The 5 Best Microwaves of 2022

Our top pick is the Toshiba EM131A5C-SS 1.2 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven because of its adjustable wattage and reasonable price tag.

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5 Best Microwaves of 2022

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Just about any microwave will help save you time while heating food, but the best models go the extra mile by conserving energy, elevating your kitchen’s aesthetic, and more. 

To find the best microwaves for every kitchen’s needs, we spent hours researching the most popular options on the market. We also considered factors like capacity, features, efficiency, price, and more when coming up with our recommendations. For expert insight, we spoke with Metin Ozkuzey, appliance expert and CEO of Designer Appliances. 

When shopping for microwaves, Ozkuzey recommends considering the following factors: "the type (over the range, countertop, or built-in), the dimensions of your available space, and features." Our list focuses on countertop models, but we think there’s an option for most people here.

The Toshiba EM131A5C-SS 1.2 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven is our top choice for its remarkably quiet operation, adjustable wattage, and energy-conserving eco mode without the high price tag.

Here are the best microwaves.

Best Overall Microwave: Toshiba EM131A5C-SS 1.2 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven

TOSHIBA EM131A5C-SS Countertop Microwave Oven

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Who it’s for: People looking for a high-quality microwave that cooks food evenly.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a backlit control panel.

This countertop microwave from Toshiba is our best overall pick because it’s one of the most powerful on our list. With 1100 watts of power, this stainless steel model has 10 different settings that heat your food as efficiently as possible. It’s a great choice for people who want to cook or reheat quickly and evenly. It has dedicated settings for rice, frozen entrées, potatoes, fresh/frozen veggies, and even frozen pizza.

This microwave also boasts two additional functions that separate it from the pack: a built-in humidity sensor and eco mode. The sensor detects the humidity level of the food while cooking and automatically adjusts the time and temperature so that your food comes out fully cooked every time. As for the eco mode, turning this feature on reduces the microwave’s standby power by 50 percent—simply by turning off the display when the microwave is not in use.

This microwave has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet, which we think is big enough for most people. Plus, the turntable is spacious enough to fit a 12-inch pizza. It’s available in both black and silver stainless steel options, so you can choose the finish that best matches your other kitchen appliances.

Price at time of publish: $150

Product Details:  

  • Size: 17.14 x 20.51 x 12.83 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power: 1100 watts 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best Budget Microwave: Galanz GLCMKA07BKR-07 Microwave Oven

Galanz GLCMKA07BKR-07 Microwave Oven

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Who it’s for: People who want a budget-friendly microwave for an apartment.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a large microwave with a traditional design.

If you’re shopping on a budget, then we recommend Galanz’s microwave. Despite being the most affordable on our list, this microwave has several notable functions, including adjustable power levels, an eco mode, a one-touch menu for various types of foods, and more.

Beyond its functionality, another compelling feature of this microwave is its retro design, which is sure to add some character to your kitchen. It comes in a total of four colors: black, blue, green, and red. It also has an interior light for checking the status of your food without having to open the doors and a child lock.

It’s also worth noting that this is also one of the smallest microwaves, coming in at 0.7 cubic feet. For context, it easily fits a standard-size dinner plate, which may be big enough for most, but not everyone. (So you may want to skip this one if you tend to reheat pizzas or family-sized meals.) Another potential drawback is that this microwave does not contain a sensor. 

Price at time of publish: $90

Product Details:  

  • Size: 13.8 x 17.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet
  • Power: 700 watts 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best Splurge Microwave: Cuisinart CMW-110 Microwave With Sensor Cook and Inverter Technology

Cuisinart CMW-110 Stainless Steel Microwave Oven

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Who it’s for: People willing to spend more on a high-performing microwave.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a microwave that comes in more than one color or finish.

If you’re looking for a high-tech microwave, then it’s worth spending a bit more on this one from Cuisinart. Its star feature is its sensor cook feature, which monitors food as it cooks and automatically adjusts the time and power level to ensure it's heated to perfection.

Another standout feature of this microwave is its inverter technology, which maintains a steady power level that keeps it quiet while running and ensures food cooks evenly and quickly. It also requires less energy consumption.

We also like that this 1000-watt microwave has 11 power levels to choose from, so you can adjust the settings depending on what you’re heating. Plus, it comes with a warranty that protects against defects in materials and workmanship for up to three years. 

Price at time of publish: $230

Product Details:  

  • Size: 20.2 x 16.9 x 12.1 inches
  • Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet
  • Power: 1000 watts 
  • Warranty: 3 years

Best Small Microwave: Black+Decker EM720CB7 0.7 Cu. Ft. Digital Microwave Oven

4.2
Black + Decker EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven

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Who it’s for: People looking for a compact microwave suitable for small spaces.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a powerful microwave that heats food very quickly.

Since these types of microwaves take up valuable countertop space, people who live in small homes, such as apartments or dorm rooms, should consider the Black + Decker Digital Microwave Oven With Turntable. It comes in two compact sizes: 0.7 cubic feet and 0.9 cubic feet, both of which have 10 power settings and six pre-programmed options for heating specific foods.

This pick boasts all of the necessities that make a microwave easy to use, including a large LED digital display with a clock, a child safety lock, interior light, and a removable 10-inch glass turntable for easy cleaning. However, keep in mind that it opens with the push of a button rather than a handle you can pull. 

