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  • Cuisinart CMW-100

  • Breville BMO734XL

  • Magic Chef HMM1110B

  • Toshiba ML-EM45P

  • Toshiba EM925A5A-SS

Product image of Cuisinart CMW-100
Cuisinart CMW-100

In a sea of average, same-looking microwaves, the Cuisinart CMW-100 stands out from the rest. This 1000W, 1-cubic-foot unit 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 about this mid-sized microwave is its sleek stainless steel-and-black exterior and pull handle, which is convenient to use and more elegant than the standard push button. 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 as can be without burning. 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 after heating for the recommended time on the box. However, we still think 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

Product image of Breville BMO734XL
Breville BMO734XL

If you’re serious about cooking with your microwave, or you simply must have an all-stainless look in your kitchen, the Breville BMO734XL Quick Touch Intuitive Microwave is right for you. This 1100W, 1.2-cubic-foot microwave is slightly oversized, which is bad for counter space but great for cooking entire meals. It has an incredibly bright interior light and LCD panel, making it easy to use in any light. It’s the only microwave we tested that feels like it’s really built to last for years and years.

This Breville was extremely consistent in our water and tomato sauce heating tests, and it heated a frozen meal perfectly through. It wasn’t as good as popping popcorn without burning or leaving unpopped kernels as the Cuisinart, however. With a child lock, beep-level adjustment, and a variety of presets and customizable cooking modes, this is also the most feature-heavy product we tested. This unit is big, it’s expensive, and it’s got more bells and whistles than most are looking for in a countertop unit. But it’s a stunner, and if you’re willing to shell out, it might be right for you.

Pros

  • Great performance

  • Beautiful design

  • Built to last

Cons

  • Slightly complicated to use

  • Expensive

  • Slightly oversized

Product image of Magic Chef HMM1110B
Magic Chef HMM1110B

In our initial research, an online reviewer wrote this mid-sized microwave from Magic Chef is “built like a tank,” and we can’t find any evidence to the contrary. The 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, with a shiny exterior and almost retro-looking control panel, it gets the job done. With 1000 watts and a size of 1.1 cubic feet, it's enough power and space to handle most microwave tasks, except perhaps cooking an entire chicken. With 10 power levels and essential presets, this model, which is available in black, white, and stainless steel finishes, has everything you need.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • 10 power levels

  • Multiple finishes

Cons

  • None that we could find


Product image of Toshiba ML-EM45P
Toshiba ML-EM45P

The Toshiba EM45P Countertop Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor is the next-best performing microwave after our badge winners, but save for its size, it’s very similar to the rest of the mid-ranking units in this roundup. With 1200W and a 1.6-cubic-foot interior, it’s by far the largest unit we tested, which keeps it from being suitable for all 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—although the panel isn’t always easy to see in the dark. We would describe its aesthetics as functional, rather than beautiful. Ultimately, this is a fine unit considering its size and price.

Pros

  • Sensor cooking

  • Fine performance

  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Too large

  • Not the most even heating

Related content

Product image of Toshiba EM925A5A-SS
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS

The smaller Toshiba EM925A5A Microwave Oven performed similarly to its larger Toshiba counterparts in testing. The 900W, 0.9-cubic-foot microwave was better at heating tomato sauce than the EM45P, and was solid in popping popcorn and heating frozen dinners. It also seemed quieter when in use than many microwaves we tested.

This is a fine, basic microwave at a very affordable price, but it’s too small for more substantial cooking.

Pros

  • Easy controls

  • Quiet

  • Fine performance

Cons

  • No sensor cook

  • Somewhat 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

Editor, Kitchen & Cooking

@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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