle of cooking. 

The interior is a little bigger than Galanz but it fits my granny’s dishes perfectly. Plus, she lives alone and so there’s no need to deal with large meals all the time. 

One more thing I must mention is the flatbed design. You don’t want your seniors to deal with disassembling the turntable off and get it back on again after cleaning. This flatbed design makes cleaning a breeze. 

Unlike modern soft-color digital microwaves, the old-school panel on this Panasonic is visible and clear. For me, this is a crucial factor to consider since we can eliminate the vision issue for our seniors! 

Compared to the BLACK+DECKER digital microwave oven above, this Panasonic lets you turn off the beep sound if you consult the manual. I agree that its beeping sound comes with a high pitch but the good news is that it can be turned off. 

Still, there are some quirks going on and it’s necessary for me to call them out so you can consider! The machine will only start if you close the door and let it run immediately. In case you wait too long after closing the door, it won’t agree unless you open and close it again.

PROS

This product reduces hard work for seniors with a solid handle and material.
High power reduces cooking time and gives the food a uniform result.
The written control panel is easy to read with the suggested cooking time for different recipes.
The design is timeless, which means it can coordinate with even a modern kitchen or old-school style.

CONS

The machine won’t start if you wait too long before hitting the “Start” button.
The “Done” signal is a loud beeping sound but the good news is that it can be turned off.
Best Easy-to-Use Microwave
Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave
4.5
$347.00

Durable and easy-to-use microwave oven that fits for older folks and non-digitally savvy.

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT

5. Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven 

Farberware 1.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven
Photo Credits: Farberware

This Farberware shares a lot of similarities with the BLACK+DECKER I reviewed above. They both provide ten power levels, preset functions, and designs. The only differences are weights, power, and capacity but the gap is not much of a deal. We know that modern microwaves today are all developed with a popcorn function. However, the only concern I have is the compatibility of the interior and the popcorn serving. 

My friend is a popcorn fanatic and she just cannot wait for cinema time to devour her delight! Let’s say on a rainy lazy day, she wants a quick, tasty, and flavorsome popcorn to indulge her teeth in without hitting the streets. That’s why I advised her to go for a low-cost convection microwave with high speed, a handy timer, and multiple power levels to play around with different popcorn recipes. 

This Farberware is exactly what I’m looking for! The capacity is not too small in case she needs a large batch for a homemade movie night with the girls.

One little tip from me is that you’ve gotta press the “Popcorn” button twice if your bag is in a mini size. We were kind of hesitating between this one and the smart-tech Amazon microwave with Alexa voice AI (which I reviewed below) because it seems to receive a big round of applause for the popcorn function as well.

At the end of the day, I think this one is more straightforward to use, especially if you are not familiar with the Alexa ecosystem!

PROS

The interior is large enough to accommodate any popcorn serving size you have.
1000-watt power is ideal to yield tasty and crunchy popcorn.
It’s an easy-to-use convection microwave with a modern design to fit in your kitchen.
The price tag is acceptable given all the benefits it provides.

CONS

The operation produces a loud noise.
I wish the interior light would be replaced from cold white, faintly glow to a brighter yellow hue.

6. Wolf Gourmet Elite Digital Countertop Convection Toaster Oven

Wolf Gourmet Elite Digital Countertop Convection Toaster Oven
Photo Credits: Wolf Gourmet

Wolf Gourmet is a no-brainer if you ask me which microwave oven I recommend for baking! Wolf’s quality is without doubt. We all know Wolf’s kitchen appliances always aim for long shelf life and durability. Such premium material and construction send it into the higher price range, and there’s no wonder if you have to pay hundreds of dollars for one. 

The reasons I chose this one for baking come from the baking-centric preset controls and the included accessories. I’m very delighted with the removable grill racks and a baking pan included in the box. These are something you won’t receive when aiming for other products on my list. 

The cooking modes make a lot of sense for professional cooking and baking recipes. I’m totally impressed with the integrated temperature knob! This tool really comes in handy when we usually have a different expected temperature for the stuffing. The only downside with the knob is that its cord is too short, I almost burned my hand the first few times until I finally made friends with it. 

This appliance is developed with advanced convection cooking to ensure the steam is distributed evenly throughout the interior, yielding an even-baked dough and fully cooked meat. The two racks are removable and they nestled perfectly in this one-cubic-feet interior. If you need to bake two dishes at a time, plug two racks in. 

This one accommodates any kind of food I want, from a pizza roll to snack food, from a sandwich to balsamic-glazed chicken and toast. Apparently, you don’t pay this much just for toasting even though it seems like a perfect alternative for a toaster! If you’re looking for a replacement, make sure to read my reviews about the ten toasters I tested right here!

