The Best Countertop Microwaves

In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to get by without a microwave. Without one, you cannot reheat leftovers, cook microwavable meals, or even steam veggies in a reasonable amount of time. With the fast pace many of us live at, we simply don’t have the time to stand around and wait for water to boil. Microwaves are a wonderful way to get around this time crunch, as are pressure cookers. However, this necessity has lead to a huge variety of microwaves available on the market. How are you ever supposed to figure out which one to get?

To help you decide, we reviewed dozens of countertop microwaves to identify the best of the best. We considered durability, price, a variety of power levels, cooking functions, wattage, and safety when rating each product.

Top Pick
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Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Nothing will provide you with better cooking result than this countertop microwave.

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$119.99 USD

The Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven is by far the best microwave on the market. It comes equipped with a pre-programmed menu for cooking all of your favorite foods and even contains a sensor that takes the guess-work out of choosing the perfect cooking time for your favorite meals. This microwave provides you with optimal cooking results at a fraction of the price.

The 5 Top-Rated Countertop Microwaves

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Top Pick Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven4.1
Runner UpPanasonic NN-SD945S Countertop/Built-In Microwave4.3
Budget PickhOmeLabs 1050 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven4.1
Best Stainless SteelLG LCRT2010ST 2.0 Cu Ft Counter Top Microwave Oven3.8
Best MiniDaewoo KOR-7LREW Retro Countertop Microwave Oven3.9

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

When it comes to microwaves, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out exactly how long you should cook something. As with most cooking, the amount of time you put your meal or snack in for can greatly change how well it turns out. Even a couple minutes difference can make a good meal come out dehydrated and inedible. The engineers at Toshiba understand this and have created a microwave that combats this problem – the Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven. This microwave comes with a built-in sensor that senses the amount of steam produced while it is cooking and adjusts for optimal cooking results. Now, you don’t have to worry about getting the cooking time exactly right. Instead, the microwave does the work for you and adjusts to cook everything just right.

This microwave also comes with 10 power settings, a clock, and a timer. With 1100 watts of power, this machine can cook anything and readily adjusts to your cooking needs. The extra features also mean that is can play multiple roles in your kitchen. A one-touch screen allows you to cook foods such as popcorn without messing with the timing. Just press the button, and the microwave does the rest. If that isn’t enough, it also comes with a custom and auto defrost setting. Now you don’t have to leave frozen foods out on the counter overnight before you cook them. Just throw them in the microwave and hit defrost.

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven Key Features:

  • Sensor automatically adjusts for perfect heating every time
  • Black stainless steel
  • 1100 watts
  • 10 power settings

Our Runner Up Pick: Panasonic NN-SD945S Countertop/Built-In Microwave

Runner Up
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Panasonic NN-SD945S Countertop/Built-In Microwave

With the ability to poach, braise, and steam a variety of foods, this microwave is a versatile choice for your kitchen

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$267.95 USD

Microwaves are notorious for cooking unevenly, especially at lower temperatures. When you turn the traditional microwave to a lower temperature setting, it uses a pulse technique to stay at the correct temperature. However, this quickly leads to uneven cooking. The Panasonic NN-SD945S Countertop/Built-In Microwave, however, is different. This microwave uses advanced Inverter Technology to generate a steady stream of power at any temperature setting. This allows you to finely customize what temperature you want your food cooking at without risking inevitable uneven cooking. This microwave’s advanced technology also allows it to deliver microwave energy in a unique way, which ensures that even delicate foods are simmered correctly without overcooking.

On top of the advanced technology, this machine comes with a number of features that you would expect out of a high-end microwave. It comes equipped with a control dial, four-digit display, a one-touch sensor, and pre-programmed quick buttons. Unlike many other microwaves though, it also comes with a turbo defrost button that thaws foods out in a more complete, even manner and a keep warm feature that allows you to keep foods warm over an extended period of time. Plus, this microwave also comes with a quick-minute timer, a delayed start feature, and a child-safety lock. With so many impressive features, there really is no reason not to buy this microwave.

Panasonic NN-SD945S Countertop/Built-In Microwave Key Features:

  • 1250 watts
  • Inverter technology
  • Turbo defrost feature
  • 18 preset menu items
  • 2.2 cu ft

Best Budget Pick: hOmeLabs 1050 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

Best for Budget
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hOmeLabs 1050 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven

A great choice for anyone on a budget

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$99.00 USD

Not everyone wants or needs a high-powered, advanced microwave. Some people just want something that can make popcorn and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If this sounds like you, then the hOmeLabs 1050 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven has you covered. This microwave is powerful enough to take care of most of your microwave needs and comes with a few key features that you would expect from a modern appliance. However, it is far cheaper than many of the other microwaves on the market, mostly due to the lack of advanced features and heating technology.

