Compare Reviews for Microwaves
Microwaves came onto the commercial market in the 1940s, and were colossal compared to today's sleek, high-tech models. Originally built from from WWII radar equipment, a microwave oven stood over 5 feet tall and set consumers back about $750.
Today, the microwave oven is a household staple used for reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen ingredients and popping the popcorn for movie nights. Microwaves now offer a host of different features to fit consumer needs.
Top 10 Best Rated Microwaves
|Read 15 Reviews|
Chef’s Mark offers stainless steel countertop microwaves with multiple defrosting options and variable power levels. Models range in size from .09 to 1.6 cubic feet and feature a one-year limited warranty.
|Read 21 Reviews|
With a distribution area spanning all of North America, Hamilton Beach offers microwaves as well as a variety of home appliances. Their microwaves come in sizes from 0.7 to 1.1 cubic feet and offer a child-safe lockout feature.
|Read 58 Reviews|
Introduced in 1929, Magic Chef is a line of kitchen appliances licensed by MCA Corporation. Magic Chef countertop and over-the-range microwaves are available in black, white and stainless steel in varying power levels and sizes.
|Read 8 Reviews|
The largest microwave oven manufacturer in the world, Galanz makes a wide variety of models with grill, steam and convection options. Galanz offers built-in, countertop and retro microwaves in multiple colors and sizes.
|Read 13 Reviews|
In business since 1910, Hotpoint (owned jointly by Whirlpool and Haier) offers over-the-range microwaves from 1.4 to 1.6 cubic feet. Hotpoint’s microwaves feature a two-speed venting system to dispose of smoke and steam.
|Read 362 Reviews|
The trusted appliance brand Emerson brings a new level of performance with microwaves that deliver consistent, reliable results. Customers can choose from a variety of styles and prices to fit their needs and budget.
|Read 202 Reviews|
Frigidaire offers countertop and built-in microwaves with features like sensor cooking, which automatically adjusts both power levels and cooking times, and one-touch options for quick cooking of foods like potatoes and popcorn.
|Read 39 Reviews|
Kenmore offers a wide selection of over-the-range and countertop microwave ovens, with features like memory and sensor cooking. The company also offers a microwave/convection oven combo that cooks, roasts and warms in one place.
|Read 178 Reviews|
Panasonic countertop and built-in microwaves feature the company's inverter microwave technology. This patented technology ensures the consistent cooking of food and helps improve the texture of microwaved foods.
|Read 998 Reviews|
GE's over-the-range microwave ovens are available vented to release steam and cooking odors outside. The company also offers countertop, built-in and Advantium models, which are microwave convection oven combinations.
The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.
What features matter most?
Since the first days of its invention, the microwave has shrunk considerably. You'll find a range of sizes designed for everything from commercial cantinas to small apartments.
- Large: A large microwave has enough space to reheat a family dinner. Two or more plates or a casserole dish can easily fit inside.
- Medium: The medium-sized microwave is the most common model to find in any home. It fits a large plate inside.
- Small: The smaller models are designed to fit efficiently into small living spaces like apartments. These generally fit a small plate inside.
Like all appliances, wattage microwaves are built with a range of wattages. Wattage refers to the total electrical power of the microwave.
- 700 watts: This is the lowest range on the market. It is an acceptable wattage for small models.
- 1000 watts: 1000 watts is necessary for a larger microwave oven. This works perfectly well for most household models.
- 1200 watts: This is for larger microwaves such as those used in large family homes or commercial kitchens.
Due to the fact that microwaves need to hold a useful amount of food inside, they can not really shrink on the same scale as other pieces of technology. Because of this, it's important to think about where you will put your microwave before you purchase one. Despite the inner capacity of each size of microwave, the dimensions of the entire unit can differ from one model to the next.
- Handles: Many microwaves are designed with a pull-handle on the front of the oven door. This is a useful feature, but it does add several inches to the depth of the oven. Other models offer a button that opens the microwave door.
- Feet: Microwave ovens with feet can be beautifully-designed and lovely to look at. They will add a certain height to the overall oven, however, which means that it may not fit in a conventional microwave cove.