The one downside to this microwave is that its wattage is one of the lower options on our list and for that reason, it can take a bit longer than higher-powered alternatives. Nonetheless, it remains a high-quality option for those looking for a microwave for small spaces that's easy to operate and clean.

Price at time of publish: $100

Product Details:  

  • Size: 13 x 17.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet
  • Power: 700 watts 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best Convection Microwave: GE 1.0 Cubic Feet Capacity Countertop Convection Microwave Oven With Air Fry

GE 1.0 Cubic Feet Capacity Countertop Convection Microwave Oven With Air Fry

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Who it’s for: People looking for a microwave with multiple cooking modes.

Who it isn’t for: People who already have separate air fryers and convection ovens.

If you're searching for an option that does it all, look no further than this 3-in-1 countertop microwave from GE. This is a convection microwave, which means it has two different modes for cooking food. It has a rack that allows air to circulate your food for even heat distribution (and golden-brown results). 

So if you're frequently reheating foods that you want to be perfectly crispy and browned on the outside, rather than just heated from the inside (think: chicken nuggets, french fries, and pizza), then this microwave might be your perfect match.

This microwave also stands out because it has a built-in broiler and a crisper pan for air frying, too. It has classic features, too, like preset food controls and auto and time defrost. But because its main selling point is its multiple cooking modes, we think this versatile appliance is best for people who don’t already have separate air fryers and convection ovens.

Price at time of publish: $219

Product Details:  

  • Size: 16.6 x 20.6 x 11.88 inches
  • Capacity: 1 cubic feet
  • Power: 1050 watts 
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Toshiba EM131A5C-SS 1.2 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven because it stands out for its powerful wattage, built-in sensor, and eco mode. If you're looking for a more affordable alternative, consider the Galanz 0.7 Cubic Feet Retro Microwave Oven, which features all of the necessary functions and more at a lower price.

How to Shop for a Microwave Like a Pro

Type 

The first step in choosing a microwave is to determine what type is ideal for you and your household’s needs. While our list is specifically focused on countertop microwaves—standalone units that are compact enough to sit on a kitchen countertop—there are also other types, like over-the-range and built-in microwaves.

Countertop Microwaves: These are freestanding units that are compact enough to sit on a kitchen countertop. They don’t require professional installation or special wiring—all you have to do is plug it into an outlet.  

Over-the-Range Microwaves: If you’re short on counter space, then an over-the-range microwave would be ideal. They can be installed in the space above your cooktop, and they also function as a vent so you don’t need a separate range hood.

Built-In Microwaves: Built-in microwaves are exactly what they sound like: A microwave that’s built into the wall or cabinet space in your kitchen. They’re similar to over-the-range microwaves with the exception that they can be anywhere else in your kitchen, not just over the cooktop.

Microwave Drawers: This type of microwave pulls out from your lower cabinets just like a drawer, so they’re a bit more hidden than countertop and over-the-range models. Instead of hinged doors, these models simply slide out so you place your food inside from above.

Capacity

Microwave capacity is measured in cubic feet, and they can range in size from less than 1 to as big as 2.2 cubic feet. However, Ozkuzey considers 1–1.2 cubic feet the “sweet spot” for countertop models. 

If you’re looking for a compact microwave, Ozkuzey suggests looking for anything under 1 cubic feet. A microwave between 1 and 1.9 cubic feet is considered standard size, while anything greater than 1.9 cubic feet is less common and what he calls “super-size.” “There are just a handful of models in this range,” Ozkuzey says.

Power

Standard microwaves generally range from 600 to 1200 watts—and Ozkuzey considers the 900–1000 range ideal. He recommends purchasing a microwave that gives you the ability to change the wattage based on the operation or food you want to cook. 

The expert also notes that watts don’t necessarily equal quality. While high-end microwaves tend to have higher wattage, Ozkuzey warns that “more power in a microwave might cause you to burn your food faster.”

Functions/Modes

While tons of extra features can be very appealing for other types of appliances, microwaves are a bit simpler. Ozkuzey says there are three essential features to look for in a microwave: one-touch operation for your most frequent jobs, an “add 30 seconds with one touch” button, and sensor defrost.

Warranty

The standard warranty for a microwave is a year, though some high-end brands have a two-year warranty, says Ozkuzey. (The Cuisinart Microwave With Sensor Cook and Inverter Technology is the only microwave on our list that comes with a three-year warranty.)

Questions You Might Ask

How do you clean a microwave?

Even though a dirty microwave could bother you, Ozkuzey says that it “doesn’t impact the operation.” Nonetheless, the expert says a good rule of thumb is to clean your microwave once a week using a sponge or wet paper towel to wipe up food residue. For a deeper clean, you can check out our step-by-step guide to cleaning your microwave.

What should you never put in the microwave?

Microwaves are no doubt an easy way to heat up food, but you can’t just throw anything and everything in there. Certain items like styrofoam, takeout containers with metal handles (the metal could spark and catch fire), and even specific types of food (like grapes and chili peppers) should never go in the microwave.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Marisa Petrarca, a contributing writer for Real Simple. She has over five years of editorial experience, and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, SELF, and more. To write this article on the best microwaves, she considered the capacity, features, efficiency, price, and more of dozens of popular options on the market to come up with the best options. She also spoke to Metin Ozkuzey, appliance expert and CEO of Designer Appliances, for expert insight on choosing the best microwave for you.

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