Best Microwave Oven 2017 (The Ultimate Microwave Buying Guide)

"The Invention of the Microwave Oven is simply one of the greatest blessings for Mankind." KitchenDecide.com

But why is it a blessing?

From the comfort of your kitchen, home, work place, office, or RV, with only a microwave oven and some food, you can have one or two servings of warm meals! Isn't that a blessing?

But, not all microwave ovens are created equal. The question is, which microwave is the best for you? Continue reading to find out!

10 Quick Comparison Of Best Microwave Oven 2017

Microwave Oven 

Type

Our Rating

Counter Top

4.4 / 5

Counter Top

4.6 / 5

Counter Top

4.9 / 5

Counter Top

5 / 5

Counter Top

4.5 / 5

Over The Range

4.5 / 5

Over The Range

5 / 5

Over The Range

4.6 / 5

Built-in Drawer

4.8 / 5

Built-in 

5 / 5

Some Common Knowledge
(Move to review if you are eager to purchase)

1. What is a Microwave Oven exactly?

KitchenDecide Definition:
A microwave oven is a box with a door, armed with microwaves that cook food from the inside out. It accomplishes this by making the water molecules in the food vibrate, producing heat.
Wikipedia Definition (beware, it is a bit confusing):
A microwave oven (commonly referred to as a microwave) is a kitchen appliance that heats and cooks food by exposing it to microwave radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum. This induces polar molecules in the food to rotate and produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. Microwave ovens heat food quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm (1–1.5 inches) of a homogeneous, high water content food items; food is more evenly heated throughout (except in heterogeneous, dense objects) than generally occurs in other cooking techniques.

2. How does a Microwave Oven work?

This video explains it well:

3. What are the types of Microwaves?

There are several different types of microwaves available, based on their intended location and based on their functionality.

Based on the Location

Counter Top or Over the Counter Microwave Oven

This type of microwave is my favorite. You just set it on the counter, table, or any solid surface with enough space. Then you connect the cable to the electricity, and you can warm your meals within minutes. That's it!

Usually, this type of microwave is the most budget-friendly.

Over the Range Microwave or Built-in Cooktop

This kind of microwave is actually quite complex. You will need many resources: the range (obviously), enough space over the range (usually between cabinets), the skill to install it (if you are not skilled, you should hire a professional to do the installation for you), tools to install it, and money (it will be more pricey than the countertop class for obvious reasons) .

It will take some effort before you can use it, but, why all the trouble ??

Because of the rewards, of course!

First, you will have your counter free of a microwave (saving space).

Second, since this type of microwave is usually combined with a ventilation system, you can expect a fresher, odorless kitchen (free from gass elements like steam and smoke). The ventilation system is what makes it unique.

Third, over the range microwaves usually have a convection function (link to convection definition), therefore, it is just natural for it to have a premium price.

Built-In Microwaves

The word “built-in” means you will integrate the microwave into some space (i.e., a cabinet, drawer, etc.) and it will take extra effort and preparation (even more than for over the range microwaves).

How to prepare:

  • 1. Know where you want to put it.
  • 2. Measure the length, height, and depth.
  • 3. Ensure no doors or gates will get in the way (make sure the microwave can go in the target location).
  • 4. Hire a professional technician to install it (cheaper than you buying all the tools and spending your time)
  • 5. Money, (this microwave is costly).

The rewards, however, are substantial. One, it looks cool! You can be proud when people enter your kitchen and see this microwave. Second, you will save tons of counter space!

Based on the Functionality 

Ordinary Microwave oven

A Microwave Oven without the convection functionality ( not armed with a fan ). 

Convection Microwave oven

This is an ordinary microwave oven armed with a fan that force-circulates hot air. The forced hot air is blown over the food.

Therefore, the food is heated by the vibration of the water molecule from inside and heated by outside air.

This leads to less cooking time.

4. What are the most common uses for microwaves?

  • 1.To Defrost
  • 2. To warm the meals or to reheat them
  • 3. To cook
  • 4. To pop your popcorn kernels.
  • 5. To grill
  • 6. To roast (requires a convection function for optimum result)
  • 7. Basic backing (more advanced baking should be done using an OVEN Toaster instead)

5. How to use a Microwave Oven?

1. Beginning with the end in mind, what do you want to achieve? (Heating or Cooking?)

2. Prepare the meal

3. Remove any plastic from the food item

4. Move the food to a microwave-safe container

5. Place the food in the microwave

6. Determine the time needed, or you can use shortcut, pre-programmed options.Hit the start button, and wait. That's it.

6. Are microwaves safe to use?

Microwave ovens are pretty safe, as long as you follow the guidelines below.

