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A pair of stainless-steel microwaves sit side by side on a wood-grain countertop. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Best Countertop Microwaves of 2022

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A pair of stainless-steel microwaves sit side by side on a wood-grain countertop. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

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Editor's Choice Product image of Cuisinart CMW-100
Best Overall

Cuisinart CMW-100

This mid-sized, mid-powered microwave is well-designed and performed well in our tests. Read More

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Bright interior light
  • Good size

Cons

  • Doesn't heat as quickly as some microwaves
  • Dim panel
Product image of Black & Decker EM925AB9
Best Value

Black & Decker EM925AB9

This microwave performed well in most tests and came with a variety of special features. Read More

Pros

  • Useful presets
  • Modern look

Cons

  • Slightly small
  • Not very quick at heating
Editor's Choice Product image of Magic Chef HMM1110B

Magic Chef HMM1110B

This affordable microwave comes with 10 power levels and essential presets, as well as offering multi-stage cooking and three stylish finishes. Read More

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 10 power levels
  • Multiple finishes

Cons

  • None that we could find
Product image of Toshiba ML-EM45P

Toshiba ML-EM45P

This extra-large microwave offers multi-stage cooking, sensor cooking, and a few presets, making it straightforward and easy to use—although the panel isn’t always easy to see in the dark. Read More

Pros

  • Sensor cooking
  • Fine performance
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Too large
  • Not the most even heating
Product image of Panasonic NN-SD975S

Panasonic NN-SD975S

This sleek stainless-steel microwave is meant for the precision cooker, uses cyclonic inverter technology to heat food from three directions, but takes up a lot of countertop space. Read More

Pros

  • Beautifully designed
  • Responsive buttons and dial
  • Heats food evenly

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of countertop space

You probably don’t think about how your microwave works often—you just want it to reheat your food quickly. The truth is, most microwaves are made by the same few manufacturers and perform almost identically to one another. Since they’re so similar, it took us a while to do a microwave roundup. However, we realized many shoppers still want to know how evenly a microwave will reheat their dinner plate, how well it will fit into their kitchen, and how features differ. That’s why we put the best mid-priced countertop microwaves to the test.

After looking at a dozen microwaves and comparing features, prices, user ratings, and more, we found the highly-rated Cuisinart CMW-100 Microwave Oven (available at Amazon for $199.95) is the best for most people, balancing size, wattage, and features. Ultimately, you should pick the countertop model with the wattage you need and the control panel that makes sense to you, in the size that fits. But if you don’t know where to start, our recommendations are here to help.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Cuisinart Microwave
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Cuisinart CMW-100 is our favorite countertop microwave for most people.

Best Overall
Cuisinart CMW-100
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 15.25 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 1 cubic feet
  • Power: 1000 watts

In a sea of average microwaves, the Cuisinart CMW-100 stands out. It hit almost every mark in testing and perfectly balances power, size, and features, making it the best countertop microwave for most people.

The first thing you’ll notice is its sleek stainless-steel-and-black exterior and convenient, elegant pull handle. It also has a bright interior light, so you won’t be fumbling around to see your food. Although not overloaded with features, this Cuisinart has multi-stage cooking and a number of extra presets including bacon, rice, and baked potatoes. It excelled in our popcorn test, popping kernels evenly without burning.

However, the control panel can be difficult to see in dim lighting, and the frozen dinner test left a few parts of the meal colder than we’d like despite following the box’s instructions. Still, the Cuisinart is much more impressive and distinct than almost every other microwave we’ve tested, and it would make a worthy addition to your kitchen counter.

Pros

  • Great performance

  • Bright interior light

  • Good size

Cons

  • Doesn't heat as quickly as some microwaves

  • Dim panel

Magic Chef 1.1 Cubic-Foot Countertop Microwave
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Magic Chef 1.1 Cubic-Foot Countertop Microwave is our favorite affordable countertop microwave.

Best Value
Black and Decker Digital Microwave Oven
  • Dimensions: 19.1 x 14.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet
  • Power: 900 watts

The Black and Decker EM925AB9 Digital Microwave Oven is very similar to the Magic Chef MCM990ST, but with a more modern exterior and more features. It has a child lock, multi-stage cooking, and a variety of presets. It performed well in every test except for the tomato sauce test.

