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The 12 Best Microwaves That Do More Than Reheat Leftovers

The Toshiba Microwave Oven is one of our favorites; read on for the rest.
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A microwave is one of those daily commodities that we might take for granted—until it's no longer working. It's hard to imagine life without one of these little ovens; how else are we supposed to reheat leftovers, warm up our neglected coffee for the tenth time in a day, or cheat our way to perfectly melted chocolate because, really, who has time to deal with bain-marie? 

Microwaves have come a long way since their invention in 1946 and introduction into homes around the world in the '70s. Newer versions not only heat up food, but can also cook, grill, simmer, and broil, and some can even be operated hands-free when paired with smart home devices like Alexa. 

"I typically use the microwave to partially cook regular or sweet potatoes before grilling or to shorten the cooking time," says Recipe Developer & Tester Jasmine Smith. 

If your microwave has decided to give up on you, or if it's just getting a little old and you like the idea of an upgrade, look to our thoroughly vetted list of the most durable models. We consulted experts and scoured the market, prioritizing well-designed, high-quality models with easy-to-use controls and features and top-of-the-line performance. With these considerations in mind, we found the Toshiba Microwave Oven to be one of the best options. From large to small, convection to compact, economy to splurge, and built-in to the countertop, these are the best microwaves to fit every need, style, and budget. 

Microwave Oven
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Best-Selling Microwave on Amazon: Toshiba Microwave Oven

We love this 900-watt Toshiba option from Amazon for its overall value. It's made of durable stainless steel, and it comes in both black and silver options so you can match it to the rest of your appliances in your kitchen. 

Quick-access one-touch start, 10 power settings, power-saving eco mode, child safety lock, mute sound option, and six pre-programmed menu settings (including pizza and popcorn) make this one of the best microwaves you can shop for under $100. All of the buttons and the LCD display are large and easy to read. It measures 19.2 x 16.1 x 11.5 inches, making it more compact than its previous model and ideal for small spaces. It's very easy to wipe clean, and you can remove the rotating glass dish to hand wash if you have any big spills. Overall, this is a versatile microwave that's worth the price.

To buy: $90; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Countertop Microwave: Whirlpool

This black 750-watt Whirlpool number wins best countertop microwave in our book because it's compact, reasonably priced, and has a unique round-back design that allows it to fit into corners and save valuable counter space. 

To buy: $169; homedepot.com

breville smooth wave
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Best Smart Microwave: Breville

What's not to love about smart microwaves? You can get the most precise results for cooking, reheating, and defrosting all from one countertop machine—and with the Breville Smooth Wave, you can add the quietest operation and soft-close door to that, too.

With "Sensor IQ" technology that adjusts the power according to what's cooking (and remembers the setting for next time), 1,800 watts of power, and a stylish design typical of Breville, it's little wonder this microwave is a user favorite.

To buy: $350; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Small Microwave: Comfee

At only 17-inches wide and 10-inches tall, the Comfee 700-watt microwave oven has been noted as one of the best small microwaves. If you're short on kitchen space or want a petite microwave for a lodge or RV, this little oven—which comes in black or white—is the way to go.

Don't let its small size and low price point fool you: This thing has 11 power levels, six easy cook functions, a kitchen timer, energy-saving standby mode, and a mute button for when you want to have a midnight snack without waking everyone up. 

To buy: $65; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Large Microwave: GE

If you've got plenty of counter space and want a machine that can heat up a bulk of food at once, the GE Profile countertop microwave is ideal. With an impressive 2.2-cubic-foot capacity and 16-inch turntable, this microwave is "large enough to hold two plates [and] can fit a whole chicken," according to one user. 

Its 1,200-watt cooking power ensures that food is evenly heated, cooked, or thawed in less time, and its sleek stainless-steel exterior is a hit with home cooks. It's large and easy to operate, which makes it an asset to any kitchen.

To buy: $309; homedepot.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Compact Microwaves: Black+Decker

One of the best compact microwaves is the Black+Decker digital microwave oven "takes up less room and still gets the job done," has "intuitive controls and even heat," and is "quieter than average," "easy to clean, [and] lightweight," as per just a few of its many  reviews.

Featuring a push-button door and child safety lock, this 700-watt oven has seven different settings to cook, defrost, and heat food, and it does everything you'd expect from a conventional countertop microwave at a fraction of the size and cost.