Remember, if the microwave has any damage or a short (like it stops operating, or the heating process seems to happen but the meal does not get warm, etc.) don't just follow some guide from your friend or the internet; please call a professional appliance service to handle the problem for you.

Why?

Handling a microwaves the wrong way can harm or even kill people.

7. The Microwave Controversy: Myth vs. Fact

CONS Microwave

The Global Healing Center has a post that seems to discourage the use of microwaves. 

on that post they said a Microwave Ovens do the following things : 

  • Kill nutrients
  • Toxic Load

In Our Personal Opinion, this is a myth

PROS Microwave

However, Harvard.Edu that always backed by facts seems to be ok with using a microwave as a mean of cooking. This post proves as much:

 It states that less cooking time actually preserves vitamin C and other nutrients from breaking down.

and another post by harvard.edu

states that, contrary to popular belief, some Styrofoam and other polystyrene containers can safely be used in the microwave. Just follow the same rules you follow for other plastic containers: check the label.

If you are concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer the food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for safe use in microwave ovens.

You Bet! KitchenDecide go with Harvard.EDU of Course, We PRO the Microwave Oven usage.

8. The do's and The don'ts with Microwave Oven 

We Researched this section from Lifehacker, RealSimple, and News.com.au;  you can pay visit to those links for more details.  

The do's 

The Foods

  • Meats
  • Pizza (yummy!)
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Deserts
  • Pretty much anything except for what’s listed below! (on the don'ts section)

The Containers

  • Anything labeled "Microwave Safe".
  • Glass and ceramic dishes
  • Most paper plates, towels, and napkins. However, because some include plastics, please check the label first, and look for "microwave safe".

The don'ts 

The Foods

  • 1. Grapes, they explode!!
  • 2. Raisins, they smoke!
  • 3. Intact eggs with their shell or hard boiled eggs, they explode! (You will having a hard time cleaning the interior of the microwave oven )
  • 4. Dried Hot Peppers
  • 5. Boiling Water (the water can explode). It is not recommend to boil water in the microwave ovens, bad things might happen. one of the worst case, the water exploded into the owner face, learn more in this video by kentchemistry. 

The Containers

  • Nothing (your microwave oven need something to absorb the microwaves), never run the microwave when there is nothing in it.
  • Plastics. I know, this one is debated. Some plastics even have "microwave safe" labels, but why take the risk when you can avoid it? Especially since it will take 1 minute at most to move food from a plastic container to the microwave safe container.
  • Anything metal
  • Aluminum foil, You don't want your microwave oven to spark like the video below right?

A Few Things to Consider Before Buying a Microwave

1. The Main Purpose of Buying Microwave Oven

Why do you need a Microwave oven? What can it help you with?

This is the first question you should ask before buying.

Is it mainly to only re-heat the meals? Do you need it to defrost or will you need to do some cooking, like grilling or roasting?

If you only need it for the re-heating purpose, the countertop microwave oven with a 0.9 cubic feet or less size, wattage around 700 to 1000, and budget between $50 to $100, will be the best choice.

For additional purposes, you’ll need more wattage for stability, more functionality (like the convection) for even heat distribution, and a larger budget.

2. How many people are in your home/place?

More people often means more serving. If you live alone or only have two people at max, any microwave oven with the capacity of 0.9 cubic feet or less would do.

However, if you have three to five people, you should consider the medium sized 1.0 to 1.4 cubic feet microwave, and if you have more than five people, consider an even larger capacity.

3. What is Your Home Electric Capacity?

Microwave ovens have a wattage around 600 to 1000+; more wattage means more stability.

However, you should know your home’s electric capacity. Does your home have enough electric capacity to handle this extra consumption?

If you never have a blackout, or only have them infrequently, then it should be alright to purchase a bigger wattage, but if your home doesn't have what it takes, you can either increase your home’s capacity, or just purchase a microwave of 700 watts or below.

4. Do you already have an idea where you’ll put it?

This is an important step that, if overlooked, can bring you a headache.

Don't skip this one!

  • 1. Imagine where you want to put it.
  • 2. Taking measurements is the best practice (even if you only purchase the countertop oven). Measure the width, length, and height of the space you allocated for the microwave oven. This will give you a general idea.
  • 3. If you are considering the built-in microwave or over the range microwave, you should give them some space to breathe, ideally two inches behind it and one inch on both sides.
  • 4. Look at the microwave dimensions on the product description. Just do some simple math, and you will know which one to choose.
  • 5. Common pitfalls: for larger microwave dimensions, you should make sure the microwave can go through the target place. How do you do this? Simple! Measure every entrance (e.g., every door) to that respected place.

