Whether you’re short on time or just need a snack now, the microwave is a staple of American households for a reason: They’re fast and versatile. A traditional microwave allows you to steam veggies, melt butter, and reheat your leftovers. With some creativity, you can even cook entire meals in the microwave, or take on some fun DIY projects.
Not all microwaves can get the job done though, especially if you’re one who values the quality of your food — some microwaves heat unevenly, while others send lingering smells around the kitchen. To help you expedite your search for the perfect microwave and narrow down your choices, we’ve taken the initiative to find some of the best microwaves on the market. So, prepare to bid adieu to undercooked food, and say hello to leftovers that taste just as good the second time around as the first.
Maytag Over-the-Range Microwave in Fingerprint-Resistant Stainless Steel With Sensor Cooking ($379)
Maytag’s over-the-counter range lets you cook a lot of food at once.With 2 cubic feet of space, this appliance has plenty of room for oversized dishes, and an included rack lets you stack plates on top of each other, too. There’s also a button to stop the turntable, if your irregularly shaped dish is knocking into the sides. To help prevent a frozen lasagna from being molten on the outside and icy on in the inside, Maytag’s microwave uses sensors to automatically adjust the cook time and power settings, cooking your dish more uniformly. The microwave is also made with a stainless-steel interior that’s designed to make cleaning splatters easier. To help keep the smell of your nuked food from wafting through the kitchen, the microwave also comes with a charcoal filter. Plus, this microwave won’t be taking up precious space on your countertop.
The convection champ
The KitchenAid convection microwave oven promises thoroughly cooked food in a matter of minutes, whether you’re using it as a conventional microwave or taking advantage of its convection feature. The 1,000-watt appliance also includes a sensor steam/simmer cook cycle that provides the exact amount of time and power needed to warm up different types of food. In addition, the stainless steel interior acts as an oven cavity with a 1500-watt convection element, meaning you can bake cookies or cook chicken at temperatures up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This device has 1.9 cubic feet of capacity and comes with two racks that allow you to cook multiple dishes at the same time, as well as a 14-inch turntable to ensure even heating. There’s also steam-cleaning feature to make wiping up spills simple once your food is cooked.
The “fits anywhere” option
The GE JES1072SHSS stainless-steel countertop is a nice upgrade from your college-era microwave that still fits in cozy kitchens. The microwave oven cooks with 700 watts of power on a glass turntable and features one-touch buttons for express cooking. The 0.7-cubic-foot-capacity microwave also features an easy-to-read LED display, sound control, a child lock, and an option to add more cooking time if needed. Efficient and reasonably size, this GE microwave offers even cooking without a ton of frills.
The sleek pick
If you’re looking for a microwave that both versatile and easy on the eyes, then the Samsung Countertop Microwave is it. This microwave sports a shiny mirror design and an asymmetric shape for a sleek, premium look. The 1.4-cubic-foot interior is built with a ceramic enamel interior that is both scratch-resistant and easy to clean. This 950-watt microwave also comes with an array of auto cook options and a grill option, which uses a separate heating element to better cook crispy foods such as pizza. The combination cook mode uses a mix of grilling and microwaving, giving you more cooking options. An included ceramic plate helps keep food from getting soggy.
The value buy
Though it doesn’t boast convection or grilling options, Danby‘s DMW7700BLDB microwave still gets reheating right. At 0.7 cubic feet of capacity and under 18 inches wide, the oven fits perfectly in kitchens that suffer from limited counter space. The 700-watt microwave features 10 different power levels, one-touch cooking, a turntable, and an oven light. Danby’s small-yet-powerful microwave also comes with an easy-to-read LED timer and clock. It offers standard features and a small footprint, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality for a bargain price.