Best Microwave — Full Size, Compact and Small Countertop Microwave Oven Reviews and Buying Guide

A microwave is an essential appliance in almost any kitchen and believe it or not, these products can be quite different and sophisticated. Still, we are here to lend a helping hand so you can purchase the best microwave available. We have researched the market extensively and we present five of the best microwave oven brands that are worth checking out, with a product from each!

If you're shopping for a built in microwave oven, we have a separate review for those. In addition to our top 5 featured microwaves, there are several other brands known for quality kitchen appliances. We also encourage you to check out Samsung microwave ovens, Frigidaire microwave ovens, Toshiba microwave ovens, and Black and Decker microwave ovens.
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Exterior Size
Interior Size
Our Top Choice
Panasonic Countertop Inverter Microwave
Founded in 1955, Panasonic works hard to make the world better through its high-end products including consumer electronics, appliances, and automotive, among others.
Has large interior capacity. Cooks much faster. Inverter technology for even cooking and heating. Excellent features for different cooking options.
The exterior of the black model scratches easily.
23.88 x 19.44 x 14 in
1.6 CuFt, 2.2 CuFt
1,250 watts
14 preset cook settings
1-year parts; 5-year Magnetron
Best Value
Westinghouse Small Microwave Oven
When you see the W on your home appliances, you can be sure you have a product packed with great features that facilitate your lifestyle and maintain simplicity and ease of use.
Comes in two colors and two sizes. 6 cooking power levels. Easy-to-grip handle. Easy to operate. Perfect for small spaces.
The low wattage makes it slow.
17.8 x 13.6 x 10.3 in
0.6 CuFt, 0.9 CuFt
600 watts
6 preset cook settings
1-year parts; 5-year Magnetron
Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave
Sharp products are designed to improve your productivity while reducing costs at the same time.
Stainless-steel interiors and exteriors for easy cleaning. Built to last. Ability to modify cook time while heating. The dial timer is bright enough for easy reading.
Tends to draw power even when off.
20.5 x 16.01 x 12.13 in
1.0 CuFt
1000 watts
10 seconds to 6 minutes
1-year parts; 3-year Magnetron
Farberware Classic Countertop Microwave
Farberware’s innovative capabilities stand out from the competitors. Its microwave ovens enhance quicker and easier cooking without compromising taste.
Available in 4 fabulous colors. Comes with 1-year limited warranty. 1-to-6-minute quick start controls. Keypad lock curbs unsupervised use.
Much louder compared to other models.
20.2 x 16.54 x 12.03 in
1.1 CuFt
1000 watts
6 preset cook settings
1-year limited warranty
Emerson Touch Control Countertop Microwave
Emerson Radio continues to be a respected brand in the consumer electronics field, with a long-standing history of reliability for an upper hand in this ever-changing industry.
10 power levels. 900 watts of cooking power. LED display and digital timer.
Relatively small buttons.
19.1 x 14.6 x 11.5 in
0.9 CuFt
900 watts
6 preset cook settings
1-year limited warranty

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What is the Best Microwave Oven? Read our Reviews to Find the Right Appliance

When choosing a microwave, it is a good idea to know your budget right from the start and be aware of your cooking habits. For the purpose of this review, we have focused on reasonably priced, feature-rich microwave ovens that can fit well in any modern kitchen! Before we get to our five finalists, we wanted to highlight our runners up - in case you want to check out more options.

Related : Six Marvelous Microwave Meals for You to Try Out on National Microwave Oven Day

Our Top Choice
Available in black or white, the Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology™ ensures even cooking—no more cold centers or overcooked edges. You also get 1250 watts of high power for faster cooking. Looking for a newer model, but with the same technology? Check out the Panasonic Countertop\/Built-In Microwave that also comes with Inverter Technology and has 12 preset menu items.

Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology™ - Available in 2 Colors and 2 Sizes


Created from two words “Pan” and “Sonic,” Panasonic was founded in 1955 as a trademark for audio speakers. The company has since grown and works very hard to make the world better through its high-end products including consumer electronics and automotive among others. 

