Best microwaves of 2024: here are our top picks

Best microwaves
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Best microwaves 2024: Jump Menu
(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. The list in brief ↴
2.
Best overall: Farberware FMO07ABTBKA
3. Best premium: Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1
4. Best stainless steel design: Panasonic NN-SD372SR
5. Best small: GE JES1145SHSS
6. Best for heat consistency: Toshiba EM925A5A-BS
7. Best large: LG LMC2075ST
8. Best affordable: GE JES1072SHSS
9. Buying advice
10. How we test
11. FAQs

We've put together a list of the best microwaves that we have tested in person so that we can recommend them to assist you in your purchase. These microwaves are a great economical option that could help you slash your energy bills, as well as being a really convenient way to cook, reheat, and defrost food while maintaining the vitamin and nutrient content of the food. 

“There are some myths out there that microwaves remove nutrients from cooking, but that's not the case according to many doctors, including at Harvard University,” says Wes Wright, founder and CEO of CookOut News. “Plus, it’s a healthy way to cook because, unlike some other methods, you aren't usually cooking with oils in the microwave,” says Wright. So, if you're looking for a quick, convenient, and healthy way to cook, read on. 

If you’re wondering what to look for in a microwave, Wright has some further insight. “Placement of the microwave in your kitchen is the first thing you should consider: is it going to be on a counter or mounted somewhere? That will narrow down your selection,” he says. If you're unsure about this, why not check out our guide to the best over-the-range microwaves? Or, if you need something much smaller, we've also picked out the best compact microwaves for you to compare.

The list below has microwaves in different colors, styles, and capacities, with a range of different features, too - so there's bound to be something in here that will catch your eye. 

The quick list

Below, you'll find a quick overview section of the different microwaves in our list, showing you exactly what you need to know at a glance. You can then jump to the more detailed listing further down the page for the product you're most interested in.

The best microwaves we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best microwave overall

Our best pick overall gets the job done at a decent price

Specifications

Watts:: 700 watts
Capacity:: 0.7 cubic feet
Dimensions:: H 10.1, W 17.75, D 12.91 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Great for heating individual portions
+
Good amount of cooking pre-sets 

Reasons to avoid

-
Popcorn cooking pre-set not as good
-
Only one year's warranty
Buy it if

✅ You like pre-sets: You get pre-sets for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetables, beverages, and dinner plates.

✅ You want to save $: The Farberware is a very affordable option, as low as $70 at certain retailers. 

✅ You're tight on space: The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA ties for the smallest size and lowest wattage of all the microwaves we compared, so it'd be great in an RV. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want bigger: The smaller size might not be the best if you use your microwave for family meal preparation.

❌ You'd like SensorCook: This is not one of the microwaves that will sense the moisture levels and adjust cooking times automatically, but it does have a memory button for saving often-used settings.

❌ You're a popcorn lover: This one struggled quite a bit with popcorn. It had almost the most un-popped kernels at the end. It did a lot better in the second round, though.

The bottom line

🔎 The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA is our choice for the best microwave overall because it strikes the best balance between size and functionality. It gets the job done despite being so small and doesn't cost the earth. ★★★★½

The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA wasn't necessarily perfect in our tests. However, it ranks as the best microwave overall, as it strikes the best balance between its small size, decent cooking performance, and reasonable price. So it would be perfect for someone who needs a small microwave that gets the job done, whether in a dorm room, a small apartment, or an RV. 

Design: At only 0.7 cubic feet, this is tied for being the smallest microwave we tested. Things did seem a little tight inside on some tests, but if you just use your microwave for heating up individual portions it will work fine. The smaller size might not be the best if you use your microwave for family meal preparation.

There is a decent selection of cooking options with the FMO07ABTBKA. You get presets for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetables, beverages, and dinner plates. You can also use the six express options and cook for between one and six minutes with the touch of one button.

Aside from the cooking options, you can defrost by time or by weight with this microwave. A keypad lock will keep the kids from accessing any of the features.