Despite its cheaper price tag, this microwave comes with a one-touch pizza and popcorn function. As 1050 watts, it cooks most things perfectly fine, though some larger meals might take a minute or two longer than they would in a high-powered microwave. It also comes with 10 power levels, 11 cooking functions, and 7 pre-programmed settings for pizza, popcorn, steamed vegetables and more. It even comes with custom defrost options and a speedy cook button if you just need to quickly reheat your leftovers. A large, revolving glass plate ensures that food heats evenly. Truly, this microwave has everything the average family needs at a lower price than much of the competition.

hOmeLabs 1050 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven Key Features:

  • 1050 watts
  • Large, revolving glass plate
  • 11 cooking functions
  • 10 power levels
  • 1.3 cu ft

Best Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave: LG LCRT2010ST 2.0 Cu Ft Counter Top Microwave Oven

Best Stainless Steel

If aesthetics are important to you, this microwave can’t be beat

If you’ve spent countless hours picking out just the perfect appliances and decorations for your kitchen, then you probably do not want to ruin it by purchasing a microwave that is an eye-sore. For some, aesthetics are extremely important, which is why we’ve included a microwave that will fit just about any kitchen and style while still being functional. The LG LCRT2010ST 2.0 Cu Ft Counter Top Microwave Oven is a great choice if you want a good-looking microwave that can also do its job. This sleek stainless-steel model is easy on the eye and the arm; its unique coating allows it to be easily cleaned both inside and out. Now, not only do you have a nice-looking microwave, but you will continue to have a handsome microwave for years to come, no matter what accidental explosion take place within it.

Like some of our other top-picks, this microwave also has the ability to sense humidity levels and adjust it’s cooking time and power accordingly. This takes the guess-work out of using your microwave and leads to perfect cooking every time. Plus, you can throw vague microwave directions out the window with this machine. You don’t even have to tell it how long to cook. Simply enter the food item code found on the label of whatever you’re cooking, and the microwave does the rest. This really is a smart, thinking microwave.

LG LCRT2010ST 2.0 Cu Ft Counter Top Microwave Oven Key Features:

  • Stainless-steel
  • Sensor cooking technology automatically adjusts cooking times
  • EasyClean interior
  • TrueCookPlus knows how to cook your food using only the food item code

Best Mini Countertop Microwave: Daewoo KOR-7LREW Retro Countertop Microwave Oven

Best Mini
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Daewoo KOR-7LREW Retro Countertop Microwave Oven

This microwave is the perfect choice for those who don’t have a lot of counter space to spar

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$69.99 USD

Whether you don’t have much counter room, to begin with or you just have a lot of appliances already taking up what space you do have, it can be difficult to find a microwave to fit your counter if you don’t have much room to spare. Most microwaves are large for a good reason. After all, the larger the microwave, the more stuff it can fit in it. However, not everyone needs or wants a large microwave. If this fits you, then you need to have a look at the Daewoo KOR-7LREW Retro Countertop Microwave Oven. This microwave takes up less than a square foot of room, making it less than half the size of traditional microwaves. This makes it fit into even the smallest counter spaces. Plus, it’s so small that it can easily be taken in and out of storage if need be. This is the ultimate solution for tight spaces, RVs, and dorm rooms.

Despite its small size, this microwave has many of the usual features you would expect a microwave to have. It has a two-way defrost feature, 4 auto-cook settings, 5 power levels, and a zero-standby function. For most people, this microwave has plenty of power getting most of your cooking done, though it might have difficulty heating larger meals or cooking whole dishes.

Daewoo KOR-7LREW Retro Countertop Microwave Oven Key Features:

  • Mini size
  • 4 auto-cook functions
  • 5 microwave power levels
  • 700 watts
  • 0.7 cu ft

Who Should Buy a Countertop Microwave

In our fast-paced world, it can be hard to find the time to cook a meal from scratch. However, we all still have to eat, even if we don’t necessarily have that much time to cook. A microwave can solve this problem by allowing you to cook whole meals in a matter of minutes. Plus, microwaves are necessary if you want to enjoy any microwaveable meal or heat up your leftovers in a timely manner. While most of the things a microwave can do can also be done with a stovetop, this method takes a lot longer. While you can spend 45 minutes roasting a potato in the oven, a microwave can have it cooked and ready to eat in as little as 5 minutes. For most people, they simply do not have 45 minutes to spend cooking a potato, which makes the microwave extremely convenient.

