The 9 Best Countertop Microwave Ovens of 2021

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Last Updated on June 18, 2021

To help us find our top choice, we focused on a range of factors, including ease of use, dimensions, wattage, automated settings and special features. Find out the latest countertop microwave oven and and see which one suits your kitchen needs.

product testing for microwave oven

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

When you want to quickly heat up some left-overs, you turn to the microwave.  Microwaves are useful for all kinds of culinary tasks. Everything from reheating a cup of coffee to steaming vegetables to popping popcorn, both large and small. 

We’ve been testing the latest microwaves, and during our extensive research we decided that the compact, powerful, and versatile  Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven  stood out as clearly deserving of our top spot.

heat up some left-overs

Based on our research we manage to decide on which is the best product.

We created a table that lists down and rate each product.

Check out a thorough review based on hours of research.

Choosing the Right Microwaves for Your Kitchen

Microwaves come in countless styles and sizes but it’s the features on a particular model that might be the biggest selling point to entice you to buy. 

To give you some insight, we’ve explained some of the most crucial factors to consider while you’re shopping.

Location 

Where are you going to be installing your microwave? An over-the-range is installed over your stove. Countertop microwaves take up counter space. What about in a dorm room? Where you’ll be using it can be a major deciding factor.

Size

When it comes to the size, dimensions of the exterior as well as interior capacity needs to be measured. 

Some models are more compact yet have sufficient interior space. Others occupy little amount of counter space or fit perfectly above the range

Depending on your needs and available space pick the size that will be best for you. 

Wattage

Wattage is essentially the overall cooking power of a microwave. It is typically have between 500 and 12,000 watts. Cooking times tend to be slower in lower wattage microwaves. The more power it has, the more expensive it tends to be. Ideally, you can find the right balance between power and price.

Settings

Some models come with useful presets and pre-settings that make cooking easier. Some have advanced tools like humidity sensors, one-touch defrost or sensors to stop cooking when food is complete. 

These pre-programed buttons often have a preset powers or time for specific dishes that allow you to cook particular foods like lasagna, pastas and other dishes with one touch of a button

Price

Microwaves have been around for decades, so they’re not as expensive as they used to be. However, the more advanced features and smart technologies you want, the higher the price will be. Identifying your budget and which features you’ll get the most use out of is essential. 

Ventilation

The best over-the-range microwaves typically have both exterior and interior  venting capabilities. Some over-the-range microwaves can offer ample ventilation via their exhaust fans, though exterior venting is best, if you’re installing over your range.

Special Features

Special features in microwaves include options like convection cooking, pre-set times, and smart technology. Other special features can include removable racks allowing  you to cook a variety of foods at one time, a 30-second button to quickly extend cooking time, or special sensors that will adjust a heating cycle specifically to properly cook or heat up the food you’re cooking. 

Style

There’s a good chance that your microwave will be on display on your kitchen counter. So, you’ll want to find a style and finish that matches the other appliances in your kitchen. 

Our Top Choice

Compact, sleek, ideal for both families or singles.

PANASONIC Compact Microwave Oven

Image

Product

Features

Price

Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven

Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven

BEST CHOICE

  • Excellent inverter technology.
  • Very easy to use and clean.
  • Very reasonable price.
  • 15.8 x 20.7 x 12.2 inches
  • 28.7 pounds
Check Latest Price

BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven

BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven

RUNNER UP

  • Attractive stainless steel design.
  • A perfect medium size microwave.
  • Super quiet and easy to use!
  • 17.3 x 13 x 10.2 inches
  • 22.5 pounds
Check Latest Price

Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven

Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven

VALUE CHOICE

  • Excellent air fryer and convection feature.
  • All in one counter saver appliance.
  • Easy to use controls.
  • 15.8 x 20.7 x 12.2 inches
  • 34 pounds
Check Latest Price

Top 9 Best Countertop Microwave Ovens Reviews 

1. Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven

Why You'll Love It

The perfect confluence of price and performance, this microwave does everything you could need it to, with solid 1200 watt power and a variety of presets: including a very nice coffee and milk preset, to take a little bit of the guesswork out of whether you’re heating or ruining them. 

