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Microwave Ovens Buying Guide

While microwaves have certainly evolved since their commercial invention in 1945, some of the basic features remain. They're small, self-contained kitchen appliances that help cooks with heating, melting, thawing, and cooking foods in a short amount of time. Whether you're buying new or replacing an old one, here's a guide to choosing a new microwave oven. 

Types of Microwave Ovens

Types of Microwave Ovens

Beyond the basics of heating and cooking, microwave ovens now have options such as a convection mode for even cooking and browning, and steam cooking for a healthier approach to heating. Some microwaves feature a built-in coffeemaker or toaster. Whatever your upgrade preferences, a few of the basic functions should include proper wattage, defrost mode, a large enough turntable, and easy-to-read (and clean) buttons or icons for programming.

Full Size

With an interior capacity of up to 2 cubic feet, this model's cooking power is usually 1,000 watts or more. It will take up more counter space than other models.

Compact

Smaller in size and with about 700-800 watts, this less-powerful model does not cook as quickly as a full-size microwave. It also lacks some of the programmed cooking features.

shop Compact
Haier
$175.84
at Walmart

The GE Refrigerator with Microwave Bundle adds convenience to any rec room or workspace. This bundle is also ideal for college-bou...nd students or large households. It features two handy appliances that make it easy to store and cook food. The GE 4.4-cu ft Compact Refrigerator provides three adjustable glass shelves with an in-the-door can rack, tall bottle door storage and a mini ice tray. The Rival microwave is powerful enough to cook and reheat food with its 900 watts of cooking power, and it has 10 selectable power levels. read more

Over the Range

Generally full size, these ovens free up counter space, as they include a vent and are designed for installation over a stove. Another advantage is the oven is positioned at eye level for easy monitoring.

shop Over the Range
GE
$206.99 $279.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175DFBB over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually. This 1,000-watt black GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE
GE
$278.00 $329.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175EFES over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually.This 1,000-watt slate GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE
GE
$301.92 $349.99
at Sears

The GE JVM7195DFWW over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor contr...ols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave even helps you plan meals with a feature called the USDA MyPlate menu that provides healthy pre-programmed food options and recipes. The 1,000-watt white GE JVM7195 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.9 cu. ft. capacity and a removable rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a three-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE

Microwave/Convection

Two ovens in one, this model lets you cook in microwave mode, convection mode, or a combination of the two. Unlike a microwave, the convection mode helps brown and crisp foods.

shop Microwave/Convection
US Appliance

PT7800DHWW GE Profile Series 30" Built-In Combination Convection Microwave/Convection Wall Oven - White Explore the features of th...e PT7800DHWW combination oven from General Electric Features Include 1.7 cu. ft. microwave capacity (975 watts (IEC-705 test procedure) Convection microwave (upper oven) Circulates heat for high-quality results 16" turntable (upper oven) Rotates food throughout the cooking cycle for even cooking results True European convection (lower oven) Achieve delicious results from a third heating element and fan combination Self-clean with steam clean option (lower oven) Clean your oven the way you want Self-clean heavy-duty roller rack (lower oven) Easily access items with a rack that glides smoothly Glass Touch Controls Set temperatures quickly and clean with little effort Appearance Handle White Frameless Oven Door(s) Color-Matched Handle Design Designer Style Oven Door Features Big Clear View Oven Window (Lower). Frameless Glass Door Color Appearance White on White Installation Above Warming Drawer APPROXIMATE DIMENSIONS 43 3/8" H x 27" D x 29 3/4" W read more

Bosch

HBL8751UC Bosch 30" Combination Convection Wall Oven and Convection Microwave Oven - 800 Series - Stainless Steel Explore the feat...ures of the HBL8751UC combination oven from Bosch Design Touch control with SteelTouch Buttons for Easier Operation of the Oven Performance 12 Specialized Cooking Modes - Gourmet Cooking Made Easy Custom Cooking Modes: Pizza, Pie, Warm and Proof Genuine European Convection for Even Baking Results on Multiple Racks. Temperature Conversion for Convection Cooking Meat Probe Takes Guesswork out of Cooking Fast Preheat Reduces Preheat Time Efficiency EcoClean 2-Hour Self-Clean Cycle Convenience Two Oven Lights to Better Monitor Cooking Progress Timer with Cook Time and Delay Start Function Extra Large Door Window for Easy Monitoring of Cooking Process Star-K certified. 100?-450? F Capacity Large Capacity at 4.6 Cu Ft. Recessed 8 Pass Broil Element for Increased Capacity and Safety Approximate Dimensions (Inches) Height: 48 7/16 Width: 28 3/8 Depth: 24 1/2 Consult product insta read more

Emerson
$179.00 $199.00
at Walmart

This exceptional unit can cook in multiple modes using microwave and convection, microwave and griller.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Replacing a microwave will be about as frequent as replacing an appliance; it should last roughly nine years. You'll get what you pay for in terms of basics to lots of features. So if you want a convection microwave, be prepared to spend more. If you have basic, limited use for a microwave, don't pay for all the extras you won't utilize.

