Best Stainless Steel Microwaves

Updated March 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Breville Smooth Wave Countertop Microwave Oven
Smooth Wave Countertop Microwave Oven
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Pleasant Operation
Bottom Line

Thoughtful touches like quieter sounds and simple controls elevate this premium brushed-steel microwave.


Delivers 1250 watts of power into a 1.2-cubic-foot capacity to cook and heat generous plates. Sensor-based reheating function detects steam coming from foods and adjusts settings accordingly. One-push extra time button. Soft-close door and discreet sounds, plus mute button for quieter operation.


Expensive. Display is not backlit.

Best Bang for the Buck
Farberware Stainless Steel Classic 1000W Microwave Oven, 1.1 cu. ft.
Stainless Steel Classic 1000W Microwave Oven, 1.1 cu. ft.
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

Based on our test, this microwave is ideal for budget-conscious consumers looking for a smaller microwave.


Sleek, solid styling looks pleasing. Offers 1.1 cubic feet of capacity and 1,000 watts of power. Simple plus-30 button for adjusting heating times while in operation. Defrost by time or by food weight. Simple pull-handle door. Can be locked for child safety.


Some reports of inconsistent quality from unit to unit. Noisy.

Panasonic Microwave Oven with Genius Sensor, NN-SN966S
Microwave Oven with Genius Sensor, NN-SN966S
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Great for Large Households
Bottom Line

A high-powered microwave that comes with an automatic sensor that adjusts the power and time to heat up different foods.


Offers 1,250 watts of power for fast cooking. Only weighs about eight pounds. Touch-button control panel and four-digit display provide a sleek, modern look. One-touch sensor cook and reheat offer added convenience. Quick-minute timer lets you set cooking and reheating times in single-minute intervals.


Large; takes up lots of counter space. Controls can be difficult to use.

Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven
Countertop Microwave Oven
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Quiet Operation
Bottom Line

An affordable model that offers a blend of simple functionality and modern features. Extremely quiet.


In addition to its impressive 1,100 watts of power, this compact microwave offers a wide range of preset modes for specific foods and a reliable smart sensor, which we were able to test on pizza, veggies, and leftovers. The black stainless steel is a unique look that is just as easy to clean as its shinier counterpart. Includes a mute button if the beeping irritates you.


No backlight on the keypad makes midnight snacks challenging.

GE Appliances 3-in-1 Countertop Microwave
GE Appliances
3-in-1 Countertop Microwave
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Most Versatile
Bottom Line

Three common kitchen appliances in one reasonably priced package.


Despite costing less than many high-end microwaves, this GE model also offers an air fryer, broiler and convection mode, allowing you to cook entire meals. Customers report making french fries and roasting whole chickens with success. If you have limited space, this microwave offers several ways to cook in one small package.


No included manual, so you have to find it online. No backlit keypad.


After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Farberware Stainless Steel Classic 1000W Microwave Oven, 1.1 cu. ft. 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.

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Buying guide for Best stainless steel microwaves

A stainless steel microwave is a sleek, modern addition to any kitchen. Like any microwave, these appliances vary in size, wattage and cooking modes, so choosing the right one for your family’s needs is the key to great snacks and meals.

The biggest factor to keep in mind when looking for a microwave is wattage — how efficiently the oven heats your food. Most range from 600 to 1,250 watts, and more is always better (though that doesn’t mean you should cook everything at maximum power). 

The next spec to look at is microwave size, measured in cubic feet. Some are as large as 2 cubic feet, but 1.2 is a common size that meets everyday needs. It’s a good idea to note the sizes of the containers you tend to put in the microwave to see if size would be a concern. If you’re upgrading your current microwave, note its specs and what modes you use most before choosing a replacement.

Also important is whether you want a countertop microwave or a built-in microwave. Not all kitchens can accommodate an over-the-range model. 

When we test microwaves, in addition to cooking a few staples like leftovers and popcorn, we pay attention to how well an oven’s modes and smart features work. Our favorite stainless steel microwave is the Breville Smooth Wave countertop microwave for its quiet tones, ample 1,250 wattage and reheating sensor. 

Stainless steel microwaves

Breville Smooth Wave Microwave

Not only is this a capable little machine, but it also has one of the most eye-pleasing chrome-like finishes we’ve seen on a microwave. Almost everything is stainless steel, from the handle to the buttons, dials, sides and interior cavity walls. 

At 1,250 watts and 1.2 cubic feet, it’s about as powerful as microwaves come and large enough for most plates. Recirculating ventilation keeps excess odor out of your kitchen. The smart reheat feature evenly warms leftovers as expected so you don’t have to guess the correct power level and cooking time. We appreciate the variety of preset options, which include “melt chocolate” and “soften butter” options. 

Breville’s Smooth Wave technology results in even heating. Exploding food is uncommon, and the uncoated stainless steel interior is easy to wipe clean. Well worth its price tag, this is a stunning microwave with plenty of smart features.

Farberware Countertop Microwave

This budget-friendly countertop microwave offers as many features and settings as pricier options, and it does so in a lightweight, compact design. The exterior and interior are mostly made of stainless steel and are easy to clean as a result. While it isn’t a smart microwave, it has several programs for cooking common foods like popcorn and potatoes, and the defrost-by-weight function works well. 

In our testing, we found that this microwave reliably heats food all the way through without drying it out. For example, it handled leftover meat and bagged veggies without issue. In addition to using its programs for specific foods, you can also adjust each program based on weight for an ideal cook time.

Toshiba Countertop Microwave

This simple countertop microwave offers a range of programs for heating foods, and our hands-on test showed that it excels at both reheating and cooking meals. 