- Height: Depending on how you will use the microwave, it may be useful to find a model built with extra height. This will allow different types of tall containers inside, but limit your ability to place the microwave inside a normal shelf or alcove.
Several basic styles of microwave have been designed since these ovens became a regular part of our kitchens. The following styles were created to help you fit your microwave into the perfect spot.
- Countertop: The countertop microwave is the most common model since it is easy to find and place in any workspace. These are simply set atop your kitchen counter.
- Over the range: It became fashionable in the 1990s to build a special shelf for the microwave overtop of the traditional oven. These are still a part of many kitchens, with dimensions that match the length of the existing oven.
- Built-in: The built-in is a microwave that is designed to be concealed into your existing counters, shelves or other kitchen furnishing. These can be installed as pull-out drawers or placed behind cabinet doors.
Most microwaves are programmed with default settings that can be used quickly. These allow you to select the appropriate power level and timing without having to consult the manual.
- Defrost: Defrost settings allow you to select the correct power level and timing to perfectly thaw out certain ingredients such as chicken, vegetables or fish.
- Popcorn: Microwave popcorn is specially designed only to be cooked in a microwave. Because of its popularity, you'll often find a "Popcorn" button.
- Frozen dinner: This setting lets you reheat a range of frozen dinners to just the right temperature, without over-heating or under-heating one section of the dinner.
Every microwave and microwave manufacturer has a different set of goals in mind when it comes to microwave capabilities. There are some unique and helpful options available.
- Steam: Steam-enabled microwaves ensure that the food being heated or cooked doesn't dry out during the process. Users simply have to fill a water reservoir to keep the feature working.
- Smart digital display: In place of the traditional buttons and clock display, some newer microwaves feature a sleek, fully digital display. Some people find the smart display easier to use and understand.
- Grill: This low-tech feature is actually quite popular. It gives you the ability to heat or cook certain items like chicken or hot dogs on the hot grill while other items can be heated conventionally.
What are different types of microwaves?
A convection oven works on the principle that air moves in a vertical, circular pattern when heated. Traditional electric ovens work this way. The convection microwave oven has a fan system to help the heat move this way and provide even cooking.
The conventional microwave oven simply uses microwaves to heat food. These are usually built with a turntable to ensure even heat, but some are specially designed with only a flat tray at the bottom and a unique distribution method to achieve the same results.
The mixed type of microwave performs both the conventional microwave heating as well as convection movement.
Who's it for?
Singles and couples
Households of one or two people. These people have low-yield needs from their microwave oven and so will likely be fine with a small or medium sized microwave.
Small families of three to four people generally need a bit more capacity from their microwave as well as more varied functionality.
Larger families need increased capacity and power from their microwave. They often benefit from more presets as well.
Small or medium-sized commercial kitchens
Keeping up with orders in a commercial kitchen requires use of the microwave for several functions. High capacity is ideal for these users.
Kenmore is a household name in many parts of the world. The company has more than a century of experience in the appliance industry and provides a wide range of high-quality products that include ovens, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, cooking pots and other home essentials.
GE has more than 100 years in the industry and provides a wide range of home appliances. The company believes in innovation and elegant design that transform a home into a modern, sleek and efficient place to live.
Samsung is a highly-rated technology company that sells a range of electronics and appliances including cell phones, televisions, washing machines and microwaves. They focus on high-tech innovation in all of their products.
LG is a popular, top-rated technology company. It sells a range of electronics and appliances that span from cell phones to air conditioners. The company focuses on providing intuitive products.
KitchenAid invented the heavy-duty stand-mixer in 1919, and since then has dedicated itself to providing consumers with high-quality kitchen appliances and tools. They sell large and small appliances as well as small kitchen tools.
Frigidaire focuses on supplying high-quality kitchen wares and other home appliances. They have a range of built-ins and community food blogs.
Whirlpool has a broad range of home appliances available, including washing machines and microwaves. The company is dedicated to helping its customers take better care of themselves and their families.
The Panasonic brand is perhaps most well-known for its cameras, but the company deals in other electronics and appliances as well.
Maytag has been in the business of providing home appliances for 100 years. They sell washing machines, microwaves, heating and cooling units and much more for the home. They promote their products as the "hardest-working helper in the house."
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.