In fact, microwave ovens have been popularly used for over 50 years. Thanks to this modern technology, household convenience has been lifted to a new area. Beyond saving energy, it cooks food in an amazingly short amount of time – something only a few food cooking machines can efficiently do. Want to know the secret? Let’s take a look at how it works!
How a microwave oven works ?
Like mentioned above, cooking in a microwave is much cheaper and faster, compared to other conventional ovens. It works by using high-powered radio wave at a specifically set frequency to make water molecules inside the food vibrate. As a result, food can be cooked much more evenly.
With a microwave, you can start your cooking tasks immediately without waiting for the oven to get hot first – a reason why it can grill a cut of meat about six times faster than other regular ovens.
Despite the fact that it requires a huge amount of energy for operation. the oven is definitely an effective way to save your utility costs. As cooking or reheating single portions of food with a microwave may consume from 30% to 80% less energy, costing about $3 per year for 10 mins use a day, according to ENERGY STAR.
However, there’s one drawback of this appliance – it can damage living cells and tissue. Also, after years of use, some report that, despite constant cleaning, their device would still start smelling, imparting an unpleasant flavor to any foods. Taken together, these things make a microwave less efficient than it might be.
On the bright side, thanks to the strong metal box that prevents the waves from escaping, the oven itself is not really harmful at all. Even so, my advice is never neglect even the smallest signs of malfunction.
Toaster Oven vs Microwave Oven: What are the key differences? Check and find it out!
Types of microwave
In general, there are three types of microwave oven to choose from, namely solo microwave, grill microwave, and convection microwave.
Solo microwave oven: $50 up
Solo microwave, also called microwave-only model, is best suited for simple tasks like reheating, cooking and defrosting. However, it cannot be used for grilling and baking.
Due to its limited cooking functions, the machine seems to be good enough for small families or individuals. Compared to other types, solo microwave is usually cheaper with a price range from $50 to $120.
Grill microwave oven: $50 up
This microwave oven type coming with the extra grilling accessories is greatly ideal for grilling purpose. It has the heating coils that transform the electricity to heat energy, making delicious grills within minutes.
Apart from working as a convection griller, it can also perform all of the functions of a microwave oven, including reheating, toasting and warming.
For those who are looking for something that cooks food quickly and is handy to use, the grill microwave oven deserve to be a top pick.
Convection microwave oven: $130 up
Convection microwave oven works perfectly for grilling, baking and reheating. In comparison with the other types, this one is more compact with its stylish design, suiting those who have limited kitchen space.
In technical terms, the machine is provided with a convection fan built into the back so as to circulate hot air around the food for faster results. In other words, it’s a useful tool to help you lower your electricity consumption.
Being one of the high-end models offering multiple cooking functions, this unit is typically more expensive than some other larger microwaves. Therefore, though the convection trait is greatly good at cooking foods quickly and evenly, we do not consider it as a must-have feature. It’s your needs and budget that decide your option.
Things to look for?
Here is my selection of the most important characteristics for the top pick microwave oven that you should take into account.
Size: Is it compact enough to comfortably sit on your countertop?
Capacity: Is its cavity roomy enough to accommodate multiple servings for large group or only sufficient for an individual?
Cooking functions: Do you need advanced features (convection trait) as well as a wide range of power settings or simply want to have enough basic options?
Performance: How long does it take to cook foods? Does it bring about the expected results?
Ease of operation: How easy is it to use, clean and control?
Conclusion: Shopping for an efficient microwave oven out of the lot is never an easy task. Clearly, which one is best for you depends on your specific cooking purposes. What functions do you want it to perform? Or what do you plan to use it for most? Before making any decision, it’d be better to deeply consider those factors as well as understand them in detail.
The good new is that apart from our buying guides, in this post, we also put together a list of the best 7 microwaves in order to make it simpler for you to opt for the most suitable oven without any hesitation.
So let’s get started!
Our Picks of the Best Microwave Oven 2018
Let’s take a peek at our list of the best microwave ovens. Hopefully, with the provided in-depth information below, every buyer will gain quickly learn everything they need to know about the right way to make better buying decisions.
- Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop – Best Microwave Oven to Buy
- Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven – Best rated microwave oven
- Toshiba EM925A5A-BS – Best over the range microwave oven
- Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection – Best convection microwave oven
- hOmeLabs Countertop – Best microwave popcorn
- Westinghouse WCM770SS Counter Top – Best compact microwave oven
|Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ||1200||1.2 Cu. Ft.||1 year|
|Counter Top Rotary||600||0.9 Cu. Ft.||1 year|
|Toshiba EM925A5A-BS||900||0.9 Cu. Ft.||1 year|
|Cuisinart CMW-200||100||1.2 Cu. Ft.||3 years|
|hOmeLabs 1050||1050||1.3 Cu. Ft.||2 years|
|Westinghouse WCM770SS||700||0.7 Cu. Ft.||2 years|
1. Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ – Best Microwave Oven to Buy in 2018
Here is our rock star of the “best microwave ovens” show – the Panasonic NN-SN651WAZ Countertop Microwave Oven.
