Sleek stainless steel model with 1.1 cubic-foot capacity and 1,000 watts of power. Cooks evenly. Features a grilling element that produces a crispy texture. The touch control panel includes numerous useful presets. Boasts energy-saving eco mode.
A few owners report the need for repairs after a few months of ownership.
1,000 watts heat food quickly and evenly. The compact 1.1 cubic-foot capacity can still fit a standard dinner plate. We liked the lightweight and customizable settings in our testing. Simple pull-handle door.
The interior was a bit dim in our testing, and the multiple options took time to master.
Compact size and 0.9 cubic-foot capacity can still fit a 10-inch dinner plate. Up to 900 watts of cooking power with 10 power levels for precise cooking. Includes six preprogrammed food buttons. Bright LED display. Has a timer, clock, and interior light. Easy to clean.
Only available in stainless steel.
Good 1.2 cubic-foot capacity with a 12.4-inch turntable that can fit a standard dinner plate. Attractive black metal finish. The 1,100-watt power thoroughly popped popcorn and evenly defrosted meals in our testing. Quiet operation. Beeps can be muted.
Lacks inverter technology. Breads and pastries can still overheat.
Compact size. Quality build and functions well. Only 0.8 cubic feet, but fits plenty of food inside. Includes a defrost button and six power levels. Autodial for cooking time. Easy to open and use. Interior glass plate rotates smoothly.
Only 700 watts of power, which may take longer to heat foods.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Farberware Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
More affordable than built-in or over-the-range (OTR) microwaves, countertop microwaves are fairly basic. They sit on the counter, plug into an electrical outlet and are easy to move around.
To find the right one for you, the first features to look at are size and capacity. Most people want a microwave that’s big enough to do what they need it to do — but not so large that it takes over their entire counter or cart.
Next, look at power, measured in watts. The higher the wattage of a microwave, the faster and more evenly it heats food (around 800 to 1,200 watts is ideal).
Once you’ve decided on size and power, consider the other features you need. What kind of controls does it have? How loud is it? Does it have a display? Is it simple to clean? Will it look good in your kitchen? Note, too, that a countertop microwave should be easy for one person to lift. If you’ve got small children, look for one with a child safety lock.
Some microwaves have inverters that allow them to heat food more evenly than regular microwaves, avoiding burned spots and dried-out food. Inverter microwaves can be more expensive than regular microwaves and may interfere with WiFi signals, but many people find the quality of the food they cook to be worth it.
We scrutinized countertop microwaves for size, capacity, wattage, ease of use, how quickly and evenly they heat and defrost food, and how they set up and look. We think the Panasonic Stainless Steel Microwave Oven with Genius Sensor, which can also be used as a built-in microwave, is the top choice among countertop microwaves for its size and features. The Farberware Countertop Microwave offers the best bang for your buck.
With 1,200 watts of power, 1.2 cubic feet of capacity and a 13.4-inch turntable, this model is big enough to fit a full dinner plate, a microwaveable rice cooker and most frozen food containers. At around 25 pounds, the Panasonic microwave is light enough to shift around for cleaning. And the bright display, sleek controls and stainless steel finish look great in practically any kitchen.
It features inverter technology for even cooking and defrosting and a "genius" sensor that automatically adjusts cooking settings as needed. We think its keep-warm feature is particularly useful for the busy home cook, and its 14 preset functions (for whipping up frozen pizza, oatmeal, quinoa and more) make it a versatile addition to the kitchen.
At 14.5 inches high, 22.5 inches wide and 18 inches deep, this gem from Panasonic takes up a chunk of space, but it’s not the biggest we’ve seen, and it can be installed as a built-in if you choose.
For just over half the price of our top pick, this Farberware model hits a sweet spot in terms of features and price. During our testing, we found that it heated food quickly and evenly and was simple to operate. We also like that it opens with a handle, which is more straightforward than a push latch. And it’s stylish to boot.
The Farberware comes with 1.1 cubic feet of capacity and a 12.5-inch turntable that should be big enough for most dinner plates and food packages. It takes up about 2.3 square feet of counter space, but its 12-inch height should allow it to fit under most overhanging kitchen cabinets.
With 1,000 watts of power, this quality budget microwave handles most jobs easily, and it can remember custom settings — a real time-saver. In our testing, it heated and defrosted most foods well and wasn’t very noisy, which is a big plus if you want to use it while others are trying to sleep.
With just less than a cubic foot of volume and 900 watts of power, this microwave from Black + Decker is a bit smaller and less powerful than other models we recommend. But it takes up less than 2 square feet of counter space, and its 10.6-inch turntable should still fit a standard dinner plate.
