We think that you will agree with us when we say that shopping for appliances is never an easy task. This is mostly because there are just a ton of online options or the newest models in stores, it can be difficult to select the best models out of the lot. Not to mention, there’s always a chance that you’ll be paying a small fortune for appliances that may not be worth half their retail price. The same goes for choosing the best countertop microwave – especially one that will meet your needs.
Well, the good news is that your shopping expedition is about to get a whole lot easier!
This is because we will take some weight off your shoulders by showcasing our carefully reviewed best countertop microwave options of the year. On the bottom of the list, we have also put together a guide that makes it a lot simpler for you to choose your best model with confidence!
Table of contents
- Reviews of the Best Countertop Microwave
- Countertop Microwave Comparison Table
- What to consider before choosing your right countertop microwave
So without further ado, see which models made the list below!
Reviews of the Best Countertop Microwave
Panasonic NN-SN936B Countertop Microwave
Whether you have a big family or you just need to heat up large plates at a time, the Panasonic NN-SN936B countertop microwave will do just the trick. We’ re talking about an incredibly spacious model with an interior capacity of 2.2 cubic feet. Although it’s a bit pricey, you get more than enough perks that are worth it, such as Inverter technology, advanced inverter turbo defrost and more.
- Large capacity
- High power
- Fast cooking
- Easy operation
- Simple setup
- Interferes with Wi-Fi
Design & Usability
This model comes with 2 size option: 1.6 cubic feet and 2.2 cubic feet which means that the needs of both consumers who love small and big sizes are catered for. The unit is bigger and heavier than some of the other available models, and that’s part of the reason you either want it or don’t want it. The Panasonic NN-SN936B comes in black and white colors. When setting time and weight, its touch button control panel with 4 – digit display makes it all easy to use.
You can use the Panasonic NN-SN936B for an abundance of appliances, including pre-programmed options for specific foods like pasta, vegetables, meat, and pizza etc. Moreover, you can choose from one of ten levels of power. There are even three different levels for making popcorn.
Quality & Performance
Panasonic products are trusted by many consumers for their quality, so you shouldn’t have any worries regarding the build quality. However, there is one main backward of the microwave: Wifi and Bluetooth disruptions. In my understanding, running microwaves normally interfere with wifi and Bluetooth, but this unit does it big time.
With the hope that Panasonic will get the issue fixed, we want to continue with our praise for their inverter technology, which is one of the best features a microwave could have. The patented inverter Technology is responsive to delivering a consistent power. It generates a seamless stream of cooking power even at low settings that assures you the delicious food you want. Moreover, it has a high power of 1250 watts which ensures that microwave heat foods faster and more evenly.
This model appears very simplified but is advanced in functionality. It has a keep warm feature which is definitely an aspect that will win you over. Just by touching a button, you can rest assured that your food won’t go cold when you’re ready. Plus, the advanced inverter Turbo Defrost work amazing well that your frozen goods will thaw in no time. You can add 30 seconds using a quick 30 option.
The NN-SN936B, like most large microwaves, also has a cooking sensor that senses the type of food placed in the microwave and modulates the power and time based on the sensor readings. No more guessing at power levels or cooking times. Just throw the food on the tray, hit the sensor cook, let the machine know what you’re cooking (you can skip this step when reheating) and the machine will do the rest. It monitors the food throughout the cooking or heating process to avoid overcooking or heating.
Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro Microwave Oven | Small Countertop microwave
If you value 50s aesthetics, then this small countertop microwave should be on your considering list. Other things that keep this model from other microwaves are incredibly small design, practical functions, and affordable price.
- Beautiful design
- Compact and lightweight
- Energy-efficient unit
- Simple to use
- Very affordable
- Not very powerful
- Weak product life
Design & Usability
Even though Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro Microwave Oven doesn’t stand out through any techy advantages, it is very attractive with its retro yet chic design. It comes in mint green/ turquoise color and weighs about 23 pounds. It is the smallest microwave oven here and just the right size to accommodate any counter space with 12.7 x 17.6 x 10.6-inch dimensions. So if you don’t want to use counter space for a large appliance, this 0.7 cubic foot microwave is designed to mount above your range. You might think that its interior capacity is not very much, but you will be surprised to learn that a dinner plate 11 inches in size will fit.
