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Best Microwaves 2019: Top-Rated Countertop and Over-the-Range Models

A good microwave oven can make your life so much easier. By quickly reheating last night's dinner, melting butter, softening ice cream and performing hundreds of other kitchen tasks, a decent microwave can make cooking quicker, simpler and more fun.

Based on more than 40 hours of research, we've selected the best microwave ovens for families and kitchens of all sizes. Our top pick is the Toshiba EM925A5A, an $80 model that offers a good selection of features at a great price. It provides 900 watts of cooking power and a 0.9-cubic-foot interior that can hold a decent-size plate of food.

For those who need more space to reheat larger meals, our top pick for large families is the GE Profile JES2251SJ, a powerful, 1200-W model that has a sensor to tell you when your food is ready.

Shopping for other appliances? Be sure to check out our picks for best refrigerators, best dishwashersbest ranges, best washing machines, and best clothes dryers.

How We Picked

To come up with a list of the best microwave ovens, we looked at the top picks from CNET, Wirecutter, Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports and other sites, as well as the top-selling models at Best Buy, Lowe's and The Home Depot. From there, we narrowed the list down to the best microwaves based on features, price, design and other factors.


Price
Style
Capacity (cubic feet)
Power (watts)
Size (HWD)
Features
Toshiba EM925A5A$80
Countertop
0.9
900 W
19.2 x 15.9 x 11.5Express Cook
Sharp ZSMC0912BS$78Countertop0.9
900 W
19.1 x 11.5 x 16.1Popcorn, Pizza, Potato, Beverage
Kenmore 73779$79Countertop0.9
900 W
11 x 19 x 14.3Popcorn, Potato, Pizza, Weight Defrost
GE Profile JES2251SJ$309
Countertop2.2
1200 W
14 x 24 x 19Breakfast, Snack, Dinner, Inverter Defrost
GE JVM3160RFSS$204
Over the Range
1.6
1,000 W
29.9 x 16.5 x 15.3-
Whirlpool WMH53521H$319
Over the Range2.1
1,000 W
17 x 30 x 16Melt/Soften
GE JES1097SMSS Smart Countertop Microwave Oven$144
Countertop1.1
900 W
17.3 x 10.1 x 14.1Scan-to-Cook
AmazonBasics Microwave$59Countertop0.7700 W17.3 x 10.1 x 14.1Auto Popcorn Replenishment, Amazon Alexa Voice Control
Breville Quick Touch$233Countertop0.91,100 W18 x 20.5 x 12.5Auto Defrost, Just a Bit Longer

Best overall microwave

Credit: Toshiba

(Image credit: Toshiba)

Toshiba EM925A5A

Best overall microwave

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 19.2 x 15.9 x 11.5 inches | Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Power: 900 W | Power Levels: 13 | Cooking Features: Express Cook | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Great cooking performance
excellent price
Reasons to Avoid
No sensors for automatic reheating

There's a sweet spot for most appliances where the price, performance and features are all balanced. For microwaves, you'll find that in the Toshiba EM925A5A, which has enough room for a good-size dinner plate (up to 11 inches); enough power, with 900W, to reheat the food on that plate well; and a low enough price, at $80, that you can still afford to eat.

There aren't any fancy features here; there's no voice control, and there are no sensors to measure how cooked your food is. There are some nice touches for convenience, though, such as the Express Cook: Press any of the buttons, 1 through 6, and the Start button, and you get 1 to 6 minutes of microwaving.

Wirecutter did extensive testing that shows that this microwave heats food thoroughly and evenly, and the oven even includes a mute button so you can nuke a midnight snack without waking the dog.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Wirecutter:
"... large enough to fit an 11-inch dinner plate or a 9-inch-square casserole dish."
The Home Depot: "My only issue with this microwave that I am enjoying very much is the flimsy ring under the glass plate. It is so flimsy that it shifts easily, and then the plate shifts off the three prongs stabilizing it."