To buy: $75; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Budget Microwave: AmazonBasics

Just because your budget can't extend to a high-end microwave oven right now doesn't mean you need to forgo one completely. At just under $60, the AmazonBasics 700-watt microwave is a top-rated choice. And if you assume it's just a "basic" microwave, think again. 

In addition to all the standard microwave options—10 power levels, timer, turntable, child lock—this thing is voice-powered and can be activated from the comfort of your couch using an Alexa. In addition to being economical, this is also one of the best microwaves you can buy right now.

To buy: $60; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Splurge Microwave: KitchenAid

True KitchenAid fans know that going all out on a KA appliance is an investment that pays back. "This is no ordinary microwave oven," one reviewer wrote about this KitchenAid over-the-range microwave. "With the convection baking, it becomes a secondary oven during busy holiday times, [and has] a clean and professional exterior that opens up to a spacious interior."

"It was with some hesitation that I spent as much as this," another user explained, "but my history with KitchenAid has been solid… The true bonus lies in the convection oven features… The ventilation is quiet and powerful... The steamer sensor function results in a perfect product for cauliflower and broccoli." Consider us sold.

To buy: $854; kitchenaid.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Over-the-Range Microwave: Whirlpool

As opposed to small or compact microwaves, over-the-range (OTR) microwaves more often than not have a prominent position in the kitchen, on full display for everyone to see. While a stylish appliance is important in this case, functionality, ease-of-use, power, durability, and quality are equally relevant considerations.

For all these perks and more, the Whirlpool 1.9-cubic-foot over-the-range convection oven is just the ticket. Nice to look at? Check. Sensor cooking? Check. Steam functions to reserve flavor? Check. Add in that it's fingerprint resistant for less frequent cleaning and features an adjustable blower to get rid of pungent smells, and what more could you ask for in a microwave oven?

To buy: $555; bestbuy.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Built-In Microwave: Bosch

If your kitchen calls for a built-in microwave and you're looking for one that will last you a long, long time, the Bosch 800-Series stainless steel drawer microwave is right up your alley. It's on the expensive side, but this is Bosch we're talking about, and you get what you pay for: premium, durable, high-quality appliances that don't disappoint.

This 24-inch microwave has a large 1.2-cubic-foot capacity and features 900 watts of power, glass touch controls, an automatic sensor cooking program, and 11 preset power options. But, by far, the best thing about this oven is the drawer opening that turns cleaning into a breeze, allows you to stir items without removing them first, and makes taking hot food out of the oven easier and safer than ever.

To buy: $1,433; amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Most Stylish Microwave: Samsung

We're slightly obsessed with the design of this countertop grill microwave oven from Samsung, but it's way more than just a pretty face. In addition to the smooth black mirror finish, this microwave has a ceramic enamel interior for easy cleaning, a ceramic plate for perfect grilling, 1.4 cubic feet of space, 950 watts of power, and 10 power levels. 

With this in your home, be prepared for an influx of compliments from visitors. It looks expensive and sleek — perfect for a minimalist kitchen.

To buy: $201 (originally $229); amazon.com

Microwave Oven
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Best Retro Microwave: Nostalgia

If you like '50s diner style, you'll love this vintage-inspired microwave with an easy-clean interior. The aptly named Nostalgia 800-watt countertop microwave oven takes us straight to the "back" in Back to the Future.

It has 12 pre-programmed cook settings and comes in five cool shades, including metallic retro red, jet black, and mid-century modern seafoam green. 

To buy: $129; amazon.com


Q: How much does a microwave cost?

A: One of the best things about microwaves is that they're notoriously inexpensive. A good budget microwave can cost as low as $50, with mid-range microwaves usually priced at around $100. Convection and built-in microwaves are typically a bit more expensive, usually starting at around $200, while high-end versions from brands like KitchenAid, Bosch, and Smeg can go well up into the thousands. 

Q: Where can you buy a microwave?

A: Microwaves are available almost everywhere, from the obvious megastores and retail giants like Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot to home and electronics destinations like Wayfair and Best Buy. Many of the large supermarkets stock them, too. Because you can shop all of the best-quality microwaves online now, upgrading your kitchen capabilities has never been more convenient. 

Q: What kinds of things can you cook in a microwave?

A: "The even heat of the microwave is perfect for quickly drying herbs such as rosemary or thyme," says recipe tester and developer Paige Grandjean. 'The dried herb leaves are great in spice rubs or tossed with toasted nuts for a savory snack. I also like using the microwave to make seasonal fruit jams or to partially steam green beans before finishing with olive oil and garlic."