One of the things I love about this model is it offers minimalistic settings. So if you like a simple and easy-to-use model, you are going to be pleased with this unit. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have enough features, however. There are 4 auto cook menus ranging from defrost to auto cook. You can choose the method to cook or heat up a variety of items from frozen vegetables to beverages. All of the settings and buttons are clearly marked, making it ideal for seniors.
Quality & Performance
Unlike to other powerful microwaves, this model has fewer options. For instance, It has a simple two-way defrost and has four auto-cook functions instead of six. We also did find that the power level is less than ideal. It comes with five power levels instead of six or ten and it only goes up to 700 watts. This means that you may spend more time heating up the food than you would with almost any other machine on our list. There is also the fact that the quality of the unit itself is mediocre, casting doubt on just how long it will last.
In terms of safety, we liked that this model is equipped with a child safety you can prevent children from starting it. What we also do like is the full power interruption when it’s not in use.
Overall, if you’re looking something that’s easy to use and clean, and doesn’t have too many functions, this would be a great option. Just make sure to keep it clean since its bright color will become dirty very quickly.
hOmeLabs 1050 watt Countertop Microwave Oven
You can always count on hOmeLabs for quality home appliances. This countertop microwave is no exception. All of the functionalities and features that you’d expect in a typical countertop microwave and more are available here. This model is a great partner for all your cooking needs.
- Compact yet large capacity
- High power
- Heats consistently and quickly
- Simple to use
- 2-year warranty
- A bit heavy
- Bit of a learning curve
Design and usability
This microwave has a stylish black body with a large stainless steel handle that fits well with the decor of about any kitchen. With the dimensions of 20.44 x 16.78 x 12.6 inches, this model is just the right size for the average kitchen.
We agree that the hOmeLabs Countertop Microwave has just enough features and functions to meet any basic cooking requirements that a microwave in this price range should. All in all, there one-touch buttons for popcorn, potatoes, pizza, frozen vegetables, beverages, or a dinner plate full of food. You can also defrost by weight or time. There is also a speedy cook function that allows you to reheat meals quickly, you’ll never wait too long for a great meal at the perfect temperature.
In addition to this, there are also a LED display screen, a safety lock system, and you can also receive a BPA-free rotary glass cooking plate for evenly cooked food.
Quality and performance
If you don’t want to wait too long for heating up or cooking your food, then you are going to be very happy with this hOmeLabs Countertop Microwave’s performance. This is because this unit has a considerable amount of power to spare – 1050 watts. The 1050-watt, 1.3-cubic-foot microwave has a compact design while still offering a lot of interior capacity. There are ten cooking levels that you can choose from. You also don’t have to wait as long for defrosting your foods since the machine has a function to provide you with more power for this program.
The main complaint of this model is that with many settings available, some of the important buttons are hard to see and choose, for example, the stop and start buttons.
Most modern microwave ovens have more options than traditional models. This means that you can use your microwave in numerous ways. Some customers enjoy this aspect, while others complained about there are a lot more settings that they need to keep track of. With this model from hOmelabs, this has been made a lot easier since they have been categorized according to food type and function. As a result, you are able to choose your settings more quickly.
Nostalgia RMO400RED Retro 0.9 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven
A top seller in the category, here’s another countertop microwave you might want to consider. If you’re after a mid-sized microwave that will easily fit on your countertop, you’re interested in adding a bit of “retro chic” to your kitchen, and you’re not expecting lots of “bells and whistles” on the product, then the Nostalgia RMO400RED Microwave Oven will prove the perfect fit.
- Good value
- Beautiful design
- Compact size
- Foodie options
- Cooks fairly evenly
- Short power cable
Design and usability
What’s quite impressive about this model is its design. It is a new chrome and red retro microwave which could easily be the centerpiece in terms of color if your kitchen decor is neutral and you want to add something bold or if you’re trying to achieve a 50’s style.
