The 6 Best Microwaves of 2022 According to Testing, Whether You’re Cooking Dinner or Reheating Leftovers

Our favorite is the Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven because of its versatile features and built-in sensor for perfectly-heated food every time.

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 Best Microwaves of 2022

Better Homes and Garden / Russell Kilgore

A microwave can be your best friend in the kitchen when you need to get something done fast. Whether you’re reheating leftovers, defrosting a frozen dish, melting chocolate for baking, or even just boiling water, microwaves get the job done quickly with minimal effort. Plus, microwaves usually require less cleanup than cooking on your stovetop. 

The best microwaves should not only be simple to use and clean, but they’ll have the right assortment of features to make heating quick and easy. Some models come with helpful features like smart sensors, automatic cook presets, or possibly even air frying and baking capabilities. However, if you just want that automatic popcorn setting for movie night, there are plenty of effective models without all the bells and whistles, too. 

With so many different microwaves on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best for your household. That’s why our experts put 26 of the best microwaves to the test in our lab in Birmingham, Alabama. They spent an entire day using and evaluating these microwaves based on its power, design, size, effectiveness, and more. We also talked with Steph Chen, founder of microwave safe cooking line Anyday.

Based on testing results, we chose the Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor as the best overall choice, since it’s easy to use and has a built-in sensor to make sure food gets heated properly.  

These are the best microwaves.

Best Overall: Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

4.8
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It has a built-in sensor to help evenly cook food. 

Keep in Mind: It’s not as good at melting food like chocolate chips or marshmallows. 

The most versatile microwaves will work quickly, heat evenly, and be intuitive to use, allowing you to cook or reheat items without needing to babysit the appliance. The Toshiba Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor earned our experts’ praise after proving itself to be the most well-rounded device we tested, whether cooking popcorn, melting marshmallows, or heating veggies. 

During testing, the Toshiba microwave popped almost all of the popcorn in the bag (it only left ⅛ of an ounce!) and it was all evenly cooked without any scorched or burned bits. The microwave also had no trouble cooking a container of frozen macaroni and cheese evenly without any cold sections. This is thanks to its built-in sensor that automatically detects the humidity level of the food as it cooks to make sure everything comes out warm and ready to eat. 

We liked the size of this microwave, as it’s big enough to hold large dishes without being so huge that it takes up valuable space on your countertop. Plus, its clearly marked control panel makes it very intuitive to use. Other basic features include a touchpad that doesn’t show fingerprints, a clock, timer, a veggie sensor that can differentiate between fresh and frozen veggies, and other presets. 

The Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven didn’t perform as well when we tried to melt marshmallows and chocolate chips. Instead of creating a smooth, evenly-melted consistency, both the marshmallows and chips maintained their general shape, so you’d need to keep it in the microwave longer to completely melt them. 

Price at time of publish: $150

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 1100 watts
  • Dimensions: 13.25 x 13 x 9 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: 12.4 inches
Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor

BHG / Will Dickey

Best Budget: Magic Chef 1.1 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave HMM1110

4.3
MagicChef1.1Microwave

Magic Chef

Why You Should Get It: This microwave is great at evenly reheating cold and frozen dishes. 

Keep in Mind: It didn’t melt chocolate chips effectively during testing.

If you only need a microwave for basic warming and reheating functions, you probably don’t want to splurge for a bunch of extra bells and whistles. Instead, this countertop appliance comes with a touchpad control panel and basic cooking settings, making it perfect for warming up leftovers and frozen foods. 

During our tests, we found that the Magic Chef microwave heated water with no trouble, carmelized marshmallows nicely, and warmed frozen mac n’ cheese to perfection. It had no trouble popping an entire bag of popcorn without any burned pieces, though there were a few unpopped kernels left behind. You’ll also be able to enjoy several different preset buttons including pizza, frozen vegetables, baked potatoes, and more. 

The Magic Chef microwave is also a decent size at 14 inches wide by 13 inches deep, so there’s enough space to fit large plates and bowls without taking up all your counter space. Just keep in mind that it’s not quite big enough to fit a 9x13-inch pan, so you’ll have to reheat items in a smaller container. 

The Magic Chef is our favorite budget-friendly microwave, as it has a variety of helpful functions, heats up frozen food and cold leftovers, and comes in three different finishes to match your other kitchen appliances. However, we don’t recommend this microwave to anyone who wants to use it to help with baking, since this model failed to properly melt chocolate chips during testing. 

