Microwave ovens are so much a part of our lives that they are an essential kitchen addition. Whether you use it to heat up leftovers or to create fantastic food for the family, a great microwave can save you time and space; it can also leave you feeling in total control of the kitchen. This article celebrates this versatility by looking at the best models of countertop microwaves the market has to offer. Read on to learn about the various features these microwaves can offer and conclude with our top choice model.

  • Large size: 1.3 cu. ft.
  • 1100-watts of power
  • 7 pre-programmed settings
  • One touch popcorn button with 3 power levels
  • Quick reheat button
  • Genius sensor cooks and reheats automatically
  • Keep warm facility

  • Compact size: 0.9 cu. ft.
  • 900 watts
  • 10 power settings (including defrost)
  • One touch start for 6 pre-programmed functions
  • Child safety lock
  • Power saving mode
  • Black stainless steel exterior

  • Compact size: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • 700 watts
  • 10 power levels
  • One touch start for 6 pre-programmed functions
  • Black exterior color
  • 18-month parts and labor warranty
  • North American manufacturer

  • Compact size: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Retro styling
  • Lightweight: 23.5 pounds
  • 4 auto-cook menus
  • Zero standby function
  • 5 power levels
  • Two-way defrost settings

  • Compact size: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Easy to read backlit display
  • 10 power settings
  • Dynamic power adjustment lets user regulate the power and time
  • while cooking
  • 1100-watts power output
  • 1-year replacement warranty
  • Sensor IQ reheat and cook function

  • Compact size: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Auto and time defrost
  • 700 watts
  • Sleek styling
  • Lightweight: 21 lbs.
  • Stainless steel front
  • Limited one-year warranty

  • Large size: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Inverter technology for even cooking and flavour
  • 1200 watts
  • One touch Genius sensor
  • 14 auto cook options
  • Turbo defrost
  • Sleek stainless steel exterior

  • Compact size: 0.9 cu. ft.
  • 6 pre-programmed functions
  • Auto weight and speed defrost setting
  • 10 power settings
  • Child lock
  • 900 watts
  • Black exterior

  • Large size: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Smart sensor easy clean interior
  • 1100 watts
  • One touch start plus two defrost settings
  • 5 pre-programmed settings
  • Sensor cooking facility: Makes reheating easy
  • Black stainless steel exterior

  • Compact size: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Express cooking facility with “Add 30 minute” button
  • 6 pre-programmed settings
  • 700 watts
  • 10 power settings
  • Defrost by weight and time facility
  • Child safety lock

Quick Navigation

1. Panasonic NN-SU656B Microwave Oven

This Panasonic oven has one of the larger capacities at 1.3 cu. ft. It also delivers a powerful 1100 watts of power, so larger items like turkeys and chickens will fit in this oven perfectly. It comes in three colors – black, white and stainless steel – and boasts a “Genius” cooking sensor that cooks and reheats food automatically. This model has 7 pre-programmed settings, and a handy “Keep Warm” feature.

Pros

  • Greater capacity oven
  • Powerful 1100 watt motor
  • Sleek styling
  • Keep warm feature

Cons

  • Takes up more counter space
  • Heavy: 35 lbs.

This little gem is ideal for a smaller kitchens and office break rooms. It offers multi-stage cooking with an easy-to-program display, and the pre-set options are great for popcorn, potatoes, vegetables, and pizza. With its large grip handle and an adjustable silent operation facility, the Toshiba EM925A5A looks stylish in any kitchen.

Pros

  • 10.6-inch glass turntable
  • One touch start facility
  • 30-second boost button
  • Quiet setting mode

Cons

  • The interior light blinks after excessive use.
  • Noisy during operation

The Danby Designer microwave oven can make a stylish addition to your kitchen. It comes in black and stainless steel to complement any color scheme, and its high number of sales on Amazon reinforce that it is a tried and tested best seller in a market with fierce competition. Small and compact, yet able to handle an impressive array of foods, the Danby won’t disappoint. Standing at less than 11 inches high, the Danby will fit comfortably on any countertop.