Performance: The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA turned in a solid performance on our tests: it cooks a baked potato well, can do popcorn evenly, although it might need a second try, and overall cooks evenly and consistently, considering how small it is. 

This is not one of the microwaves that will sense the moisture levels and adjust cooking times automatically, but it does have a memory button for saving often-used settings. For instance, if you often cook something at 80% power for 2 minutes and 10 seconds, you can avoid inputting those time and power level settings every time.

Price and availability: We found it for less than $70 on some sites like Amazon, while other sellers like The Home Depot have it for $79.99 - so it is easily available online. The low price means you can afford to replace your old microwave sooner. 

Read more: Farberware FMO07ABTBKA Review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: Very affordable, costing only $70 at some major retailers. ★★★★★
Design:A genuine compact, perhaps too small for some though.★★★★
Performance:A decent performance when considering price and size.★★★★

The Best Premium Microwave

The best premium microwave, attractive, functional, but expensive

Specifications

Wattage:: 1400 watts
Capacity:: 1.1 Cubic Feet
Dimensions:: 20.2"D x 20.4"W x 12.4"H in.

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdily-made
+
Tactile knobs and buttons for easy control
+
Auto-off function for peace of mind

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite large
-
Only one cooking surface
Buy it if

✅ You want a multi-purpose appliance: Handily doing the work of a microwave, air fryer, and convection oven, the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 is a sleek but hefty workhorse.

✅ You're cooking for family/guests: With a 32L capacity, it can handle larger portions and dishes. 

✅ You want to buy from a trusted brand: Breville makes high-quality goods. Sleek, sturdy, and well-made, the Combi Wave satisfied all our wants in terms of durability and appearance.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have limited space: Even though it combines three appliances in 1, it is still quite large and heavy, so it is not as good for smaller kitchens or weak countertops.  

❌ You're on a budget: The Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 has a list price of $499.95, putting it on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to other combination ovens.

❌ You want to cook 2 things at the same time: The Combi Wave is not big enough to cook two things at once, meaning you won’t be able to throw a chicken on the top rack while you heat up a tray of fries down below. This oven only has one cooking surface, meaning you’ll have to pick and choose how and what you want to cook.

The bottom line

🔎 The Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: While this microwave oven is certainly a splurge, the oven’s range of use and sturdy durability make it a smart buy. It passed every test we put it through with flying colors, and we really left our reviewing process with only minor quibbles. ★★★★½

With microwave, air fryer, and convection oven capabilities, the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 aims to cut down on the small appliance clutter that plagues so many of our kitchens. This oven sets out to do everything from reheating soup to roasting a chicken, melting chocolate to crisping up a three-day-old slice of pizza.

Design: Sleek, sturdy, and well-made, the Combi Wave satisfied all our wants in terms of durability and appearance. The Combi Wave comes in both brushed and black stainless steel and has a hefty door handle that feels substantial. That doesn’t mean it’s loud, though: The door has soft close technology that means you won’t find yourself always wincing when you slam it shut.

The digital readout is fairly large for the machine’s size and is very easy to read. We also liked the machine’s two knobs, one for time and one to adjust temperature or microwave power - which allow you to make easy selections no matter what you’re cooking.

In terms of aesthetics, we’d be remiss if we didn’t shout out the Combi Wave’s pleasing cycle-end music, which is far superior to the obnoxiously loud beeps other comparable appliances can make...

Performance: We put the Combi Wave through a few standard tests meant to measure the oven’s performance. First, we microwaved a dinner-sized bowl of tomato soup for about two minutes at the highest setting. The soup—and the bowl—came out piping hot.

Next, we tested the oven’s convection function on both a dish of chicken legs. We let the machine’s “chicken” preset do all the guesswork and simply entered the meat’s weight to let the oven gauge the cooking time. The legs came out perfectly done, with crispy skin on the outside, and the entire process was incredibly easy. Best of all, the oven even turned itself off when the cooking was done. Things went comparably well with a couple of salmon filets, as well, which took just nine minutes to cook and came out perfectly done.