Best budget microwave

Credit: Sharp

(Image credit: Sharp)

Sharp ZSMC0912BS

Best budget microwave

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 19.1 x 11.5 x 16.1 inches | Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Power: 900 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Popcorn, Pizza, Potato, Beverage | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Inexpensive
Powerful for the size
Reasons to Avoid
No interior light
No sensor cooking mode

On the lookout for a bargain? The Sharp ZSMC0912BS could be it. It's a simple, no-frills microwave, but it has it where it counts, with a 0.9-cubic-foot interior and a 900W magnetron. That makes it smaller and slightly less powerful than some other models, but big and powerful enough for snacks and small plates of food.

It’s also pretty simple to use. Need a quick reheat of a cup of coffee? Put it inside and hit the express button, which gives it a 30-second zap. Not hot enough? Hit it again for an additional 30 seconds. Sure, it’s a basic microwave that won’t hold a large plate or dish, but it’s perfect for heating a snack without hassle.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Amazon
: “Honestly, the only problem I have with this microwave is the height size inside. Would like maybe one or two more inches, so I can reheat coffee in the portable cups with lids. Otherwise, it's pretty, unobtrusive, heats food and beverages well, has a timer, etc.”

Lowes: "Cooking power is impressive considering the size of microwave. 30sec increments on the start button makes cooking a breeze.”

Another great budget pick

Credit: Kenmore

(Image credit: Kenmore)

Kenmore 73779

Another great budget pick

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 11 x 19 x 14.3 inches | Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Power: 900 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Popcorn, Potato, Pizza, Weight Defrost | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Simple, clean design
Reasons to Avoid
No sensors

The Kenmore 73779 is another smart pick for the cook on a budget, as it offers a great set of features for the price. You get a clean, smart design; a decent amount of cooking power from the 900-W magnetron; and a decent amount of space in the 1.1-cubic-foot interior, which is big enough to hold a 10-inch plate.

What you don't get is a sensor to detect how well-done your food is, or any of the accompanying cooking modes. You do get a decent selection of modes, though, including a weight-defrost mode, in which you enter the type and weight of the frozen food and the microwave calculates the defrosting time for you.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Sears: "Very attractive, great size, 900W and on sale for under $70.... Score! No joke, it"s a very nice microwave. It has bells and whistles, just not high end bells and whistles. 

Best microwave for large families

Credit: GE

(Image credit: GE)

GE Profile JES2251SJ

Best microwave for large families

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 14 x 24 x 19 inches | Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet | Power: 1,200 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Breakfast, Snack, Dinner, Inverter Defrost | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Large interior holds large plates
food is heated evenly
Reasons to Avoid
Expensive

If you regularly heat up large amounts of food to feed the ravenous horde that is your family, then you need a bigger microwave. The GE Profile JES2251SJ can fit a lot of food in its 2.2-cubic-foot interior, which comes with a big, 16-inch rotating turntable. This microwave has 1,200 W of power, so it can reheat big plates full of food. The reviews show that it does so nice and evenly, which is much harder to do with a large interior.

The JES2251SJ also includes a sensor that detects when your food is done. This seems to be pretty effective, as most reviewers and users say that it worked well.

This microwave isn't cheap, though. Priced at about $300, it is more than double the cost of our smaller picks.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Amazon
: "A top recommendation by Consumer Report[s] made us buy the unit. As good as CR reports it is, and the seller and delivery was as promised."
The Home Depot: "We love [that] the 'Reheat' feature uses the steam produced by the food to know when it is done. This features works perfect for single meal."

Top over-the-range microwave

Credit: GE

(Image credit: GE)

GE JVM3160RFSS

Top over-the-range microwave

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over the Range | Size: 29.9 x 16.5 x 15.3 inches | Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Power: 1,000 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: AutoCook, Child Safety Lock | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Stylish exterior
express cook settings
powerful air vent
Reasons to Avoid
No sensor probe
keypad not backlit

Over-the-range microwaves fit above your range but underneath your cabinets. That means they take up less space and save you precious counter area. The GE JVM3160RFSS has a clean, smart design that comes in five different colors. It's all business on the inside, though, with 1.6 cubic feet of space and a 1,000-W magnetron that heats food evenly.

