Exploring the World of Microwaves: Types, Features, and Top Picks

Microwaves have become an indispensable kitchen appliance in most households, providing quick and convenient ways to reheat, cook, and defrost a wide range of foods. Whether you’re a busy professional, a college student, or a homemaker, a microwave oven can save you valuable time and simplify your cooking process. However, with various types and features available in the market, selecting the right microwave can be a daunting task. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of microwaves, key features to consider when choosing one, and provide reviews of the top 5 best microwaves. Additionally, we’ll guide you on where to purchase these top-rated models.

Types of Microwaves

1. Countertop Microwaves

The most popular kind of microwaves are countertop models, which are meant to be placed on your kitchen countertop. They are highly versatile, making them a popular choice for many households. Countertop microwaves come in various sizes and power levels, ensuring there’s an option to fit any kitchen and cooking needs. These microwaves are easy to install, require minimal maintenance, and are often the most budget-friendly choice.

2. Over-the-Range Microwaves

The most popular kind of microwaves are countertop models, which are meant to be placed on your kitchen countertop. They serve a dual purpose, functioning both as a microwave and an exhaust fan for your stovetop. These microwaves are an excellent space-saving solution, especially for kitchens with limited counter space. However, they require professional installation and can be more expensive than countertop models.

3. Built-in Microwaves

Built-in microwaves are designed to be seamlessly integrated into your kitchen cabinetry or wall, giving your kitchen a sleek and cohesive appearance. They offer a more customized and built-in look, which is ideal for modern kitchen designs. While these microwaves may be pricier and require professional installation, they can enhance the aesthetics of your kitchen.

4. Convection Microwaves

Convection microwaves are a versatile choice for those who want to do more than just reheating and defrosting. These microwaves combine microwave and convection oven cooking, allowing you to bake, roast, and brown your dishes. Convection microwaves come with a fan and heating element, making them suitable for a wide range of cooking tasks. They are a perfect choice for people with limited kitchen space who still want to explore baking and roasting.

5. Smart Microwaves

In the era of smart technology, even microwaves have joined the club. Smart microwaves are equipped with advanced features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app control, and voice activation through digital assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. These microwaves offer added convenience, as you can remotely control and monitor your cooking from your smartphone. Some smart microwaves even come with built-in recipe apps, making meal preparation even easier.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Microwave

When shopping for a microwave, you’ll want to consider various features to ensure it meets your specific needs. The following are the essential things to remember:

1. Size and Capacity

Microwaves come in various sizes, from compact models with a capacity of 0.5 cubic feet to larger ones exceeding 2 cubic feet. Choose a size that fits your kitchen space and accommodates the types of dishes you typically prepare. Families or individuals who cook large meals may opt for a larger microwave, while smaller households might find a compact model sufficient.

2. Power Output

Microwave power is measured in watts, and higher wattage typically means faster cooking. The typical power range of a microwave is 600–1,200 watts. Food will cook faster and more evenly in a microwave with greater power. If you frequently cook larger meals or need faster cooking times, consider a microwave with higher wattage.

3. Pre-Programmed Settings

Many microwaves come with pre-programmed settings for specific foods, such as popcorn, potatoes, and beverages. These settings automate the cooking process by adjusting the cooking time and power level. Having a variety of pre-programmed settings can make your microwave more versatile and user-friendly.

4. Sensor Cooking

Microwaves with sensor cooking technology use sensors to detect the moisture and temperature levels of your food. This allows the microwave to automatically adjust the cooking time and power level, ensuring that your dishes are cooked to perfection without overcooking or undercooking.

5. Easy-to-Use Controls

Intuitive and user-friendly controls are essential for a hassle-free cooking experience. Look for a microwave with clear, well-labeled buttons and an easy-to-read display. Touchpad controls are common, but some models also offer dial or knob controls.

6. Price

Your budget will play a significant role in determining the microwave that’s right for you. Countertop microwaves are typically the most budget-friendly option, while built-in and convection microwaves can be more expensive. Consider the features that matter most to you and find a balance between cost and functionality.

Reviews of the Top 5 Best Microwaves

1. Panasonic NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven

The Panasonic NN-SN966S is a highly-rated countertop microwave known for its impressive performance and advanced features. With 1,250 watts of power, it cooks food quickly and evenly. This microwave also boasts inverter technology, which delivers a steady stream of power for consistent cooking results. It offers a spacious 2.2 cubic feet capacity, making it suitable for large families or those who frequently cook in larger quantities. The sensor cooking feature ensures your dishes come out perfectly cooked every time.