Pros

  • Ease of Use. Inverter technology, genius sensors and advanced inverter turbo defrost are just a few high end features that make this microwave great.
  • Size. Compact but 11 power intensities, smart controls and a 13. 4 inch turntable make it perfect for feeding a large family.
  • Consistent Even Heating. Distributes consistent cooking power at all temperature levels for more equally cooked meals.
  • Stress-Free. It includes 16 cook settings, 3 popcorn settings and a turbo defrost button

Cons

  • Some consider it large for countertop.
  • A tad noisy.
  • The interior light is a little dim.

The Genius Inverter countertop microwave from Panasonic, adds style and convenience to your kitchen. Features you will love are the cool blue LED, a functional and logical control panel, and attractive stainless steel design. 

Perfectly cooked, and evenly heated food is what you can expect from this compact 1.2 cubic foot microwave with a 13-inch turntable, and Panasonic’s Inverter technology. 

With one touch, you can cook a perfect meal in your microwave, thanks to the Panasonic Genius Sensor button. This handy feature automatically adjusts the power setting and cooking or defrosting time, for a perfect result, every time.

This powerful countertop microwave comes with patented Inverter technology and a genius sensor making a sophisticated addition to any household

It is the perfect solution for large families or singles alike. 

If you’re looking for the best microwave on the shelves, look no further.

2. BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven

Why You'll Love It

Easy to use, with plenty of presets, a real standout is the three level Popcorn setting which lets you perfectly choose from settings for the three most common sizes of popcorn bag, ensuring perfectly popped popcorn every time.

Pros

  • It’s LED digital display is large, the control panel is easy-to-read and the interior light is bright.
  • Even with its compact size, a 10-inch turntable that rotates, prevents hotspots and cooked food evenly.
  • Quick 30 second express cook button.
  • 10 power levels and Pre-programmed buttons for potatoes, pizza, popcorn, frozen vegetables and beverages.

Cons

  • Not the most durable.
  • Seems a bit noisy.

This compact microwave from BLACK+DECKER offers 700-Watts of power in just 0.7 cu. ft. of capacity. 

It’s the perfect size for small kitchens, break rooms or dorms. With 10 different levels of power, a well-lit digital display and bright interior lighting it heats food quick and easy. 

It doesn’t take up much counter space at all. There are several pre-programmed settings so you can kick back, relax, and let your microwave do all the work.

If you need a compact microwave to heat up some small plates, this will work just right.

3. Panasonic NN-GN68KS Countertop Microwave Oven

Why You'll Love It

The odd button design is more than made up for with great functionality in this microwave. Overall functionality is great, with high power and a frame that’s built to last. Presets are few, but the handiest ones are here, and this microwave has a killer app: a broiler function with a raised grill grate that can get grill-like results with just the push of a button!

Pros

  • Ease of Use. It has FlashXpress broiler, Inverter technology and Genius sensors making it very user friendly.
  • Capacity. This microwave is available in compact up to X-large to fit your needs.
  • Versatile. 18 auto-cook options allow for numerous 1 touch cooking.

Cons

  • Browning time could be quicker.
  • Start button need to be pressed after every command.
  • The lighting could be brighter.

No one loves mushy food, and honestly, most microwaves leave your food soggy. If you want crispy, browned food, you have to use your oven, right? Well, not anymore.

This amazing Panasonic countertop microwave comes with the FlashXpress broiler feature that turns your microwave into a mini-oven. No more soggy foods, with this microwave. Brown, crisp and reheat everything from mac n cheese to nachos, French fries and even fried chicken, without losing the crisp and without using oil like air fryer.

Panasonic’s Inverter technology provides a constant stream of power to your microwave, allowing foods to heat evenly, and even allows for multiple cooking styles in the same program.

When other microwaves make you stop and change between cooking techniques, Panasonics’ countertop microwave, can do it all with one simple program.

Our favorite feature of this great microwave is Panasonic’s Genius Sensor. This great feature allows you to cook all of your favorite foods, just perfectly, with a single touch.