Available in an attractive stainless steel design, it features easy-to-use digital controls with six cooking presets and a defrost function. Its bright interior is easy to clean, and the push-button latch door is a cinch to operate. It’s a little heavy for its size, but at 30 pounds, it’s not too heavy if you need to move it. A child lock adds safety if you’ve got young kids running around.
If you live in a small apartment and don’t have the option or budget for a built-in or over-the-range model, a countertop microwave this size is an awesome choice, and it comes at a great price.
Another model we tested, this one from Toshiba wins points for its stylish looks and impressive results. It’s one of the quietest microwaves we’ve looked at, and it can get even quieter because you can mute its beeps — a great feature for late nights and early mornings.
This 1,000-watt microwave boasts sensor-based reheating and auto cooking as well as one-button digital controls for softening and melting as well as preparing popcorn and pizza. We are particularly impressed by how quickly and completely it heats frozen foods and how thoroughly it can pop a bag of microwave popcorn.
The Toshiba’s black metal finish and styling looks great in a kitchen, especially if you like the modern farmhouse aesthetic. At 20.5 inches wide and 17 inches deep, it takes up around 2.4 square feet of counter space and delivers 1.2 cubic feet of capacity. It has a simple handle-operated door and a child safety lock.
Like our top pick from Panasonic above, this one features inverter technology that directs a steady stream of energy to your food, even at lower power levels. This results in even, flavorful cooking.
This model has a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet and a 15-inch turntable, which is big enough for a platter or 14-inch pizza. The unit itself requires under 3 square feet of counter space. It packs 1,250 watts of power for fast results, and its turbo defrost function uses its inverter to reduce defrost times significantly compared to other microwaves. It also has a handy keep-warm function.
The built-in sensor in this microwave offers 14 different cooking programs as well as sensor-based reheating. This means you don’t have to worry about overcooking or any complicated steps when you’re trying to put dinner on the table. It comes with a button latch door and child safety lock, and like our top pick, it can be installed as a built-in with available trim kits.
For an even roomier option, consider this option, which boasts 1.9 cubic feet of capacity and a 15.1-inch turntable in a unit that takes up just over 3 square feet on the counter. It’s a good size for family meals.
With 950 watts of power, a solid rating for a bigger countertop microwave, and sensor-based cooking and reheating, it produces mealtime results you’ll love. Plus, it has all the presets and features of a good countertop microwave along with a clearly labeled child-lock function with one-touch activation.
The ceramic interior of this Samsung microwave is intended to resist stubborn residue, and its bright blue LED display can be dimmed with an eco mode to save power. Trim kits allow it to be used as a built-in microwave, if you prefer.
At only 0.7 cubic feet in capacity and 700 watts in power, this Galanz microwave might seem a little lightweight compared to our other picks, but it earns its place here for being a solid compact microwave with a cute retro aesthetic.
At 13.8 inches deep, 17.9 inches wide, and 10.3 inches tall, the Galanz microwave takes up a fraction of the counter space of bigger models, making it great for tiny homes, dorms and small apartments. Its 9-inch turntable won’t fit a standard dinner plate, but it fits a bag of popcorn, most frozen dinners and snacks, and mugs of beverages.
Sure to get noticed, this microwave combines a retro dial control with a bright digital display, and it comes in three fun colors (teal green, sky blue and bright red) as well as black.
Designed for commercial environments where a microwave would see high use, this hardworking and durable compact microwave fits the bill for home use as well. It has a solid handle-operated door that makes it easy to grab and close and a tough stainless steel exterior designed for lots of daily wear.
Like many commercial microwaves, this one doesn’t have a turntable. Instead, it emits energy from the bottom, shortening the distance it takes to reach and heat food. With 1,000 watts of power and an 0.8-cubic-foot capacity, it makes short work of most heating tasks. It also has brightly labeled controls with Braille translations and time preset-based buttons.
After researching the top countertop microwaves on the market, we narrowed our list down to the eight microwaves above and tested the Farberware and Toshiba models in the following areas.
A. A countertop microwave oven should last between 7 to 10 years without needing major repair. If you’re starting to notice odd smells, sounds, or an uneven performance, these might be signs that it’s time to repair or replace your microwave.
A. If you use an indoor over-the-air antenna, running your microwave could cause some interference with your TV signal. This also goes for AM and FM radio and WiFi networks in the 2.4-gigahertz range. Microwave energy is emitted in the radio frequency range, so it could conflict with other appliances that use radio waves.
A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against standing directly in front of or up against an operating microwave for long periods of time. This is to avoid very rare instances of being exposed to microwave radiation from a broken or poorly sealed microwave. It’s not a likely scenario, but to be safe, avoid staring into the microwave while it’s on. Your pizza won’t heat any quicker!
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