best countertop microwave

Whether you rely on it for your daily meals or you just need a convenient way to pop some popcorn, everyone needs a microwave.  However, there are thousands of options on the market, which makes it difficult for you as a consumer to navigate this decision.  But have no fear, this article is here to give you the information you need on the best countertop microwaves to make the right choice for you.  Check out our countertop microwave reviews below.

Our Recommendation

Panasonic NN-SN651B Black 1.2 Cu. Ft Countertop Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology
Panasonic NN-SN651B is one of the top rated microwave on the market.
Get Yours Now!
  • Important Features to Consider

Before we get to our microwave reviews, let’s go over the important features.  As is the case with any product, there are multiple features you should consider when buying a microwave.  Below are the primary features you should examine on any model you are considering to determine a good microwave oven for you.

  • Size
  • Wattage
  • Convection Oven
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Buttons
  • Sensors

The vast majority of microwaves come with pre-programmed settings that allow you to simply hit one button and perfectly cook your food. There are also child-lock buttons that ensure only adults are using the appliance.

  • Determining Your Specific Needs

So, we just went over the features you should consider, but how they impact your buying decision will depend on your unique needs?  Let’s take a look at each of those features and how you can figure out what is the best microwave oven for you when you read our countertop microwave reviews below.

  1. Size: To determine the correct size for you, consider a few variables.
    1. First, how much space do you have for the appliance? If you are renting or are in a dorm, you might need the smallest option possible.
    2. Second, how many people are in your family? You can figure that the more people living with you, the more you will need to cook at one time.
    3. Finally, what type of cooking do you plan to do in the microwave? If you are only going to be heating cups of soup, smaller microwave ovens are fine, but if you want to heat casserole dishes, you will need the space for them to rotate.
  2. Wattage: The wattage you require will be determined by two factors: your electrical set-up and the speed you require for cooking. The majority of homes should be able to handle 1,650 watts, but an older home may not.  As for speed, the more watts the microwave has, the faster the food will cook.
  3. Convection Oven: Why might you want a microwave that is also a convection oven? If you are in a space that does not have room a traditional oven, this allows you more freedom in your cooking.  Additionally, if you often host holiday dinners, it gives you an extra spot for baking.
  4. Energy Efficiency: In general, energy efficient microwaves will not make you eligible for a tax rebate. The primary reason for choosing an energy efficient model is because you are concerned about the environmental impact.
  5. Buttons: In general, pre-set buttons are not a big deal. However, if you are trying to help a child gain more independence, they can be quite helpful.  As for the child-lock buttons, your need for that is, of course, dependent on you having a small child in the house.
  6. Sensors: Sensors can be very helpful, but what you need to ask yourself is if they are vital. In most cases, you will only need them if you plan to frequently cook large items that take a while to warm through and are difficult to check the temperature on.

*** Best Countertop-Style Microwaves Reviews – Our Pick ***

Danby Designer

Panasonic NN-SN651BAZ

Panasonic NN-SD681S

Panasonic NN-SN973S

Panasonic NN-SN643S

Size

0.7 cubic feet

1.2 cubic feet

1.2 cubic feet

2.2 cubic feet

1.2 cubic feet

Wattage

700 watts

1,200 watts

1,200 watts

1,250 watts

1,200 watts

Convection Oven

No

No, but does feature inverter technology.

No, but does feature inverter technology.

No, but does feature inverter technology.

No, but does feature inverter technology.

Energy Efficiency

No

No

No

No

No

Buttons

6 pre-set buttons

1 pre-set button

1 pre-set button

1 pre-set button

1 pre-set button

Sensors

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other Features

Available in 3 colors

Keep warm setting

Can be cabinet-mounted

Can be cabinet-mounted

Keep warm setting

1

Panasonic NN-SN651B Countertop Microwave

At 1.2 cubic feet, this microwave is large enough to work for most homes.  It features inverter technology, which allows food to cook quicker and more evenly than it would in traditional microwaves.  The inverter technology is also used in its Turbo Defrost feature, which can be a lifesaver when you forget to thaw the meat you planned to use for dinner.  It runs on 1,200 watts, which is within the average range that most homes can handle.  The sensor cook feature ensures that even if you aren’t sure how long to cook an item, the microwave will figure it out for you. It comes in two different colors, and the biggest drawback for this unit is that it cannot be cabinet mounted should you move into a new home or complete a kitchen remodel; this is strictly a countertop microwave.

2

Danby Countertop Microwave

This microwave is on the smaller end at 0.7 cubic feet, making it a good choice for kitchens that are short on space, as well as offices and dorms.  At just 700 watts on the highest setting, it doesn’t use a lot of energy, so you don’t need to worry about blowing a fuse.  However, since its wattage is low, it will take a bit longer to cook your food and you will need to adjust the suggested times on food packaging accordingly.  The weight-defrost features makes it easy to prepare frozen foods for cooking in the microwave itself or a conventional oven.  And, since it is offered in three different colors, you can match it to your décor.

3

Panasonic NN-SD681S Countertop Microwave

This microwave is an excellent option for those who are renting and hoping to buy or who own and are planning a remodel soon.  Able to be used as a countertop microwave as well as mounted into the cabinetry, you will always have a use for this model.  At 1.2 cubic feet and 1,200 watts, it works for most homes.  As far as its features go, they are essentially the same as the model above.  However, it only comes in a stainless steel finish, which means that owning this microwave will limit your kitchen décor.

4

Panasonic NN-SN973S Countertop Microwave

This model offers all the same benefits as the two microwaves above, but with more space.  At 2.2 cubic feet, it is a larger microwave that is ideal for large families and those who do a lot of entertaining.  Its size is both its biggest pro and its biggest con.  The size of it ensures that there is never a task too big for it to complete.  However, it also means that you are likely to struggle to find enough space for it unless you live in a larger home or have a spacious kitchen.  It does require more watts than the other models, but at 1,250, it is still within the normal range.

5

Panasonic NN-SN643S Stainless 1200W

This model is similar to the others, but is not able to be cabinet-mounted.  It is considered a higher-end version of the other Panasonic microwaves featured, and as such, it comes with a higher price tag.  At 1.2 cubic feet and 1,200 watts, it will work well in the majority of homes.  Is it really worth it to spend a sizeable amount more on this model when it does not offer any unique features?  For the majority of homeowners, we imagine not.  However, if you are looking for the highest quality and money is no object, this would be the model to select.

 

Which Would We Pick?

So, which of the above is the best countertop microwave?  Based on their features and our microwave reviews above, we would pick the Danby Designer for a smaller space and the Panasonic NN-SD681S for a larger space.  We like the Danby Designer because of its size and very affordable price.  However, the fact that the Panasonic can be mounted into the cabinetry makes it very attractive as well.  While both models do have their cons, we find that they are easy to work around in most situations, making them the best microwave on our list.

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