Many new houses today have microwaves built into the kitchen. But, many older houses, dorm rooms, and apartments will obviously not have this feature, which makes buying a countertop microwave easier. Plus, countertop microwaves can be more easily customized than one that is already built into the cabinetry.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Nothing will provide you with better cooking result than this countertop microwave.

buy now
$119.99 USD

Important Features to Consider

A countertop microwave should have a number of key features. Here is what to consider when selecting a microwave for your countertop:

  • Steam sensor. Cooking with a microwave can contain a lot of guesswork. One of the key features of a microwave is that it cooks fast, but this fast cooking also means that even a couple added seconds could dry out your food and turn a good meal into an unappetizing one. I’m sure we’ve all experienced reheating pasta or a piece of pizza only for it to come out of the microwave deflated and dried out. Some microwaves have sought to get around this problem by adding in steam sensors, which detect the amount of humidity coming off of your food in order to adjust the cooking time. This can make cooking with a microwave a lot easier and can ensure that more of your meals come out perfect.
  • Power levels. A good microwave will have a number of power levels that allow you to adjust the power output to whatever you’re cooking. This can be extremely helpful when cooking a wide variety of foods, especially sensitive foods such a salmon that tend to dry out easily.
  • Preset cook functions. It doesn’t get much easier than simply selecting the popcorn button on your microwave. Preset cook functions make cooking foods like popcorn and pizza incredibly easy and take a lot of the guesswork out of using the microwave.
  • Wattage. Simply put, the higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. In the last couple of years, some microwave companies have begun producing extremely powerful microwaves that can cook and heat up food extremely fast. If you are usually pressed for time, one of these high-powered microwaves might be exactly what you are looking for.
  • Ease of cleaning. Microwaves are going to get dirty; it is in their nature. At some point of the other, no matter how careful you are, something is going to get overcooked and explode. If you want your microwave to stay looking shiny and germ-free, ease of cleaning is a must. Microwaves coated with an easy to clean lining are the best option, as are those that have rounded edges on the inside.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a countertop microwave work?

A countertop microwave works just like any other microwave. Inside every microwave is a microwave generator called a magnetron. This generator takes the electricity from the plug and converts it into high-powered radio waves. These waves are then sent into the food compartment and bounce off of the microwave’s inner walls. When these waves hit the food, they travel straight through it, hitting the molecules inside and causing them to heat up. This is why microwaves heat up your food so quickly – they work on a molecular level.

What is a good wattage for a countertop microwave?

A microwave should be at least 700 watts. Any less than that and your food isn’t going to cook very quickly. Of course, the higher the wattage, the less time it will take to heat up your food. Many microwaves today have a wattage of 1000 or higher, which is enough to cook your food very quickly.

Can you use a countertop microwave as a built-in?

No. Only microwaves that are designed to be built-in can be used as such. Built-in microwaves and countertop microwaves have different designs, especially in terms of vent placement. If you attempt to use a countertop microwave as a built-in, you risk blocking a necessary vent and cause the machine to fail or even catch fire.

What are the different sizes of microwave ovens?

Countertop microwaves come in a huge variety of sizes. You have extremely large microwaves that are designed to be used to cook whole meals and extremely small microwaves that can only fit a potato. Choose a size based on your needs and how much counter space you have.

Other Countertop Microwaves We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Nothing will provide you with better cooking result than this countertop microwave.

buy now
$119.99 USD

We looked at 20 other microwaves for your counter. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best countertop microwaves list, they’re the best of the rest, and each is still a great option for your kitchen. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Stainless Steel Countertop Microwaves

Black+Decker EM925AZE-P

Black+Decker EM925AZE-P

This microwave is just what you need if you are wanting to save money but want a name brand microwave. Also, did we mention that it is stainless steel?

Key Features:

  • Pre-programmed buttons
  • Large LED digital display
  • 900 watts

Cost: $55

GE JES1072SHSS

GE JES1072SHSS

The GE JES1072SHAA offers state-of-the-art technology when it comes to microwaves. This has a stylish stainless steel exterior and easy to read LED display.

Key Features:

  • Auto and time defrost
  • 120 volts
  • 0.7 cu ft

Cost: $88.99

Magic Chef MCD1310ST

Magic Chef MCD1310ST

The Magic Chef countertop microwave is stainless steel and offers a modern look, plus it boasts 10 power levels.

Key Features:

  • 10 power levels
  • Stainless steel
  • 1.3 cu ft

Cost: $98

Panasonic NN-SN966S

Panasonic NN-SN966S

The Panasonic NN-Sn966s offers 1250 watts of seamless cooking power for evenly cooked foods and an ample, 16.5-inch turntable for quickly cooking all your favorite eats.

Key Features:

  • Fast cooking
  • Advanced inverter turbo
  • Automatic sensor adjusts power

Cost: $192

Toshiba EM131A5C-SS

Toshiba EM131A5C-SS

This beautiful Toshiba microwave boasts a sleek stainless-steel finish with a digital control panel and one-touch start for ease of use.

