New microwave cost

Buying a microwave is an essential to-do for most people, whether it’s for your first home, because your old one broke or your kitchen needs an upgrade. We can answer all the questions that are probably on your mind while shopping. Check out our complete guide below before you buy your next microwave, and then pick your favorite from our list of the best countertop microwaves and examine our exclusive New microwave cost.

What type of microwave do I need?

There are three main microwave types: countertop, over-the-range and built-in. Countertop microwaves are the most common and generally the most affordable. People like them because they don’t require any extra installation — simply unpack the box and plug in your new appliance. Another big benefit: if you need to move, they move with you.

On the other hand, built-in and over-the-range models cost more, usually need a professional installer and they’re more likely to stay with your home, even when you leave it. But they also have unique benefits. “Over-the-range models draw smoke and odors from the cooktop and filter it before exhausting it back into the room or outdoors,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the GH Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab. “Built-in models free up counter space and make your kitchen look more high-end.” If you’re set on a countertop model, but like the built-in look, she suggests looking for trim kits that make most microwaves seem like they’re built into your cabinets.

What size of microwave do I need?

Once you’ve established the type of microwave that makes sense for your situation, ask yourself how much kitchen space you’re willing to give up. If your counter area is limited, you might want to save space by choosing a smaller model. Internal capacity of countertop microwaves can range in size from 0.5 cubic feet (large enough to fit most 10-inch dinner plates, but not much else) to a little over 2 cubic feet (should accommodate larger cookware). The most common size is in the 1-2 cubic feet range. External dimensions also vary, so always measure the desired location’s space (width, depth, and height!) to make sure it can accommodate the dimensions listed on the box. While you’re measuring, double check that there’s a power outlet nearby. Our organizing experts love to conceal cords behind the appliance.

New microwave cost

Average Cost of a Microwave

The microwave is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen yet can be one of the trickiest ones to buy. Microwaves can range in price from less than $100 to upwards of several thousand. Not only do you have to consider price, but you also need to consider what type of microwave you want, the size and features you want. In this cost article we walk you through the average cost of a microwave.

The Average Cost of a Microwave: $94.60

Our bot found the average cost of a microwave on Amazon to be $94.60. This number may be a little misleading however. What we really should say the average cost of a countertop microwave is $94.60. Countertop microwaves are your most common microwave and should be what the vast majority of shoppers are looking for. Generally the cheapest countertop microwave you will find is going to be $50 and the most expensive around $100. What determines the price?

Average Cost of a Microwave By Size

For countertop microwaves price is a function of the size and power of the microwave. Microwaves generally range from 0.5 cubic feet to as large as 2 cubic feet. You can get a microwave that is 0.7 cubic feet for about $50 to $70. Generally anything over 1 cubic feet is going to be over $100. Which size should you get? It really depends on how much and what types of foods you cook. 

Cost of a microwave by size

The best way to determine what size microwave you need is by taking your most commonly used plates and measuring them. If you often use big plates with lots of food, then you should invest in a 0.9 cubic feet and up microwave.

Average Cost of a Microwave by Power

The other side of the equation is determined by the power of the microwave. Countertop microwaves range from 600 watts to over 1,200 watts. The more watts, the better and quicker your microwave oven will be at cooking your food. It will also be better at heating food evenly. To determine how much power you need again depends on the types of food you are cooking. If you are just planning on using your microwave to cook popcorn or heat up soup, then you don’t need a high powered microwave. On the other hand, if you are going to be using your microwave to defrost meat and heat up full meals, you may want to invest in a high powered microwave.

Average Cost of an Over-The-Range Microwave: $159.60

Over-the-range microwaves have range hood and sit over your stove serving the dual purpose of providing ventilation and heating up food. Over-The-Range microwaves are economical with space but require a bit more installation and end up costing a bit more than your conventional stove top. OTR microwaves are a bit larger than your traditional countertop kind. The smallest OTR will be about 1 cubic foot while the largest can be upwards of 3 cubic feet. OTR microwaves are also a bit more powerful than countertops. Generally a over-the-range microwave is going to be at least 1,000 watts. Therefore, getting an over-the-range microwave for around $130 to $150 would be a great deal.

Average Cost of a Microwave by Brand:

Whether you go with a OTR or countertop microwave, price will also fluctuate based on the brand you go with. We’ve identified four major brands when it comes to microwaves: Kenmore, Panasonic, LG, and Toshiba. Amazon also has a line of their own microwaves which tend to be very cheap. Here is the breakdown:

Kenmore and Toshiba on average tend to be the cheapest, while Panasonic and LG fall on the more expensive end. A reason for the discrepancy may lie in the fact that the brands use different materials for the construction of their microwaves. Panasonic and LG microwaves tend to be made of stainless steel instead of aluminum. Stainless steel is more durable than aluminum and looks sleeker and more modern in most kitchens.

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:

Whirlpool_Microwave.png
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

ge-pb911sjss-oven-product-photos-2.jpg
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

Sharp_builtin_microwave.jpg
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.

ge-smart-microwave-7
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

june-oven-product-photos-2.jpg
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.

Leave a Comment