Enjoy quicker cooking times with 1250-watt high power from the Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven. This microwave oven has a four-digit green display and an accurate touch-button control panel that not only gives it its high-end, sleek look, but also offers a smooth cooking experience. The nine preset menu options also come in handy for daily meals, vegetables, side dishes, and more, maximizing your everyday cooking experience.

Unlike other standard microwaves that utilize pulse-on, pulse-off cooking technology at lower temperatures, the Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven comes with a patented Inverter Technology that generates fixed power flow at all temperatures, resulting in even and consistently prepared food. There will be no more cold centers or overcooked edges. What’s more, all the essential nutrients are retained in all your meals.

Other features that come with this countertop microwave oven include:

  • The keep-warm feature in the oven keeps foods such as gravies, desserts, soups, and vegetables warm and delicious until they are ready to be served.
  • The one-touch sensor cook and warm button automatically sets power levels and adjusts cooking, reheating, and defrosting times, removing guesswork from preparing great meals.
  • A quick-minute timer helps in setting cooking and reheating times to one-minute intervals, and also allows adding another minute when necessary.
  • A delay start feature, coupled with a bright, time-of-day clock offers additional convenience.
  • A helpful interactive menu screen scrolls up and down cooking instructions, providing a full range of main courses, desserts, side dishes, appetizers, soups, casseroles, sauces, and much more, in your preferred language—English, French, or Spanish.

If you are keen on getting this microwave oven, you will be happy to know that it is available in two colors—black and white—and two sizes-, which are 1.6 cubic feet and 2.2 cubic feet.

Best Value
The Westinghouse 600 Watt Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven comes with six power levels that make it suitable for various cooking tasks. You can defrost veggies or re-heat food using the middle power levels, perform heavy-duty cooking tasks, or soften butter using the lower settings. Willing to pay a little bit more for higher cooking power? Get the Westinghouse Commercial Chef 1000 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven with a 1.1-cubic foot capacity, which is available in 2 color options.

Westinghouse Commercial Chef 600 W Countertop Microwave - 0.6 Cubic Feet Small Microwave Oven with Mechanical Dials


For over a century, Westinghouse has maintained its reputation of consistently providing innovative, reliable, and high-quality products backed by great customer service. The company is known for its heating and cooling systems designed to sense their own surroundings, and high-definition TVs that scale the heights of technology in terms of price and performance. Westinghouse is constantly developing highly advanced products and rigorously testing them to ensure utmost quality and performance.

The Westinghouse microwave is sleek and smart, combining a space-saving design with the latest innovative features. This microwave oven has a straightforward compact design to make cooking quick and simple while still offering the quality that is the trademark of Westinghouse.

The compact microwave is just 0.6 cubic feet in size and is made with a lightweight construction. Its curved edges and comfortable grip handle make it great for college dorm rooms or small apartments. The mechanical controls are quite easy to operate—you simply turn the knob and go. You can use the microwave oven to re-heat dinner plates, warm up beverages, cook personal frozen pizza, and much more. Additionally, the appliance has a timer and announces when your food is ready through its unmistakable ding.

Here are some extra features of the Westinghouse microwave oven:

  • It’s available in black and white, so you can pick what matches your kitchen decor.
  • It comes with 600-watt cooking power and you can choose between 0.6-cubic foot and 0.9-cubic foot cooking capacities, offering all the important functions of microwaving, rewarming, and baking.
  • It has 6 microwave power levels (high, med/high, med/low, medium, defrost, low) with a turning knob that makes it easy to operate.
  • It only measures 17.8 x 13.3 x 10.2 inches with a weight of only 23.1 pounds, making it easily accommodated on any countertop.
  • A 30-minute timer means you can warm or bake a wide range of foods.
The Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave comes with a handy heating time guide that provides on-the-spot reference for recommended heating times for various popular foods, offering time-saving convenience. Want a microwave oven with a larger capacity? Check out the SHARP Carousel 1.4 Cu. Ft. 1000W Countertop Microwave Oven with Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn Preset.

Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave with Dial Timer – 1000-Watts & 120 Volts, Available in Package Quantities of 1 or 2


As a company known for its unique electronic products and solutions, Sharp is dedicated to creating products that benefit people’s lives at home, work, and anywhere in between. Its products are designed to improve your productivity while reducing costs at the same time. 

Excellent for smaller kitchen spaces, the Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave’s 1.0-cubic foot capacity, coupled with a 1,000-watt power output makes it ideal equipment for heating, defrosting, and cooking small food items. This microwave is perfect for hospitals, gas stations, break rooms, convenience stores, and many other settings. You will get to use a high-powered microwave with numerous easy-to-use features without paying any extra costs.

With its stainless-steel exterior and interior, the Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave is durable enough to withstand day-to-day use and is built to last. The remarkably designed latch handles minimize door failure, which is among the most common problems on models of lesser quality.

More features that come with this unit include:

  • It features a classic dial timer that can be set from as low as 10 seconds to as high as 6 minutes, and has bright LED indicators that allow “at-a-glance” monitoring.
  • The heating time guide recommends appropriate times for heating different popular foods.
  • The auto-cancel timer cancels the remaining time when the door is unlocked, saving energy and enhancing the life of the magnetron.

Be sure to pick the package option that works best for you, seeing as you can purchase this microwave singly, or as a pair.

The 10 power levels, a timer, 6 preset menus, multi-stage cooking, defrost by time or weight, and express cooking features make the Farberware Classic 1.1 Cubic Foot 1000-Watt Microwave Oven a real multitasker in every modern kitchen. Want to pay the same for an even larger capacity? Go for the Farberware Professional 1000-Watt Microwave Oven with a 1.3-cubic foot capacity and stainless-steel construction.

Farberware Classic 1.1 Cubic Foot 1000-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven with 6 Cooking Programs – Available in 6 Colors


Farberware is a household name for microwave ovens and other kitchen appliances. Its microwave ovens combine style and function for an exceptional baking experience. Since technology is ever-changing, just like needs and desires, Farberware is dedicated to designing and producing high-quality, innovative appliances that suit advancing client needs. Its microwave ovens utilize convection, inverter, and air frying options coupled with precise sensors to ensure even, quicker, and easier cooking.

The Farberware Classic Microwave offers power, style, and convenience through its sleek design that complements any kitchen setup. Some useful features include up to 10 power control levels and a robust memory functionality that keeps and recalls the cooking settings you prefer. The microwave oven also offers a digital interface that is simple to operate and comes with 1- to 6-minute cooking buttons, weight or time-based defrost controls, 6 pre-programmed baking functions, and a 30-minute timer control.

Here are more features of the Farberware Classic Microwave:

  • Multi-stage baking allows you to adjust the power levels automatically during the baking cycle for great results without interrupting the process.
  • The clear LCD display offers a convenient clock and cooking timer.
  • The generous cooking capacity of 1.1 cubic feet, a rotating turntable, and 1000 watts of cooking power make this microwave oven a great multi-tasker for your kitchen.
  • Its Keypad Lock ensures no unsupervised use, say, by kids.
  • It comes with a 1-year Manufacturer's Warranty to give you the peace of mind you desire.

If you’re keen on getting this microwave oven, you will be pleased to know that it comes in 4 fabulous colors to complement your décor. Choose from Copper, Metallic Red, Stainless Steel, and White/Platinum.

The Emerson Radio 0.9 CU. FT. 900 Watt Microwave Oven with Touch Control has 10 distinct power levels, coupled with 6 pre-programmed recipes—this will make cooking your favorite foods quick and easier. Willing to pay a little more for extra power and capacity? Check out the Emerson 1.2 Cu. Ft. 1100W Microwave Oven with grill, touch control, and stainless-steel construction.

Emerson 0.9 CU. FT. 900 Watt Countertop Microwave Oven with Touch Control – Available in 6 Colors


Founded in 1948, Emerson Radio is among the nation’s oldest electronics distributors with a known trademark that has been in use since 1912. Today, Emerson continues to produce and market quality and innovative audio and home appliances tailored to meet the needs of consumers. Its products range from microwaves, clock radios, toaster ovens, wine openers, and wine coolers, among others.

