A microwave oven has become essential in most every kitchen worldwide thanks to their speed and versatility. They are being used for more and more parts of the meal to make preparation faster. If you’re in a rush for breakfast or dinner because of your busy lives, you probably use a microwave oven. Which brings us to the question, which are the best microwave ovens? In order to answer that question, you need to know a little bit about the different microwave types so you can select the best one for you. Microwaves are made by a variety of manufacturers in seemingly endless models and sizes. Microwaves can be organized into a few types including countertop, conventional, inverter, convection, built-in, over-the-range, and compact. Let’s take a look at the different types.
Best Microwave Ovens: Types
Countertop Best Microwave Ovens
Like its name implies, a countertop microwave oven resides on your countertop and is completely self-contained. You just plug it in and use it.
Countertop microwaves come in three basic types; Conventional, Inverter, and Combination Convection.
Conventional Microwave Ovens
With a conventional microwave oven, you have very little control over the power of the microwave. You can usually choose a power level, but each choice only controls how long full power will be used during the cooking cycle. When the microwave is cooking, it is always cooking at full power.
Conventional microwave ovens are good for simple reheating, popping popcorn, and frozen dinners. They are not good for delicate foods or foods where a full power microwave can damage the texture or flavor. Defrosting without pre-cooking foods is more difficult.
You will notice that we have not included any conventional microwaves in our list. Inverter microwaves have been around for a long time. If you’re going to pay your good money for a microwave that you’re expecting to last for several years, you should buy an inverter microwave to give you the flexibility to cook more types of food better.
Inverter microwaves are the best microwave ovens for cooking. You can actually control the power of the microwave so that cooking even delicates foods is possible. Inverter microwaves allow you to maintain the texture, consistency, and flavor of many foods that you just can’t with conventional microwaves.
We recommend inverter microwave ovens as the best microwave ovens to buy, because you can get the best cooking results using that technology. Defrosting is much easier with an inverter microwave because you can adjust the power low enough to prevent pre-cooking of the food. If you just want to use your microwave to pop some popcorn, you don’t need an inverter microwave oven.
Convection microwave ovens give you infrared or circulating hot air food heating capability in addition to microwave energy. They are designed to allow you to give your foods the warm browned look that you’re used to from oven baked items. They are generally much more expensive than conventional and inverter microwaves and more complicated to use. Some even integrate both the microwave and convection heating into programs that you can select that will automatically use both technologies to cook your food. The drawback that we see is that users have a hard time understanding how to use the combination of both and usually use each individually or just the microwave. If you simply have to have browned food from your microwave, then a convection microwave is the only way to go.
Many folks don’t like the thought of a stainless steel box sitting on their countertop, but would rather have it integrated into their kitchen décor. Over-the-range microwaves serve that purpose nicely and give you the added benefit of putting all of your cooking appliances in one location. They generally incorporate the exhaust fan into the design and replace your existing exhaust hood.
Built-In Microwave Ovens
For the ultimate in kitchen customization, you can choose a built-in microwave oven. These ovens can be integrated pretty much anywhere in your kitchen that you have the wall space and made to look custom designed for your kitchen. Many countertop microwaves also can be purchased with optional wall kits that convert them into built-in microwave ovens.
There are some cautions about built-in microwaves that you need to consider and that we see complaints about all the time. Once they’re custom built into your kitchen, if your microwave fails and you have to replace it, you will most likely have to replace it with the same model. Also, replacement will usually require some carpentry, but hopefully not an electrician. There are virtually no standards for the size of a built-in microwave so finding another one that fits will be difficult. You may also find unfortunately that your model isn’t even manufactured anymore or that parts to fix it are unavailable. Also, even if it doesn’t fail, newer models come out all the time so within a few years, your microwave may look dated and be missing a lot of features you would like to have.
We don’t review or recommend any built-in microwaves, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good microwaves. We do review some countertops with available trim panels for you to consider.
Compact microwaves are more about size than cooking ability. If you live in a dorm, a small apartment, need a microwave for your office, or just have a very small space of any kind, a compact microwave is your choice. They typically don’t have all the bells and whistles of larger microwaves and the foods you can cook are limited by their size, but in many cases they are a perfect “fit.”
A popular solution to the space problem is a microwave stand or cart. They are a great way to free countertop space and can add to the décor of your kitchen. If you have the wall space a microwave stand could be the right solution for you. Buy a microwave cart on wheels for more flexibility.
Whatever your needs, you can find a great microwave oven on our list. Take a look and see if our list holds the perfect microwave oven for you!
Best Microwave Ovens: Best Selling Microwave Ovens List
Best Microwave Ovens Quick Lookup
Countertop Microwave Ovens
Over-The-Range Microwave Ovens
It’s important to note that many of the best countertop microwaves are available with optional kits so you can build them into your kitchen. Those are not listed here.
Microwaves in the compact segment are typically not equipped with inverter technology due to the additional cost. If you want a microwave because you don’t have much countertop space in your kitchen or office, we suggest buying a microwave stand/cart and an inverter microwave. If you just want to reheat frozen meals in your dorm or apartment, then a compact is probably for you.
Kitchen countertop space is a lot like real estate…it’s very valuable. So folks are often reluctant to get a high-quality, larger microwave that will eat up their counter space. Don’t forget about microwave stands and carts. They used to be a furniture afterthought made by assembly companies in other countries with little thought of design, style, or quality control. That has changed for the better. Companies in America have tackled microwave stands and carts and given them the quality and status they deserve. Now you can put a high-quality, stylish, piece of furniture in your kitchen that will hold your microwave and give you extra storage space, too!
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Looking for great microwave recipes for inverter microwaves? We recommend this page!
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Thanks for reading! I sincerely hope this list contains one of the best microwave ovens for you or at least gives you some ideas that you can take and compare with other microwave ovens you may be considering!