Size

If you plan to cook meals and main dishes in the microwave, be sure to purchase a full-size model so there is enough space for larger dishes. If you are using a microwave for reheating foods only, then a compact model is sufficient.

Power

The higher wattage you purchase, the faster and more efficient a microwave will heat. A good baseline to start with is an oven with 1,000 watts. If you opt for a smaller microwave, 700 watts will work, but don't plan to use it for more than simple cooking, reheating, and defrosting.

Turntable

Check out the inside cavity of the microwave and the size of the rotating turntable. If you plan to cook meals in a microwave, make sure the microwave has a turntable and that it can fit your most-used baking dishes.

Convection Mode

With a convection-mode feature, a fan is built into the microwave for better heat distribution. This combination allows for browning of certain foods and crisp pizza crusts.

shop Convection Mode
US Appliance

PT7800DHWW GE Profile Series 30" Built-In Combination Convection Microwave/Convection Wall Oven - White Explore the features of th...e PT7800DHWW combination oven from General Electric Features Include 1.7 cu. ft. microwave capacity (975 watts (IEC-705 test procedure) Convection microwave (upper oven) Circulates heat for high-quality results 16" turntable (upper oven) Rotates food throughout the cooking cycle for even cooking results True European convection (lower oven) Achieve delicious results from a third heating element and fan combination Self-clean with steam clean option (lower oven) Clean your oven the way you want Self-clean heavy-duty roller rack (lower oven) Easily access items with a rack that glides smoothly Glass Touch Controls Set temperatures quickly and clean with little effort Appearance Handle White Frameless Oven Door(s) Color-Matched Handle Design Designer Style Oven Door Features Big Clear View Oven Window (Lower). Frameless Glass Door Color Appearance White on White Installation Above Warming Drawer APPROXIMATE DIMENSIONS 43 3/8" H x 27" D x 29 3/4" W read more

Bosch

HBL8751UC Bosch 30" Combination Convection Wall Oven and Convection Microwave Oven - 800 Series - Stainless Steel Explore the feat...ures of the HBL8751UC combination oven from Bosch Design Touch control with SteelTouch Buttons for Easier Operation of the Oven Performance 12 Specialized Cooking Modes - Gourmet Cooking Made Easy Custom Cooking Modes: Pizza, Pie, Warm and Proof Genuine European Convection for Even Baking Results on Multiple Racks. Temperature Conversion for Convection Cooking Meat Probe Takes Guesswork out of Cooking Fast Preheat Reduces Preheat Time Efficiency EcoClean 2-Hour Self-Clean Cycle Convenience Two Oven Lights to Better Monitor Cooking Progress Timer with Cook Time and Delay Start Function Extra Large Door Window for Easy Monitoring of Cooking Process Star-K certified. 100?-450? F Capacity Large Capacity at 4.6 Cu Ft. Recessed 8 Pass Broil Element for Increased Capacity and Safety Approximate Dimensions (Inches) Height: 48 7/16 Width: 28 3/8 Depth: 24 1/2 Consult product insta read more

Emerson
$179.00 $199.00
at Walmart

This exceptional unit can cook in multiple modes using microwave and convection, microwave and griller.

Sensors

A moisture-sensor cycle on many microwave ovens cooks food automatically based on the amount of steam it emits.

shop Sensors
GE
$206.99 $279.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175DFBB over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually. This 1,000-watt black GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE
GE
$278.00 $329.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175EFES over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually.This 1,000-watt slate GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE
GE
$301.92 $349.99
at Sears

The GE JVM7195DFWW over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor contr...ols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave even helps you plan meals with a feature called the USDA MyPlate menu that provides healthy pre-programmed food options and recipes. The 1,000-watt white GE JVM7195 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.9 cu. ft. capacity and a removable rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a three-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE
Panasonic
$219.95
at Amazon

You can bring that certified master chef skills out of you with this Luxury-size 2.2 cuft capacity microwave. This oven offers Pan...asonic patented "Inverter" Technology that offers linear cooking the prevents overcooking on the edges and surfaces and gives juicer and tender food every time. The NN-SN933 offers a 2.2 cubic foot capacity, 1250 watts of high cooking power, while its 9-Menu Category one-touch sensor cook/reheat calculates cooking times automatically, making cooking a variety of food easier than ever. Other highlights include a Membrane keypad and 5 push buttons for easy programming, Inverter Turbo Defrost technology, 10 Power Levels, Popcorn Key, Keep Warm mode, Delay start, Timer, Quick Minute, 16 1/2" Turntable and More/Less Control. The countertop microwave oven measures 23 7/8" L x 19 7/16" W x 14" H and weighs 35 lbs. White finish. PLEASE NOTE: Upper-left corner of door has a small indentation to allow door to open smoothly One-Touch Genius Sensor Cook and Reheat for automatic cooking settings and even Keep Warm feature PLEASE NOTE: Upper-left corner of door has a small indentation to allow door to open smoothly. read more

Programmed Options

Many ovens have preset time options for cooking or warming different types of food or for certain time increments—a time-saver for cooks rushing to get a variety of warm dishes to the table at the same time.

