Best Countertop Microwaves

Microwaves are sooo convenient - you can reheat leftovers in just two minutes, or cook a ready meal from frozen in under 10 minutes!  A microwave is a must have for every kitchen.

We’ve been scouring the market to find the best countertop microwaves out on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our Top 5, each one a best seller, and we’ll be showing you our reviews on these very shortly.

After that we’ve also got a really handy buying guide for you which goes through everything that you might want to think about before you buy.  

Top 5 Best Countertop Microwaves

OUR TOP PICK

Panasonic Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor Microwave Oven, 1.2 cft, Black

Summary

Here’s a microwave that’s been flying off the shelves, from a great brand, this time Panasonic.  And customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  After well over 3,400 individual customer ratings on the Amazon page, the average rating comes out at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.

It’s stand out feature is the inverter technology.  You know how normally a microwave heats the outer edge of your dish really well but leaves the center somewhat cooler?  Well this is what inverter technology serves to rectify - and rectify it does.  You get nice, consistent, even heating whether you’re cooking or defrosting, right from the edges to the centre.

And it’s not just about defrosting and ready meals - this beauty will poach, braise and steam a wide range of foods, even more delicate foods.  This way, the food also better retains its color and nutrients.

We also love its keep warm feature.  You know what it’s like, you never quite manage to have every element of a meal ready to eat at the same time, but with this beauty you can maintain the food temperature of a dish, keeping it at the perfect temperature until the other elements of the meal are ready to serve.

And you know that other problem, where you forgot to take food out of the freezer the night before to defrost in the refrigerator.  Well you can say goodbye to that with this microwave.  It features a turbo defrost function to thaw your foods super quick, and evenly too.

There’s also a built in sensor which automatically adjusts the power and cooking times based on the type of food being microwaved.

Despite it’s compact size, taking minimum space on the counter, at the same time it's able to provide enough room for a plate of up to 13.4 inches wide.

It also has a very high wattage, meaning you can get your food ready in (virtually) no time at all!

Pros

  • Inverter technology - for even cooking & heating
  • Keep warm feature - get everything ready on time
  • Turbo defrost - no need for overnight defrosting
  • Poach, braise and steam a wide range of foods
  • Maximum interior with minimum counter footprint
  • Very high wattage for very quick cooking

Cons

  • There’s an error that very occasionally comes up on various Panasonic microwaves, specifically H98, which means “The oven unit power supply source failed”.  This can be remedied but there’s a service charge if the microwave is out of warranty.

EDITORS CHOICE

Summary

When we saw how well this microwave was selling we had to see what all the fuss was about - and it turns out that this microwave has some great features that other microwaves simply do not have.

Of course, with a brand like Toshiba, you do expect a lot of sales, but when we examined the sales and customer feedback from Amazon we were impressed.  After well over 4,400 individual customer ratings, the average rating comes out at a very nice 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.

You know how microwaves usually dry out your leftovers when you heat them up?  Well, that doesn’t happen with this microwave, and that’s what we love the most about it.  It’s all thanks to the microwaves’ humidity sensor.  The microwave automatically adjusts the heating of your food, so it retains the necessary moisture needed to keep your food just as delicious as when it was freshly made.

It also has a far higher wattage than most microwaves, coming in at a high 1100 watts, which means you get your food ready even more quickly, which is something of a godsend when you’ve got impatient hungry mouths to feed!

And for the environment and energy budget conscious, there’s an eco / power saving mode.  You can save energy consumption and operating costs by as much as 50%!

Another thing we love about this microwave is the soften/melt function, which is great for a range of foods, but customers particularly like how it can soften butter without splattering.

There’s a custom defrost menu, whereby you can simply select the food you want to defrost, and the microwave does away with the need for guesswork and automatically adjusts the time and power.

The 1.2 cubic feet version will fit plates as large as 12.4 inches wide, but if that’s not big enough for you, you could always go for the 1.3 cubic feet version instead which is only about $20 more.

Pros

  • Automatic humidity sensor - food won’t dry out
  • Very high wattage - get your food ready super quick
  • Eco / power saving mode - save energy & environment
  • Soften/melt function - soften butter without splattering

Cons

  • Some customers have reported problems with the microwaves’ light
  • Some customers have reported problems with the popcorn setting
  • Some customers have said it’s very loud, however the sound can be turned off

BEST VALUE

Summary

This is not just a microwave - it’s also an air fryer, and a grill and a convection oven, all within the compact size of a traditional countertop microwave oven!  This is great news for those with little kitchen space.

But despite offering so much versatility, it still comes in at less than $200.  In effect, you’re basically getting 4 different cooking functions for the price (and space) of one appliance, albeit an expensive one.  

You can even combine the grill and convection features to get your foods nice and crispy on the outside, while still juicy on the inside!  Or combine the grill with the microwave function for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich mmm.

We love the air frying function - so much healthier than frying in oil!  You get to cook far healthier versions of what you’d normally deep fry, like french fries and chicken nuggets.  And with no oil to speak of, clean up is a breeze.

In terms of the microwave function, there are  11 different automated cooking programs, doing away with any unnecessary guesswork in your cooking.

You won’t need to buy any special accessories for the air frying or grilling - it comes with a nonstick Teflon pan and grill rack included in the price.

And there are other cool things you can do with it besides, like dehydrating fruit (tasty and lasts ages) or making homemade yogurt.  This is thanks to its additional low temperature function.

Pros

  • 4 cooking methods for the price of one
  • Fantastic space saver
  • Great for healthier eating
  • Manufacturer’s warranty available

Cons

  • Some customers have found that it takes some getting used to, and isn’t quite as easy to use as more traditional microwaves.