Pros

  • 18-month parts and labor warranty
  • Economic
  • Compact
  • 6 pre-set options

Cons

  • No quick start button
  • Buttons are small
  • No 10 or 30-second boost button

Daewoo has pulled out all the stops to give us a microwave that comes in colors as funky as mint green and cream. The design might feel borrowed from the 1950s, but the Daewoo is stocked with modern cooking capabilities, such as an eco-zero standby function and 10-inch turntable. Standing at under 13 inches tall, it’ll have no problem fitting on your countertop, and with its sense of nostalgia, it has a cuteness that will resonate with most.

Pros

  • Retro styling
  • Child lock
  • 5 power levels
  • Funky color choices

Cons

  • No light when door open
  • Build quality poor
  • Some plates don’t fit

This microwave oven offers a sensor IQ reheat and cook function that automatically adjusts the cooking times, and it has a power adjustment setting that allows you to regulate the time and heat while cooking. It has a removable glass turntable and a simple dial control that lets you adjust the power level to ten settings. All in all, this microwave is excellent value for money.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Stylish design
  • 1100 watts
  • 10 power levels

Cons

  • Build quality issues
  • Won’t stop beeping when food is cooked

With just 0.7 cu. ft. of oven space, you won’t be cooking a banquet in this microwave, but it is ideal for those with a small space for cooking. Weighing in at just 21 lbs, this little unit is light and measures only 10-inches tall. With pre-set buttons for potatoes, popcorn, and hot drinks as well as an auto defrost setting, this little oven will become a kitchen favorite with the classic styling to look good on any countertop.

Pros

  • Compact and light
  • Stylish design
  • Silent mode
  • 700 watts of power

Cons

  • Smaller oven space

This microwave is the first on the list to feature inverter technology, which allows the power to be evenly distributed (even at low temperatures) so the flavor of the food is perfectly preserved. With 10 power levels and 14 pre-sets, this oven has to be the most convenient to use by far. It poaches, braises, and steams to perfection, making it a fantastic oven for fish and vegetables. It even comes with a turbo defrost setting.

Pros

  • Very powerful 1200 watts
  • Inverter technology
  • Generous oven size
  • Turbo defrost

Cons

  • Weighs 29.4 lbs.
  • Touchpad quality issues

Available in black and white, the Westinghouse microwave is stylish countertop oven. It only sits 11.2 inches high, so it is ideal for small spaces like the office breakroom. For a small oven, it produces a powerful 900 watts and has 10 power levels. You can input precise cooking times on the keypad or choose from the 6 pre-set buttons that target the more typical microwave food types. The cooking capacity of 0.9 cu. ft. can accommodate dishes up to 10.5 inches, which isn’t adequate for larger dishes but means enough space to cope with everyday demands.

Pros

  • Compact but delivers 900 watts
  • Child lock
  • Speed defrost setting
  • Super light at 14.1 lbs.

Cons

  • Can be loud during operation
  • No “Quick Start” function
  • No stop button

This Toshiba model is another example of a powerful countertop oven that delivers 1100 watts of power. It has less pre-sets than some competitor models, and it does weigh 34.6 lbs., so it isn’t light by any stretch. It is also a wider unit with a width of 20.5 inches, so you’ll need a decent bit of counter space to set it on. Despite these setbacks, it has a one-touch start facility along with sensor cooking to take the guesswork out of cooking your favorite foods. The oven senses the amount of steam produced during cooking and adjusts automatically to get the best results.

Pros

  • Sensor cooking to remove the guesswork
  • Quick start setting
  • Generous capacity: 1.2 cu. ft.
  • Large 12.4-inch turntable

Cons

  • Heavy: 34.6 lbs.
  • Problems with LED light blinking
  • Noisy door

This Farberware oven is a nice example of a compact microwave. It 700 watts of power won’t match competitors like the Panasonic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t up to the task. It comes equipped with different defrost settings, options for multi-stage cooking, and he ability to customize and save your favorite cook settings. It consumes minimal space on the countertop: measuring just 17 inches in width and 10.17 inches in height, it’s great if space is limited.

