You should get whatever size you need, depending on your cookware and counter or shelf space. You have more leeway if you’re buying a countertop model, but it’s still important to measure that area in your kitchen. Convection cooking is available in some pricier microwaves, but these combination ovens are quirky, niche appliances that most people don’t need. In these instances, you may need to hire an electrician, which can drive up the overall cost of your new microwave. *At the time of publishing, the price was $260. If you’re short on counter or shelf space and are trying to figure out whether a microwave has a place in your kitchen (instead of a pressure cooker or a toaster oven, for example), it might help to think about it this way: Do you care more about a) making food quickly or b) making food tasty? If you’re looking for an OTR or built-in model, it’s important to choose the proper size for the space, especially if you’re replacing an existing microwave. Of all the midsize microwaves built by Midea around the same core components, the Toshiba EM131A5C is our favorite. There’s nothing wrong with food-specific presets or defrost modes, and if you find them useful, that’s great. Most microwaves available today are equipped with between 500 and 1,000 watts of power. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. You may be a bit limited in your choice of OTR microwaves because you’ll need a model that fits snugly above your stove. LG manufactures its own microwaves, and its NeoChef series looks promising, with strong ratings from Consumer Reports as well as from owners, and specs that are similar to those of the Panasonic inverter models that we like. Don’t count on these Toshiba microwaves to work better or last any longer than other microwaves you’ll find for a similar price. We looked into it, and the gist of it is that microwaves are a lot less likely to catch fire than other cooking appliances—and when they do, it’s usually because something got overcooked, or there was something in the microwave that shouldn’t have been there. There are many microwaves available today loaded with a variety of additional features, like pre-programmed settings to cook common foods and various cooking methods, such as steaming and grilling. This model also has a door handle, which we found easier to open and easier to clean than the button-style release on most cheap microwaves. Find the best cheap microwave for your kitchen, office, dorm, or RV with our guide to countertop and compact microwave ovens. There are plenty of shipping records indicating that Midea supplies microwaves and microwave parts to Panasonic of America, and when we disassembled a lower-end Panasonic, it was made from the same core components as other models we know are made by Midea. Ensuring the door opening is high and wide enough to fit the items you microwave most and that the shape and size of the turntable can accommodate your plates will help you pick the right size microwave. But for the most part, you can expect the Midea-made microwaves from all the brands we’ve listed, of a given size and power rating, to be very similar. The microwave is also quite large, so it's not a good choice for small homes. Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven with 1200 Watts of Cooking Power, Sensor Cooking, Popcorn Button, Quick 30sec and Turbo Defrost - NN-SN65KB - 1.2 cu. It could heat faster or slower than you expect, or the presets might be programmed differently. These dirt-cheap models bear the lowest-tier brand names, like RCA and Avanti. "Thanks to its sizable footprint, it’s also an ideal option for large families and those who lean heavily on their microwave." We talked to Sarah Copeland, Francis Lam, Tara O’Brady, Lesley Téllez, and Emily Weinstein to get tips on how to get dinner on the table while parenting. "Throughout the testing process, I kept my power setting at 10 and was pleased with the results." But what we know so far makes us pretty skeptical that spending more on a microwave today will ever turn out to be a better long-term value. They have a physical footprint that’s about 25 percent smaller than that of a midsize model, but they still have enough room inside to fit most dinner plates. If you’re skeptical about smart-home stuff (maybe you don’t like that Alexa is always listening, or that one of Amazon’s subsidiaries has a spotty track record on security and privacy issues), you can just use it as a regular dumb microwave, without ever connecting it to Wi-Fi. On top of that, individual units of the same microwave model might differ in measurable wattage by as much as 40 percent, Schiffmann found in his own testing. It’s fine if a microwave has an inverter (our upgrade pick has one), but don’t expect it to change much. If your microwave bites the dust, first check with your local trash-disposal company to see whether it will take it. One is a convection-microwave combo unit. Finally, at the bottom of the barrel, you’ve got your microwaves made by Galanz, the other giant microwave manufacturer in China’s Guangdong province. Whirlpool boasts some of the top user ratings among microwaves, thanks to its multi-feature countertop and OTR models. That’s a good thing—but it means that the latch is a vulnerable point of failure. 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