Once used mainly for warming food, the microwave oven has become an essential kitchen appliance, and the best microwaves are an important part of a well-equipped kitchen. The design has come a long way from the huge and cumbersome boxes they once were. Today’s microwave oven incorporates many advanced cooking options in a relatively small space. They allow us to cook entire meals and some even bake cakes and brown roasts, all in a fraction of the time it would take to prepare them in a conventional oven. They are seen sitting on countertops or built into cabinets and “cooking walls.” What are the best microwave ovens to buy in 2014?
#5 The Whirlpool Stainless-Look Countertop Microwave
This oven has 750 watts of power, which is plenty for most cooking purposes, and fits easily on a countertop with its unique design. The interior is tall enough to accommodate a casserole dish too. While the display is digital, the white-on-black buttons make the control panel easy to read. The tap-touch settings have ten power levels, and an “add-to” feature which allows the user to set cooking time in 30-second intervals at 100 percent power, or to add cooking time at 30-second intervals to already-in-process cooking with just one touch. There is enough room in the 0.5 cubic-foot interior for a dinner plate. An additional feature is “Controllock” which allows the oven settings to be locked to avoid unintentional use or changing of settings. Controllock makes this oven child-safe.
#4 The 0.9 Cubic Inch Sharp Convection Microwave
This microwave oven is a great size for families. It has 900 watts of power with crisping and browning options, and the 12 ¾ inch turntable accommodates most dishes and casseroles, even 12 pound turkeys and hams. The microwave takes over many of the functions of a toaster oven, eliminating the need for both appliances. The stainless, lighted interior makes this microwave oven easy to clean. There is a two-line, 12-digit interactive display which lets the user easily program cooking times and powers. The display even gives cooking hints and opens special options. This microwave has 11 power levels and 35 automatic settings. It has “double grills,” that emit heat over and under the food for even cooking. There is an auto-defrost feature that lets you go from freezer to done in record time. This Sharp Convection microwave has a customized help setting and can be used on a countertop or built into walls or cabinets with the available trim kit, which must be purchased separately.
#3 The Oster 0.9 Cubic-Inch Microwave
This microwave, in basic black, has a full 900 watts and is powerful for its size. The 10.5 inch turntable will accommodate a regular-size dinner plate. There are 10 adjustable power levels and 6 auto-cook one-touch settings for popcorn, pizza, potatoes and beverages and reheating. The door opens automatically at the touch of a button, and the interior is lighted when the oven is in operation. There is an “Express Cooking” setting which allows users to quickly add cooking time and an automatic defrost feature that defrosts food according to weight. The oven can cook using food weight too. There is a digital timer and clock. The removable glass turntable makes cleaning the oven easy, and there is a lockout feature which makes the unit child safe. This Oster microwave oven, which was built to North American electrical standards, has feet for ultimate stabilization.
#2 The Frigidaire 700-Watt Countertop Microwave
This microwave is small, but it has enough power to perform the tasks users generally ask of a microwave oven. The 9.6 inch glass turntable provides a level surface for even cooking and maximizes the usable interior space. There is a “Ready Set” control panel, and an “Easy-set Start” that allows you to set one to six minutes of cooking time with one touch. The oven has 10 cooking levels. One nice feature lets users add cooking time of 30-second intervals. There are four one-touch cooking options for popcorn, beverages and other snacks, and the oven has a defrost function too. Child safety is provided through a safety lock on the control panel. There The easy-grip handle is a built-in two-second delay between the time you press the one-touch b buttons and the startup of the microwave to allow the user to change the settings. The handle is incorporated into the door and the oven is super-quiet in operation.
#1 Panasonic Genius 1250 Watt Microwave with Inverter Technology in Stainless Steel
This roomy 1.6 cubic inch microwave can be used as a countertop appliance, but with the available trim package it can be built into kitchen cabinetry. The inverter technology allows variable power for even cooking and the “One-Touch Genius Sensor” reacts to the steam produced by the cooking food to automatically adjust remaining cooking times and power levels. The oven has settings to reheat food and even to keep it warm. The embossed tactile keyboard panel makes programming easy, and it features “Quick Minute” which lets users set cooking time in one-minute intervals with one touch. The large 15 inch turntable accommodates most casserole dishes, roasts and even whole pizzas. There are buttons for one-touch cooking of popcorn and other snack items as well as beverages. For child safety, users can program the unit not to operate electronically, even though the doors still open.