How To Find The Best Microwave

How To Find The Best Microwave

Since the first commercial microwave was released in the 1950s, this amazing device has become a staple in the American home. With a handy microwave in your kitchen, you’re able to do so many things from the one device, and they’ve bought about a convenience to meal planning for families of all sizes, with food available at literally the push of a button.

Whether your old microwave has suddenly died on you or you’re looking to upgrade your old, boring appliance for something more modern, there are now so many great models available. Microwaves of this time are now more user-friendly, versatile, and convenient so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your home.

Microwaves in a store.

If you’ve started your search already, though, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by the diversity out there. No longer is a microwave just a simple machine with a few buttons for the time and a push button to open the door, they now can do just about everything you could imagine.

We’ve put together this thorough buying guide to help ease you through the process of buying a new microwave and will show you exactly what features matter and those that are simply there as a handy addition. We cover all budgets, styles, functions, and sizes, so you’re sure to find the best microwave for your home.

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What Is A Microwave Oven?

The modern microwave can do anything from reheat last night’s leftovers to defrost a whole chicken and everything in between. However, there’s always some confusion surrounding exactly what a microwave oven is and how it differs from a microwave.

Truth is, they are both the same thing but just terms that are often interchanged and used to describe a device that heats food using radiation and is not to be confused with a convection oven which actually cooks the food using heat within.

Inside the scope of microwaves and microwave ovens there are many different styles and shapes, so that’s why it can get confusing when you’re on the hunt for a new one. As technology improves, the capability of these once simple devices grows so that now we have more choice than ever in regards to what we can expect from a microwave.

The Importance Of Choosing The Best Microwave

When you have the best microwave on hand in your kitchen, there’s no limit to how much you can create with it. For many people, though, choosing a microwave was simply a matter of finding the cheapest and most readily available and then hoping it will do well enough to serve your family.

Considering just how much use the microwave gets in the average American household, it’s a wonder that we don’t spend more time that this choosing such an important appliance. Microwaves can help us prepare snacks, drinks, main meals, and just about anything else you can imagine, so we should start taking the buying process of this key appliance more seriously.

Woman opening a microwave.

With the right microwave at home, you and your family can benefit in a number of ways. Ask anyone who’s had to live without a microwave for any time and they’ll tell you just how much they didn’t realize they’d miss it.

Convenience

By far the biggest benefit of owning a microwave is the convenience of it. With a quality microwave, it can take just seconds or minutes to prepare full meals, whether you’re cooking a frozen meal or reheating leftovers from the night before. Compared to cooking on a stove top or convection oven, nothing can beat the convenience of a microwave.

Taste

There’s no denying how good things taste when cooked in the microwave and for some, it’s their preferred method of cooking. Cooking in the microwave means you can set it and forget it, so food tastes even better when you know you’ve barely had to break a sweat cooking it.

Versatility

The sheer number of recipes, snacks, and main meals you can cook with a microwave is overwhelming, and the reason why there are so many popular microwave oven cookbooks today.

You can heat coffee, baby’ s milk, cook popcorn, defrost meat for dinner, reheat things to perfection, and even make some cakes and casseroles with a microwave, so choosing a quality one that can handle all of that is essential.

Features To Consider In Microwaves

For those who have started the search for their new microwave, you’ll understand just how many features there are to choose from these days. We’ve compiled a simple list of the most common specifications and what they mean for the end result in your food.

  • Type - This refers to the placement of a microwave and is divided into either countertop or over the range/counter. A countertop microwave sits on your bench and an over the range is installed above, and each has their own unique set of pros and cons.
  • Wattage - The wattage of a microwave refers to how much power it has, with smaller microwaves generally needing less of this due to space. Most modern microwaves are between 700 and 1200 watts, depending on their capabilities, and this will determine how quickly they can cook food.
  • Capacity Most microwaves are measured in terms of cubic feet, as this refers to how much space is inside the device. Smaller microwaves usually begin at about half a cubic foot with the larger models usually reaching 1.4 cubic feet and beyond.
  • Settings - There are different settings available on a microwave ranging from basic heat settings to those more complicated that can cook popcorn, defrost food, or turbo reheat.
  • Advanced Features - Depending on how advanced you like your kitchen appliances to be, you can choose from features such as self-cleaning units, lights, LCD displays, automatic food sensors, and pre programmed recipes.

Our Top Choices For Best Microwave Oven

In general, there are two main categories to consider when figuring out what is the best microwave. Over the range and countertop refers to where your microwave sits, and these handy devices are usually separated into each.