We also made handy use of a couple of the oven’s other presets, like the popcorn feature, the chocolate and butter melting, and the “pizza” setting, which reheated a couple of delivery slices to a perfect crispness. We baked a few pans of brownies that came out well, too, and found that the oven left the edges perfectly crispy.

Price and availability: The Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 has a list price of $499.95, putting it on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to other combination ovens. (Toshiba, for instance, makes a slightly smaller oven that costs just $229, while Panasonic’s 4-in-1 oven costs $529). 

While $500 might seem steep for a small appliance, we found it to be fairly worthwhile, both because of the Breville Combi Wave’s general quality and its capacity to replace other appliances. The Combi Wave is available for purchase from Breville direct, as well as from retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.  

Read more: Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 Convection Microwave review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: A little expensive, but the price is justified.★★★★
Design:Premium Breville design and great functionality.★★★★★
Performance:Cooks well in multiple ways, although interior space is limited.★★★★

The Microwave with the Best Stainless Steel Design

The Panasonic NN-SD372 microwave has a unique look and performs well

Specifications

Wattage:: 950 watts
Capacity:: 0.8 cubic feet
Dimensions: : H 11xW 19 3/16xD 14 13/16 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Nice stainless steel finish
+
Keep Warm function for up to 30 mins
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
Controls can be tricky to use
Buy it if

✅ You like modern design: This microwave has a modern look and a nice streamlined design on the controls, with slim buttons and a dial.  

✅ You need to keep food warm: This is one of only a few models in this price range to offer a Keep Warm function, which uses low-pulsing microwave power to keep foods warm for as long as 30 minutes without continuing to cook them.

✅ You want a wider microwave: Even though this model is on the smaller/compact side, it can easily hold a 10.5-inch dinner plate and a mixing bowl that measures 11.5 x 6.5 inches.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't like stainless steel: This model is only available in stainless steel, which means it'll need cleaning to prevent sticky finger marks on the outside. 

❌ You want an easy-to-use machine: This machine isn't too hard to use, but it does require you to use the user manual, and the control panel is quite a learning curve at first. 

❌ You like to use pre-set buttons: There is not a pre-set button for potatoes or anything else on this microwave, except popcorn, though it does offer suggested cooking times on the inside of its door frame.

The bottom line

🔎 The Panasonic NN-SD372SR looks quite special on a countertop because of its unique design, and it generally performs very well, but it does take some getting used to the controls and the way they work. ★★★★

The Panasonic NN-SD372 microwave has a unique look and performed well in our tests. Its old-school controls and stainless steel finish make it look cool, even if it is a little hard to use.

Design: The Panasonic NN-SD372 is an attractive appliance that scored very well in our cooking tests, but this unique look clashes with the fact that the control panel is trickier to master than other microwave ovens. Instead of the pre-set buttons typically found on microwave ovens, there are long, horizontal, rather oddly shaped buttons and a pop-out dial you use to set times or weights.

The control panel is not a deal-breaker, but there is a learning curve involved, and for some foods, you need to do a bit of guesswork to try and figure out which setting is best. For a microwave that is easier to use, consider the Farberware FMO07ABTBKA.

Performance: While testing the Panasonic NN-SD372SR, we got mixed results. It produced excellent cooking results for some foods but left cold spots or overheated others. It was the best unit in our potato test, cooking it all the way through without leaving any uneven spots.

It was not perfect on popcorn, but it did a good job of fully popping most if not all, kernels; it left the fewest un-popped out of all of the microwaves we tested, but there were still some burned areas in the final product.

The NN-SD372SR fared well on the consistency tests, with just 8 degrees of temperature difference from one side of the plate of pizza rolls to the other. It also had a fairly even heating pattern when we made a heat map with marshmallows.

Price and availability: It can be found for as low as $183 online at places like newegg.com and $192 on Amazon, while it's fully priced at $219.95 direct via Panasonic. This is a decent price, and this model is one of the few that come with a Keep Warm function, which is rare at this price point. 