5. Functionality (are there pre-programmed functions and custom functions?)

Shortcuts not only save time but also give you ease of mind.

Most of the microwaves on our list have 6 to 10 pre-programmed functions, like Defrost.

The more advanced microwaves have sensors that can detect the meal’s condition and give you the best calculation on how long to run the microwave.

6. Who will use it?

Young people should have nothing to worry about. However, if you buy this as a gift to your grandmother or grandfather, you should consider purchasing one with knobs instead of a touch pad.

7. Microwave Oven's Child Safety Lock

If you have children in the house, this function can save them from harm. Don't worry, most modern microwaves come with this, just be sure to check before buying.

8. Your Budget

There are many variables to consider, as explained above. However, in the end, everything eventually comes down to your budget.

If you have a small budget and want a microwave oven under $100, you should consider a counter top style. Choose something that has a minimum of 700 watts and 0.9 to 1.0 cubic feet.

For $200 or more, you can have a top tier countertop model with convection ability or an over the range microwave. This is a good choice for a seasoned cook.

For a stable, built-in Microwave, you should prepare for a budget between $500 to $1000+.

10 Microwave Oven Reviews:

Countertop Microwave Oven

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 4.4/5


This cheap microwave oven comes with dials and knobs (mechanical rotary control). It’s perfect for seniors, instead of a touch pad.Available in two sizes, 0.6 or 0.9 cubic feet.

(Our link here directs you to the 0.9 cu. ft. one, but please make sure you choose the right one before ordering).

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Easy to grasp, grip-type handle to open and close the door
  • Great for preparing small to medium size meals
  • Perfect for seniors
  • Cheap
  • 30-Minute timer with audible end cooking signal6. Has defrost function.

CONS

  • Only has 6 cooking power levels; this is less compared to others on the list.

KitchenDecide Editor's Rating :  4.6/5


This Medium sized (1.2 cu. ft.), medium priced Panasonic is not your ordinary microwave oven. Armed with inverter technology, this one promises a steady stream of cooking power for even results.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com 

PROS

  • Steady stream of cooking power
  • Good for a three to five person family
  • Automatic sensor for reheating and cooking
  • Turbo Defrost: Thaw your frozen food more evenly and quickly
  • Keep Warm features: self-explanatory!
  • This one not cheap, but it has features that usually only top-tier microwave ovens have.

CONS

  • Almost none, except for various reports around the internet about the typical age of only one to two years. In case you’re wondering, microwave oven life expectancy is about 8 years, according to mr.appliance).

KitchenDecide Editor's Rating : 4.9/5


15 years ago, my mother bought a Countertop Sharp Microwave Oven (not this one). Ten minutes ago, I just re-heat a pizza with it.

I just want to say I am a fan, and you would definitely be one as well when buying a Sharp Microwave Oven.

This Sharp ZR559YW comes with sensors so you can take the guess work out of equation. And with a capacity of 1.8 cu. ft. this is the largest countertop microwave on our list. If you have family of five or more and are looking for a large microwave oven with great functionality that will last, at an affordable price, this is the one.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com 


PROS

  • A trademark we can put trust into
  • Long lasting.
  • Large size is perfect for bigger families.
  • Precise sensors (say goodbye to guesswork)
  • Auto Defrost for accurate thawing
  • One-touch popcorn and beverage settings.

CONS

  • Heavy
  • You will need to part with some of your kitchen counter space.
  • Your electric consumption will increase - this one has 1100 Wattage.

KitchenDecide editors's Rating : 5/5


Sharp Electronics R-21LCF is well-known as a medium-duty commercial microwave, meaning you can use this at your small restaurant or your office, and it will last.

Again, other than being a fan of the Sharp Microwave Oven, the reason I put this one on the list is because it really deserves the spot.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Looks great!
  • Heating time guide for heating popular food
  • Medium duty commercial use (Built to last)
  • Light up dial timer.
  • 1 Cubic Feet with 1000 Wattage means a balanced medium microwave oven. It is perfect for most users.

CONS

  • Pricey for a countertop microwave oven.

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 4.5/5


If you who read our section about where to put your microwave, and you imagined a microwave oven that would fit into the corner of your counter, this small microwave is the answer for that!