The smart sensor function does a good job of thoroughly heating foods without any parts becoming tough or dried out. The interior is a classic white-coated stainless steel with a glass platter you can easily remove and clean. 

One of our favorite parts of this Toshiba microwave is its extremely quiet operation, which lets you warm up a snack without waking others in your home. With its smart sensors and range of programs, you will get a lot of use out of this microwave if you reheat leftovers often.

Panasonic Microwave Oven

At 2.2 cubic feet and 1,250 watts, this is a powerful microwave that accommodates large plates and cooks quickly and thoroughly. The sensor reheat setting works well, as does the sensor cooking setting. Some people have cooked four dishes at once in this Panasonic microwave; not only does it fit them all easily, but it also cooks each dish well. It’s even large enough to cook or reheat an entire pizza. 

If you often prepare large meals with multiple dishes, the “keep warm” feature makes it easier to time everything correctly since you can simply put a few items in the microwave while you finish your other dishes. With its size, power and long-lasting design, this is a robust microwave for big families and those times when you’re cooking for a crowd.

GE 3-in-1 Countertop Microwave

This combination microwave, air fryer, convection cooker and broiler is a versatile counter space-saving machine that doesn’t skimp on functions. 

As a traditional microwave, its 1,050 watts offer plenty of power, and it has many of the traditional pre-programmed modes for specific foods. The air fryer works as well as a dedicated air fryer and cooks food in an impressively short amount of time. Both the broiling and convection cooking modes work well, and some customers report cooking whole chickens with success. 

If you have limited counter space in your kitchen, this multifunction microwave covers a lot of ground and often cooks faster than an air fryer or oven would. For the price, few microwaves offer as many features or can cook as wide a variety of food.

Black + Decker Digital Microwave Oven

The silver and black design of this compact microwave fits in with most modern kitchens, and it’s one of the most affordable models we considered. At 700 watts, it’s ideal if you intend to use your microwave for reheating leftovers, defrosting and warming up drinks, taking up no more space than necessary on your counter. It’s also impressively quiet, making it a good choice for a dorm room, small apartment or RV.

The interior light is very bright, and the glass platter can be removed, making it easy to keep clean. A few pre-programed modes make heating basic meals straightforward. Whether you are on a budget, have limited space or just need a microwave for occasionally reheating a meal, this is a reliable option from a trustworthy company. 

Commercial Chef Countertop Microwave

Affordably priced and equipped with 1,000 watts of power, this simple microwave is well-designed and lasts for years. While it doesn’t have any advanced smart features, it has a handful of pre-programmed modes and cooks food evenly. The white interior is easy to clean, and the glass platter is dishwasher-safe. Customers praise its quiet operation and quiet beeps — a rare feature.

The slim profile can fit under low cabinets, and the lightweight design is easy to move and clean if necessary. Overall, this is a traditional microwave that will meet your needs if you are looking for a decent-size model with a good amount of power.

Cosmo 30-Inch Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

If you have a spot for an over-the-range microwave, this built-in model measures a standard 30 inches wide and fits most kitchens. It features a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet and offers 1,000 watts of power. The thin stainless steel band on the top highlights the black glass cover well, and the lack of a handle gives it an unusual streamlined look. The controls are along the bottom edge of the door and are easy to reach. 

It offers most features common among modern microwaves, including pre-programmed modes and a sensor reheat function. The built-in range fan is a nice touch. If you have a modern kitchen and need a spacious, sleek microwave to complete it, this is a well-designed choice. 

How we tested

When we look at microwaves, we consider not only their heating power and consistency but also their cooking modes and functionality. We tested the Toshiba and Farberware countertop microwaves recommended above to compare their functionality, efficiency and overall design. 

Ease of use 

  • Setup: We considered the packaging during unboxing and noted the ease of setup. 
  • Control panel: We evaluated the buttons for being easy to read and operate. We considered whether the modes were intuitive or if studying the manual was required to  understand their functions. 
  • Cleaning: We considered whether the interior light was bright enough to see all the splatters that needed to be cleaned. 


  • Heat distribution: Whether you’re reheating or cooking food, evenly heating without burning or leaving cool spots is essential. We evaluated whether the microwaves could evenly heat food and tested the settings and modes to see if they provided more control over the final result.  
  • Cooking time: We evaluated how long it took the microwaves to heat and reheat food and how much longer it took to defrost food.
  • Noise level: We noted the noise levels of both microwaves. 

Design and size 

  • Style: Stainless steel microwaves should have clean, modern designs. We evaluated whether the design of each model would fit well in a modern kitchen.
  • Interior size: We placed dishes of varying sizes in the microwaves to determine whether they could handle most plates and containers.
  • Exterior size: We noted the exterior size and whether the microwaves would work well for kitchens with limited counter space.


Q. Are stainless steel microwaves better than other microwaves? 

A. Yes, but also no — all microwaves have a steel interior to reflect microwaves, usually coated in enamel. The “stainless steel” part typically refers to the material on the front and sometimes the sides of the microwave. 

Q. Why do microwaves have a screen behind the glass? 

A. The first reason is efficiency. The screen reflects microwaves back into the interior, just like the walls do. The second reason is to prevent electromagnetic radiation from escaping into your kitchen and causing some serious problems. Believe it or not, the holes in the screen are small enough that microwaves can’t pass through them, but light can, so you can safely watch your food while it heats up.

Q. How do you clean stainless steel? 

A. A wet cloth or paper towel is usually enough for the exterior. For tougher grime, put a bit of white vinegar on a cloth and scrub. 

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