When it comes to must-have kitchen tech, refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers tend to lead the charge for the essentials. Oftentimes, a trusted microwave is just as important to a cooking space as a large appliance.
The best microwaves of the modern kitchen are going to do far more than simply reheat leftovers. With features like inverter and convection cooking, voice assistant capabilities, and smart sensors that adjust power and temperature based on the meal you're nuking, microwaves have certainly come a long way and can do more than ever before. Whether your old unit is on the fritz or you're buying one for a new home, apartment, dorm, or office space, we've rounded up the best microwaves you can find online and in stores right now.
The best overall
- Spacious interior
- Doubles as a convection oven
- Smart sensors and 13 cooking presets
- Stainless steel finish
- Lacks voice assistant capabilities
Why should you buy it? You want a microwave that does it all, from basic nuking to more advanced convection-style cooking.
Who it's for: Homeowners and apartment dwellers looking for a powerful unit that can do double-duty as a convection oven.
Why we chose the Toshiba EC042A5C-BS:
The Toshiba EC042A5C-BS is our top pick for more than one reason. Capable of 1,000 watts of cooking power and sporting a 1.5 cubic foot interior, the EC042A5C-BS is large enough to heat everything from a quick plate of leftovers to an entire casserole dish.
In terms of cooking tech, smart sensors do all the work here, with 13 cooking presets designed to automatically adjust power and temperature settings depending on what food you're heating up. There's even an Eco mode that reduces the standby power of the microwave when it's not in use.
The big win is the EC042A5C-BS's convection feature. More than a traditional microwave, the EC042A5C-BS doubles as a convection oven and includes eight unique presets for baking and roasting your favorite meals.
The stainless steel finish is a breeze to clean, too. While Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility would be a welcome bonus, web connectivity is pretty much the only thing missing from this titan of a countertop appliance.
The runner up
- Patented inverter cooking technology
- 16 cooking presets
- 10 power settings
- Sleek and compact
- Can cause Wi-Fi interference
- Interior light a bit dim
Why should you buy it? You want a great, compact microwave with an assortment of cooking options and an attractive design.
Who it's for: Those looking to save on valuable kitchen counter real estate.
Why we chose the Panasonic NN-SN67K:
When it comes to microwaving done right, the 1,200 watt Panasonic NN-SN67K rises above the rest, thanks to features like inverter heating, intuitive presets, and a sleek design that blends into most kitchen countertop settings.
Traditionally, microwaves use a cycling power flow to cook food, which can often result in unevenly heated items. But with Panasonic's inverter tech, the NN-S67K delivers consistent heating at all temperature settings, ensuring your food receives the proper amount of heat throughout the entire cook cycle.
The 1.2 cubic foot interior is large enough for most residential kitchens, from houses to apartments. It features 15 cooking presets and 10 power settings, (including an automated sensor reheat), so you can heat everything from garden-fresh veggies to popcorn and oatmeal.
While some reviewers have noted issues with the microwave causing Wi-Fi interference and the interior light being a little on the dim side, the Panasonic NNS67K is still a solid bet. After all, who can say no to a dedicated popcorn button with three unique butter and kernel settings?
Black + Decker EM925AB9
The best budget microwave
- Numerous cooking presets
- 10 power settings
- Quiet operation
- On the small side
- Timer chime is loud and cannot be disabled
Why should you buy it? You want a solid microwave with a handful of features that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Who it's for: College students and scrimp-and-save families.
Why we chose the Black + Decker EM925AB9:
Black + Decker has a long and reputable track record of reliable kitchen-counter appliances, from blenders to toasters and everything in-between. The EM925AB9 microwave is another fine addition to the brand's lineup, and we're here to tell you why.
For starters, if you're shopping on a budget, the price point may not be rock-bottom digits, but it's a deal when you consider the bevy of essential cooking features it offers. This unit has everything from intuitive presets for heating food like popcorn, pizza, and veggies, to the microwave's 10 power settings, including a powerful defrosting mode for thawing meats and other frozen items.
At 0.9 cubic feet and 900 watts, it may not be the biggest or mightiest microwave on our list, but as many reviewers have noted, it's the perfect "get the job done" appliance for most kitchens.
The best OTR microwave
- 1,000 watts of power
- Spacious interior
- Sleek design
- Automatic fan settings
- Lacks more advanced presets and features
- Can overload weaker circuits
Why should you buy it? Your kitchen is set up for an over-the-range (OTR) microwave and you want to make sure you buy a great one that you won't have to un-mount for some time.
Who it's for: Homeowners with the space and required power to mount an OTR microwave.
Why we chose the GE JVM3160RFSS:
Over-the-range microwaves are a fantastic way to free up valuable counter space in a kitchen. When it comes to performance and reliability, the GE JVM3160RFSS delivers in more ways than one.
For starters, the 1.6 cubic foot interior offers plenty of space for all your cooking needs, whether you're simply reheating leftovers or thawing a cut of meat for dinner. We also love the ability to toggle the turntable on and off, depending on what food you're nuking.
Capable of 1,000 watts of power, and featuring several different cooking presets and an automatic exhaust fan, the JVM3160RFSS may not have an exhaustive range of add-ons, but the strong brand name, attractive design, and cooking capabilities are all here.
The best smart microwave
- Scan-to-cook capabilities
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Stainless steel design
- Great price for the features
- Not as big or powerful as other microwaves
Why should you buy it? You want to be able to use Alexa and Google Assistant to cook your favorite microwavable meals.
Who it's for: Web-connected smart homes that could use a little automation in the kitchen.
Why we chose the GE JES1097SMSS:
Wouldn't it be great if there was a microwave that could cook your food without you having to even touch the keypad? Guess what? There is! Enter the GE JES1097SMSS, a cutting-edge smart microwave packed with some pretty impressive web-connected tech (a Wi-Fi connection is required).
Using GE's scan-to-cook feature, scanning the barcodes on a wide assortment of foods will automatically input the ideal cook settings into the microwave. No fretting about power and timing, all you have to do is stick the food in and the JES1097SMSS does the rest. Alexa and Google Assistant households will also love the ability to fire up the JES1097SMSS using voice commands with a compatible smart speaker or display.
At 0.9 cubic feet and 900 watts of power, the GE JES1097SMSS may not feature the largest interior or strongest performance, but if it's smart tech you're after, it's one of the best options you'll find.
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