Pros

  • Useful presets

  • Modern look

Cons

  • Slightly small

  • Not very quick at heating

Product image of Magic Chef HMM1110B
Magic Chef HMM1110B
  • Dimensions: ‎23 x 18.5 x 14.5 inches
  • Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet
  • Power: 1000 watts

The surprisingly sturdy Magic Chef passed all our food tests with flying colors, and it's one of the few microwaves at this low price point that also offers multi-stage cooking.

While it's a pretty typical microwave, its average power and space is enough to handle most microwave tasks. With 10 power levels and essential presets, this model has everything you need. It is available in black, white, and stainless steel finishes, and it has almost retro-looking control panel.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • 10 power levels

  • Multiple finishes

Cons

  • None that we could find

Product image of Toshiba ML-EM45P
Toshiba ML-EM45P
  • Dimensions: 17.91 x 21.77 x 12.87 inches
  • Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet
  • Power: 1200 watts

The Toshiba EM45P Countertop Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor is the next-best performing microwave after our badge winners, and except for its size, it’s very similar to the rest of the mid-ranking units in this roundup. Its size may be useful to some, but it may be too large for people with small kitchens.

This unit excelled in the popcorn and frozen dinner tests, although it couldn’t heat tomato sauce to a suitable temperature in the recommended time. It offers multi-stage cooking, sensor cooking, and a few presets, making it straightforward and easy to use—but the panel isn’t always easy to see in the dark. Its aesthetic could be described as functional, rather than beautiful. Ultimately, this is a quality model, considering its size and price.

Pros

  • Sensor cooking

  • Fine performance

  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Too large

  • Not the most even heating

Product image of Panasonic NN-SD975S
Panasonic NN-SD975S Countertop Cyclonic Wave Inverter Microwave
  • Dimensions: 23.88 x 19.44 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet
  • Power: 1250 watts

We were excited to test the Panasonic NN-SD975S after several Reviewed readers asked us about cyclonic wave inverter technology. The patented technology means the microwave heats foods using radio waves that cover three directions—up/down, left/right, and front/back—rather than the usual two—left/right and up/down.

It's meant to help food heat evenly, and offer more consistent microwaving performance while heating multiple things in quick succession, like several bags of popcorn. However, our food tests didn't prove any real differences in successfully heating our food than models that rely on single inverter technology.

This stainless-steel microwave is a beauty though, and it's one of the best-looking kitchen appliances to come into the Reviewed labs. It includes three stages of multi-stage cooking and has more sensor cooking options than other microwaves we've tested. However, it is meant for the precision cooker, rather than your average user who just wants to quickly heat up leftovers, make a cup of tea, or pop some popcorn.

Its control panel includes actual buttons that depress, and it features a responsive dial that rotates smoothly. If you haven’t used a microwave with a dial instead of a numeric keypad, it may take a moment to get used to. Be aware that this microwave oven will require more countertop real estate than most.

Pros

  • Beautifully designed

  • Responsive buttons and dial

  • Heats food evenly

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of countertop space

Product image of Magic Chef MCM990ST
Magic Chef MCM990ST
  • Dimensions: 14.6 x 19.1 x 11.3 inches
  • Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet
  • Power: 900 watts

The Magic Chef MCM990ST Countertop Oven has a stainless steel front, but its looks are still on the dated side. It popped popcorn well and adequately heated frozen dinners and tomato sauce. It’s a fine, basic microwave at an affordable price, but it’s too small for more substantial cooking.

Pros

  • Fine performance

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Old-fashioned design

  • Slightly small

Meet the testers

Julia MacDougall

Julia MacDougall

Senior Scientist

@reviewed

Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.

See all of Julia MacDougall's reviews
Cassidy Olsen

Cassidy Olsen

Contributor

@olsencassidy

Cassidy covered all things cooking as the kitchen editor for Reviewed from 2018 to 2020. An experimental home chef with a healthy distrust of recipes, Cassidy lives by the "Ratatouille" philosophy that, with a few techniques and key tools, anyone can cook. She's produced in-depth reviews and guides on everything from meal kits to stand mixers and the right way to cook an egg.

See all of Cassidy Olsen's reviews

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