best microwave oven for heating only

Today we will be looking at the best economical microwave models. Solo microwaves are the ultimate for simple tasks – they should be able to both heat and cook food – but make sure you do your homework before buying: high price and high wattage does not necessarily equate to high quality.

Solos tend to be cheap, compact, easy to use and less bulky than their combi cousins, meaning you shouldn’t need much space on your kitchen worktop. On the downside, they generally have a smaller capacity and limited functionality, although with many of the latest models you should find an array of auto-cook programmes as well as the standard heating and defrosting settings.

You will also find they don’t crisp or brown your food as well as a regular oven, so are better suited as a speedy alternative to heating or cooking than an overall oven replacement. That said, there are plenty meals you can cook in a microwave, including steamed puddings, French toast, and cakes.

What is the difference between solo and grill microwaves?

Put simply, solo microwaves are basic models that can defrost, heat and cook food, while grill microwaves have an additional internal grill element. There are also combination microwaves which, in the case of some of the more advanced models, can even claim to take the place of a standard oven. Many of these combination models can be used for grilling, baking and roasting, and some have even more specialised functions too, such as steaming and yogurt-making.

Things to consider when buying a solo microwave

Auto-cook programs – Some solo microwaves offer auto-cook programs that adjust the power and time based on the type and weight of the food. Examples of common standard programs include pizza, popcorn and frozen vegetables.

Wattage – The difference in wattage can affect the cooking times you use when referring to packaging. This implies that the higher the wattage, the faster you can cook. Having said that, we’ve seen an array of wattages perform brilliantly, with one as low as 700w appearing in our top 10 solos. As a result, we recommend not judging on this alone.

Power levels – On most solo microwaves, you can adjust the power level to suit different foods – not everything should be microwaved on full! The highest setting should be used to microwave dishes that have a high liquid content, such as soups, drinks or vegetables. Medium should be selected for everyday jobs, like reheating ready meals. Low should be used to warm foods and for precise tasks, such as softening butter or melting chocolate.

Heating categories – The heating category simply reflects the wattage, with A being the least powerful and E being the most powerful. As a result, you can assume that the more powerful categories further down the alphabet means the faster your food will cook.

Flatbed vs turntable – Flatbed microwaves do not feature a rotating turntable. It gives you more space to microwave your food because of this and is typically easier to clean, while still heating your food evenly. These tend to be more costly though.

Built-in vs freestanding – Microwaves can take up a fair amount of kitchen counter space, particularly if they’re combination. If you’re lacking room, you can always opt for an integrated model which is embedded in your cabinets/wall – a bit like an oven. You would need to have this professionally fitted to be sure that it has the required space around it for ventilation.

Clear view door – You would be surprised by how many microwave doors are tricky to see through. Be sure to invest in one in which you can see the interior during cooking. This will save you from opening the door repeatedly to check on the progress.

Child lock – Some microwaves also come with a child lock option to give you peace of mind. This setting prevents a child from operating the microwave unsupervised as the control panel is locked.

Best microwave oven for heating only Options

1Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven

TOP PICK

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The Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven is a super compact and simple appliance. The mechanical rotary dials make it great for those seeking a basic operation. The dials allow you to set a timer ranging from 1 to 30 minutes and to choose from among the six cooking power levels.

This is a great option for someone with minimal space, looking for a simple microwave to prepare small items.

KEY FEATURES 

  • Mechanical rotary dials
  • Easy to grasp grip type handle to open and close the door
  • Speed and weight defrost
  • 6 power levels
  • Removable glass turntable

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Commercial Chef
  • Dimensions: 17.75 (W) x 12.5 (D) x 10.25 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.6 cu. ft.
  • Power: 600 watts
  • Weight: 23.1 lbs
  • Color: white

PROS

  • Simple to operate, easy to read dials
  • No electronic controls to malfunction

CONS

  • Doesn’t have a digital display

2COMFEE’ Countertop Microwave Oven

HONORABLE MENTION

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This COMFEE’ microwave oven features convenient one-touch cooking buttons, 11 power levels, and a removable turntable. The large LED digital display has a clock function and can also display a kitchen timer. This model includes an energy-saving eco mode where the LED display can be turned off to save energy.

KEY FEATURES 

  • Easy auto-cook functions including; popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen veggie, beverage, and reheat
  • One-touch cooking function with 1-6 minutes and +30 seconds functions
  • Two defrost settings (by weight or by time)
  • Energy saving eco mode
  • Child safety lock
  • Large LED digital display

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: COMFEE’
  • Dimensions: 17.3 (W) x 13 (D) x 10.2 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Power: 700 watts
  • Weight: 20.3 lbs
  • Color: Black

PROS

  • Easily popular food items with the touch of a button
  • Stylish black stainless steel color

CONS

  • Does not have a handle or push button door open feature

3BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven

ALSO CONSIDER

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The Black + Decker model comes with a 10-inch removable glass plate that rotates when the microwave is on to prevent hotspots and allows food to cook more easily. The plate is easily removed and cleaned with warm soapy water.