PROS

Lots of accessories are dedicated to the ease of baking.
Construction is made of high-end stainless steel with durable facilities that stand the test of time.
Interchangeable brushed stainless and black knobs are included, allowing you to personalize its decor up to your liking.
The seen-through spring-loaded door with a seal prevents heat loss and lets you keep a close eye on the cooking process of your dishes.

CONS

The extortionate price tag may hold you back in doubt.
It takes way too long to toast compared to a well-performed toaster.

7. Panasonic NN-SN766S Microwave Oven 

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN SN766S Stainless Steel Countertop
Photo Credits: Panasonic

This advanced inverter product gathers all the coolest features of a top-notch microwave. Plus, it’s priced in the middle of the $200 range which is an ideal gateway to upgrade your old-fashion microwave. It provides a massive interior while the weight and dimensions are optimized. 

I like the way it’s compatible with both my countertop and cabinet. This versatility greatly contributes to the value, and that’s why even though it already enters the $200 range, I don’t feel like this one is a rip-off! 

You will see that this one is developed with a sensor. And when this sensor teams up with inverter technology and high power of up to 1250 watts, we get the best evenness and cooking quality no matter what dish it encounters with. So for the overall workmanship and performance, this Panasonic NN-SN766S is already a star! 

Compared to other items on the list, this Panasonic is one of the few that I don’t really experience any frustrating downside. If there’s any small detail I need to call out, it would be my concern with the buttons. Only time can tell how firm and solid these buttons are because I need to press them with extra force and may end up abusing them over time.

PROS

Inverter technology yields a consistent output of heat for a uniform result.
The large capacity allows you to test different recipes with large dishes.
The advanced turbo defrosts function thaws frozen food within a matter of seconds.
Genius sensors smartly adjust power and times by detecting the texture of different food.
This affordable price tag is a steal given those many advanced functions.

CONS

Only time can tell if the buttons are sturdy or falling off over the years.
The anti-flip feet are not sturdy enough and my microwave slides off somehow when I open or shut the door.
Best Value
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S
$309.95

The versatility of this microwave contributes to the value, and that’s why even though it already enters the $200 range, I don’t feel like this one is a rip-off!

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09/25/2022 12:35 am GMT

8. Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Countertop Microwave Oven with Convection and Smart Sensor

Toshiba EC042A5C BS Countertop Microwave Oven
Photo Credits: Toshiba

My impression when working with any Toshiba product is its durability. When talking about this brand, the first thing I recall is durability no matter if it’s a television or laptop. 

It goes the same way for microwaves! The best thing I like about this one is the superb operation. As I mentioned above, if you ever go for a convection microwave, try to look for one with a smart sensor. And so here it is, I found this Toshiba EC042A5C-BS countertop convection microwave! 

It cooks greatly with four preset bake and four preset roast controls. Compared to other items in the list, this Toshiba is definitely on the higher side of the capacity spectrum. It got two grill racks just like what Wolf Gourmet Elite microwave gave me, a turntable, and a manual guide. 

It completely erases all the faddish bells and whistles to concentrate on the performance. The sensor is the star of the show with smart convection technology. That’s the main reason why it handles a variety of recipes I tested very well from cookies to frozen pizza and turkey breasts. 

The sensor eliminates all the unneeded guesswork and saves me plenty of time from keeping my eye on the food the whole time. The design is modern and timeless. It doesn’t have any fancy, extravagant design to it but a feeling of durability and simplicity. 

Now comes the downside. If only I could set any timer I want. For example, I cannot set the duration for 1:30 instead of pressing 1 and then 30 more times to reach my desired timer. Otherwise, this Toshiba EC042A5C-BS is a great way to give you a uniform dish within a matter of minutes.

PROS

Well-built casing material enhances its shelf life.
Advanced convection technology with a built-in sensor automatically detects humidity and cooking time to eliminate guesswork.
It’s a high-performance appliance with the torch for ease of use and quiet operation.
The simple design coordinates with any kitchen style.
Stainless steel interior makes cleaning easy.

CONS

It only allows you to start with a whole number instead of an integer minute.
The panel doesn’t have a backlighting system, which means you’ve gotta rely on the room light or torch when it’s dark.
The manual guide still has room for better and comprehensive construction.

Remember that I also recommended and reviewed ten best waffle makers and toasters that you can buy online!

If you’re in need of a handy, personal review or simply seeking something small and compact instead of a large microwave, check these pieces out and take your favourite picks!

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