A Warm setting will keep food at a ready-to-eat temperature, while six express-cook buttons let you start nuking your food with a single press. However, the keypad is not backlit, making it hard to see in the dark. This microwave also has a powerful two-speed ventilation system, capable of moving 300 cubic feet of air per minute.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Best Buy
: "I have owned this microwave for about 3 months now and have had no issues with it whatsoever. I am a big fan of the express time feature (I'm lazy) and appreciate the two fan speeds and two light-intensity settings."

The Home Depot: "The control panel does not light up, so if you are using it late at night or early morning and it is dark outside, the room lights have to be put on to see the control button names."

Best over the range microwave for large families

Credit: Whirlpool

(Image credit: Whirlpool)

Whirlpool WMH53521H

Best over the range microwave for large families

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over the Range | Size: 17 x 30 x 16 inches | Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet | Power: 1,000 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: AutoCook, Steam | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Excellent cooking performance, wire rack for two-level cooking
Reasons to Avoid
Expensive, steam cooker costs extra

The WMH53521H is an over-the-range microwave that the critics and users love. Buyers praised its performance at reheating and cooking food. That just goes to show that it is not always just about power; this oven has a 1,000-W magnetron, which is smaller than what many similar models have. Users also praised the ease of use of this microwave, as well as the spacious, 2.1-cubic-foot interior and the large, 14-inch turntable that can hold the biggest plates. Also included is a wire rack that makes it possible to put more food inside the oven. The Melt/Soften setting is great for helping with sensitive ingredients like butter.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Lowe's
: "This microwave works great, looks great and is easy to operate. One deciding factor to purchase this model was the 400-CFM exhaust fan."

Best Buy: "This microwave does it all. All the bells and whistles. Easy to clean. Very quiet. Awesome lighting and sounds."

Best smart microwave

Credit: GE

(Image credit: GE)

GE JES1097SMSS Smart Countertop Microwave Oven

Best smart microwave

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 17.3 x 10.1 x 14.1 inches | Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Power: 900 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Scan-to-Cook | App Control: Yes, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant/GE Appliances app

Reasons to Buy
Decent performance
voice control works well
Reasons to Avoid
Scan-to-Cook supports limited range of foods

If you like the idea of controlling your microwave by voice but need a bit more performance than the Amazon Basics model provides, the GE JES1097SMSS is a great pick. It has the same Alexa voice-control features; just say, "Alexa, microwave for 60 seconds," to a connected Amazon Alexa voice device, and the microwave will follow your commands. And, it also works with Google Assistant, so you can use a Google Home speaker to control it, too. With 900 W of power, it is faster at cooking and reheating food than the Amazon model, but it is not as fast as some more-powerful models.

This microwave can also be controlled through the GE Appliances Kitchen app, which some reviewers found a little difficult to get installed and connected. When it is connected, though, it includes a neat feature called Scan-to-Cook. When you scan the bar code of a supported microwaveable food, the app detects the code and programs the microwave appropriately. Reviewers found that the feature worked well, but the list of supported foods isn’t that long. Find a list of supported foods here.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
CNET
: "... the GE Smart Countertop Microwave Oven works well with Amazon's Alexa and will send you push notifications when your microwave is done cooking. That alone might make the reasonable $140 price feel worth it for some, and I wouldn't fault you for splurging as the Scan-to-Cook feature will only get better with time."

The Home Depot: "I like this microwave overall. The Wi-Fi setup was a bit of a nightmare, though. It took hours to get the microwave connected and usable in the app. Cooking and defrost is very even with this oven. However, I wish it were a little more powerful, because cooking takes a lot longer than [with] my previous microwave"

Best budget smart microwave

Credit: Amazon

(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonBasics Microwave

Best budget smart microwave

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 17.3 x 10.1 x 14.1 inches | Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet | Power: 700 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Auto Popcorn Replenishment | App Control: Yes, Amazon Alexa

Reasons to Buy
Voice-control feature
app control from smartphone
Reasons to Avoid
Low-power output
preset programs don't work well

Need more Jetsons in your life? The AmazonBasics Microwave would be happy to oblige, as it comes with voice control — well, sort of: Press the Alexa button on the microwave, and a nearby Amazon Alexa device (such as an Echo Dot) will listen for instructions. So, you need to have an Alexa device to hand already. If you do, you can issue instructions, such as "microwave for 60 seconds," "reheat a cup of coffee" or "defrost a 13-pound bag of peas," and the microwave will oblige.

