What is a home kitchen without a microwave? Microwaves can heat up food in a pinch but they can do so much more than just reheating a frozen meal! Microwaves are also great for thawing out frozen meat, boiling water, poaching eggs…just to name a few ideas.
Countertop microwaves are the most common type of microwave. They are super popular because of how easy they are to purchase and set up. You simply plug in the microwave and you can start cooking immediately.
When shopping, you may think all microwaves are created equally but that is not true. There are different benefits and features between countertop microwave ovens. The main considerations are the size of the microwave based on the amount of counter space you have. What you need your microwave to do will influence your decisions when purchasing your next one.
Our Picks for the Best Countertop Microwave Ovens
Want to find the best countertop microwave oven for your kitchen? Read on to learn more about the best microwaves the SousVideGuy recommends.
Best Seller – Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven
This stylish stainless steel microwave is timeless and will look great in any kitchen. You can choose to turn the sound on or off and it comes with LED lighting. It’s perfect for your countertop at 0.9 cubic feet.
The Toshiba EM925A5A-SS comes with 900 watts of power and measures (w*d*h): 19. 2*15. 9*11. 5 inches and the internal dimensions are (w*d*h): 12. 36*13. 66*8. 7 inches.
This one has it all for those that want to easily heat up food after a busy day. There is one touch start to gain quick access to cook on full power from 1 to 6 minutes. Don’t want to think about how long something takes? Use the pre-programmed menu for 6 popular foods like popcorn, pizza, potato and more.
Other powerful features are the power saving ECO mode, optional sound, child safety lock, easy to read control panel, shockproof bar, and a bright digital display powered by LED lights.
- Super easy to use and clean.
- Fits in small spaces.
- Option to mute sound when you don’t want to wake anyone up while making a midnight snack!
- Energy saving ECO mode.
- While the LED lights are great, they may burn out quickly.
- Some users reported uneven cooking when using this model.
Amazon’s Choice – Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
This model has some extra features and is larger than our first pick. Due to the larger size this is great for the counter in your apartment or even at the office break room.
The Toshiba EM131A5C-BS is black stainless steel and is 1.2 cubic feet and 1100 watts. The turntable is 12.4 inches and the dimensions are:
- External dimensions: 20.5’’*17.1’’*12.8 ’’ (W*D*H)
- Internal dimensions: 13. 07’’*15’’*9.5 ’’ (W*D*H)
Let’s talk about some of the awesome features that come with this model.
There is a Smart Sensor which allows you to cook six of the most popular food items with the touch of a button. You can also select from up to ten different power levels up to 1100 watts. It also comes with two defrost settings; customer or one-pound to quickly thaw out dinner.
The large digital display has an easy to read control panel including a clock and kitchen timer.
This microwave oven also provides a sound on/off option, energy saving ECO mode, and a soften/melt function for foods like butter, chocolate and cheese.
- Easy to use and easy to clean.
- Custom defrost option.
- Soften/melt function.
- Powerful and spacious.
- Many users report loving the easy to use door handle.
- Light may flicker or burn out.
- Some users reported the beeping noises are really loud.
Voice Activated – Amazon Smart Oven, a Certified for Humans device, plus Echo Dot
“Alexa, cook for one more minute.” Imagine telling your microwave what to do while you’re chopping vegetables across the kitchen. This smart microwave is voice activated and works with your Alexa.
There’s more than just “smarts” with this microwave oven. It’s also spacious! There’s enough room inside the oven to cook a 5 pound chicken. That’s a lot of room to cook!
If you’re looking for more than “just” a microwave, the Amazon Smart Oven is perfect for you. It’s also a convection oven, food warmer, and air fryer! Talk about packing your countertop with added benefits without the extra appliances.
But wait, there’s more! Enjoy more smart features such as a temperature probe so that you can rest assured that your food is cooked all the way.
Want to really take the guesswork out of microwaving? Check out the “scan-to-cook” feature. Simply scan a packaged food item and the microwave will cook it for you with the appropriate instructions.
The Amazon Smart Oven comes with 30+ built-in presets, voice control with Alexa, and includes an Echo Dot. Never forget anything in the microwave again. Alexa will notify you when the oven is preheated or when dinner is ready!
This model is 1.5 cubic feet and 1000 watts for the microwave, 1400 watts for the convection cook, and 1300 watts for the warming element. The dimensions are as follows:
- (W*D*H) – 21.8” x 13” x 21.4”
- 4-in-1 microwave, convection oven, food warmer, and air fryer.
- Alexa voice activated technology.
- Scan-to-cook technology makes it super simple to microwave any pre packaged food.