Key Features:

  • One touch start for multiple foods
  • Stainless steel exterior
  • Digital control panel

Cost: $120

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS

Compact yet stylish, this countertop microwave is ideal for small spaces such as dorm rooms or apartments. Plus, it offers 900 watts of power and on-touch start for six pre-programmed functions – so you’re not sacrificing functionality while saving space.

Key Features:

  • Compact
  • Digital control panel
  • Power saving mode

Cost: $86

Westinghouse WM009

Westinghouse WM009

With a stainless steel front display and a black cabinet for compact durability, the Westinghouse WM009 is built to last.

Key Features:

  • Durable
  • Six one-touch cook buttons
  • Push button door

Cost: $79

Mini Countertop Microwave

Danby Designer

Danby Designer

One of the smallest countertop microwaves around, at just 0.7 cubic feet, the Danby Designer offers 10 power levels and 700 watts of cooking power.

Key Features:

  • 0.7 cu ft
  • 700 watts
  • Easy to use

Cost: $63

Hamilton Beach Compact Microwave

Hamilton Beach Compact Microwave

The Hamilton Beach Compact Microwave offers a child safety lock for peace of mind, plus a handy minute timer and 1000 watts of power.

Key Features:

  • 1-touch cooking features
  • 10 power levels
  • Child safety lock

Cost: $83

Muave’ Compact Microwave

Muave’ Compact Microwave

The Muave’ Compact Microwave boasts a stainless steel finish for a sleek look, plus 10 power levels and six express buttons for ease of use.

Key Features:

  • 0.7 cu ft
  • Stainless steel
  • Push button door

Cost: $136

Oster Compact Microwave

Oster Compact Microwave

Another ultra-compact countertop microwave for small spaces, the Oster Compact Microwave offers 700 watts of cooking power, six cooking functions, and 10 variable power levels.

Key Features:

  • Dorm sized
  • Digital controls
  • 10 power levels

Cost: $100

Proctor Silex

Proctor Silex

This compact countertop microwave from Proctor Silex is controlled with a sleek electronic touch pad and boasts six instant-cooking, one-touch settings for the ultimate in convenience.

Key Features:

  • 6 one-touch settings
  • Sleek black casing
  • 10 power levels

Cost: $130

WCM660B Westinghouse Countertop Rotary Microwave 

Westinghouse Countertop Rotary Microwave

At just 0.6 cubic feet, the Westinghouse Rotary Microwave is one of the smallest countertop microwaves available and boasts 600 watts of power.

Key Features:

  • 0.6 cu ft
  • 600 watts
  • Simple operation

Cost: $62

Westinghouse WCM770B

Westinghouse WCM770B

With 10 power levels and six quick-cook settings, the Westinghouse WCM770B won’t disappoint.

Key Features:

  • Compact, small footprint
  • 700 watts
  • 10 cooking power levels

Cost: $66

Microwaves with Convection Oven

Cuisinart CMW-200

Cuisinart CMW-200

The Cuisinart CMW-200 is a microwave plus convection oven for the ultimate in cooking versatility. And at 1.2 cubic feet, it’s ample in size for all your microwave-cooking needs.

Key Features:

  • 1000 watts
  • 1.2 cu ft
  • 12” glass tray

Cost: $175

Farberware Gourmet FMO10AHSBKA

Farberware Gourmet FMO10AHSBKA

The Farberware Gourmet FMO10AHSBKA is an inexpensive convection microwave, which is a great bang for your buck.

Key Features:

  • 1000 watts
  • Air fry
  • 1.0 cu ft

Cost: $190

Fisher Paykal CMO-24SS-2

Fisher Paykal CMO-24SS-2

Now, this microwave with convection oven is pretty expensive, but it is expensive for a reason – it’s packed with tons of handy features and ample space, too.

Key Features:

  • 61 lbs
  • 1.5 cu ft
  • 10 cook settings

Cost: $860

GE Countertop Convection/Microwave

GE Countertop Convection/Microwave

The GE Countertop Convection/Microwave is reasonably affordable and won’t take up much space. With sensor cooking controls, you can microwave with confidence that your food will be cooked to perfection every time.

Key Features:

  • 1000 watts
  • Sensor cooking controls
  • Convection cooking

Cost: $500

Sharp Convection Microwave

Sharp Convection Microwave

Want to veer away from the basic microwaves and get something with a little more power? Check out the Sharp convection microwave.

Key Features:

  • 900 watts
  • 10 power levels
  • LED display

Cost: $470

Toshiba EC042A5C-SS

Toshiba EC042A5C-SS

This microwave offers tons of useful features, including an auto menu, sensor function, and a sleek stainless steel finish.

Key Features:

  • 1000 watts
  • 1.5 cu ft
  • Smart sensor

Cost: $234

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Kristin Hitchcock