Whether you want to cook large portions of food or just get your leftovers reheated, this special device will greatly satisfy your expectations.
What we like
It boils water fast, cooks food evenly and saves your energy well. It also looks sleek and professional with a menu option providing detail cooking instructions in three different languages (English, Spanish and French).
Technically speaking, it comes with the inverter technology that ensures faster results with more accuracy. Instead of being very hot on the outside but cold inside, with this advancement, all parts of your foods now can be reached by true microwave power, resolving the common issue of uneven outcomes.
There are also other beneficial features that highly differentiate the unit from other casual ones, including a popcorn key, a warm keeping mode, a flat keypad panel and a stainless steel housing. These characteristics make it not only easy to use and control but also very convenient to clean.
Like many modern microwave ovens, The NN-SN651WAZ also has a cooking sensor that senses the different types of food placed in the microwave to adjust the time and power. This means based on the sensor readings, the machine does know to an acceptable level of accuracy what you’re cooking so as to monitor your foods throughout the cooking process. Consequently, overcooking or burning can be prevented.
What can be improved
Sounds convenient is it. Meanwhile, the machine doesn’t have a handle. Instead, you must use the push button underneath the control panel to open the oven. The problem is that the button is a bit hard to press, especially for those with delicate fingers.
Compared to other models, it seems to be bigger and heavier, which may be a disadvantage for your kitchen space. Plus, the end alarm is a series of short beeps that can be easily missed. It doesn’t even beep again to replay the announcement.
Despite all the drawbacks, I think this microwave is still worth your investment considering the amount of useful features it provides, especially the sensor reheated feature.
Its large capacity, advanced features and strong wattage make it a perfect household appliance for on-the-go families or busy professionals.
2. Counter Top Rotary – Best Rated Microwave Oven
If you are on the hunt for a countertop oven with a simple and basic operation, this is it.
What we like
I love the fact that the machine is featured with a sense of quality and simplicity. For me, it may be a perfect tool for use in any place where counter space is restricted. Surely, some will see it as a big advantage in a camper or other RV. In spite of the tiny size, it still provides enough customization and power options for your desirable dishes.
Beyond the compact design, this product is built in such a way that requires minimal maintenance. Particularly, it has a removable glass turntable which is really easy to be take out for cleaning.
Packed with mechanical dial controls, additionally, it allows users to choose from 6 microwave power levels, providing more options to explore the versatility of cooking.
More interestingly, it makes use of knobs instead of pads, which is pretty convenient for people who have difficulty reading the tiny prints on the keypad. All you need to do is just turn the knob and let it run.
What can be improved
The only problem you have to be aware of is that it takes a lot of force to open the oven’s door. Since the oven itself is not the heaviest of its type, you will need to hold the microwave with one hand and then open the door with the other so as to prevent the whole item from sliding around.
But here’s a tip: placing a thin anti slip rubber pad under the unit to solve this matter completely.
So far, the microwave coming from Westinghouse works to my expectations. It does well what it’s supposed to do.
However, this item is just a basic microwave oven that cannot perform too many heavy duties. I think it’s something to be aware of before you buy, even though it’s moderately priced and is designed to make things quicker.
3. Toshiba EM925A5A-BS – Best Over the Range Microwave Oven
“I purchased this microwave for a gift. It replaced an old 1200 watt microwave. This 900 watt microwave takes approximately 2.5 minutes longer to cook a meal than the higher watt, but that really isn’t too long to wait. The handle is a much nicer feature than the push to open button on other models and the darker stainless finish gives it a modern look. Highly recommend this Toshiba”, according to one Amazon reviewer.
You see, with this compliment, it’s not a stretch to say that the EM925A5A-BS is an excellent choice for massive tasks to be accomplished within a reasonable amount of time.
What we like
Firstly, I have to admit that I’m a fan of Toshiba products, and this one has not disappointed me.
This classy device provides all the practical features that will appeal to any customer in desperate need of a microwave oven. Powered by a 900-watt motor and 6 pre-programed functions, it’s clear that this oven is properly designed for those who are looking forward to advancing their cooking skills to a professional stage.
Aside from being extremely well-built, it also offers many useful traits that come in handy, such as a power saving mode, and a child safety lock which effectively protects your kids from any unexpected accidents.
Moreover, the machine also has a sound on/off option, exempting your housemates from the annoying beeps when you cook at night or in the early morning.
What can be improved
There are 2 main problems that I think Toshiba should take into consideration. Firstly, the oven’s unilluminated buttons coming with the small prints are very hard to read. Secondly, the mute mode can soften but does not completely eliminate the buzzing noise while the generator is performing.
Would love to know if that’s something that could be modified.
When it comes to appliances for your little cooking space, I believe that you cannot go wrong with Toshiba. Being a well-known company, it is going to prove that with the EM925A5A-BS model, you can personally create culinary magic in your “foody world”.