This black microwave oven is the perfect companion for single people in apartments, small homes, and college dorms.

We did say the minimum should be 0.6 cu. ft. But this one is an exception.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Best small microwave oven on our list
  • Small wattage of 750. Any home with low electric capacity would find this a good choice.
  • Add 30 seconds option when starting or when progressing.
  • Three shortcut buttons for popcorn, reheat, and defrost5. Perfect for your RV vacation.

CONS

  • You may need to purchase new microwave dishes that fit the size of this one
  • No sensor
  • The price is not cheap, you can purchase a good medium-sized microwave at this amount.

Over the Range Microwaves

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 4.5/5


This over-the-range microwave oven is a great choice! Not only is GE a reputable brand for microwave ovens but the device also has great performance and clear instruction on how to install it.

Still, if this is your first time, you should ask professional to do it. (Since they have both the skills and the tools needed).

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Only 1000 wattage for 1.6 cu. ft.
  • 2-speed exhaust fan, 300-CFM venting system
  • 10 power levels
  • Automatic defrosting time and power level
  • Cheap for over-the-range microwave ovens. (Most are 1.5 to 2 times the price of this one)
  • Quieter compared to others.

CONS

  • Lacks a sensor to determine when the food is done

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 5/5


With 1200 watt and 2 cu. ft., the Frigidaire FGMO205KB is a big over-the-range microwave oven. This one is perfect for a big family with five members or more.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Sensor cooking option, automatically adjusts the power levels and cooking times.
  • 30 Options, from chicken nuggets to pizza!
  • Effortless reheat of almost anything at the touch of a button.
  • One-Touch Keep Warm. Worry not, with this mode food will be kept warm until everyone arrives for dinner.Minimum noise

CONS

  • Expensive.
  • Must hire a professional for installation.

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 4.6/5

For a medium-sized microwave to run on 850 Watts, is pretty rare because the usual ratio is 0.1 cu. ft. for every 100 watts.

First, you may think the microwave isn’t good, with low power to manage the medium size.

Second, you may think the microwave is so optimal it can run with great efficiency.

Since it is a Sharp and many people give this one a high rating, I believe the latter one is the case.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • Convection Function
  • Sensor
  • 2-Speed Ventilation fan.
  • Ceramic Turntable (most on our list are glass )

CONS

  • The price

Built-In Microwaves

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 4.8/5


Do you ever wonder how microwave ovens would look when priced above one thousand dollars?

Yeah, just like this one!

Minimalistic, yet elegantly good looking with a modern and clean vibe.

Sensors, automatic defrost, keep warm, and pre-programmed settings come in naturally.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • It has a hidden control panel that is easy to read and operate.
  • Easy touch automatic drawer system
  • Cooking performance you can trust

CONS

  • For this kind of price, this one only has a medium capacity of 1.2 cu. ft. (it should be more)
  • The price.

KitchenDecide editor's Rating : 5/5


This list wouldn’t be complete without introducing the microwave oven + true convection oven combination.

If you seek performance and four figures is nothing to you, you can consider the highest priced microwave on our list.

This Built-in convection combination microwave wall oven.

Click to see the price at Amazon.com

PROS

  • 2 products (Convection microwave— Upper) and (True European convection oven —Lower)
  • Heating, cooking, roasting, broiling you name it, expect the highest standard.
  • Performance and perfection
  • Easy Self Clean with Steam (on lower oven) saving you both time and energy.

CONS

  • Only the cost.

Our Verdict

Just want to purchase a budget friendly microwave oven that works, then look no further! Choose the Westinghouse WCMH900B.

If you are a single person, living in small place like an apartment, compact home, or dorm, consider our best small microwave oven the Whirlpool WMC20005YB.

Have a growing family? And want to purchase something decent that will last, your best choice is the Sharp Microwave Oven ZR559YW.

Want a decent over the range microwave oven that works great at an affordable price? Your answer is the GE JVM3160DFBB.

Finally, when a four figure cost isn’t much to you and a great self-made meal is everything, you can never go wrong with the GE Profile PT7800SHSS.

Our review ends here, but before we part ways, I just want to remind you that whatever microwave oven you choose, it will surely bring blessings to your home in the form of warm meals.

do you interested more in colored microwave? please check out our review about 8 best red microwave. you will meet many cute microwaves there. 

What do you think about our review? Did we just miss your favorite microwave oven? Agree or disagree with our review? Have comments about our opinion that a microwave is a blessing? Just hit reply in the comment section and leave us your thoughts!

Thank you.

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