With the dimensions as little as 19 x 15 x 11 inches, it is small enough to fit on most sizes of countertop without being overbearing. So you won’t have any trouble fitting the Nostalgia RMO400RED even in the smallest of kitchen environments.
Unlike some other microwaves, you don’t get a push button to open the door, but instead, you get a chrome handle that fits greatly with the overall theme. The main control is a dial and again has been designed to fit the overall design. The push button options you will get are Express, micro-empower, Defrost, Preset/clock or cancel. One handy feature with the dial is that you can increase or decrease the amount of cooking time while the microwave is working and this can be done in 10-second increments. Another handy feature is that once the cooking has finished, it alerts you with 3 beeps.
Quality and performance
There is no doubting the design quality of the Nostalgia RMO400RED and you will have no problems heating food or beverages with this unit.
The microwave packs only 800 watts of cooking power that doesn’t sound like much so it might take a little longer than usual for the food to heat or defrost. However, it comes with a turntable to help with even cooking. This compact little microwave also has 12 pre-programmed settings which enable you to prepare a variety of different meal. In addition, it features an LED display with a dedicated digital clock that can be also be used as a convenient kitchen timer.
Overall, this small-sized unit is ideal for those who have a limited counter space or those looking for smaller alternatives. It can be a great choice for any retro kitchen and cooking enthusiast.
Westinghouse WCM660B Microwave Oven | Small countertop microwave
Some buyers pumped up about hi-tech microwaves. Others choose the best microwave based on design. And there are practical buyers who prefer simplicity above all, as well as affordable price. If we just described you, then this model is simply perfect. Not only does the low price make this unit attractive, but the small size makes it ideal for anyone who lives in a small apartment or a college kid in a tight dorm room.
- Compact and Lightweight
- Minimal maintenance
- Energy-saving unit
- Convenient controls
- Low price
- No advanced features
- Takes longer to heat
Design & Usability
In a world where most of the microwaves with keypads seem to have the poor lighting, the knobs on this model are a breath of fresh air. Though they, just like microwaves with buttons have small labels, they are much more straightforward. In fact, you really don’t need to be able to read the labels to know how strong or how long your settings. As long as you know which knob adjusts the timer and which knob adjusts the power level, you can use common sense to figure out where along those spectrums you’ve placed the dial. This is the reason why this model is highly recommended for the seniors or those who have trouble reading the tiny print on digital control pads.
This microwave features 0.6 cubic feet with grip handle and curved edges, making it perfect for a college dorm room or first apartment. Although it is compact, it is still large enough to fit a full-size dinner plate or a 9-inch square glass baking dish. It also has a removable glass turntable which is dishwasher safe or easy to clean up with soap and water.
Quality & Performance
The Westinghouse WCM660B features two mechanical dial controls which are a bit of a throwback in place of the more modern buttons. However, thanks to the controls, it’s super easy to operate and use as well. The power knob has six cooking power levels – high, medium-high, medium, medium-low, defrost, and low so that you can use it for various cooking tasks. Simple choose the power level and cooking time and you’re ready to go. It also comes with a 30-minute timer which adds more heat to food.
Although this unit does its job admirably, the low 600 wattage results in significantly more time required to heat your food. However, if you’re heating up the bowl of soup or popping popcorn, the time shouldn’t be a huge difference. Once you get into defrosting meals it will take a little longer. Which’s why the Westinghouse WCM660B is generally used as a normal microwave oven: for simple reheating or cooking.
Overall, This Westinghouse microwave will definitely give you the most bang for your buck. It’s not loaded with lots of bells and whistles, but for the price, you’d be surprised at how much it can accomplish.
Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop Microwave
If you are looking for a perfect combination of power, efficiency, a space-saving design, and all for a reasonable price, then look no further. What makes this model from Panasonic great and noteworthy is all features.