- The air fry feature may require more cooking time than standalone air fryers.
- Some of the scan-to-cook directions were incorrect. For example, it cooked 30 minutes when it should have only been 3.
- While the 4-in-1 features are great, it may be too much for one appliance to handle based on reviews.
Fast & Powerful – Panasonic NN-SD945S Microwave Oven
This stainless steel countertop comes with inverter technology and Genius Sensor. At 2.2 cubic feet and 1250 watts it is fast and powerful.
The Panasonic NN-SD945S is “power plus pretty.” The perfect combinations if you’re looking for a powerful microwave and something super sleek and stylish. It comes in your choice of black, white, black stainless steel or silver stainless.
This module includes inverter technology. This means that the power supply comes from an inverter versus a traditional coil. Why does this matter? It speeds up the cooking time and uses less energy which is a win all around.
Another bonus we are loving is the warmer. Have you ever heated up your dinner only to let it go cold because you got side tracked? The warmer will keep your food warm until you’re ready to take it out. How awesome is that?!
Let’s talk about some of the specs. This is an extra large family style microwave at 2.2 cubic feet and 1250 watts of high power with a 15 inch turntable. The dimensions are:
The microwave has 19 preset auto cook menu items specific for oatmeal, omelets, frozen meals, potatoes, rice, and so much more.
The Panasonic microwave oven also comes with a child lock, delay start and timer, different cooking levels, sensor inverter turbo defrost, and more.
This is a large microwave but it comes in a compact style that takes up the least amount of countertop space. Plus, it’s up to 8 pounds lighter than traditional microwaves.
- “Keep Warm” feature keeps food warm after it is cooked in the microwave.
- Quick 30 second timer to cook and reheat in 30 second intervals.
- Easy to install.
- Turbo Defrost thaws out food quickly and evenly.
- Choice of design in various colors to match any kitchen.
- The door hinges may be weak or challenging to open.
- The lights burned out quickly and were not easy to replace.
Things To Ask Yourself When Buying a Countertop Microwave Oven
There are many options to choose from when looking for a countertop microwave oven. Consider these questions when researching your next microwave purchase
How much counter space do you have?
How much kitchen counter space do you have available for your microwave oven? If you have limited space, then you will need to look for a smaller model. Microwaves are measured by cubic feet. They typically range from 0.5 to over 2 cubic feet. 0.5 cubic feet will fit most 10 inch dinner plates but not much else. So in addition to the counter space, consider the types of things you’ll need to reheat and the size of those items too.
Be sure to measure the space so that you can verify that against the dimensions of the microwave oven when shopping around. Here’s a bonus tip: Make sure there’s a power outlet nearby!
What do you cook in your microwave?
Microwaves are so much more than just a place to reheat your leftovers. Consider what type of food you’ll be cooking in the microwave. If you just plan on reheating food or popping some popcorn, a basic model without a ton of bells and whistles may be best for you.
Are you planning on thawing out frozen meat? Look for a model that has an automatic defrost feature.
Are you looking to melt items like cheese, butter, or chocolate? The Toshiba EM131A5C-BS has an awesome melt/soften feature that won’t burn items like this. Just like any appliance, you can get the most basic model to the one with all the extra fancy features.
What is wattage and why does it matter?
Another specification you’ll notice when shopping for a countertop microwave oven is wattage. This matters a lot! The higher the wattage, the better your microwave will perform. Ideally, look for a microwave in the 900 – 1000 watt range. The wattage provides power to heat and defrost. The lower the wattage, the more issues you may have with evenly heating up food causing cold spots in the middle.
What type of features are important?
Microwaves come with so many different types of features that make your life easier. You’ll want to take into consideration what you want to use your microwave for. There are added features like automatic defrost, pre-programmed settings, child locks, muted noise, eco friendly power, and tons more. Our recommendation is to make a list of how you plan on using your microwave based on your lifestyle, household, and how often you’ll use it.
Microwaves are almost a necessity in today’s kitchen. While the main function is to heat or reheat food, microwaves offer so much more. What do you want your microwave to do? Will you use it to defrost frozen meat? Will you be cooking for more than just yourself? Who else would need to use the microwave?
Specifically, countertop microwaves are the most popular choice. The ease of plugging in and cooking is super convenient. Plus, you have the flexibility to move it around and take it with you if you move to a different home.
The different microwave ovens we shared here in this post were selected to meet different needs and lifestyles. When purchasing a countertop microwave oven, size and space are the largest considerations to think about. As you’re shopping, think about all of these different questions so that you can make the best choice.