We’ve narrowed down the search to find you the best over the range microwave and the best countertop microwave, coming in at different budgets and with unique benefits to your kitchen.

Best Countertop Microwaves

These are the microwaves that are easiest to install but can take up space on your countertop. A countertop microwave is easy to use and affordable, so here are our top choices for the best of the bunch.

Panasonic Countertop Microwave

The newest kid on the block when it comes to microwave technology is the term inverter, which refers to a modulation of the levels of radiation that allow for an evenly distributed heat. Panasonic is one of the only brands to have this technology in their microwaves, and have exhibited just how useful it is with their Panasonic Countertop Microwave.

This particular Panasonic microwave has 1.2 cubic feet of space which is more than adequate for all of your family’s cooking needs and has a whopping 1200 watts of power. As one of the more powerful on the market, you can see why people prefer to cook with it due to just how fast it heats through your traditional microwave favorites like frozen ready meals and popcorn.

Panasonic Countertop Microwave

Source: panasonic.com

Our Rating

The Panasonic Countertop Microwave has all of the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern device, with a One Touch sensor cook that does all of the work for you and even a Turbo Defrost so you can get dinner ready in no time at all.

The only real flaw to be found is that the light doesn’t come on when you open the door, so you’ll need adequate kitchen lighting to rectify this seemingly minor issue.

The sensors in this microwave mean it will cook your food to perfection, and you’ll never have to suffer through a meal that’s scalding hot on the outside and frozen still on the inside. This is all thanks to the wonder of inverter technology, and something worth paying a little extra for with the Panasonic Countertop Inverter Microwave.


Kenmore Red Microwave Oven

When style is just as important to you as a hearty meal, you might want to consider purchasing the Kenmore Red Microwave Oven.

The Kenmore Microwave will look just as though you’ve opened an interior design magazine when it’s sitting on your countertop, and it provides a powerful cooking experience too. With 1100 watts of power, it will cook your favorite snacks and meals in no time at all, and look great doing it.

This microwave can fit 1.1 cubic feet inside, which is fairly standard in terms of countertop microwaves. The 12-inch turntable inside gives you ample room for all sizes and shapes of dinnerware so there’s no need to worry about plates being stuck on the side and not having room to move.

Red Microwave Oven Kenmore

source: gearforhome.net

Our Rating

Although powerful and easy to use, the design of this and materials used means that it can get messy pretty quickly. The inside will be clean provided you wipe up spills as they occur, but the exterior will easily show up with fingerprints and grime. Provided you are happy to spend some time each day giving it a quick wipe down, this won’t be an issue.

Some online reviews of the Kenmore Red Microwave Oven claim that it feels a little lightweight for a microwave, especially when compared to older appliances they owned. Although it can feel flimsy, it’s still made to the standard of all Kenmore’s Red Microwave Ovens and will no doubt last your home well beyond the 12 month warranty period.

Kenmore is a well-known brand for home appliances, and this microwave shows why. It combines quality performance with modern style, just like all of their products, and is the ideal choice for someone looking to invest in a microwave and give their kitchen a mini makeover in the mean time.


Whirlpool Black Countertop Microwave

When space is an issue in your home but you don’t want that to mean sacrificing on getting quality appliances, you should direct your attention to the Whirlpool Countertop Microwave. In a compact but powerful package, this ½ cubic foot microwave has all the space you need to heat your favorite foods and snacks.

The best thing by far about this microwave is the unique design of a rounded back, which means it can fit perfectly into a corner. For those who have limited bench space, finding enough room on your countertop for a full sized microwave can be daunting, but not with the Whirlpool Countertop Microwave.

Whirlpool Countertop Microwave

Source: whirlpool.com

Our Rating

The Whirlpool Black Countertop Microwave is a little smaller so it only needs 750 watts to cook with, but it can be changed through 10 different cooking levels. There are settings there for all of your favorite microwave functions including popcorn, adding 30 seconds, and quick cook.

This nifty little Whirlpool microwave is not only great for the average home, but it also works great in camper vans, trailers, dorm rooms, and anywhere else where you have limited space or limited power supply. It’s a little more expensive than you might expect for a microwave of its size, but its quality and power more than make up for this cost.

If you’re looking for a larger style or a microwave that needs to be vented, this isn’t for you, and for larger families or homes with lots of people hoping to heat their food it probably won’t be satisfactory. However, if you’re a smaller home or need something quality when you’re traveling or on the move, the Whirlpool Black Countertop Microwave is your best option.


