6 of the Best Countertop Microwaves for 2021

Jason Loomis
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Microwaves save you so much time, they’re perfect for preparing delicious meals and snacks quickly. Of course, there’s more to a microwave than just cooking and reheating food.

Would you like to find the best microwave for your family, your home kitchen? We often only think of them for cooking and reheating, but there are other great options that take it to the next level.

These cutting-edge microwaves are also perfect for defrosting or keeping food warm, plus capacity can also be important when it comes to a microwave.

Find some great models for under the counter and on top.

NameCategoryProduct
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave OvenBest OverallToshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
AmazonBasics MicrowaveBudget PickAmazonBasics Microwave
Panasonic CountertopUpgrade PickPanasonic Countertop

1. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Our rating: 9 / 10

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

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Pros:

  • Plenty of safety features
  • Budget-friendly
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Stylish, ergonomic design makes it a fantastic addition to your home

Cons:

  • No interior light
  • Controls aren’t very intuitive

With plenty of safety features and a simple control panel, the Toshiba EM131A5C-BS is the ideal budget microwave for the kitchen.

Looking at the features for this microwave, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the most popular microwaves on the market today.

Starting with the interior, the non-stick material used to make the interior is incredibly easy to clean. Simply wipe it down with warm soapy water and it’ll be as good, if not better, than new. Plus, unlike with microwaves of yesteryear, the plastic tray isn’t permanent. Where microwaves typically require at least a little effort to clean, this handy feature makes cleaning a breeze.

2. Panasonic Countertop

Our rating: 8 / 10

Panasonic Countertop

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Pros:

  • Hook creates room for a nearby coffee mug
  • Well vented, thus prevents microwave scent
  • Useful sensor reheat options
  • Takes up little space
  • Easy to operate
  • Multiple settings
  • Convenient auto features
  • High-powered oven can cook food in less time

Cons:

  • Not many negative complaints
  • The price is a bit steep

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3. Panasonic NN-SU696S Microwave Oven

Our rating: 8 / 10

Panasonic NN-SU696S Microwave Oven

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Pros:

  • Great for small spaces
  • Lightweight
  • Equipped with a stainless steel tray
  • Power levels are easy to adjust

Cons:

  • Overall performance is good, not great
  • 1-2 minutes of additional cooking time required for frozen meals
  • Cannot be used as you check the news

Overall, the Panasonic NN-SU696S is a great value microwave that will suit most basic microwave needs. It’s compact, lightweight, cooks well and has a stainless steel tray to prevent hot items from damaging the tray. There are a few minor drawbacks to this microwave, but overall it’s an excellent choice for those who want a simple, but high performing microwave oven.

4. AmazonBasics Microwave

Our rating: 7 / 10

AmazonBasics Microwave

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Pros:

  • Has 10 power levels
  • Versatile. It’s more than just a microwave
  • Eye catching design
  • Easy to read key pad
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • You need to be careful positioning this item as it’s made of plastic
  • You may experience difficulty in opening the door
  • There’s no handle, so this unit has to be set on a flat surface
  • The buttons are a bit awkward to get the hang of

The microwave is something that is taken for granted in a home. You just put your food in there and then take it out again after a minute or so and you’re done. That being said, you’re really missing out if you’re still using a traditional microwave after all these years. This product is an example of a simple and effective microwave that’s got everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

The Alexa controlled microwave comes with an easy to use keypad and control panel, lights up your cooking to makes it easier to see, and has options like power levels of 10 and an Auto cook function. It’s also got a few extra things like a clock, and a couple of preset buttons.