Read more: Panasonic NN-SD372SR Review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: It's one of the few models in this price range to have a keep warm function.★★★★
Design:Attractive, modern design in stainless steel.★★★★
Performance:Generally cooks well although it can be hard to use.★★★★

The Best Small Microwave

The GE JES1145SHSS is a space-saving compact countertop microwave

Specifications

Wattage:: 950 Watts
Capacity:: 1.1 cubic feet
Dimensions:: 12 H x 20 5/16 W x 15 5/8 D

Reasons to buy

+
Great at cooking popcorn
+
Powerful and compact
+
Clear control panel/buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive, especially for the size
-
No sensor reheating
Buy it if

✅ You regularly make popcorn: In testing, this microwave popped almost every kernel and didn't burn any.

✅ You want it to be easy: This GE compact microwave includes popcorn, pizza, and potato buttons, as well as buttons for a beverage, a dinner plate, and a frozen vegetable. 

✅ You want reliable cooking results: We felt the GE performed well in every test. It cooks food completely and quickly. It does great on popcorn, preparing every kernel to perfection.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: This model is a little expensive when considering just how small it is; there are similar models available for much cheaper. 

❌ You want SensorCook functions: This microwave is missing a sensor reheat button, so you have to guess the time your leftovers need and monitor your food to make sure it doesn't overcook.

❌ You'd like a longer warranty: This GE compact microwave only has a standard warranty of one year to protect your purchase; other units offer more coverage.

The bottom line

🔎 The GE JES1145SHSS is a powerful compact countertop microwave that scored well on all of our microwave tests. It's a little expensive when considering that it's on the smaller side, but it cooks well and is simple to use. ★★★★

The GE JES1145SHSS is an impressive compact microwave that scored well during testing. 

Design: This GE compact microwave, like most microwaves today, includes popcorn, pizza, and potato buttons. However, it is missing a sensor reheat button, so you have to guess the time your leftovers need and monitor your food to make sure it doesn't overcook.

In addition to these standard pre-sets, the GE includes buttons for a beverage, a dinner plate, and a frozen vegetable. This gives you a good variety, though some other microwaves include even more food settings, such as ones for fresh vegetables and frozen entrees.

Although it's a compact microwave, it can still fit a big mixing bowl, a tall glass, or a standard dinner plate with no problem.

Performance: Although it's missing the convenience of sensor reheating and some pre-sets, it includes enough buttons to help you cook efficiently and other features to place it among the best compact microwaves. It cooks food completely and quickly. The GE aced the first test with its ability to cook a frozen macaroni and cheese meal quickly and thoroughly. We followed the directions on the back of the box and cooked it for a total of 3:30 minutes. The temperature of the meal, when it finished cooking, was 171 Fahrenheit, which is above the recommended minimum temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. 

We also cooked potato in this microwave for six minutes, which is the average time it takes to cook a standard-sized russet potato in a microwave. It had a few raw spots, but it was still good overall. So, overall, this compact microwave performed better than most of the others we tested.

Price and availability: It is slightly expensive, but it can be found for cheaper online if you shop around a bit; I've seen prices ranging from $119 to $155. However, there are similar models, like the Farberware microwave listed above for $70, that are much cheaper, and they're pretty much the same in size and performance. Although we think you're paying for slightly more power and an easy user experience with this model, especially when compared to others on this list. 

Read more: GE JES1145SHSS Review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: Slightly expensive when compared to other similar models.★★★★
Design:Clear and easy to use buttons; no sensor cook features.★★★★
Performance:Cooks well and evenly with little to no burning or undercooking.★★★★½

The Best Microwave for Heat consistency

This compact microwave cooks the most evenly.

Specifications

Wattage:: 900 Watts
Capacity:: 0.9 cubic feet
Dimensions:: 16.1"D x 19.2"W x 11.5"H

Reasons to buy

+
Cooks food evenly
+
Good assortment of pre-sets
+
Decent capacity

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster warranty
Buy it if

✅ You want nice, even heating: It did just fine on our testing tasks and even impressively had the highest score for heat consistency out of all our units. This meant it heated food evenly from one side of the plate to the other.