Price at time of publish: $70

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Dimensions: 13 x 8.5 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: 12.4 inches
Magic Chef 1.1 Cubic Foot Countertop Microwave

BHG / Will Dickey

Best with Air Fryer: Galanz GTWHG12S1SA10 4-in-1 ToastWave

4
Galanz GTWHG12S1SA10 4-in-1 ToastWave

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s a microwave, toaster, air fryer, and convection oven all in one. 

Keep in Mind: It takes some time to learn how to use the different settings.

One of the most versatile appliances you can get for your home is an air fryer—it’s perfect for cooking tasty chicken wings, vegetables, and even desserts. Instead of buying a brand-new device that takes up more space on your counter, we like the Galanz GT Four-in-One Toastwave, which operates as a microwave, air fryer, toaster, and convection oven. 

We tested this specifically for the microwave functions, but if you’re in the market for a countertop appliance that does it all, the Galanz is our pick.Our experts reported that this microwave has a specific feature for just about every kitchen task you can think of—including baking, toasting, even pizza making. 

There’s a silicone mat that you use for all of the functions, and our testers loved how easy it was to clean while keeping the turntable free of drips and dribbles. 

Our testers also liked the way this heated the mac n’ cheese and popped popcorn, with even heating throughout and very few unpopped kernels left behind. For more specialized tasks like melting chocolate, this appliance wasn’t able to evenly melt the chips. 

The toaster oven function can be heated to 425 degrees, and the appliance has a dial for the timer and a touchpad for everything else. There’s plenty of preset buttons to choose from including a bagel setting, pizza cooking, a broil button, and more. The turntable can be turned on and off too, which is a cool feature. 

We think this microwave (and more) is an ideal option for adventurous cooks who are looking for a multifunction appliance, and it could even serve as the only appliance for someone with limited space. However, our testers found that it was a little difficult to use since it has so many settings, so we don’t recommend this device to someone who wants a quick and easy-to-use microwave.  

Price at time of publish: $347

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Dimensions: 14 x 15.25 x 8.5 inches 
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: N/A
Galanz GT Four-in-One ToastWave Microwave

BHG / Will Dickey

Best Small: Panasonic 1.2 Inverter Microwave

4
Panasonic 1.2 Inverter Microwave

Target

Why You Should Get It: It cooks frozen foods and popcorn evenly. 
Keep in Mind: This microwave lacks some of the features that other models offer.

If you can’t mount your microwave in your kitchen, the last thing you probably want is a bulky appliance taking up tons of space on your countertop. This small microwave is basic enough to suit the most common kitchen tasks, but it’s also reliable enough for even cooking.

Our testers reported that this microwave was consistent in heating during all of the tests including cooking frozen meals and defrosting foods. Small but mighty, it had impressive power that allowed the microwave to evenly cook everything without any cold spots. Plus, it perfectly popped a bag of popcorn without many leftover kernels and perfectly melted chocolate chips, which was challenging for other models on our list.  

While the Panasonic Inverter microwave doesn’t have a ton of additional features like other appliances on this list, it does have a few helpful cooking presets including a popcorn button, sensor heating and reheating, a warming button, and more. It also has a sleek touchpad and a removable glass turntable to make microwave cleanup easy. 

At 12.24 inches tall, 20.69 inches wide, and 15.81 inches deep, the Panasonic Inverter microwave isn’t overly large, but the interior capacity provides enough space for standard dinner plates and most food storage containers. However, it lacks some of the food-specific buttons that other microwaves on our list, so we don’t recommend it to anyone who wants perfectly cooked dishes in a single press of a button. 

Price at time of publish: $124

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 1200 watts
  • Dimensions: 13.75 x 14 x 9.5 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: N/A
Panasonic 1.2 Inverter Microwave

BHG / Will Dickey

Best Large: Panasonic Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology

4.5
Panasonic Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: You can fit large containers like 9x13-inch pans inside this microwave. 

Keep in Mind: It’s not as good at melting marshmallows or chocolate chips.

This large microwave has a lot of features to love, making it the perfect addition to a big kitchen. Our testers loved its coffee and milk button to reheat your drink, an intuitive display, a 30-second keep warm button, three-stage cooking, and more. 

This Panasonic microwave oven performed better than any of the other microwaves we tested when it came to evenly heating mac n’ cheese, and our testers found that this microwave’s sensor helps it evenly warm frozen foods. Due to its size, it’s excellent at reheating large batches of food including 9x13-inch pans. 

It struggled to evenly melt chocolate chips and marshmallows, so we recommend keeping an eye on the microwave and stirring frequently if you want to melt food for baking. Unless you have tons of counter space, we recommend mounting this microwave somewhere in your kitchen. 

This microwave performs very well in evenly cooking foods, making it great for families with a large kitchen who need to reheat bulk dishes in a flash.

Price at time of publish: $370

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 1250 watts
  • Dimensions: 19.44 x 23.88 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: N/A
Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology

BHG / Will Dickey

Best Convection: Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave

4
Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: You want a multi-function appliance.

Keep in Mind: The touchpad on the front shows smudges easily.

Combine the speed of a microwave with the even heating of a convection oven, and you’ve got yourself a truly handy kitchen appliance—which is just one reason our testers loved this multi-functional microwave oven. Our testers loved the size of this device, saying that the interior capacity provides the perfect amount of space for most dishes and containers. 

It comes with lots of features, like a grilling function and grill rack, several express cooking modes, convection cooking, a touchpad control panel, and more. Our testers found that this microwave had no trouble defrosting frozen meals, reheating leftovers, and even melting marshmallows to a delicious goo. The popcorn was cleanly popped and nothing in the bag was scorched. 

We discovered that the touchpad and front of the microwave showed smudges easily, so you may find yourself wiping it down frequently to keep it looking clean. Because there are so many features, it took some time to understand how everything worked. Be prepared to spend some time fiddling with different buttons or consulting the manual to figure out different settings. 

We’d recommend this appliance for an adventurous cook who likes to experiment and would enjoy a multi-functional appliance.  

Price at time of publish: $300

Product Details:

  • Type: Countertop
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 19 x 21.2 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Turntable Size: 12 inches
Cuisinart 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill

BHG / Will Dickey

The Bottom Line

After testing 23 of the best microwaves, we chose the Toshiba Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor as our favorite overall pick. It’s easy to use, heats items evenly, and can handle defrosting dinner without any issues. If you’re looking for an appliance with a wide range of features, we also loved the Galanz GT 4-in-1 Toast Wave, which works as a microwave, toaster, air fryer, and convection oven. 

Our Testing Process

To put the best microwaves on the market to the test, we had a team of kitchen experts put each appliance through their paces in our lab in Birmingham, Alabama.

First, our testers used the microwave to heat a cup of room temperature water, then measured the change in temperature to see the appliance’s effectiveness. They also microwaved a pie dish full of mini marshmallows and defrosted frozen mac and cheese, using a thermometer to check the heat in different spots around the dish to ensure even cooking. 

Our experts also made sure the microwaves were up to snuff for melting chocolate, which was placed in a glass bowl, microwaved, stirred, microwaved again. We checked for lumps in the consistency and scorching or seizing chocolate, since these can spell disaster for your recipe if incorrectly heated. Finally, testers used each microwave to pop a bag of popcorn. We looked at how evenly the corn popped afterwards, noting scorched pieces or unpopped kernels.

We also evaluated the microwaves based on their size, features, effectiveness, and overall value before creating a final list of the best microwaves. 

testing Panasonic Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology

BHG / Will Dickey

What to Know About Microwaves Before Shopping

Type

When shopping for any appliance, you want to carefully consider the space you have available on your countertop, since even the best microwaves have a pretty large footprint. There are plenty of over-the-range microwaves and countertop models to choose from, so you can choose between the two based on how much space you’re willing to sacrifice. 

Many of the best microwaves sit directly on your countertop, making setup and installation super easy. You’ll want to measure both the space it’ll take up on the countertop before you purchase to ensure you still have a large enough workspace for kitchen prep. Plus, keep in mind how much vertical space your microwave may need under your cabinets.

Over-the-range microwaves are installed above your kitchen’s range or cooktop, and it’s a great way to cut down on countertop clutter. These types often have a vent function as well, which helps to keep the air in your kitchen circulating. However, these models take a bit more work to install than a simple countertop microwave. You’ll also need to be more careful when measuring for over-the-range microwaves, since your overhead space may be constrained by cabinets, shelves, and more.

Size

The size inside the appliance is another factor to consider when shopping for the best microwaves. If you normally heat up foods in a large baking dish like a 9x13-inch pan, you’ll want to find a model that can fit such a large container inside. Be sure to look for a microwave with a turntable that’s not too close to the walls of the microwave, since larger dishes can get stuck as they spin.

Features

When shopping for the best microwaves, you can find functional, pared-down models or others that are loaded with high-tech features. Unless you spend a ton of time in the kitchen or you want a device that can serve multiple purposes, you may not need a microwave with all the bells and whistles. 

“Not all microwaves are created equal,” explains Steph Chen, co-founder of microwave friendly cookware line Anyday. “Microwave wattage translates to how powerful the microwave is—if the wattage is too low (700-800w), your food will cook and reheat slowly and more unevenly. You have more consistency for cooking with microwaves that have wattages between 1000w to 1200w.”

Not only do you need power, but ideally you can also choose from many power levels for precision, Chen says.

“It's also important to choose a microwave with 10 power levels (some only have three or five levels), which will allow you to cook with more precision,” she told us. “Just like cooking with low flame on the stovetop, certain foods (like rice or eggs) can require cooking at a lower power level and having more power levels gives you cooking flexibility.”

testing Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill

BHG / Will Dickey

Other Microwaves We Tested

Commercial Chef Countertop Microwave Oven

This microwave fell short on all of our tests, and our testers were particularly disappointed that it didn’t cook the frozen mac n’ cheese well. It didn’t seem to heat evenly, and would likely require longer cook times than package directions. Since defrosting frozen items is a common requirement for most shoppers, we chose not to include this device on our list of the best microwaves.

Black+Decker Digital Microwave Oven

This is a very small microwave for the price, and our testers found the heating very inconsistent across defrosting, popcorn popping, and melting tests. While it has the most features of the smaller microwaves we tested, it couldn’t complete the more basic tasks we expected from it. Plus, the interior space is also very small, so you wouldn’t be able to fit larger dishes inside. 

Magic Chef Retro Countertop Microwave

Our testers found this microwave very small and they really disliked the dial setting compared to a digital display. While it has a cute retro look, it’s priced higher than other small microwaves, and we couldn’t justify the cost despite its decent performance in our lab. We’d only recommend this model to someone really interested in the visual appeal of their appliance, but for most shoppers, there are less-expensive models that will do the trick.

Your Questions, Answered

How long do microwaves usually last?

“A normal microwave will typically work for a long time (seven or more years), but it may still be worth switching out to a new microwave, even if it's been less time than that, if your current microwave isn't very powerful (such as microwaves that are lower than 1000 watts),” Chen explains. “Microwave technology has improved over the years, so older microwaves will also heat food less evenly.”

“If you notice anything strange with your microwave, like the door not closing properly or randomly sparking, it's definitely time to replace,” she added.

What is the best way to clean a microwave oven?

There are many ways to clean a microwave, but Chen recommends using a lemon juice or vinegar mixture. 

“Microwave stains and splatters are the worst. To clean the inside of a microwave, put a cup of water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for five minutes, or until the water is vigorously boiling for at least a minute,” she says. “Keep the door closed for another two minutes so the steam penetrates everywhere. Use a kitchen towel (and mild dish soap, if needed) to wipe all the grime off the interior surfaces.”

You’ll also want to take out the turntable and wipe it down before putting it back inside your appliance.

What is the best wattage for a microwave?

When shopping for the best microwave, you’ll want to look for something with a decent amount of power. The more watts a microwave has, the more quickly it’ll be able to cook your food, but you can have too much power, Chen told us.

“Microwave wattage translates to power, which translates to speed of cooking—the higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook,” she explains. “It's ideal to get a microwave with around 1000 to 1200 watts of power. If the wattage is too low, your food will cook and reheat slowly and also more unevenly. But it's also possible for the wattage to be too high—yes, food will cook fast, but there's also less margin for error, so it's easy to overcook food with just a few seconds of difference.”

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an award-winning writer and editor. To make this list of the best microwaves, she used research and insights from our microwave tests in our lab in Birmingham, Alabama. She also spoke with Steph Chen, founder of microwave safe cooking line Anyday.

What is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products and we let you know that we got it for free to remain as transparent as possible about our picks.

Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers.

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