The Best Over The Range Microwaves

Many people prefer an over the range microwave because they allow you to cook with limited space in the kitchen, however, they can be a little more complex to install. We’ve scoured the best microwave reviews to find you the top choices for over the range microwaves for every need and some for every budget.

GE Over The Range Microwave

If there’s one name you can trust when it comes to home appliances, it’s GE. Their Over the Range Microwave would have to be one of their more popular items with a massive 1.6 cubic feet of space to meet all of your microwaving needs. Whether you have one or 10 mouths to feed, you’ll be able to do it all with this one device.

One of the best things about the GE Microwave is that it’s so simple to use when compared to other modern types of over the counter systems. Many people have exclaimed just how it easy it was to use and they hadn’t even referred to the user manual once, so if you prefer a simple appliance then you’ll certainly want to consider this.

GE Over-The-Range Microwave

Source: geappliances.com

Our Rating

The design of this microwave is sleek and sophisticated, coming in an all black finish. This means it will fit in well with all kinds of décor so there’s no need to shop around for something that will suit your exact style. The buttons are easy to press and the display is clear to see, and it looks exactly how a modern microwave should.

The only area that could do with improvement in future models is the introduction of a sensor that can tell when your food is ready. Although the GE Over the Range Microwave does a pretty thorough job of cooking food to protection, it’s nice to have the added peace of mind that this technology brings to modern microwaves.

If you’ve got the space, there’s no denying that these types of microwave can be powerful systems. The GE Over the Range model microwave offer 1000 watts which gives it exceptional strength, and it can do everything from defrost through a whole chicken to cook some simple popcorn at the touch of a button.


Sharp Over The Counter Microwave

For the home that wants the very best in kitchen appliances and the latest innovation offered by every product they use, you’ll want to invest in the Sharp 1100 Watt Stainless Steel Microwave. This device is unique in every way, and its positioning on top of the counter without the need for any detailed installation is what makes it such a popular choice.

With 1100 watts of power, there’s nothing that this microwave can’t do, and thanks to the Smart & Easy technology developed by Sharp there’s very little for you to do also. This microwave can sense all types of foods to tell you how long it needs to be cooked for to achieve perfection, so you’ll never have to second guess a meal again.

Sharp Over-The-Counter Microwave

Source: sharpusa.com

Our Rating

All of these positives aside, it is a little detailed, so you should be prepared to put in some time getting to know the user manual so you can be sure you’re using it right.

For the family who wants the basic model of microwave with numeric buttons and not much more, you won’t like how much there is to learn here, but if you’re willing to give it time then it will never cease to amaze you.

The coolest thing about the Sharp Over the Counter Microwave is just how much it can do when compared to older styles. There’s a setting for hot water, another for popcorn, a button to add a minute more, and those are just the basics. You can make everything from breakfast to dessert with this one appliance, so it’s certainly worth spending a little extra.

If you’ve wanted to purchase an over the range microwave but don’t want to bother with a lengthy or costly installation, this one is easier to do. This model has a new design that means it can fit into more spaces than ever before, so if you’ve been looking for the best over the counter microwave but just couldn’t figure out where it would fit, this Sharp Microwave is for you.


The Final Verdict

No home should be complete without a quality microwave in the kitchen, and now you don’t have to be with so many amazing designs available. Whether you prefer something simplistic and powerful, or a device that can do much more than the traditional microwave used to be able to do, there are plenty of great options to choose from.

In terms of the best countertop microwave, the clear winner is the Panasonic Microwave. This is the best microwave for the money too, so if you’re short on funds but don’t want to sacrifice on quality then this is your best bet. It has all of the features you need without being too complicated, and it’s powerful enough to perform just about anything you ask it to.

For those homes who prefer the best over the range microwave, our favorite choice is the Sharp microwave. This is a truly innovative and futuristic kitchen appliance that will stand out in your home and impress all of your guests.

Microwave oven in the kitchen.

With so many functions available and no need for you to second guess your cooking anymore, you will not be disappointed in spending a little extra to get this model.

In the end, any of these microwaves would make a great addition to your kitchen, and once you’ve cooked with a quality device such as these you’ll wonder how you lived without it so long.

Microwaves are the ultimate kitchen appliance for convenience, ease of use, and consistency, and with one in your kitchen, there’s no limit to the kinds of meals and snacks you can create with it.

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