This model comes with a large LED digital display that serves as a clock, countdown timer and displays remaining cooking time. The microwave can be turned on for one to six minutes at 100 percent power by simply touching the number. The door is easily opened with the push of a button. Stop the microwave at any time by pressing the stop button.

KEY FEATURES 

  • Pre-programmed buttons for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage and dinner plate
  • 10 power settings
  • Large LED digital display
  • Removable 10” glass turntable
  • Push-button door release for easy access

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Black + Decker
  • Dimensions: 17. 3 (W) x 13 (D) x 10.2 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Power: 700 watt
  • Weight: 24.1 lbs
  • Color: Black and stainless steel

PROS

  • Clean modern design

CONS

  • Print on the function keys can be difficult to read
  • The door might be difficult to open for some

4Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven

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With 900 watts the Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave oven is one of the most powerful in our review. In general the higher the wattage of the appliance, the faster the cooking time. This model is also slightly larger than other models in our review.

It is equipped with an LED light, glass turntable, energy-saving eco mode, a mute button, and clock and kitchen timer functionality. We love that the door handle is super easy to grip.

KEY FEATURES 

  • 6 preset menus – popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage and dinner plate
  • One-touch start from 1 to 6 minutes or 30 seconds cooking at full power
  • Easy defrost – choose defrost by time or by weight
  • 10.6-inch glass turntable
  • Mute buzzer feature

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Toshiba
  • Dimensions: 19.2 (W) x 15.9 (D) x 11.5 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.9 cu. ft.
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Weight: 27.3
  • Color: Black and stainless steel

PROS

  • 10 cooking power levels – offers more flexibility while cooking
  • Works quietly

CONS

  • The only way to input defrost weight is in ounces
  • Turntable may slip off track for some

5Magic Chef MCD770CW White Retro Countertop Microwave Oven

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Step back in time with the Magic Chef Retro Microwave Oven featuring a towel bar door handle and rotary dials. This appliance has a compact footprint, 700 watts of power, and 7 power levels.

We love the clean stylish look of this option. It is very compact and would be a great option for those looking to heat up small simple items.

KEY FEATURES 

  • Stylish towel bar door handle
  • Dual rotary dials
  • 7 power levels

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Magic Chef
  • Dimensions: 12.8 (W) x 17.7 (D) x 10.2 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Power: 700 watts
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Color: White

PROS

  • Stylish retro look

CONS

  • No light when you open the door
  • No digital display
  • Roman numerals for microwave power can be difficult to read

6AmazonBasics Microwave, Works with Alexa

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An Echo device (not included) is required to use the voice control features and quick-cook voice presets on the AmazonBasics Microwave.  To start cooking, use your voice or just press the Ask Alexa button and say your cook time. The button will instantly wake up your paired Echo, just like saying “Alexa” does. You can say commands like “cook for 3 minutes” or “cook frozen vegetables,” and the microwave will start cooking.

We love how simple this appliance makes heating something up. This would be a great option who is familiar with how Alexa works and is looking for a simple appliance to heat up small items.

KEY FEATURES 

  • 10 power levels
  • Child lock feature
  • Removable turntable
  • Kitchen timer and clock

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Amazon
  • Dimensions: 17.3 (W) x 14.1(D) x 10.1 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
  • Power: 700 watts
  • Weight: 21.9
  • Color: Black

PROS

  • Voice activated with Alexa makes microwaving super simple

CONS

  • Some reviewers had serious malfunctioning issues

7COSTWAY Retro Countertop Microwave Oven

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The COSTWAY model is one of the largest microwave ovens in our review, and at 0.9 cu. ft. capacity, it is considered a mid-sized microwave.

We love that this model is super user-friendly and simple to use with just two knobs, two buttons and an LED display time screen. The microwave comes with a rotating glass turntable and offers multiple functions and default cooking presets.

KEY FEATURES 

  • Two mechanical knobs and two buttons allow you to select power level and time from 0-60 minutes
  • 5 cooking levels
  • Rotating glass turntable
  • Easy-to-read LED display
  • Cooking presets for popular foods such as popcorn, pizza, potatoes
  • Child lock function

SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Brand: Costway
  • Dimensions: 19.5 (W) x 14 (D) x 11 (H) inches
  • Capacity: 0.9 cu. ft.
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Color: Mint Green

PROS

  • Unique and stylish design
  • Super simple turn knobs to set power level and cooking time

CONS

  • Continues to beep after the timer has gone off until the door is opened

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