We love microwaves because of their convenience, versatility, and relatively low price-point. Plus today’s countertop microwaves can do a lot more than starting to warm up leftovers, heating frozen meals, and making popcorn. Try steaming veggies, like spaghetti squash and potatoes, crisping bacon, and even making poached eggs – and you will get scrumptious results considerably faster than from a stove top or oven. So it’s no real surprise that 96 percent of U.S. households own a microwave and over two-thirds of these prefer countertop microwaves.
Unlike built-in or over-the-range microwaves, countertop microwaves usually do not require any special installation and can certainly be moved. In case you have a tiny kitchen with limited counter space, there are a good amount of great compact options. Also, they are usually more affordable – almost all of the countertop microwaves we’ve evaluated in the last decade were under $200 and several of our best microwaves in 2020 are under $100.
Over the years, the nice Housekeeping Institute’s APPLIANCES FOR THE KITCHEN and Technology Lab has researched and evaluated a huge selection of microwaves to find top performing models from brands we trust. To check countertop microwaves, we evaluate how well they melt cheese, “bake” potatoes, reheat both a mac and cheese casserole and a dinner bowl of meatloaf with sides, defrost a pound of frozen ground beef, and pop popcorn. We also consider simplicity with regards to the control panel, positioning the turntable, opening and closing the entranceway, and cleaning.
Features of an excellent countertop microwave
There may be plenty of selections for countertop microwaves that could fit your space and style, but they are the essential features to consider:
Turntables rotate your meal to make certain it heats evenly. Without one, you’d need to stop the cooking cycle midway merely to turn your plate around. Some models go laterally. Removable types are much easier to clean.
The add 30 seconds button may seem to be trivial, nonetheless it makes an enormous difference – it permits you to quickly start or add additional time without needing to press a number of buttons.
Preset functions are standard nowadays specifically for defrosting (predicated on either weight or quantity), reheating, and popcorn. More isn’t always better plus they have a tendency to be pricier, so search for types which have the thing you need.
Smart sensors change enough time and power level for you personally by automatically measuring heat in your food. It requires the guesswork out determining just how much longer to heat your meal for.
Wattage lets you know how powerful the microwave is. In case you are reheating individual portions of food, defrosting small levels of vegetables, and making popcorn, a 700 to 900 watt microwave could be sufficient. Otherwise, you’d want at least 1,000 watts of power. Most packaged frozen meal heating instructions derive from a 1,100 watt microwave. Anything lower would you need to longer to heat through.
Size (noted as cubic feet) matters – you can’t fit an 11-inch dinner plate inside our favorite compact countertop microwave pick and if your kitchen is tight on space our top choice for large families might not exactly make sense.
Are microwaves safe to use?
If you’ve ever been told never to stare in to the microwave while it’s cooking, the concern is probable because of radiation leaking. You don’t need to worry and here’s why: The microwave makes a sort of electromagnetic radiation called microwaves that shakes the water molecules in the meals, triggering them to heat up. Unlike other varieties of harmful radiation, like X-rays, these microwaves aren’t powerful enough to damage cells, but could burn you the same manner they heat food. The FDA regulates microwaves, ensuring radiation will not escape. It really is completely sealed and that mesh layer inside door blocks the waves from escaping .. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions and you’ll be all set!
For a long time, there wasn’t much innovation in microwave technology – that’s until Amazon introduced its AmazonBasics microwave which allows you to use simple voice commands to prompt it to heat your meal. The microwave alone is approximately $60, an economical option, but it should be linked to an Alexa-enabled device, as an Echo or Echo Dot that ranges from $40 to $80 so that you can utilize the voice-activated functions. A kid lock prevents the microwave from operating either manually or by voice. We love that it remains locked even though unplugged and plugged back.
The manual microwave functions will continue to work without Alexa exactly like any other microwave, however the features on the control panel are limited. It includes a timer, a power level button, an add 30 seconds button, and three presets for popcorn, timed defrost, and weight defrost. Through voice commands, you can access more smart features like say “defrost eight ounces of ground beef” or “reheat one glass of coffee.” Amazon continues to include new presets.
Understand that this is a concise microwave with a 700-watt power output, which is on the low end and means it will require longer to heat food. A 10-inch dinner plate fits, but nothing larger.
We love the thoughtful construction of Breville appliances (such as this microwave that’s also an air-fryer and a convection oven) – this quiet and attractive microwave is no different. A mute button turns off all beeps and the soft-close door claims to be 80 percent quieter than most microwaves available in the market. We no more remind our children to shut the entranceway to the microwave gently – even though slammed, it automatically catches and closes quietly. The control panel is large and the slightly raised buttons are simple to press. Rather than a numeric keypad, you get an ergonomic dial that feels as though it clicks since it toggles through minutes and seconds quickly.
It features pre-programmed buttons for defrost, reheat, popcorn, beverage, and a food menu that houses the presets for “baked” potatoes, reheating pizza, and defrosting frozen vegetables – they are coded, so that it might take a few tries to keep in mind which code complements which function. Reviewers love that foo