RUNNER UP

Summary

It may have “basic” in the title, but this is by no means a basic microwave.  It works with your Alexa device/s so you can give commands via your voice.  This is super handy if you’ve got your hands full or if you’re busy with housework and need to get food on.

And better yet, if you don’t know how long your food should go in for, Alexa will work that out for you and pass the instructions onto the microwave.  For example, if you say “Alexa, reheat one slice of pizza,” then Alexa together with the microwave will start reheating the pizza with the appropriate power and time settings. 

And until you get used to using voice commands (which shouldn’t take long at all), you can make use of the touchpanel to set the power and the time.

It’s super popular with popcorn lovers because you can use it to automatically reorder popcorn and save 10% on popcorn orders.

It’s also very compact at just 0.7 cubic feet, so it’s a great space saver on your countertop.

But what we really couldn’t believe is not so much the technology involved but the bargain price - a machine that does all of that for under $60 - wow.

Pros

  • Works with the Alexa voice assistant!
  • Couldn’t be easier to use or simpler to set up
  • Perfect for popcorn lovers
  • Absolute bargain of a price

Cons:

  • You have to pay separately for an Amazon device, such as the Amazon Echo, if you don’t have one already

RUNNER UP

Commercial Chef CHM660B Countertop Small Microwave Oven, 0.6 Cubic Feet, Black

Summary

Ok, we’re going to level with you here.  This microwave doesn’t come with a load of fancy tech features, but there are two things that make up for it.

Firstly there’s the bargain price, coming in at under $70 (and with free shipping if you get it from Amazon).  And this is hands down the easiest to use countertop microwave out on the market, and in the best seller charts today.

What makes it so easy to use is the two dial controls.  Turn the lower dial further round to increase the length of time that you want the food in for, and turn the upper dial further round to increase the level of heat you want, including low, defrost, medium low, medium, medium high and high.  You won’t even need to glance at the manual!

It’s also a very compact microwave, that will leave you with plenty of room on your kitchen counter to carry out your food prep.

Despite it’s low price, it’s received a heck of a lot of positive customer feedback.  On the Amazon page for example after well over 1,700 individual customer ratings, the average rating comes out at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.

Pros

  • Available at a bargain price
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Very compact microwave

Cons

  • No fancy tech features (which means less to go wrong)
  • It’s only 600 watts, which means you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time

Best Countertop Microwaves Buying Guide

OK, so there are a number of different things you might want to think about before you decide which countertop microwave would best suit your needs.  We’ll run through a few things now and it should give you some food for thought (pun intended!).

Special Features

With the amount of special features you can get on countertop microwaves these days, there’s no need to treat special features as a mere afterthought or a bonus.  Having the right special features can really make all the difference.

To expand on this, we’ll go through some common problems you might get cooking with a typical microwave, and look at how new tech can solve them.

Problem - Food is heated unevenly, colder in the center

Solution - Inverter technology like the one in our Number 1 Pick, the Panasonic microwave

Problem - Some elements of a meal ready before others

Solution - Keep warm function like the one in our Number 1 Pick, the Panasonic microwave

Problem - Forgot to defrost food the night before

Solution - Turbo defrost function like the one in our Number 1 Pick, the Panasonic microwave

Problem - Reheated food ends up very dry

Solution - Humidity sensor like the one in our Number 2 Pick, the Toshiba EM131A5C-BS

Easy to Use

If you don’t consider yourself to be the best cook, then having appliances that make cooking and food prep as easy and automated as possible can be somewhat of a godsend.  When you’ve got hungry mouths to feed, or guests to impress, you don’t want to put cooking times and temperatures down to guesswork.

All of the countertop microwaves in our Top 5 Picks are all easy to use, but the easiest ones to use are our Number 4 Pick, the AmazonBasics Microwave with voice assistant, and our Number 5 Pick, the Commercial Chef CHM660B which has just 2 dials one for power and one for time, no fussing with multiple settings..

Price Point

Most best selling countertop microwaves out on the market today come in at over $100, sadly.  However in our Top 5 picks you scrolled through earlier, you may have spotted that we have selected products from a varied price range.

As a general rule, with microwaves, as the level of technology in the product goes up, so does the price.  But if you believe you will be happy with a more basic microwave, then you can pick up a good reliable one for under $60, like our Number 4 Pick, the AmazonBasics Microwave.

Top Tip - Compactness Versus Capacity

When it comes to buying countertop microwaves, before you should think about what size of microwave would be best for your particular kitchen.  Both in terms of how much space you have on your kitchen countertop, and in terms of how big your plates are.

As a general rule, the bigger the microwave the larger the plates you’ll be able to fit inside.  And it’s about getting the perfect balance between compact outer dimensions while at the same time a sufficiently spacious interior to fit your larger plates.

Out of the microwaves in our Top Picks, the one that manages this the best is our Number 1 Pick, the Panasonic.

Alternatively, if you get the right microwave you can ditch other kitchen appliances, and save even more space in your kitchen.  For example, if you were to choose our Number 3 Pick, the Farberware microwave, you won’t need to buy or have a separate deep fat fryer, air fryer, or grill, because you could have the one machine doing it all.

Although we haven’t included the dimensions of each of these microwaves here, you can find the microwave dimensions on the respective Amazon pages.

High Wattage

A high wattage on your microwave isn’t necessarily essential, but it does mean that your food will be ready quicker, which is a plus.

Other Considerations

If you’re conscious or concerned about the environment, then you may be interested in a countertop microwave that saves energy.  Not only would this be good for the environment, but it would also help you to save on your energy bills too.

If this is of interest to you, then you should check out our Number 2 Pick, the Toshiba EM131A5C-BS.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *