While earlier versions of the microwave oven were met with cool reviews due to concerns over safety, size, and price, today, more than 90 percent of households in America have either a countertop or mounted microwave oven inside the kitchen. This versatile, compact device saves both time and energy on tasks such as cooking and reheating, but while they have come a long way since they were first introduced microwaves have a relatively short lifespan when compared to other common kitchen appliances. How long do microwaves last? Let us review the best microwaves that last the longest, including the best over the range microwave 2020 and best microwave 2020 picks.
A Brief History of the Microwave Oven
The microwave was originally invented by accident over 70 years ago, by an engineer who was testing a military-grade magnetron and discovered it had melted a snack he was carrying in his pocket.
In 1947, the first commercial microwave was manufactured at a cost of just over $2,000 and weighing in at 750 pounds, but in 1967 Amana produced a more compact, affordable, domestic model for home use. The microwave oven of today is a feature-rich, relatively safe alternative to its predecessors that varies in price depending on the make and functionality.
How Long Should a Microwave Last?
The average microwave oven lasts about seven years with normal use, and even less with heavy use and poor maintenance. A large family may find themselves replacing their appliance every four to five years as they become more reliant on its use to heat up snacks and leftovers, or to defrost meals. This lifespan can be shortened even further if the wrong items are placed inside, which may cause irreparable damage or a risk of fire.
Signs You Need to Repair or Replace
At some point, your microwave will need to be replaced, but there are a number of situations where a repair may be the more cost-effective option. The experienced professionals at Mr. Appliance can help make your decision easier with these tips on which small appliances are worth being repaired. Signs you may need to replace the unit include:
- Cooking times are off. If your food cooks too quickly or too slowly test its power by placing one cup of water inside and turning the microwave on for two minutes. If the water isn’t piping hot when you take it out it may be time to replace the unit.
- The door seal is compromised. The door seal is an important safety feature designed to contain low levels of radiation.
- Issues with the keypad. If one or more buttons on the keypad are not responsive it may significantly hamper the functionality of your microwave. If a good cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue call Mr. Appliance for microwave repair services.
- Old age. If your microwave is approaching the 10-year mark, consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient unit.
- Odd smells. A burning smell, smoke, or sparks are a sign something is amiss and you should immediately turn off and unplug the microwave and call for a repair.
Tips to Make Your Microwave Last Longer
Maximize your investment with these tips:
- Ensure there is adequate air circulation around the microwave.
- Use a surge protector to safeguard the electrical components.
- Avoid placing metal objects inside the microwave.
- Use a gentle soap and water for cleaning.
- Do not turn the microwave on when empty.
To calculate predicted reliability, we ask our members about the products they own and use that data to make projections about how new models from a given brand will hold up over time. We also ask members how likely they are to recommend their microwave, with that question serving as the basis for our owner satisfaction rating. Models from brands that receive a Fair or Poor rating for reliability aren’t eligible to be recommended no matter how well they perform in Consumer Reports’ tests.MORE ON MICROWAVESCR’s Microwave Ratings & Buying GuideBest Microwaves of 2020Best OTR Microwaves From CR’s TestsBest Countertop Microwaves for $150 or Less
To come up with the Overall Score that you’ll see in our microwave ratings charts, we factor in both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction with the results of the performance tests we conduct in our labs. For microwaves, that includes marks on all the tasks you’d expect from your appliance—fast and even heating, even defrosting, controls that are intuitive and easy to use, and quiet operation.
Here are the details.
An over-the-range microwave is a strategic choice if you’re short on counter space and like the fact that it doubles as a range hood (though typically an underpowered one). Replacing an OTR model can be a bit of an ordeal because you have to unbolt it from the wall and cabinets. So when your old one breaks, you’ll want to install a new one from a reliable brand.
OTR microwaves from Electrolux, Samsung, Jenn-Air, and Magic Chef develop problems or break at a higher rate than their competitors, according to our survey. “None of these brands can be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time,” says Adam Troy, a senior research associate.
Better bets are OTR microwaves from Frigidaire, Hotpoint, and Whirlpool, brands that earn a Very Good rating for predicted reliability. Several models from Whirlpool and Frigidaire make our list of top OTR microwave picks. Currently, there are no Hotpoint OTRs in our ratings, though we’ve tested them in the past.
Thirteen other brands fare well enough on predicted reliability to retain their eligibility status, including GE, Kenmore, and LG, and you’ll find several models from those brands on our current recommended list.
Three brands earn a Very Good rating for owner satisfaction—LG, Sharp, and Signature. No brand earns an Excellent rating on that measure. Of those three brands, only LG makes our recommended list. And though we do test Sharp microwaves, none performed well enough to merit a recommendation. At the moment, there are no Signature microwaves in our ratings. QUICK TAKE
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The Most Common OTR Flaws
The most frequently reported problems? Excessive noise and control panels that don’t work properly. Five percent of the OTR microwaves had a problem with noise or a broken or faulty control panel.
After that, the two most common problems reported for OTRs by our members were microwaves that fail to heat food adequately and doors that don’t lock or close correctly. Members also reported problems with turntables, interior lights, exhaust fans, and cooling fans, but to a lesser degree.
Electrolux, in particular, stands out for having three of these problems and is among the more likely brands to have problems with control panels, doors, and interior lights.
Other brands that stand out in our survey for having specific problems include:
- Samsung, for having broken controls.
- Magic Chef, for being too noisy.
- Dacor, for turntables that stop turning.
We also asked our members what they like about their OTR microwaves. Overall, members were most likely to rate their microwaves Excellent for appearance and quick keys. More than 45 percent of OTR owners gave each of these attributes a big thumbs-up, on average, and owners of microwaves from KitchenAid, Bosch, Sharp, and JennAir were especially enthusiastic about the way they look in their kitchen. And although noise was the least liked attribute, with only an average of 20 percent of members rating their microwaves as Excellent for quietness, those same four brands fare better than others on that attribute as well.
Consumer Reports tests microwaves for performance, including whether or not a microwave heats evenly and how noisy it is when operating on the highest setting. To avoid problems, opt for a model that aces these tests. There are plenty to choose from.
Countertop microwaves make up a larger part of the market, but they require a fair amount of countertop real estate. Large countertop microwaves are typically about 2 feet wide, a foot high, and about a foot-and-a-half deep. Smaller models have a smaller footprint but tend to be underpowered and generally do not perform as well in our tests.
Microwaves from Maytag, Avanti, Breville, Jenn-Air, LG, and Toshiba stand out as the most reliable brands. Of them, only Maytag earns an Excellent rating; the other five brands earn Very Good reliability ratings.
Based on performance, of those six brands, two models from LG make our recommended list, and models from Toshiba and Breville earn Very Good ratings overall. The one model from Avanti is a subpar performer. Currently, there are no Maytag or Jenn-Air countertop microwaves in our ratings.
Panasonic, which earns a middle-of-the-road Good rating for reliability, is one of only two brands of countertop microwaves to receive an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction. (Breville is the other brand.) Nine of the 14 Panasonic models we tested perform well enough to make our list of top microwave picks. Panasonic was one of 18 brands in our survey to earn a Good rating for reliability, but none of the others do as well in satisfaction. Three brands receive a Poor rating on that measure—Avanti, Black+Decker, and RCA.
Three brands of countertop microwaves—RCA, Westinghouse, and Whirlpool—receive a Fair rating for predicted reliability. As a result, microwaves from those brands are not eligible to make our recommended list. At the moment, we have one model from each of those brands in our ratings, but none perform well enough to be recommended even without reliability factored in. For Whirlpool, this contrasts with the brand’s showing in our OTR ratings, in which the two top models are from that brand.
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Most Common Countertop Microwave Flaws
Complaints about countertop microwaves are similar to those about OTRs. Failure to heat food properly and excessive noise top the list. Each affects 5 percent of the countertop microwaves owned by our members.
The next most common problems are control panel buttons that break or don’t work properly, doors that don’t lock or close correctly, and turntables that stop turning.
Here are the brands highlighted in our survey for specific problems:
- Farberware, for having excessive noise.
- GE, KitchenAid, Panasonic, and Whirlpool for having doors that don’t close or lock properly.
When we asked our members what they liked about their countertop microwaves, they were most likely to give them an Excellent rating for their quick keys as well as how well they heat drinks, with about 40 percent of members giving this mark on each attribute, on average. Breville was a standout on both measures, and marks for Black+Decker and Danby were meaningfully worse.
The quietness of microwaves garnered the fewest Excellent ratings—15 percent. Breville, however, stands out as being noticeably better than other brands on this score.
As a group, countertop microwaves tend to be a bit noisier than over-the-range models, although in our microwave tests, none earn a Poor rating. In our heating evenness tests, most countertop models earn an Excellent or Very Good rating, with the exception of small microwaves, which earn mediocre scores at best.
Microwaves that last the longest
1. Midea 20 Litre MM720 CE6
They might not be the most popular brand around, but Midea holds its own well with the offering of this 20 Litre Microwave Oven.
It comes in a number of colour options. The red model looks gorgeous. It is more than aesthetics though, featuring a powerful 700W power, a very impressive 11 different power level controls and a cooking and signal.