- Great value
- Space-saving unit
- Fabulous design
- Fast cooking
- Accurate heating
- Easy to operate
- Light turns on only during cooking
Design & Usability
Features and functions, cooking power, capacity, and reliability are important to all of us. But let’s be honest here – a lot of users care about appearance as well. Well, we never thought that we would ever judge an oven as being “sexy”, that is until we found the Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop Microwave. The sharp and modern interface flows perfectly with the overall look.
This microwave weights 25.5 pounds and its external measurements come in at 12.2 inches high, 15.8 inches wide, and 20.7 inches in length. It would fit on most countertops, and can even be kept in a dining area since it doesn’t stand out so glaringly. And with a 1.2 cubic foot capacity, this unit will be more than sufficient for the average family. This model comes with an integrated touchpad which makes controlling the unit easier.
The Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ comes with 10 power options, so you have plenty of choice in terms of what you want to do. You can also choose from 12 items in the preset menu. Plus, this model has an awesome keep warm feature which lets you keep your food delicious and warm in the oven till it’s ready to be served.
Quality & Performance
This unit packs 1200 watts of power, which is ideal for most households, and it comes with plenty of extras like a sensor which measures the amount of steam naturally produced during cooking and adjusts both cooking times depending on the food.
Aside from this, we were particularly impressed by the Inverter Technology, which enables the microwave to cook or heat the food consistently, no matter the setting. So even if you choose to cook on a low setting, it would still ensure rich flavors and texture. To put it shortly, the Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop Microwave works through a whole different system compared to traditional microwaves. Instead of pulse-cooking, the inverter distributes power evenly across the food ensuring that all parts of the food have been reached by heat.
This Panasonic model also comes with a feature Panasonic calls “Inverter Turbo Defrost” which will defrost the food faster than other original models. This feature can be helpful when you forget to take the chicken breasts out of the freezer the night before. Since defrosting is part of the cooking process, you should cook your food right after it is defrosted.
Countertop Microwave Comparison Table
|Products||Dimensions (Inches)||Weight (Pounds)||Power (watts)||Capacity (cu.ft)|
|Panasonic NN-SN936B Countertop Microwave||19.44 x 23.88 x 14||37||1250||2.2|
|Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro Microwave Oven||12.7×17.6×10.6||23.4||700||0.7|
|hOmeLabs 1050 watt Countertop Microwave Oven||20.44 x 16.78 x 12.6||40||1050||1.3|
|Nostalgia RMO400RED Retro 0.9 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven||19 x 15 x 11||30.7||800||0.9|
|Westinghouse WCM660B Microwave Oven||12.5 x 17.75 x 10.25||23.1||600||0.6|
|Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop Microwave||15.8 x 20.69 x 12.25||23.35||1200||1.2|
What to consider before choosing your right countertop microwave?
Countertop microwaves are the smallest type and the most common type of microwave. They typically cost less ($50-$700) and are significantly easier to install than other types of microwaves. Just find a spot on your countertop for it to sit, plug it into an ordinary outlet – one dedicated to the microwave or it might trip the circuit breaker, and you can use it right away.
Countertop microwaves come in a variety of sizes and offer the same cooking power as installed models. The biggest issue with the countertop microwave is that they eat up counter space. If you have a limited countertop space, you want to look at the smaller countertop models (you can find some in the list above). Some countertop microwaves come with trim kits that allow you to mount them under a cabinet or to attach them to a nearby wall.
Now it’s time to go through some other aspects of the countertop microwave before making a purchase.
It’s important to find the right size countertop microwave that will meet your every preference and fit in your countertop space. For a built-in or over-the-range microwave, you have to measure exactly the size specifications of the space where you plan to put your microwave. If you choose a countertop model, you will have a little more flexibility in the size you go with, but you still need to carefully consider your countertop space and check the dimensions of the countertop microwave to make sure that it will fit on your countertop.
When it comes to microwave sizing, you need to consider these aspects:
If you need to fit your countertop microwave in your counter space, consider overall dimension which is height x width x depth.
If you need to fit specific dish size, you also want to consider interior dimensions (cooking space).