The sensor perfectly cooks foods, from frozen dinners to left overs to fresh vegetables, thanks to an internal sensor that turns off the microwave when your food is done. Never again fret over a meal that is over-cooked, mushy or tough.

4. Amazon Basics Microwave, Small, Works with Alexa

Why You'll Love It

Simple, cheap, compact, and energy efficient, this microwave does everything you need it to, taking up an absolute minimum of space in the process. As an added bonus, it’s equipped with Alexa compatibility, meaning you can easily set the microwave by voice to help you multitask.

Pros

  • Easy to use. Just ask Alexa to replenish your popcorn.
  • Capacity. It is small but perfect for dorm rooms.
  • Very affordable on a student’s budget.
  • Versatile. Defrost and reheating leftovers are 2 key functions.

Cons

  • Doesn’t include any advanced cooking features.
  • Only 3oz bags of popcorn allowed.

The AmazonBasics Microwave is a perfect space-saver for budget students. With .7 cubic feet capacity, it will fit in any dorm and allow students to reheat leftovers or whip up popcorn.

This 700-watt AmazonBasics microwave features 10 power levels, a stylish black finish and a dedicated “Ask Alexa” control.

The addition of Alexa capabilities, with a growing list of presets, is the biggest selling point for this microwave. 

Alexa can even re-order supplies whenever you run low on popcorn via Amazon’s ‘Dash Replenishment’ technology.

5. Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Convection, Smart Sensor

An excellent microwave that trades presets for performance and quality of life features. This countertop microwave is raised up higher than other options, making it a bit easier to reach for those who are a bit taller, and helps with any heat transfer on nonstandard tops. It also has a buzzer you can turn off, so you don’t have to feel guilty about waking up the whole house for your late night snack.

Pros

  • Easy to use Smart Sensor with 13 auto menus.
    Capacity. Large 13.6’’ turntable.
  • The stainless steel interior is easily cleaned, scratch and rust-resistant. Save energy and operating cost by turning on ECO mode.
  • Save energy and operating cost by turning on ECO mode.

Cons

  • It’s big and heavy.
  • Seems to have some button issues.

This is the microwave you’ll want when hosting a family gathering with multiple dishes being prepared. The Toshiba EC042A5C is a full featured microwave with convection capabilities. It is IDEAL 2-1 convection microwave with durable interior and exterior.

With a 1,000 watts of power (microwave), 1,400 watts of convection power and large capacity there’s not many meals you cannot prepare.

It comes with 13 pre-programmed menu options, a warm-hold function and ECO-mode to save energy.

Other Products to Consider

6. GE JNM3163DJBB Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Why You'll Love It

An over the range install option that brings a lot to the table, with solid performance and a number of good button presets. However, the relatively high price can’t really be justified in comparison to lower priced but similar performance options; this is best saved for when it’s on a sale.

Pros

  • Automatically or manually program defrost feature.
  • Its 1.6 cu. ft. capacity can accommodate several small dishes.
  • The turntable on/off option was convenient.
  • Replaceable charcoal filters.

Cons

  • Sometimes rattles if not tightened properly.
  • The door can be problematic.

It’s hard to go wrong when you select a built-in appliance from one of the most trusted appliance names in America. The GE 1.6 cubic-foot, over the range microwave, gives your kitchen a timeless, yet modern look and feel. 

This stylish, all black microwave is easy to use and comes with intuitive controls, to make cooking a great meal or snack a breeze.

All GE appliances come with the most up-to-date technology, and feature cooking controls that make using your microwave simple. Some of the features that we love include the automatic and timed defrost options, a handy 30-seconds button, and a turntable that you can turn off for larger dishes. 

With 1000 watts of power, you can be assured that you can quickly cook most of your favorite foods, and with 10 different power levels, you won’t have to worry about over cooking your favorites.

This is one of the best over the range microwaves on the market. It is a great replacement or substitute for a range hood. 

This tiny power house has a 2-speed, 300 GPM venting fan, with a replaceable charcoal filter, that will suck up even the most fragrant cooking smells. Leaving your kitchen air fresh and free from grease and odors

You’ll also find the cooktop lighting handy, especially the night-light feature which gives your kitchen just enough light to search out a midnight snack.