Want to find a much more professional Toshiba product? Here it is.
4. Cuisinart CMW-200 – Best Convection Microwave
I highly recommend this little workhorse for kitchen enthusiasts lusting after an appliance that combines the function of a convection microwave and that of a standard one. Although it takes a little more time to finish the browning tasks, it still worked well enough that you can use on a daily basis.
What we like
Truth be told, I’m truly attracted by its impressive performance. Built from the highest-quality materials, it lets you prepare food more evenly and conveniently, taking cookery to a whole new level.
It gives the enjoyment of multi-stage setting option that automatically switches from one function to another. That said, you don’t need to stop and reset the control panel for using two different functions on one dish, easily creating delicious results.
For small households, by using a combination of radiational and traditional heating, this modern and elegant appliance safely defrosts any type of foods without damaging the texture.
Controlling it is also very easy. Simply select the suitable mode, set an appropriate temperature, choose the time and then let it start.
To be honest, this incredible item does come at a pretty high price. You can find many competitive ones available out there. However, in reality, with such given unique features, the Cuisinart model can totally knockout most of its rivals, leading the way when it comes to quality kitchen appliances.
What can be improved
My only hesitation in rating it 5 stars is that when you’re using the convection modes, the oven’s exterior will get very hot, especially on the left hand side. Owing to this high temperature, it’s extremely risky to touch or place any objects nearby the machine. On the contrary, the right side and the front of the door somehow will still stay cool. What a weird thing!
Overall, this microwave/convection combo is very nicely made and do match fairly much with any kitchen décor. It takes up no more room than a regular oven and should have no problem finding its home in your modest kitchen.
Nevertheless, those with kitchen space constraint might find it difficult to place the oven, especially since it needs clearance to circulate heat properly.
5. hOmeLabs 1050 – Best Microwave Popcorn
I know popcorn might not be the most important to some but it’s a popular snack around here, especially on movie nights. Regarding this point, HOmeLabs Countertop Microwave Oven is here to protect you from suffering the awful smell of burnt popcorn for the rest of your day.
What we like
Needless to say, I absolutely like the way popcorn explodes, jumps and makes the popping sound when being in this hOmeLabs oven.
For the stylish design, it has a rigid black stainless steel body with a large sturdy handle, well fitting with the decoration of about any kitchen layout. The appearance is attractive, but the oven has to be functional if it is to serve your cooking purposes appropriately. At this point, it works fine without any drawback.
How is this so, you might ask?
It defrosts foods by weight or time and helps reheating leftovers quickly. It has 10 power levels, 11 cooking functions and 7 pre-set cooking programs, maximizing your cooking options. It has a spacious interior and is easy to control, and the price tag is acceptable for the provided features.
More than that, all these features are specially equipped with a child lock function to prevent curious children from accessing the microwave unaccompanied.
Except for the popcorn button, there are other 11 auto button choices. For instance, the potato, frozen pizza, frozen entree button and several more that will be super handy when you’re too lazy to cook a five-course meal.
What can be improved
The buttons do take a little getting-used-to, but once you know where to push, they are just fine. The only complaint is that you have to push them R.E.A.L.L.Y H.A.R.D to get anything registered. Honestly, it is a little frustrating to me.
Although hOmeLabs isn’t the most popular brand, they do produce high quality household appliances and this microwave oven is no exception.
In all respects, it is an excellent combination of size, style, and performance. If you are a fan of cooking ahead and do not want to wait too long for the heating up process, then you can’t go wrong with this favorable model.
6. Westinghouse WCM770SS – Best Compact
Thumbs up to Westinghouse for another great product! Even when it is not as powerful as larger microwaves, I have not found that to be a huge matter (at least not yet).
What we like
I’m really keen on the model’s small size – a bonus for a tight space for sure. Appearance and ability to be kept clean are also my priorities, and this one worked out for me.
Functionally, it’s fine. Together with 700-watt power, it has a useful keypad offering many options of cooking time presets. Its turntable with a detachable glass tray helps evenly heating up a range of meals and getting food on the table real fast.
More conveniently, the LED display furnished with both clock and timer options lets you easily keep track of the progress.
What can be improved
First, I don’t think this unit is so user-friendly. There are a lot of small buttons that are too difficult to read. Not until you’ve become familiar with each button’s position that this problem is solved, but I still feel annoyed with this design flaw.
Next, according to many customers, they really hate the oven’s round plate which slips off almost every time they use it. Sounds like not that big a deal, but it can be quite annoying to see the plate bumping and the food leaving its mark around on the internal walls of the device.
I know it’s hard to complain too much because of the price. Just hope that this information might be helpful for you final decision.
All things considered, this item is low-priced, heats foods quite well, and is suitable for any small space. However, be advised that a small size also delivers less power. Thus, if you are planning on hosting a large family gathering , it would probably be better to get an oven with higher wattage.