Best large countertop microwave

When you want to quickly heat up some left-overs, you turn to the microwave.  Microwaves are useful for all kinds of culinary tasks. Everything from reheating a cup of coffee to steaming vegetables to popping popcorn, both large and small. So what is the best countertop microwave? To day, we review the best large countertop microwave ovens 2019 options.

We’ve been testing the latest microwaves, and during our extensive research we decided that the compact, powerful, and versatile  Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven  stood out as clearly deserving of our top spot.

To help us find our top choice, we focused on a range of factors, including ease of use, dimensions, wattage, automated settings and special features.

The days of only using a microwave to make popcorn or heat TV dinners is long gone. You can now buy models that convection-bake, roast, broil, even grill. Take these countertop units, for instance. They are all reliable, attractive and easy to use. But each is designed with a different user in mind. They are the best large countertop microwave models.

best large countertop microwave ovens 2019

Best large countertop microwave

Toshiba EM925A5A-CHSS

In addition to being a seriously reliable machine, the Toshiba EM925A5a-CHSS has a rare but coveted feature: a mute button. It’s so useful for wee-hours snacking when every pin drop sounds like a dropped manhole cover to your family or roommates. And it’s sizable enough to accommodate an 11-inch plate or a 9-inch casserole dish, but not so large that it hogs all of your counter space. Also, the presets are surprisingly accurate, so you won’t have to worry about burning your popcorn.

Key Specs

Price: $77.24; Dimensions (D x H x W): 19.2 x 11.5 x 15.9 inches; Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet; Power output: 900 W; Color: Stainless steel

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Whirlpool WMC20005YB

Whirlpool WMC20005YB

If you’re a city dweller, a mini microwave might be a better fit for your small kitchen. Taking up just about 1 square foot of space, the Whirlpool WMC20005YB can easily sneak into a corner of your countertop. It’s not equipped to handle anything too large, but the turntable can accommodate an 11-inch dinner plate. The control pad is simple but has pretty much everything you’ll need, including presets for defrosting, reheating and popcorn.

Key Specs

Price: $152.00; Dimensions (D x H x W): 13.75 x 14.13 x 15.38 inches; Capacity: 0.5 cubic feet; Power output: 750 W; Colors: Black, universal silver, white

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GE Profile PEB9159SJSS

GE Profile PEB9159SJSS

The GE Profile PEB9159SJSS is a full-service microwave. It has a sensor that will determine the time and power needed to bake, say, brownies. It can also be used as a convection oven to bake up those brownies quickly. The GE Profile also has a broil feature for perfectly browned chicken or veggies. Additionally, you have the option to delay cooking so that the microwave starts when you want. Just like the Toshiba, this microwave has a mute button if you find the beeping irritating.

Key Specs 

Price: $665.00; Dimensions (D x H x W): 20 x 13 x 21.75 inches; Capacity: 1.5 cubic feet; Power output: 1000 W; Colors: Black, fingerprint-resistant slate; stainless steel, white

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Cuisinart CMW-200

Cuisinart CMW-200

If you don’t have an outdoor space for summer grilling, check out the Cuisinart CMW-200. It can grill something as fancy as spare ribs or as simple as a warm sandwich. It also has options for convection roasting, fast baking, defrosting, or keeping dishes warm. Many reviewers noted that it is great for quickly heating a frozen pizza, which is a meal that requires defrosting, crisping and browning.

Key Specs

Price: $161.93; Dimensions (D x H x W): 17.5 x 12.8 x 20.4 inches; Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet; Power output: 1000 W; Color: Stainless steel

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Breville BMO734XL

Breville BMO734XL

One of the many benefits of the Breville BMO734XL is that you can choose from over 30 preset options. (And the popcorn preset is the most effective I’ve seen on a microwave.) The Sensor IQ Cook and Reheat function is also handy at determining how long and at what power level food needs to be cooked. All of those features may make it sound confusing, but the control is easy to learn and use.

Key Specs 

Price: $249.99; Dimensions (D x H x W): 18 x 12.5 x 20.5 inches; Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet; Power output: 1100 W; Color: Stainless steel

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Panasonic NN-SD372S

Panasonic NN-SD372S

The Panasonic NN-SD372S is fast. Its inverter technology allows it to speed up the time it takes to heat up your food without sacrificing even cooking. It’s also quite compact so it’s great for small countertops but maybe not so great if you’re trying to cook food on large dinner plates. If you like using presets, this isn’t the best choice for you, but it is very good at evenly heating foods like potatoes or frozen meat.

Key Specs

Price: $143.99; Dimensions (D x H x W): 14.81 x 11 x 19.18 inches; Capacity: 0.8 cubic feet; Power output: 950 W; Color: Stainless steel

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LG LMC1275SB

LG LMC1275SB

For such an affordable microwave, the LG LMC1275SB is surprisingly reliable, quiet and easy to use. Although it doesn’t use sensor technology, its smart inverter ensures that your food will be evenly heated. The turntable is much more stable than those on other microwaves, and the light inside allows you to see your food while it’s cooking. The built-in handle and simple control panel makes it more attractive than other countertop microwaves and also makes it easier to keep clean.

Key Specs 

Price: $158.00; Dimensions (D x H x W): 17 x 12.13 x 21.41 inches; Capacity: 1.5 cubic feet; Power output: 1200 W; Colors: Black stainless steel, stainless steel

How to buy a microwave

This buying guide is what you need if you’re looking for a new microwave.

Your Pizza Rolls deserve a good microwave. This countertop wonder, whose origins date back to the 1940s, is probably one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen thanks to its ability to reheat food fast (and cook a mug cake or two). There are a variety of options when it’s time to select a microwave, so we’ve broken down the options you have when you’re ready for a new microwave.