✅ You love baked potatoes: The potatoes we microwaved also came out almost perfect by using the potato button. Overall, cooking different types of food scored well.

✅ You like pre-set buttons: You get a nice assortment of pre-sets and power levels with the EM925A5A-BS, including popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage, and dinner plate buttons.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need something bigger: If you want to be able to cook large family dinners, though, this might not be the best bet. Consider the RCA RMW1414 if you're looking for a larger unit.

❌ You'd like a longer warranty: This compact microwave only has a standard warranty of one year to protect your purchase; other units offer more coverage.

The bottom line

🔎 The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS isn't top of the range, although it still performed practically perfectly on some of our tests, and it struck a good balance between the features on offer and its reasonable price. ★★★

The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS compact microwave isn't the best, but it strikes a good balance between performance and price. There are units with more capacity and more cooking power, but the Toshiba EM925A5A-BS did just fine on most of our tests.

Design: The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS was one of the smaller microwaves we tested, but it was not the smallest. When we loaded it up with a relatively large dinner plate and glass, there was plenty of room left.

It also fits a mixing bowl and a large popcorn bag just fine. If you want to be able to cook large family dinners, though, this might not be the best bet. Consider the RCA RMW1414 if you're looking for a larger unit.

Performance: The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS microwave is not the most powerful we tested; it only has 900 watts of power, but this should still be enough power for most tasks. It did just fine on our testing tasks, and even impressively had the highest score for heat consistency out of all our units. 

This meant it heated food evenly from one side of the plate to the other, a nice change when you compare it to some microwaves that leave cold spots in frozen dinners and other dishes.

Overall, cooking different types of food scored well. The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS did a nice job on our tests. It was especially good at maintaining the same heat levels across its cooking surface, and at its price point, we think it could be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen.

Price and availability: The Toshiba compact microwave is very reasonably priced for a model that performs well and fits the bill as a compact that doesn't take up too much space at all. You can easily find it online, for $99.98 at Amazon, all the way up to $114.99 at Lowe's - so don't get caught out when shopping. An affordable, budget-friendly model. 

Read more: Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: Decently priced, but other models in this list are cheaper.★★★
Design:Okay design, pretty standard, not too attractive.★★★
Performance:Cooks most food well, lackluster warranty if anything goes wrong.★★★★

The Best Large Microwave

The best large capacity microwave for family cooking.

Specifications

Wattage:: 1200W
Capacity:: 56.63 liters
Dimensions:: 23 7/8" x 13 9/16" x 19 3/8" in.

Reasons to buy

+
Large size means you can reheat big plates
+
Hexagonal turntable base is easy to use
+
EasyClean interior

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit too large for small kitchens
-
Sensor settings are limited
Buy it if

✅ You're cooking for a big group: At two cubic feet, it’s big enough to reheat a casserole in one go and other large dishes/portions. 

✅ You don't like cleaning: The EasyClean interior means that it’s easy to clean, so it'll get the job done without mess and save you time on scrubbing burnt-on grime. 

✅ You like bold, modern design: The microwave does come in multiple color options, so buyers can choose from black, white, stainless steel, and black stainless steel, meaning you can customize your choice. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have a small kitchen: It's definitely too big for any sort of limited counter space.

You like compact appliances: At two cubic feet, it’s a seemingly enormous microwave and one that, when purchased in all black, can really suck the light out of any airy counter space. With a flat black face and sides, it comes across as a sort of appliance monolith.

❌ You want premium functionality: This model offers only limited sensor cook and reheat settings. The buttons can also be a bit fidgety and pre-sets aren’t always intuitive.

The bottom line

🔎 If your old microwave broke and you’re in the market for something big and sturdy for all your basic microwave needs, the LG LMC2075ST NeoChef is a solid choice. ★★★

Design: The microwave’s button panel is flat to the touch and seems fairly straightforward. There are a number of buttons for setting the clock and cook duration, as well as “sensor reheat,” “sensor cook,” “popcorn,” and “defrost” buttons. 