The Emerson Radio 0.9 CU. FT. 900 Watt Microwave Oven comes with 6 pre-programmed recipes and 10 power levels to allow easier cooking of your favorite foods and snacks. Other highlights include an LED display and digital timer, one-touch buttons for common items—potatoes, frozen veggies, popcorn, pizza, and dinner plates. A lockout function helps prevent accidental operation—children and anyone unfamiliar with the microwave are therefore kept safe.

The Emerson Radio Microwave Oven also comes with a lightweight, removable glass turntable that ensures complete and even cooking. Further, the time and defrost function allows you to automatically set the optimal time for defrosting.

Go ahead and order yours now! You’ll have 6 attractive color options to choose from: Black, Black with Stainless Steel Trim, Black with Gray, Black with Silver, Solid Black, and Stainless Steel. There’s a little flair for every kitchen and every taste!

Best Microwave Oven - How to Choose a Small, Countertop Microwave for your Kitchen

There are numerous kitchen appliances which can ease your cooking process and make your foods taste delicious. For example, a juicer, a toaster oven, or a food processor is always helpful in any kitchen and will save you loads of time. In this review we will only focus on microwaves and the numerous features they provide nowadays!

With so many microwave recipes to try out, this kitchen appliance is a must! When choosing a countertop microwave, one of the factors that will have a major impact on your decision is how much of your precious kitchen real estate you want to give to this appliance. Some people live and breathe with their microwave oven, so they want the biggest and best one possible—and will shove everything else on the counter out of the way to make room for it.

Others just use them once in a while to reheat leftovers or to nuke some frozen veggies, so a basic model can suffice. Then, there are people who have really small kitchens so they need to get compact-sized microwaves. One way to save counter space is to go with a microwave that is mounted along the wall, underneath your cabinets.

Once you know what size of microwave you want, and where you want to put it in your kitchen, there are several other factors that you need to consider when it comes to picking out the best microwave for you.


Video: Top 10 Things You Should Never Put In The Microwave

What to Never Put in a Microwave. | Courtesy of

The price of a microwave will be impacted not only by its size and power level, but also by how many extra “bells and whistles” it has. In general, the more features it has, the more money you can expect to pay.

The price range for microwaves is wide—with some cheap microwave ovens available for under $100 (which we don’t typically recommend unless the price is due to being a small, compact model, due to lower quality), mid-ranged models at between $100 and $250, and top-of-the-line models that can cost $500 or more depending on features.

For this review, we took a look at a mixture of price ranges for both countertop microwaves and over-the-counter microwaves, to give you a good comparison. If you know for sure where you want this appliance to go, check out our top-five review for that type of microwave oven.


As a microwave goes up in quality, so will the features that it has related to performance and ease of use. Today there are microwave ovens available on the market that offer “unique” technologies which are designed to bring you even better-tasting results—and more efficiency.

In addition to the standard features that you would expect a microwave to have, there are some that offer convection cooking options. Others have features that can actually let you make crispy foods in your microwave.

Construction and Design

As we already mentioned, the amount of space a microwave oven takes up in your kitchen, whether you put it on the counter or mount it underneath your cabinet, is something you need to consider—but it is extremely important that you realize that physical size is not the only thing that matters.