Many models categorize their size by interior capacity. It can range from less than 1 cubic foot to 2 cubic feet or more. If you plan on heating up larger dishes (like those for casseroles and lasagna), you may need a microwave over 1 cubic foot. If you just use it for smaller containers like Tupperware or mugs, you could get one as small as .5 cubic feet.
There doesn’t seem to be any set rule for how interior capacity correlates to size, but here’s an attempt to break it down:
- Small microwaves: Under 1 cubic foot
- Medium-sized microwaves: 1-1.5 cubic feet
- Large microwaves: more than 1.6 cubic feet
To get a clearer idea of how large of a plate you can place in the microwave, look at the turntable. The turntable diameter typically ranges from 9 inches to 16 inches.
Countertop microwaves are one of the heavy home appliances you can get. While a large microwave will weigh 35 pounds or more, lightweight models will weigh 25 pounds or so. If you move frequently, you will want to factor in the weight along with its internal size, since lightweight ones tend to be smaller, though now always.
Microwave power is measured in watts and it determines how quickly you are able to cook your food. Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking and more evenly you can expect the microwave to heat the food.
You will find that most countertop microwaves fall between 600 and 1500 watts. Some tend to have a higher wattage, but they are intended for commercial spaces like restaurants or coffee shop. Typically, a microwave with at least 1000 watts will cook your food well. If you are looking for high-wattage units, you should be prepared to pay for it. There are cheaper models with lower wattage, but they usually cook slow and can cook unevenly. With these models, we would definitely recommend buying from a reputable brand.
When it comes to microwave power, consider your needs. If you’re going to use your microwave for basic reheating jobs, a lower-wattage microwave around 600 watts would be fine. However, if you intend to use your microwave for cooking anything or using it dozens of time a day, you will need more power.
Countertop microwaves come in various power levels. It is also an important factor if you want to have more control over your countertop microwave and heat foods more precisely. Without a good selection of power levels, you will be limited to just high or low, which don’t usually result in well-cooked food.
Many countertop microwaves have 5-11 power levels, so you can get better results when cooking foods that require more middle-range power.
Of course, you don’t want your machine to fail in just a few years, so reliability is also important. Even the most reliable models are likely to have a shelf life of around 9-112 years or so, with the average lifespan of a microwave oven coming in at 8. If it’s important to you to find a durable model that will last for very long, then try to look for trusted brands such as Panasonic, Samsung.
A microwave with a variety of pre-programmed settings can help in preparing various types of common foods. Defrost setting is one of the most common settings that will be found on most microwaves. Popcorn is another common setting that allows you to cook based on the size of the bag. When you start to explore more modern models, you will notice that a whole new range of pre-programmed settings for uses from warming up beverages to baking potatoes to reheating pizzas.
How valuable preset cooking options are for you have everything to do with your personal preferences. Some people never think to use them even when they are there, others find it annoying anytime they have to bother putting in a time manually.
If you don’t know what you need from a microwave but still want to get the most from it, look for a model with a variety of pre-programmed settings.
This is one of the advanced features available on some high-end models. The idea behind the technology is to ensure the food is cooked more evenly at a consistently lower temperature. This is especially useful when you choose different power levels because the inverter versions are able to adjust the temperature settings to ensure that the food is being treated to a very specific level at all times. While standard microwaves alternate between high and low heat when you warm something at less than 100% power, inverter models actually only use the power level percentage you selected all the way through the cycle.
Sensor technology customizes the time and power levels for each food. It can also tell when food is sufficiently cooked by measuring steam in the microwave. With this new technology, the microwave automatically shuts down, making sure that the food will not be undercooked or overcooked.
If you have kids in the house and don’t want to worry about them messing with the microwave, you can choose a model with a child lock feature. A child lock acts as a lockout function that allows you to lock the control pad so that children won’t be able to activate the machine. Most child-locks require touch command or a code which entered before the microwave can be used.
For most of the customers, a countertop microwave is more than enough to fulfill their food needs. Even though there are literally the dozens (maybe hundreds) of countertop microwaves available that you can choose from, we warmly recommend these countertop microwaves as the best models of the year.