Location

The first decision you need to make about a new microwave is where in your kitchen you want to put it. The location affects the price, features, size and installation of the appliance. You have three main options:

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Countertop

This is the most common type of microwave. They generally cost less and are significantly easier to install than other models. Just find a spot on the counter for it to sit, plug it into an outlet and you can use it right away.

The biggest issue with the countertop microwave is how much space it needs. If you have limited room on your countertop, you may either want to look at the smaller countertop models available, look into placing your microwave on a small cart, or consider another style of microwave.

Price: $40 to $700

External dimensions: From roughly 10 by 18 by 14 inches for compact models to roughly 14 by 24 by 20 inches for larger models

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

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Some of GE’s stoves and over-the-range microwaves are connected via Bluetooth.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Over-the-range

You install this style of microwave above your range, which will save you some counter space. These models have vent systems that take the place of the oven hood and lights to illuminate your cooktop.

Price: $190 to $1,300

External dimensions: Usually wider than countertop models, about 16 by 30 by 15 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

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Sharp

Built-in

Built-in models that you place among custom cabinets or paired with built-in, full-sized wall ovens are the most high-end (aka expensive) types of microwaves. Some microwaves in this category are even designed specifically as drawers with a compartment you pull out for your food.

Price: $500 to $5,000 and up

External dimensions: This varies widely depending on type, and drawers tend to have more depth than countertop or over-the-range models, hitting about 15 by 30 by 26 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Size

It’s important to find the right-sized microwave that will meet your food needs and fit in the space you have for it. First, you want to measure the counter or other space where you plan to put your microwave. Then, measure the height, width and depth of any model you’re considering to find out if it will fit on your counter top, over your range or in a custom spot. The external dimensions can vary a lot, from 10 by 18 by 14 inches on the smaller side to 14 by 24 by 20 inches on the larger side.

Then there’s also the internal capacity, which can range from less than 1 cubic foot to 2 cubic feet or more. There doesn’t seem to be any set rule for how internal capacity correlates to size (like 1 cubic foot = small, 1.5 cubic feet = medium, etc.), but here’s an attempt to break it down:

Compact: Under 1 cubic foot

Midsize: 1 to 1.5 cubic feet

Full-size: 1.6 to 2 cubic feet

Extra-large: More than 2 cubic feet

Most microwaves are somewhere around 1.4 to 1.8 cubic feet. Still not sure which size you need? If you’re out shopping, bring in a plate or bowl from home that you plan to use often to make sure that it fits inside the microwave.

Still in doubt? Measure everything, take notes and check with your appliance retailer for help deciding what would work best. For over-the-range and other built-in models, you most likely won’t be the one installing your new microwave, so you can always avail yourself of their expertise.

Wattage

Microwave wattage equals power. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Most microwaves sit somewhere between 600 to 1,200 watts. Larger, more expensive microwaves tend to have a higher wattage, so this is a price and size consideration that can strongly influence microwave cooking performance.

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This GE microwave has scan-to-cook tech via a related app.Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

Many microwaves share common functions. Here are some microwave cooking essentials: cook time, defrost, power level and timer. Each one requires your direct input, but they are usually very easy to set. Most microwaves have touch panel controls and a rotating carousel to spin your food for more even cooking.

Default settings

Many microwaves come with preset cooking modes so you only have to press one button to automatically cook a dish. For example, many microwaves have a “popcorn” button that will cook your bag based on factory settings. This can be handy for common dishes you heat in the microwave, but you’ll have to figure out if the microwave’s default cook times work for your own food. Other common presets include: baked potato, pizza, beverage, frozen dinner and reheat.

Broil

Manufacturers are increasingly including features in microwaves that mimic what we see in full-size ovens, such as a broiler. This is a good addition for finishing off a dish or cooking something for which you’d prefer more direct heat.

Convection

A convection fan that’s built into the back of a microwave oven circulates the heat around the food to cook things more quickly and evenly. (Many new full-size ovens come with at least one convection fan.) However, microwaves with convection fans are generally more expensive than those without.

Inverter technology

Inverter heating is another option available on some high-end models. If you want to heat something at a 50 percent power level, most microwaves actually switch between 100 percent power and 0 percent power to average in at 50 percent power. This doesn’t yield great results if you want to heat something on a lower heat and achieve an even result. So, some models now use inverter technology, which maintains a consistent 50 percent power. That way, you can poach salmon, make a fluffy omelet, etc.

Other advanced features

In addition to new heating technologies, higher-end models usually have more presets than just the basic pizza, popcorn and baked potato standard. Some use moisture sensors to detect food doneness. And we’ve started to see models include LED lighting on the interior.

“Smart” technology, i.e. options that connect microwaves to the internet and other products, aren’t as widespread in microwaves as we’ve seen in other kitchen appliances. However, we’ve seen GE Appliances include Bluetooth technology in some of its over-the-range microwaves. This connection, which GE calls “Chef Connect,” pairs the microwave with compatible GE ranges so the light and fan beneath the microwave automatically turns on when you turn on a burner.

More options

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Will the June Intelligent Oven become the next microwave?Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Other small appliances have started to make a case for forgoing the microwave, such as steam ovens that use water to cook for more moist heating or the basic toaster oven that mimics a full-size stove. These options promise to cook more effectively than a microwave, but it might take longer to reheat your food.

Smart countertop ovens have also started to become an option. The June Intelligent Oven uses facial recognition technology to identify food and cook it automatically, and the Tovala Smart Oven will scan packaged meals for automatic cooking, including frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. These options are promising, but the technology is too new to determine whether or not these will become kitchen staples.

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