Trim Kits

For a custom appearance and built-in convenience, trim kits are available to fit specific microwaves. Opt for a microwave with the trim-kit option if your kitchen has a space within the cabinetry for microwave placement.

Safety Features

For households with small children, some microwave ovens incorporate a child-safety feature that prevents the oven from starting without entering the proper code.

Kitchen on sale
GE
$206.99 $279.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175DFWW over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually. This 1,000-watt white GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE 1.7 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Sensor Microwave Oven - White
GE
GE
$206.99 $279.99
at Sears

This GE JVM6175DFBB over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor cont...rols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave also gives you the option of using preprogrammed defrost and cook settings or operating manually. This 1,000-watt black GE JVM6175 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.7 cu. ft. capacity and a removable two-position rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a two-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE 1.7 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Sensor Microwave Oven - Black
GE
GE
$269.99 $349.99
at Sears

The GE JVM7195DFBB over-the-range sensor microwave oven is so easy to use, you ll end up using it a lot! The built-in sensor contr...ols take all the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting time and power settings. This microwave even helps you plan meals with a feature called the USDA MyPlate menu that provides healthy pre-programmed food options and recipes. The 1,000-watt black GE JVM7195 over-the-range sensor microwave has a roomy 1.9 cu. ft. capacity and a removable rack, so you can prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. The recessed turntable helps foods cook evenly, and a three-speed venting system removes smoke, steam and odors from the cooktop below. read more

GE 1.9 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Sensor Microwave Oven - Black
GE
Kitchenaid
$399.99 $519.99
at Sears

This KitchenAid microwave hood combination oven KHMS2040 lets you conveniently add a microwave to your kitchen without sacrificing... counter space. A variety of features give you more cooking options to achieve the results you want. read more

KitchenAid 2.0 cu. ft. Microwave Hood Combination Oven - Stainless Steel
Frigidaire
$278.00 $359.99
at Sears

Update the look of your kitchen and the performance of your cooking with this fantastic stainless steel 30 in. Frigidaire Gallery ...Over-the-Range Microwave FGMV175Q. This 1000 Watt microwave features over 30 settings, so microwaving your favorite foods is quick and easy. Sensor cooking technology takes the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting power levels and cook times so food is properly heated, but not over-cooked. The 2-speed, 300 CFM, ventilation system reduces cooking odors and smoke in your kitchen. read more

Frigidaire Gallery 1.7 cu. ft. Microhood Combination Microwave Oven - Stainless Steel
Kitchenaid
$959.99 $1,199.99
at Sears

This KitchenAid Architect Series II built-in microwave oven KBMS1454 offers an integrated design with a coordinated trim kit for a... stylish alternative to countertop microwaves. A variety of features, including one-touch Sensor cooking cycles for preparing an array of foods, offer you more convenience in the kitchen. read more

KitchenAid 24" Built-in Microwave Oven - Stainless Steel
Panasonic
$106.19 $155.99
at Walmart

The Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN651W is a wonderful way to quickly cook or heat your meals. It features new Inverter technology ...that allows for more accurate cooking temperatures. Unlike traditional microwaves, this Panasonic microwave oven supplies continuous heat at all power levels, resulting in a more evenly heated dish. read more

Panasonic NN-SN651W Microwave Oven
Nostalgia Electrics
$59.00 $99.50
at Walmart

A smaller version of our popular Retro Series unit, this 0.7 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven has a clean and sleek retro design. 12 pre-...programmed features, handy dial control, LED display, digital clock, safe child lock, defrost by weight, five power levels and 700 watts of cooking power. Compact 0.7 cubic foot interior cavity is perfect for a dorm room, rec room or theater room. read more

Nostalgia Electrics 0.7 Cu. Ft. 700 Watt Retro Series Microwave Oven
Oster
$59.84 $79.98
at Walmart

This Oster 0.9 cu. Ft. Microwave Oven, Black", is an ideal way to update your kitchen. It has a sleek and modern design. This blac...k microwave oven provides up to 900 watts of power. Cooking is a breeze with six convenient, one-touch cook settings and adjustable power levels. The glass turntable is removable for easy cleaning and the lockout feature makes it child safe. The convenient sizing is large enough for almost all cooking jobs, but small enough that you won't have trouble finding a place to put it. read more

Oster 0.9 cu. Ft. Microwave Oven, Black
Nostalgia Electrics
$85.00 $129.99
at Walmart

The Nostalgia Electrics RMO400RED Retro Series 0.9-Cubic Foot Microwave Oven in Black has a unique and sleek retro design, but bri...ngs the fast-cooking appeal of a modern appliance. Its oval window and chrome accents have a classic look, but its 12... read more

Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series 0.9-Cubic Foot Microwave Oven, Red, RMO400RED
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