One interesting feature is Auto Popcorn Replenishment. The microwave keeps a tab of how many bags of popcorn you have microwaved and automatically orders more when you run low — from Amazon, of course.

Reviewers found that the voice-control feature worked well, with the built-in Amazon Alexa assistant understanding and following instructions clearly. However, there are a few gotchas: CNet found that the presets didn't work well with multiple quantities. The oven microwaved a single baked potato fine, but when it tried three spuds at once, they came out uncooked.

Part of that may be because this is a rather low-power microwave. With only 700 W of power, it struggled to cook larger items or took much longer than other, more powerful microwaves. So, while it is a great pick for an office or dorm room microwave, families may want to go with a larger, more powerful model.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
CNET:
 "By itself, the AmazonBasics Microwave is recommendable. It also makes a convincing argument for Amazon's Alexa Connect Kit."

Amazon.com: "And for those wary of Alexa turning the microwave on for 90 hours instead of playing music ... First, it will only turn on for reasonable amounts of times (my attempt to microwave tea for 10 or 100 hours did not work). Second, it is aware of how long ago the door was opened. If it has been too long, it will let you know this and not start."

Excellent design

Credit: Breville

(Image credit: Breville)

Breville Quick Touch

Excellent design

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Countertop | Size: 18 x 20.5 x 12.5 inches | Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Power: 1,100 W | Power Levels: 10 | Cooking Features: Smart Defrost, A Bit More | App Control: No

Reasons to Buy
Great design
programmable buttons
sensor-based cooking
Reasons to Avoid
Expensive

Smart microwaves aren't just about adding apps and Wi-Fi; sometimes, smart design outweighs technology. The Breville Quick Touch offers a very different, but user-friendly approach to controlling your cooking. On the outside, you get a couple of dials and buttons on a clean, smart, stainless-steel exterior with a nicer, retro design. When you open the door, you get a load of additional buttons that allow you to program frequently used settings. Like your drinks reheated in a certain way? Program a button for it. Like to zap your pancakes to get that butter melted just right? Program a button for it.

The Quick Touch also includes a sensor-based Auto Defrost setting, which uses a humidity sensor to detect when your food is properly defrosted. Another cute and useful touch is the A Bit More button. Tap that, and it gives your food a bit more time; this is just what you need if your dish isn't quite to temperature yet.

What Reviewers and Owners Say
Good Housekeeping
: "Excelled at popping popcorn and 'baking' potatoes."

Williams Sonoma: "It's hard to find a 'stylish' looking microwave, but we love the way this one looks, AND it works great."

What type of microwave should you get?

There are two main types of microwave available: countertop and over the range. Here's what you need to know about each of them.

Credit: GE

(Image credit: GE)

Countertop: These are the classic microwaves that sit on your countertop next to your cutting board and toaster. They don't require any installation except being plugged into a nearby power socket. However, some models can be rather tall, so make sure to measure the available space if you have cabinets above the counter or pans, cups, etc. that hang down.

Over the range: Also known as built-in, or microwave hoods, these microwaves are installed above your rangetop, saving space and providing a vent that sucks in and filters out smoke and odors from cooking. These are the tidiest type of microwaves, as all of the cables and vents are hidden away. However, they do require some installation, as they will typically be attached to the cabinets or the wall behind them.

The most common size is just under 30 inches wide and about 16 inches deep, but make sure that you measure the space before you buy. Most of these microwaves will have a left-right door opening, but some high-end models may have a door that opens upward. Either way, check to ensure that any adjacent cabinet-door fittings will not block the microwave or make it awkward to open.