5. Cuisinart CMW-100 1-Cubic-Foot Stainless Steel Microwave Oven

Our rating: 7 / 10

Cuisinart CMW-100 1-Cubic-Foot Stainless Steel Microwave Oven

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Pros:

  • Plenty of power
  • Sleek design… looks good in the kitchen
  • Can easily be customized to suit your cooking needs and preferences

Cons:

  • Cord is permanently connected
  • The light…s placement makes it hard to see inside the microwave
  • Only can fit three hot food items at the same time

The Cuisinart CMW-100 is one of the best compact microwaves that you can feasibly fit on your countertop. Coming in at 1 cubic foot, it’s larger than most other compact microwaves on the market, though not by much. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in power.

Despite its small size, this microwave can handle just about everything you need it to. It’s equipped with a 700-watt heating element, which allows it to heat across a wide range of temperatures, from 100 to 700 watts.

This microwave is also capable of boiling water, which is fantastic for those who need to cook soups or tea, but don’t want to damage their expensive coffee maker or contaminate their kitchen.

6. Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

Our rating: 4 / 10

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

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Pros:

  • Very reliable
  • Incorporates a number of brilliant safety features
  • Looks great

Cons:

  • Noisy
  • Tempered glass is breakable

When it comes to modern kitchen appliances, the microwave has evolved immensely. However, when it comes to a microwave, there are generally three things that I look for: safety, reliability, and value.

Toshiba’s EM925A5A-BS microwave oven is stylish and sophisticated, while being extremely user-friendly and powerful.

It’s incredibly easy to use – it has a built-in timer and an auto cook feature. And a 30-second express cooking feature that’ll be great for heating up quick meals and snacks like popcorn.

7. Kenmore 1.2 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave

Our rating: 4 / 10

Kenmore 1.2 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave

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Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Large interior size
  • Can defrost food in 12 minutes

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a sensor for automatic shut-off
  • The handle isn’t easy to use

Like its 1.7 cu. ft. counterpart, the Kenmore 1.2 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave w/ EZ Clean Interior also comes with impressive programmable features.

For starters, you have the ability to preset and store 10 different levels of cooking power. This gives you the power to reheat your food just the way you like it … again and again.

Of course, for microwaves – this is a fairly common feature. However, it’s still worth pointing out, particularly for those who want to upgrade their kitchen appliances to a newer, sleeker model.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best countertop microwaves to buy?

The above models are each unique and different in their own way, however, all of them offer excellent power, good features, and the best value possible. If a countertop microwave is something you’re in the market for, any of the above will not disappoint.

Which microwave is best for 2021?

There are so many options to pick from, that I decided to create a side-by-side style comparison table for my favorite picks. You also have the freedom to check out the table of contents and look through each product individually.

What brand of microwave is the most reliable?

The microwave is one appliance we can’t do without. It can be difficult to decide which microwave to get without knowing which brand is the best. They all pretty much have the same features, so often people end up going with the brand their family always used.

It’s best to go with brand name when it comes to a microwave, but you have your choice of Amana, GE, Panasonic, and Sharp as the top brands you can choose from. While you’re at it, make sure it has an easy to use touch pad.

What's the best brand of microwave to buy?

Since almost all residential microwaves are manufactured by one of a few companies, it's hard to think about the brand when it comes to a microwave. The truth is the quality of a microwave is determined more than anything else by its wattage and by its warranty.

The output power of a microwave is indicated by the microwave wattage. Microwave power is rated in multiple terms. Some microwaves are often rated in terms of the maximum achievable output power represented either in thousands of watts or millions of watts (kW or MW).

The power is also given as a true or average value. It is true when you get a high level of output only when it reaches a certain level of power instantly after starting it. As a result, it drops to a lower level until the oven is full of food.

Conclusion

A counter top microwave is a kitchen appliance used to heat foods or prepare defrosted meals quickly. They meet the needs of people on the go, or who want to whip up a quick snack. Features are available to serve the frequent user or those who want to prepare a full meal. Here’s 6 of the best countertop microwaves for the year 2021.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave OvenBest OverallToshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
AmazonBasics MicrowaveBudget PickAmazonBasics Microwave
Panasonic CountertopUpgrade PickPanasonic Countertop