2. Breville Quick Touch Microwave Oven

Breville’s Quick Touch Microwave Oven is a sleek and modern countertop option with a unique one-touch system. It allows you to quickly adjust the power and time by sliding your finger across the control panel. With 1,100 watts of power, it provides fast and even cooking. The “A Bit More” button allows you to add extra time if needed, and the Sensor IQ technology takes the guesswork out of cooking by adjusting the settings based on your food’s moisture levels.

3. GE Profile Series Over-the-Range Microwave

For those in need of an over-the-range microwave, the GE Profile Series offers a high-quality option. This microwave features a 1,050-watt power output and a 1.7 cubic feet capacity, making it suitable for most cooking tasks. It also functions as a ventilation hood, removing cooking odors and smoke from your stovetop. The three-speed fan and halogen cooktop lighting further enhance its versatility.

4. KitchenAid 30″ Built-In Microwave Oven with Convection Cooking

The KitchenAid 30″ Built-In Microwave Oven combines microwave and convection cooking in one unit, making it a versatile choice for your kitchen. With 1,000 watts of microwave power and a 1.4 cubic feet capacity, it can handle various cooking tasks. The convection feature allows you to bake, roast, and brown your dishes to perfection. It also offers sensor cooking for hassle-free meal preparation.

5. AmazonBasics Microwave

If you’re looking for an affordable yet smart microwave, the AmazonBasics Microwave is an excellent choice. It comes with Alexa voice control, allowing you to use voice commands to start and stop cooking. With 700 watts of power and 0.7 cubic feet capacity, it’s suitable for smaller kitchens and basic cooking needs. This microwave is a budget-friendly option for those interested in smart technology.

Where to Buy the Top 5 Best Microwaves

You can purchase the top-rated microwaves mentioned above from various retailers, both online and in physical stores. Here are some popular options:

1. Amazon

Amazon offers a wide selection of microwaves, including the AmazonBasics Microwave and other top brands like Panasonic and Breville.

2. Best Buy

Best Buy is a well-known electronics and appliance retailer with a range of microwaves, including the GE Profile Series Over-the-Range Microwave.

3. Home Appliance Stores

Local home appliance stores often carry a variety of microwaves, including KitchenAid built-in microwaves.

4. Kitchen Appliance Retailers

Retailers specializing in kitchen appliances may have a diverse range of microwaves, including countertops and built-in models.

5. Online Retailers

Websites like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sears offer a wide selection of microwaves for your convenience.


Selecting the right microwave for your needs involves considering the type, features, size, and budget that best suits your kitchen and cooking preferences. Whether you opt for a countertop model, over-the-range microwave, built-in microwave, convection microwave, or smart microwave, there is a suitable option for everyone. By examining the features, power output, and capacity of the microwave, you can make an informed decision to simplify your cooking and meal preparation. The top 5 best microwaves mentioned in this guide offer a variety of options to cater to different needs, and you can find them at popular retailers both online and in-store. So, enhance your kitchen and cooking experience by choosing the perfect microwave for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Exploring the World of Microwaves: Types, Features, and Top Picks

Can I Microwave Metal Utensils Or Containers?

No, it’s not safe to use metal containers or utensils in the microwave. Metal can cause sparks and fires due to the electromagnetic waves generated by the microwave. When cooking or heating food, use glass, ceramic, or plastic containers that are safe to use in the microwave.

How Do I Clean And Maintain My Microwave?

To clean your microwave, wipe the interior with a damp cloth or sponge, using a mild detergent if needed. For stubborn stains or odors, you can place a bowl of water with lemon slices inside the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. Regularly check and clean the microwave’s door seal for any residue or debris. It’s essential to keep the microwave clean to prevent odors and ensure safe usage.

What Distinguishes A Convection Microwave From A Microwave?

A standard microwave uses microwave radiation to heat or cook food quickly. In contrast, a convection microwave combines microwave cooking with convection heating, which includes a fan and heating element. This allows convection microwaves to bake, roast, and brown dishes, providing more versatility in cooking methods.

Can I Use My Microwave For More Than Just Reheating Food?

Yes, modern microwaves offer various cooking functions beyond reheating. You can use them for defrosting, cooking vegetables, making popcorn, baking, roasting, and even some grilling. Many microwaves come with pre-programmed settings for these functions, making them easy to use.

Are Smart Microwaves Worth The Investment?

Whether a smart microwave is worth the investment depends on your needs and preferences. Smart microwaves offer added convenience, such as remote control through mobile apps or voice commands, but they may come at a higher cost. If you value the latest technology and remote control features, a smart microwave could be a worthwhile choice. However, traditional microwaves still perform their core functions effectively and are often more budget-friendly.