  • Interior Volume - You can have two microwaves that are the same size on the outside, but have totally different interior volumes. The amount of space inside—or capacity—of a microwave determines how much food you can cook in it (and the size of the dishes, of course). Microwaves vary in dimensions with some being taller than others, and some being wider. So when shopping for a microwave, don’t just look on the outside!
  • Power Level - The next thing you need to consider regarding the construction of a microwave is the power that it has. The range of wattage that microwaves have varies greatly, anywhere from 600 watts to 1200 watts. Needless to say, a microwave with a higher wattage will cook your food faster, but it will also consume more energy (although most of the best models on the market today are designed to be energy-efficient). Some really high-powered microwaves will also interfere with the wireless connections, such as the internet, while they are running.
  • Interior Surface - When looking at the actual construction of a microwave, of course you want one that is made from quality materials—but you need to pay just as much attention to what’s on the inside as what’s on the out. Lower-end, budget models may only have a “coating” of microwave-safe materials, whereas the top-of-the-line models will be solidly constructed (and will be built to last longer). The inner surface of a microwave can be designed so that it can do more than just “nuke” your foods. Some have the capacity to “grill” or cook with convection heat and have an interior that’s covered with enamel that is both easy to clean and heat-resistant. Another coating that is often used is ceramic which is smooth, scratch-resistant, and can stand up to high temperatures—but ceramic interiors can be damaged and require a bit of extra care. Another popular interior is actually stainless steel; and yes, we know that your mother told you never to put metal in the microwave. Needless to say, the steel used is safe for microwave use and is heat-resistant and durable—but on the downside, it’s more difficult to keep clean.

Video: DIY How to Easily Clean Microwave

Weekly Microwave Cleaning Routine. | Courtesy of Foody Momm
Performance and Ease of Use

Technically a factor related to the construction and design of a countertop microwave oven, the number of cooking settings and options that it has will have a significant impact on how well it performs. Just about every microwave will have power level settings (usually from 1 to 10), a timer, cook, reheat & defrost settings, and a clock; but the more-advanced models will offer much more. Many microwaves have Auto Cook options that are pre-set defaults for particular food types—usually the most common foods people cook in a microwave.

When purchasing a microwave, it’s not only important to consider how easy it is to operate, but whether or not it’s easy to keep clean and maintain too.

Get the Best Microwave Oven of 2023!

If you’re looking for an affordable microwave oven, we would recommend taking a look at any one of these models. We are glad to have played a role in helping you choose the best microwave oven. Remember, the same brands have other options that you can check out!

Our Top Choice
Panasonic Countertop Inverter Microwave
Best Value
Westinghouse Small Microwave Oven
Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave
Farberware Classic Countertop Microwave
Emerson Touch Control Countertop Microwave

Microwave Oven FAQs

How to clean a microwave?
You can clean a microwave with vinegar—mix two tablespoons of vinegar and a drop of vinegar in two glasses or cups of water. Turn the microwave on and let it sit for five minutes. After turning it off, wait for fifteen more minutes. After removing the container, wipe the turntable using a clean rag. Then wipe the sides, bottom, and doors while avoiding to let liquid in the vents. You can also wash a microwave similarly using a lemon. If you want to clean using soap, then you have to remove food crumbs before wiping with a soapy cloth. After that, you can cleanse it and replace the turntable.
How to microwave a potato?
How do you microwave a baked potato? Start by washing the potato to remove dirt from the surface. After poking with a fork, place the potato in the microwave and turn it on. Wait for up to 4 minutes and turn the potato. Cook for three minutes more until it is creamy and tender. Finally, remove the potato from the microwave and top it with salt, pepper, and sour cream. Alternatively, you may add some cheese.
How to microwave bacon?
To microwave bacon, pile three layers with a paper towel between them. Place the layers of bacon on a microwave-safe plate and put in the microwave. After turning it on, please wait for 4 minutes and check if it is crispy. If it isn’t, cook for 1 minute at a time until it is ready.
How to microwave a sweet potato?
Before you microwave a sweet potato, make sure you scrub it and clean it using running water. Then use a fork to pierce the skin of the sweet potato up to 6 times. Place it on a microwave-safe plate, turn on the machine, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. After rotating the potato, microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Keep piercing it until you can feel the fork going through without resistance. Cook for additional intervals of one minute if the potato remains hard.
How does a microwave work?
A microwave oven works by channelling heat energy directly the food molecules. Thus, they rely on radiation (just like the sun) to cook food. On the inside, the device has a magnetron (microwave generator) that produces radio waves when it’s turned on. As the magnetron channels the radio waves to the food, it hits the food from all sides. That’s because the turntable, on which the food sits, keeps turning. The inside of the microwave has shiny surfaces on which the microwaves bounce back and forth, penetrating the food. The food molecules vibrate quickly, thus heating up.