The on-off buttons are clearly labeled, and the microwave’s door opens when you push the button below the keypad. That button, however, can be a bit iffy, and to get the door quickly, you really have to hit the button in the right spot—on the left side, ideally—lest the button just slightly compress and then bounce back, which can be annoying.

The “sensor cook” button has 6 pre-sets—bacon, fresh vegetables, frozen entrée, frozen vegetable, oatmeal, potato, and rice—while the “sensor reheat” mode offers five: beverage, casserole, dinner plate, pie, and pizza.

Performance: In general, we found the NeoChef to be a powerful microwave, even compared to other units with similar wattage. The unit’s defrost setting is similarly powerful, meaning you should probably keep an eye on whatever you’re un-freezing, lest you begin to cook it instead.

We tested the microwave’s sensor reheat setting a few times and always found it perfectly serviceable, if a bit strong. When we put a container of leftover lasagna in and hit the “dinner plate” option, it was sizzling and bubbling within about 60 seconds.

If you’re into reheating large platters, you’re in luck because the LG LMC2075ST NeoChef is huge. We found that we could put at least four full coffee pots inside on the turntable, though we didn’t test whether reheating them would be as impressive.

Price and availability: The NeoChef LMC2075ST retails for $279 on the LG site, which is about the average price for ovens that measure 2 cubic feet or more. Most brands that are comparable to LG are pricing their ovens around $250, and many of the features seem to be fairly similar. 

Read more: LG LMC2075ST review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: Well priced, average for this size. ★★★★
Design:Not enough functions and too many design quirks.★★½
Performance:Does a basic job, maybe even too powerful. ★★★

The Best Affordable Microwave

Compact, stylish, and costing less than $100, it's a decent machine.

Specifications

Wattage:: 700 Watts
Dimensions:: 10 3/16 H x 17 5/16 W x 12 3/4 D
Capacity:: 0.7 cu. ft.

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, stainless steel design
+
Low price
+
Nice and compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic
-
Doesn't cook as evenly as other models
Buy it if

✅ You're on a budget: This model retails for $119.00, down to $66.99 across other retailers, so it's worth investigating if you want a cheap microwave. 

✅ You need something small: With just a 0.7 cubic feet capacity, this microwave is pretty compact, so it's ideal if you're not doing big family portions all the time.

✅ You want to keep it simple: This model is pretty basic, so it isn't too hard to use. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a bigger microwave: And as this unit was tied for the smallest one we tested at the time, you might want to check our other recommendations to look for a larger countertop microwave.

❌ You want great results every time: The GE JES1072SHSS was only good, not great, in our testing, and didn't quite prepare food as well as some of the others we tested.

You want more for your money: This model is basic and has fewer food-specific buttons than others. 

The bottom line

🔎 The GE JES1072SHSS is exactly what most people would picture when they think of a typical countertop microwave. It was only good, not great, in our testing, and we didn't quite prepare food as well as some of the others we tested. ★★★

The GE JES1072SHSS is attractive and truly compact. It might not be the very best at cooking evenly, but that probably won't be noticeable on most tasks. It could be the perfect addition to a stylish kitchen update.

Design: The GE JES1072SHSS may have been tied for being one of the smallest we tested, but it didn’t have a problem fitting dishes and glasses inside. We put a fairly large dinner plate and glass inside to see if they could reheat, and they did. If you ever use your microwave to prepare large meals, this might seem too tight.

As for the outside, we think the design is sleek and stylish and will fit nicely into most kitchens should you wish to update your appliance. This model has fewer food-specific buttons than others, but there is a specific popcorn, potato, and beverage button. You also get express keys for 1 through 6-minute cooking times at the press of one button.

Performance: All the microwaves we tested were able to prepare food, but the JES1072SHSS just didn't do it as well as some of the others. 

The GE JES1072SHSS did an ok job cooking potatoes, but there were some hard spots here and there. Other microwaves performed better at this task. It was the same story on the consistency tests. There was quite a big difference in temperature from one side of the tray to the other. 

