The 5 Best Microwaves

Microwave ovens revolutionized the way we prepare foods. The first microwave was sold in 1947, and since then, they've become a necessity in the kitchen of every busy cook. With options for everything from popping popcorn to defrosting chicken, there are a lot of things to consider when buying a microwave — and we here at Wise Bread have taken some of the guesswork out of it by narrowing it down to our top five.

What Is a Microwave Oven?

Microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation to target the moisture in food and heat it up quickly. Microwaves range in size from compact to full size, and what's right for a large family may not be right for an individual living alone. It's important to evaluate your needs to pick the best option for you. Over-the-range microwaves incorporate the appliance into the design of your kitchen, whereas countertop models only require counter space and an outlet. Convection style microwaves save energy and heat food evenly so you don't have that "burnt on the edges, frozen in the middle" disaster that was once typical of microwaved meals.

Best 5 Microwave Ovens

Kenmore TrueCookPlus Countertop Microwave Oven - 6633

Exceptional defrosting skills, ease of use, and even heating make this midsize microwave an excellent choice, according to Consumer Reports.

The Kenmore 6633 has 1,200 watts of cooking power and 1.2 cubic feet of rounded interior space, making it extremely easy to clean. The extensive, easy-to-read instructions and numerous button options take the guesswork out of preparing food. It is very powerful and thus heats meals up more quickly than your average microwave. It also has a sensor that determines when food is done, which prevents overcooking.

This appliance is equipped with TrueCookPlus technology, which allows you to punch in codes for various packaged foods, and then adjusts heat levels and cooking times to ensure that your meal comes out perfectly. It also comes with a very solid one year warranty.

Current Price: $99.88 at Sears

GE Profile Series JES2251SJ

This large microwave is extremely easy to use and Consumer Reports claims that it has the best heating evenness of all of their recommended models.

The GE Profile microwave has 1,200 watts of cooking power, and its large size makes it perfect for families. Reviewers like the attractive design and the fact that it runs extremely quietly. The interior size and turntable allow it to accommodate larger dishes.

Several reviews claim that this microwave can pop every kernel of popcorn in a bag without burning any.

Current Price: $290.99 at Amazon

Panasonic NN-H965WF Genius 2.2 Cu. Ft. 1250 Watt Sensor Microwave

This large microwave is 2.2 cubic feet and uses 1,250 watts, which reduces cooking time by about 30% compared with other models. It has 10 different power settings and boasts inverter technology, which uses more even temperatures throughout and thus reduces over- or undercooking.

Reviewers recommend measuring out the counter space for this microwave before buying, as the Panasonic Genius does take up a lot of room. On the plus side, this means it can handle large dishes and the interior can be easily cleaned. One reviewer noted that it can defrost an entire chicken perfectly.

This microwave comes with myriad easy-to-use functions and presets, and the "Sensor/Reheat" button figures out how long a dish should be cooked by sensing when it's warm enough.

Current Price: $152.97 at Amazon

GE Profile Spacemaker II

This mid-sized microwave is extremely easy to use. It is very good at heating things evenly, but the defrost seems to leave something to be desired. It uses 800 watts and thus is not as fast at heating food as some of the other microwaves on this list; however, its size and the ability to mount it under a cabinet makes it ideal for kitchens with limited space.

The GE Profile Spacemaker has an attractive design and control panel. Word prompts on the panel guide you through the cooking process, making an already easy-to-use microwave even simpler.

This microwave doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the other microwaves so if simplicity is what you crave in your appliances, this is the model for you.

Current Price: $279.95 at Amazon

Whirlpool MT4155SPS

This large microwave has a capacity of 1.5 cubic feet and uses 1,200 watts. It is a Consumer Reports best buy and boasts very good heating evenness, excellent defrosting, and excellent ease of use.

The Whirlpool microwave takes up a lot of room due to its size and seems best suited for families. It is slightly louder than other microwaves but heats food up quickly and evenly. This microwave is unique in that in addition to all the traditional microwave colors, it also comes in bisque, which is very difficult to find; if you're trying to match it to other appliances in your kitchen, this is a great option to have.

The large interior makes this an easy microwave to clean. The controls are all very simple to use. At the end of the cooking time, the display has a cheery "Enjoy Your Meal" message.

Current Price: $150.00 at Amazon

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Guest's picture

After 31 years of faithful service from a Sharp Microwave, it was time for an update. The Panasonic Genius fit the ticket perfectly. It arrived on time as stated and works great. On the highest setting, it boiled water in 45 seconds and heated a bowl of soup in 20 seconds. Nice!! It has 10 different heat settings including defrost, cook delay, a keep warm feature, and it's very quiet. For the price of this machine, you can't go wrong!!

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