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The Best Microwaves of 2021

Expert Picks for the Best Microwaves of the Year

Searching for a new microwave that can handle all your heat-up-fast needs? Then chances are your old one just broke recently, and you're in a hurry to get a new one...fast. Ever since these quick cookers first appeared in stores in the '50s, they have dominated the kitchen appliance market. Lifestyle trends and favorite recipes (mug cupcakes, anyone?) have all coalesced around this device. Plus, they're safe and easy to use for young and elderly people who might not be able to cook a meal otherwise. Thanks to their ease of use and affordability, these days it's hard to imagine a world without one.
Read on to see our experts' picks for the best microwaves of 2021, but keep in mind that not every microwave is for every home. There are various designs made to fit different situations; the ever-popular countertop microwave is great in a large kitchen, while smaller homes could do better with a microwave over the range. Consider which one might be best for your home, and get the low-down on the best microwaves of 2021 from Abt's in-house experts.

Best Precision Countertop Microwave

Panasonic Countertop Microwave 1.6 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel - NN-SE785S

Panasonic Countertop Microwave 1.6 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel - NN-SE785S
Panasonic reimagines the microblaster with this countertop device. Instead of the pulse on and pulse off heating of the classic machine, the NN-SE785S uses Inverter Technology to keep a constant stream of cooking energy on your food. That means no spot of your soup is too hot or too cold. And with elevated sensor technology, all the guesswork is taken out of cooking. Say goodbye to standing in front of the machine and adding 30 seconds for meal after meal.
This device is so precise that it can handle tasks previously only accomplished on the range like poaching, steaming, and broiling. The one thing you'll want to watch out for is their control panel. Make sure you read through your manual thoroughly, as this machine does away with text on the display buttons. Instead, the machine uses 20 preset options for everyday cooking needs. Manually adjust as needed, but the sensor cooking technology will help to make every dish perfect.
Also features: 10 power levels, 20 auto-cook selections, 15-inch diameter turntable, optional trim kit available. Height (in) : 11.93 Width (in) : 21.87 Depth (in) : 19.43 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 1.6

Most Adaptable Countertop Microwave

GE Microwave Oven Profile Stainless Steel Countertop - PEM31SFSS

GE Microwave Oven Profile Stainless Steel Countertop - PEM31SFSS
With an optional trim kit and the ability to be mounted over a range, this GE model is as flexible as it is stylish. And with the capability to switch between countertop and over-the-range, you'll never have to feel too committed to one kitchen layout. The device even comes in five colors (including the ever-popular stainless steel and black stainless steel). That means you're bound to find a color and layout that looks amazing in your kitchen, studio, or dorm.
The GE doesn't just look good, either. It's built with smart cooking technology. When you turn on your machine, sensors automatically adjust the time and power necessary to heat your snacks and meals. That means you'll have even cooking; say goodbye to the good old days of half-warmed leftovers and shocking cold spots in soup. You can even switch the turntable off if need be for large plates and bowls.
Also features: Optional trim kit, ADA compliant, weight and time defrost, “Add 30 Seconds" button. Height (in) : 12.13 Width (in) : 24 Depth (in) : 12.88 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 1.1

Best Microwave for Large Families

GE Over-The-Range Microwave Oven Stainless Steel - PVM9005SJSS

GE Over-The-Range Microwave Oven Stainless Steel - PVM9005SJSS
Whether your home is large or lacking in space, this GE over-the-range model makes the most of that underused area over your range. Instead of installing a range hood and separate microwave in your home, this device condenses both into one. And unlike a countertop model, this appliance does more heavy work than your average range hood. With Chef Connect, you can sync the venting system to compatible ranges. That way, it will start automatically as soon as you turn on a burner. You'll never forget to turn on your fan, and that means fewer panic moments running outside in a puff of smoke when those grilled cheeses go up in flames.
With a cavernous 2.1 feet of space within, it's easy to heat up large dishes and meal prep for families. 10 power levels and a full 1050 watts of cooking power make it easy to heat anything up, from gently-warmed sauces to “baked" potatoes. And with easy-to-read controls at the bottom of the device, it's easy for not-too-little little ones to reach and operate the display too.
Also features: 400-CFM venting system, easy clean interior, 3-speed exhaust fan, lock controls, sensor cooking controls, "Add 30 Seconds " button. Height (in) : 17.31 Width (in) : 29.93 Depth (in) : 16.15 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 2.1.1,050 watts

Best Microwave For Home Chefs

KitchenAid Over-The-Range Microwave Oven Stainless Steel - KMHS120ESS

KitchenAid Over-The-Range Microwave Oven Stainless Steel - KMHS120ESS
While some restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs would look down on the microwave as the “easy route" to a well-made meal, a cook who loves their craft would know that any chef needs a sous chef. A partner of sorts, someone to work on simple tasks while the chef is off creating ideas. Let this KitchenAid model be your sous chef. With expanded capabilities, this machine might be able to accomplish more than you'd expect. An internal shelf allows you to cook more than one dish at once, letting you make the most of all 2 feet of cubic space. Sensor cooking ensures that food gets just as warm as it should be, taking the guesswork out of defrosting and reheating.
While multiple dishes are cooking in the 1000 watt KitchenAid, you can adjust temperature and sensor settings to fit the occasion. There's even a steam or simmer cycle, allowing you to bring sauces and soups up to temperature in the device. Once dinner is finished, the inside is easy to clean without the use of harsh chemicals. Plus, the stainless steel exterior and shining handle bring that extra element of KitchenAid style to any home.
Also features: 300 CFM venting speed, 3-speed exhaust fan, 7 sensor functions, stoppable turntable, keep warm function, 1000 watts cooking power, 10 power levels. Height (in) : 17.13 Width (in) : 30 Depth (in) : 16.13 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 2

Best Microwave for Easy Cleanup

Frigidaire Over-The-Range Microwave Gallery 1.9 Cu. Ft. Smudge-Proof Stainless Steel - FGBM19WNVF

Frigidaire Over-The-Range Microwave Gallery 1.9 Cu. Ft. Smudge-Proof Stainless Steel - FGBM19WNVF
It's important to remember that microwaves are about more than just heating up food—they should look good, too. And when an over-the-range version is front and center in your kitchen, that becomes a true priority. That's why this Frigidaire model is made with spotless fingerprint-proof stainless steel. You won't have to worry about smudges or leftover fingerprints on the display, and there's no need for special stainless steel cleaners. Gently clean with soap and warm water instead. The inside of the Frigidaire is easy to clean as well, thanks to Frigidaire's Effortless Clean interior design.
This device is more than just an easy-to-clean surface, though. Easy-to-use sensor cooking automatically detects moisture levels, then adjusts output power and cooking time to heat foods correctly. And with an extra-large 13.5-inch diameter turntable, you'll have no problem fitting large plates, microwavable leftover containers, and dishware of all shapes and sizes. Plus, the door is guaranteed to open a full 90 degrees (and no further). That way, you won't have any doors bonking into your refrigerator, cabinetry, or anything else in the kitchen.
Also features: 300 CFM venting system, 2-speed ventilation fan, sensor cooking, 9 power levels, stoppable turntable. Height (in) : 16.38 Width (in) : 29.88 Depth (in) : 15.75 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 1.9

Best Over-The-Range Microwave for Ventilation

LG Over-The-Range Microwave 2.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Oven With EasyClean - LMHM2237ST

LG Over-The-Range Microwave 2.2 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Oven With EasyClean - LMHM2237ST
With an interior shelf, finger-print proof stainless steel exterior, and massive 2.2 cubic feet of storage space within, this LG over-the-range device brings an astounding amount of functionality to the table. But it truly shines as a range replacement. Many over-the-range models can never be as effective as a properly installed hood, but this LG model comes astoundingly close. Their ExtendaVent 2.0 comes further over the range than many other versions, and can collect more odor, steam, and smoke from below thanks to its dual ventilation system. And with a near-silent ventilation system, you'll hardly know it's there.
With a touchpad and easy-to-use display, the microhood makes operation easy as well. The 1000 watt machine is able to manage tough tasks like heating leftovers and defrosting meats with ease, allowing users to shift power levels when necessary. And once you're finished, the energy savings feature will kick in the drop power consumption to below 0.1 W. Efficient, easy, and multifunctional.
Also features: 400 CFM, 8 sensor cook options, 10 power levels, stoppable turntable, Height (in) : 17.72 Width (in) : 29.88 Depth (in) : 15.75 Capacity (cu. ft.) : 2.2

Before You Pick

Before you pick out the device that you think is best for you, make sure you consider some of the numbers and physical aspects of your ideal device. Think about things like:
  • Size: will your new microwave fit where your old one was, or will you need to modify your kitchen? Make sure you measure at least twice for height, width, and depth.
  • Style: Are you hoping for an over-the-range model, or do you think one that is built-into your wall would look better? And how would it actually look in your home? Try and visualize your new device in your space, or even sketch a mock-up.
  • Power: Make sure your microwave has enough power for your family. Most homes will need a microwave between 600 and 1300 watts. Keep in mind that the more wattage your device has, the faster it will cook.
  • Features: Make a list of any features that are an absolute dealbreaker. Must your new device feature convection cooking, or do you need it to be fingerprint-resistant?

Micro-Device, Macro-Support

For more help learning all about what you need from a micro-blaster, check out our Microwave Buying Guide. There, you'll learn all about every kind of device on the market, as well as their pros and cons. If you're still not sure which of the best microwaves of 2021 is for you, give us a call at 800-860-3577. Our experts will help you find the best device for your lifestyle. Each of our appliances comes with a manufacturer's warranty of at least one year, and we'll continue to service local appliances throughout their lifespan.

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