Pros

  • Small but powerful
  • 10 power level settings
  • +30 second control button
  • Child safety features

Cons

  • Small turntable: 9.6 inches
  • Can be noisy during use

Choosing an Effective Countertop Microwave Oven


Choosing an effective countertop microwave oven means considering how you plan to use this appliance in your cooking. Let’s highlight some of the most important aspects to keep in mind as you narrow the field of microwave options:

Size

Think about the space you have and the things you want the oven to do. It’s no good choosing an oven that fills up your countertop when all you wanted was something to heat up leftovers or pizza. Alternatively, selecting an oven that’s too small could leave you regretting your purchase. If you have a large family, for example, don’t go for the compact ovens, because they won’t be big enough to meet your cooking needs.

Functions

If you can afford it, go for a microwave that offers the most convenient features. Pre-sets or features like auto defrost or one-touch quick start are great and can make cooking a pleasure rather than a chore.

Power

Make sure to select a model with adequate power. Microwave ovens with lower wattage will take longer to heat your food. As a rule of thumb: the higher the wattage, the more power the oven generates an the quicker the results of your cooking.

Styling

The microwave you choose has to be functional, but it should also fit your style. Try and visualize where it’s going to sit in the kitchen and look at your other appliances. Models like the Daewoo, for example, are great if your kitchen has a retro vibe; if your design feel is more streamlined and modern, though, you might want to pick a more sleek stainless steel model.

Clever Technology

Ingenious advances in microwave technology have made microwaving food simple. Sensor cooking and inverter technology help to apply the power evenly, so the food retains more of the flavor. With the advent of this intelligent technology, microwaved food can be as good as that cooked in the oven.

Product Warranty

Most manufacturers offer a 1-year parts and labor warranty on their products, but some go even further: Danby provide an 18-month parts and labor warranty. Make sure to assess the duration and the coverage of your selected model’s warranty so there are no surprises if something goes wrong.

Brand Reliability

When it comes to choosing your new microwave, pick a brand you know and trust. Brands like Danby and Panasonic are consistently strong and make great microwaves that will last the distance. Remember: these brands have a reputation to protect, so they want satisfied customers to remain loyal to their brand.

FAQ

I entertain often. Do I need a countertop microwave oven?

If you want an alternative to a conventional oven, then yes, a countertop microwave would be handy. It can heat things quickly – in a fraction of the time it would take to do the same in a conventional oven – so it can provide a quick save between courses.

Does having a turntable make a difference?

It makes a huge difference if you want your food cooked evenly. The glass plate rotates to ensure the power is distributed accurately to make the food cook and taste better.

Are there any restrictions on the things I can put in a microwave?

Anything metallic or with a reflective surface should be kept out of the microwave as it might trigger an explosion. In addition, some older bowls and dishes may not be microwave safe. You can always check with the manufacturer if you’re not sure. Modern plates and dishes are generally standardized as microwave safe, but it’s worth checking before cooking.

Final Thoughts

We think the type of microwave you want depends on what you want to do with that oven. If you want a compact unit that can come to your rescue when you need something heated quickly, then a small oven will probably fit the bill. Maybe you just want the basics? A budget model to suit you well in this instance. Maybe you want all the bells and whistles? Perhaps the microwave isn’t the supporting actor in the kitchen appliance stakes; perhaps it’s the star of the show.

If that’s the case, then you might want to seek out our winning microwave on this list: the Panasonic NN-SU656B. We think this microwave is going to be hard to beat. It has power, size, and smart tech that means your guaranteed great food all the time. And with 7 pre-sets, even the staple microwave food is going to be simple to cook. We especially liked the “Keep Warm” function. This is a great tool, especially when you consider how fast microwaved food goes cold.