Best Microwaves for All Budgets

Best Microwaves

Sometimes we just can’t wait for things to cook in the oven. We’re pretty grateful for the invention of microwaves in general and this is our shoutout to them. They’re basically lifesavers!

Many prepackaged frozen meals take almost an hour to cook in the oven while they are designed to be microwaved in a fraction of the time. We’re talking 15 minutes compared to 45! (Depending on the food, of course).

Today, we’re going into detail about microwaves and how to find the best one for you depending on your own budget.


Brand/Model Key Features Ratings More Information
Hamilton Beach B00Y7IY35O 1.1 cubic feet
1,000 watts
< 50 pounds
4.9 out of 5

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Panasonic NE-1025E 0.8 cubic feet
1,000 watts
< 50 pounds
4.8 out of 5

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Toshiba EM131A5C-BS 1.2 cubic feet
1,100 watts
< 50 pounds
4.7 out of 5

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Magic Chef B00KXBJ4NK 1.6 cubic feet
1,100 watts
< 50 pounds
4.6 out of 5

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Oster EG034AL7-X1 1.3 cubic feet
1,000 watts
< 50 pounds
4.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!

All About Microwaves

Believe it or not, there are several things to consider before purchasing a microwave!

You should think about things like counter space, wattage, the types of food you’ll be cooking, and design.

With technology constantly evolving, though, there are plenty of other things to consider. Do you want a retro design or do you like modern microwaves? Perhaps you wouldn’t mind a combination of the two?

It’s almost ridiculous how many choices there are out there! We absolutely love it! You can find some microwaves that cost less than $40 and some cost over $600!

Microwaves can have several features or hardly any at all. The more you pay, the more you get, generally speaking, as with most things.

  • What’s your budget?
    • As mentioned earlier, microwaves can cost anywhere from $30 to over $500.
    • Some microwaves have sensors while others don’t, making energy consumption questionable.
    • If cleaning is a major concern of yours, look for models with a self-cleaning function or that have sensors to keep food from exploding.
    • While we don’t endorse used products, sometimes you can find pretty good used microwaves. It just depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re not willing to spend close to (or over) $100, buying used might not be a bad option.
    • Inverter technology microwaves are more expensive but they’re worth every penny, in our opinion.
  • How much space are you working with?
    • If you have very limited counter space, you don’t want to invest in a bulky microwave.
    • Microwaves tend to vary in size from 0.5 cubic feet to a little over 2 cubic feet.
    • To measure cubic feet, multiply the height, length, and width of the area in question.
    • It wouldn’t hurt to consider the size of your plates, either. Some large plates won’t fit in certain microwaves!
    • Though we’re focusing on countertop microwaves in this post, there are also over-the-range microwaves.
      • These are obviously meant to maximize the space they use and aren’t the most efficient when it comes to ventilation.
    • The weight of a model matters! You don’t want a 50-pound microwave to sit on top of a flimsy oven range, do you? On a countertop, weight might not matter as much.
    • Are you dealing with a built-in model that’s built specifically to fit a cabinet or wall oven?
  • Touchpad or dial?
    • Simple or exact? Do you want to just punch the numbers in or fine-tune your food’s doneness?
    • Not all touchpads are bad! Some are awesome and super easy to use, with large, touch-sensitive buttons.
    • Some of the models that use dials can’t be set under one minute.
  • What do you plan on cooking?
    • Some things you cook may have suggested cooking times while others won’t.
    • Many microwaves come with settings that make it easy to cook things like popcorn, pizza, pretzels, potatoes, and drinks.
    • Some microwaves come with a “30-second” option while others do not. As mentioned with dial models, if this is important to you, do not overlook this.
    • There are a few models out there that are great at dethawing meats and vegetables, which adds to this question. Are you trying to make a hearty stew in your microwave? If so, make sure it can keep up with your needs!
    • Convection microwaves are good for anyone that seriously depends on the microwave to do what an oven would do.
      • Need to bake a cake, make a hearty beef stew, or just get some chicken ready to make something else? No problem!
    • Do you need your microwave to have a broiling option? This is a great setting for if you want to make grilled cheese without turning on your oven.
  • How much wattage do you need?
    • This could have gone with the previous question but it’s pretty important.
    • Are you cooking food that is designed for an 1100-watt microwave oven or are you reheating homecooked meals that don’t depend on wattage so much as they depend on time?
    • In general, you probably won’t want any microwaves that use less than 1,000 watts.
    • There are, however, microwaves that use less than 700 watts. If your budget is tight, these are clearly affordable options.

Hamilton Beach B00Y7IY35O

  • This Hamilton Beach microwave is small and efficient… while remaining totally affordable!
    • It’s usually found for less than a hundred dollars, takes up a measly 1.1 cubic feet.
    • Not only is it not a space hog, it’s also fashionable! It’s red and beautiful.
  • It measures a little over 20 inches in length by 17 inches in width and 12 inches in height.
  • There are 6 quick-press buttons that make it easy to cook whatever you want.
  • Need to defrost something? No worries, you can set the defrost power based on weight and time.
  • Worried your kids will get into the microwave while you’re not looking? It has a lockout feature!
  • If the 10 power levels aren’t good enough for you, know that it has a one-year warranty.

Panasonic NE-1025F

  • The Panasonic NE-1025F is a little more expensive but powerful in a small package.
    • It measures less than 1 cubic foot and has about 1,000 watts of power.
  • Features a dial for precise cooking times.
  • Weighs less than 40 pounds.
  • Measures  about 16 x 20 x 12″.
  • Costs a little less than $300.
  • Rated for commercial use, which makes it perfect for breakrooms and other shared spaces.

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS

  • The Toshiba EM131A5C-BS is a sleek, affordable microwave.
  • It has 1,100 watts of power and measures about 1.2 cubic feet.
    • Measures a little more than 20″W x 17″D x 12″H.
    • The turntable is a little more than a foot in diameter.
  • The microwave itself weighs less than 40 pounds.
  • Does not feature a dial.

Magic Chef B00KXBJ4NK

  • This Magic Chef microwave is affordable, powerful, and relatively small.
  • It offers 1,100 watts of cooking power while only taking up a little more than 1.5 cubic feet of space.
  • Weighs less than fifty pounds.
  • Has 6 settings that are pre-programmed.
  • Need to defrost some stuff? No worries, it has 3 menus for that!
    • Has a total of 11 different power levels.
  • Measures about 22″W x 21″D x 13″H.

Oster EG034AL7-X1

  • This Oster microwave is the bomb because it weighs well-under 50 pounds, uses less than 1,100 watts of power, and makes some awesome food.
  • Our personal favorite, it has 10 settings and a 30-second express-cook setting.
  • Also has a defrost by weight function.
  • We love the design of this because it’s like a mirror you can check yourself out in if you keep it clean!
  • It only offers about 1,000 watts of power but it comes with a grill.
    • Don’t want to boil hotdogs? No problem! Grill them on the rack!

In Conclusion

It honestly depends on how much money you’re willing to spend and what your needs are. Some microwaves are great for steaming vegetables while others are basically only good for popping corn.

Look into the energy usage and settings as well as the cubic footage in order to find the right one for your needs. Thank you for learning about microwaves with us and we hope you find what you’re looking for!

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