The unit's small size also may have been part of the problem when it came to our popcorn test. The JES1072SHSS left more unpopped kernels than any of the other ones; the rest of the bag looked fine, and we were surprised it could even handle one of the full-sized bags, but other microwaves did a better job of finishing the popcorn.

Price and availability: This models retails for $119.00 at GE Appliances, which isn't too expensive for a countertop microwave, however you can definitely find others for cheaper, that offer slightly more capacity too. You can find this model at Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot. 

Read more: GE JES1072SHSS Review

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Test results
AttributeNotesRating
Price: Decent for this size, however others are cheaper and bigger. ★★★
Design:Okay, but nothing extraordinary. ★★★
Performance:Doesn't cook food evenly on the first try.★★★

How we test the best microwaves

We fired up each microwave and tested them on commonly prepared items like popcorn, pizza rolls, and potatoes. Microwaves that cooked food evenly got higher scores than those that left cold spots or burned spots. 

We also looked for units that have food-specific settings and a wide selection of power levels, as well as how good they looked and how easy they were to set up and use. 

Find out more about how we test

How to choose the best microwave for you

There are a few factors to consider before buying a new microwave, and these include size, wattage, power levels, safety, smart features, and, of course, budget.

Size

Wright says: “A standard-sized microwave is usually in the range of 1.5 to 2 cubic feet. To pick the capacity you'll need, measure the size of any bakeware you plan to use in it and make sure it fits.”

Wattage

“You'll want a microwave that's around 700 - 1,000 watts because most microwave meals use that as a basis for cooking time. If you go over or under, your food will more often be undercooked or overcooked, respectively.”

Power level

Also, take into account power levels – most freestanding (also known as solo) microwaves let you adjust this to suit different foods, as you don’t want to cook everything at full power. Higher settings work best for liquids, including soups, drinks, or veggies. Medium power is ideal for ready-made meals, while low power is better for delicate jobs like melting chocolate or butter. Many of the best microwaves offer reheating and defrosting modes, too. 

Smart and safety features

Newer models have microwave inverter technology, which uses a continuous stream of heat at reduced power to cook foods more evenly than traditional pulsing microwaves. Other smart features include voice-activated controls and barcode scanning (via an app) to activate an auto-cook time. Investing in a microwave with a clear view door will mean you don’t need to keep opening it to check on the food. Some come with a child lock function that disables the control panel, avoiding the risk of children accidentally starting the kitchen appliance unsupervised. 

Budget

Wright recommends spending between $200 - $350 for a microwave. Expect to pay more for smart features and microwaves that include additional cooking methods like grilling and baking.

Microwaves FAQs

How long do microwaves last? 

In general, if used normally by an average family and looked after with good maintenance, a microwave can often last for 7 to 8 years. If the microwave is used less frequently by just one single person or a couple and is well-maintained, the lifespan can increase to up to 10 years. 

The keyword here is maintenance; to increase lifespan, and just for general hygiene, it is really important to know how to clean a microwave. If you're looking for some extra tips on microwave maintenance 101, we've put together a cheat sheet of useful cleaning hacks for microwaves, to help you keep your microwave in tip-top condition. 

Typically, after the decade mark, it is recommended to replace your microwave, or at least take it to an electronics specialist to get it checked over/serviced to ensure it is working properly and safely (my parents were gifted a microwave in the '80s as a wedding present that lasted them over 30 years - don't hang onto one that long.) Of course, any smoke, sparking, or burning smells is an immediate sign of a serious problem, and you should replace your microwave right away. 

How much should I pay for a microwave? 

A microwave can cost you anywhere between $100 to $600 on average, depending on the brand, type, features, and size. Typically, countertops and compact/portable microwaves are cheaper than over-the-range types, as these tend to come with installation costs, too.

Throughout the year, we'll be updating our helpful hub of cheap microwave deals, reflecting any current or upcoming big shopping events like Black Friday Cyber Monday, or any other major holiday that may bring deals and discounts. So do keep checking back with us, or bookmark this page for your reference.