7. Sharp R1874T Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

Why You'll Love It

An extremely high end microwave with a surprisingly complex matrix of options to choose from. However, those options don’t really justify the insanely high price, especially given the overall fairly low performance; this microwave only has 850 watts of power, which is an oddity given it costs nearly three times our winner.

Pros

  • Easy four way convection and temperature control.
  • Built in exhaust and multiple venting options.
  • Large capacity turntable.
  • High rack for two-level baking plus a low rack for roasting, broiling or more baking.

Cons

  • The door can be tricky.
  • On the higher end price wise.

If you’re looking for a stylish, stainless steel option for an over the range microwave, look no further. This 4-way convection system included a built-in exhaust system and has low and high racks. With both microwave and convection cooking options, this Sharp, 850-watt microwave is the perfect addition to your kitchen.

With three venting options, you can easily replace your vent hood with this microwave, freeing up your countertop for food preparation. The interactive cooking controls make this microwave easy to use, and cooks food perfectly each time.

The convection cooking system allows you to brown, bake or crisp foods that might otherwise end up soggy in other microwaves.

The feature we love the most? The CompuBroil/Bake/Roast options automatically calculates the perfect cooking time, and temperature settings for a variety of foods.

8. Daewoo KOR07R3ZEL Retro Countertop Microwave Oven

Daewoo KOR07R3ZEL

Pros

  • The exclusive Concave Reflex System heats food more rapidly and evenly.
  • It’s not heavy so you can rearrange your kitchen with ease.
  • The vintage aesthetics are very RETRO.
  • Comes in 6 cool colors to fit your style.

Cons

  • Sometimes it gets hot to the touch.
  • Seems a bit unstable.

This 80’s inspired microwave by DAEWOO combines a stylish design with efficient performance. The retro pastel colors are certain to change your room’s aesthetics to a cooking throwback. IDEAL for keeping that Retro look and it is equipped with child lock safety function and has 2-Way Defrost so you spend less time thawing food.

This model comes with 5 auto-cook menus and 5 different power levels that will take you from a novice to a skilled cook in no time.

9. Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven

Toshiba EM925A5A

Pros

  • Equipped with one touch start, power-saving eco mode and sound on/off option.
  • A good sized turntable for such a small microwave.
  • You can choose by time or by weight for defrost.
  • The Eco-mode and mute functions are an added bonus.

Cons

  • Turntable comes off track easily.
  • Internal light sometimes flickers.

A perfect small-sized microwave to meet your needs in a small condo or apartment kitchen. With 0.9 cubic feet of cooking space, this powerful 900 watt microwave features ten power levels, an easy to read digital display, and bright LED interior lighting.

This tiny but handy Toshiba microwave makes cooking simple with one-touch buttons that take the guesswork out of cooking your favorites, including popcorn, potatoes, pizza, and frozen veggies. This microwave even makes warming leftovers simple with a handy dinner plate button.

One feature we really like is that this compact microwave has a multi-stage cooking option that lets you easily program cooking times and powers for a variety of foods.

Looking for a microwave for a small space? The .9 cu. ft. Toshiba fits the bill.

Final Verdict

Panasonic NN-SN67KS

Microwaves are a common feature in almost every kitchen and we are positive there is a perfect match on our list for everyone, whether that’s something big enough for a large family, compact for a dorm or even voice controlled.

Whether you are looking to reheat leftovers or going to whip up some popcorn for movie night, microwaves take mere minutes.

We chose the Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven purely because it is one of the most advanced and convenient microwaves on the market today.

With its stainless steel construction, large interior space, and potent watts, the Panasonic compact beat out all others. With the capacity of this oven, your not only able to reheat your meal but reheat the dish along with the food, as long as your using a microwave heat resistant dish set.

If you’re looking to buy a new countertop microwave, we hope this guide can help you find the best product for your needs.

While on the subject of getting the perfect appliances, you might also enjoy our articles on the best turkey deep fryer.