Another standout feature on this unit comes in the form of child safety lock. With energy consumption efficiency at a very good high, the only downside the unit has would be in the colour which could easily get tainted. Price starts at around 16,500 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.
2. Nexus 20 Litre NX-804
If you are tired of monochromatic microwave ovens, the Nexus Microwave Oven 20 Litre has you covered. It would be needless to reiterate the holding capacity of this unit but it is worthy of note that the oven can pull up to 1000W of heat energy per time.
That ensures very fast cooking and supports the claim of an Auto Defrost technology being in place.
As much power as this microwave oven can pull though, it still manages to come with a low voltage starter. Even if the power supply is not at a very high voltage, you would still be able to run your oven.
Promised to be highly compatible with even small generators, 5 power levels will give you all the cooking flexibility you could ask for. Also features a 1000W Grill. For details and latest prices, click here.
3. Nexus 23 Litre NX-9232
This is another offering from Nexus. It is bigger with a 23 litre capacity and features a 1000W grill. The Nexus NX-9232 offers 900W microwave output with convection mode.
The microwave oven is easy to use with digital control that is intuitive. It also offers 8 auto menus with a cooking timer that can be set to up to 95 minutes.
You also get defrost settings and a glass turntable. Price starts at around 27,500 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.
4. Hisense 20 Litre MOWH
Looking for affordability? Selling at less than 19,000 Naira at most stores, the Hisense 20 litre MOWH is one of the best microwave ovens to checkout.
It packs a lot of punch at that price with dual convection support and five power levels up to 700W output. It featured a user-friendly defrost by weight feature.
A cooking timer is provided with settings up to 35 minutes. You can buy this device for as low as 17,000 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.
5. LG 20 Litre MWO 2044 Microwave Oven
LG is not a new name for household appliance markets. In fact, they made that known with a strong statement on the LG Microwave Oven MWO 2044.
It is one of the best microwave ovens out there if you are looking for value for money. It features Quick Defrost feature into its design. It also comes with a grill built on a quartz heater.
The LG MWO 2044 is the most affordable microwave oven from LG coming at a price of around 28,000 Naira.
It features auto cook, auto reheat, and auto defrost with 52 auto cooking modes built-in. It also has an anti-bacterial cavity and supports easy cleaning. For details and latest prices, click here.
6. Binatone 20 Litre MWO 2018
Another 20 Litre capacity option, Binatone MWO 2018 offers 5 different power levels for the desired cooking results. It offers a rotating glass plate and can be used for cooking, baking, reheating, defrosting, and grilling.
The microwave oven features interior cavity for easy cleaning and offers 700W output. Price starts around 22,000 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.
7. Sharp 23 Litre R760SLM Microwave Oven
If what is in your mind was a good quality microwave built by a leading global brand, the Sharp R760SLM is a good option.
You get a 23 litre cooking capacity with 900W microwave output and a 1000W capacity grill. It features 12 auto cooking modes with auto defrost and auto reheat functions.
The oven is easy to control, thanks to touch control. It supports 5 power levels with cooking timer setting up to 99 minutes. For details and latest prices, click here.
8. Russell Hobbs 30 Litre RHM3002
Russell Hobbs is a global brand for household appliances. The Russell Hobbs 30 Litre RHM3002 is one of the best microwave ovens if you are looking for a mid-range model.
The features leaves no one in doubt that this is a highend product. It offers an impressive 10 power levels with 900W microwave output, 2500W fan-assisted convection cooking and 1100W capacity grill.
The oven features 10 auto menus, a glass turntable, and a baking tray. For details and latest prices, click here.
9. LG NeoChef 25 Litre MOW 2595
When it comes to aesthetics, the LG NeoChef 25 litre MOW 2595 is probably one of the best microwave ovens. This beauty in a gorgeous matte black design also comes with a lot of power outputting up to 1000W of microwave.
Operation is intuitive with a glass touch interface for controls. The built-in smart inverter technology ensures that precise temperature control for a more even cooking.
It has an EasyClean coating that offers and 99.99% anti-bacterial function. This model sells for around 46,000 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.
10. LG NeoChef 42 Litre MWO 8265
The LG 42 Litre MH8265 is one of the best microwave ovens if you are looking for a premium model. The highend oven offers a massive 42 litre capacity with an impressive 1880W microwave power output. You also get a 950W capacity grill.
Like the NeoChef 2595, you get the smart inverter technology for precision cooking, 99.9% anti-bacterial EasyClean coating, and Charcoal filament for healthy grilling. Price starts around 59,000 Naira. For details and latest prices, click here.