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  24. Rating: 4.2 out of 5 Stars with 71 reviews

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Buying a Countertop Microwave

Countertop Microwaves: A Closer Look

Many consider countertop microwaves to be the best microwaves for daily use, in large part because they're easy to set up without any installation. Just plug into a standard outlet and start using. They are also generally lightweight and don't need outside venting, so they can be placed wherever there's enough counter-space. In some cases, optional microwave trim kits make it possible for seamless positioning into surrounding cabinetry or attaching to a wall.

Choosing the Best Countertop Microwave

A good place to start your search for the best countertop microwave is determining how much space you have available, and how you're planning to use it. Keep in mind that you not only need to fit the microwave in your space, but also need space to easily prepare meals and serve them.

Once you've determined how much space you have, look for the countertop microwave with the most capacity for that space. Generally, you'll find capacities for midsized countertop microwaves to be up to .8 cubic feet and up to 2 cubic feet for large units. When considering wattage, most midsized units have wattage of 800 –1,200, and most larger units have wattage between 900 and 1,250. Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking times and the better the consistency in cooking, reheating and thawing. A microwave with 1,000 watts of power can be depended on to cook foods quickly and efficiently, but you may not get good outcomes from 700 watts or less.

It's also important that the oven's power cord is long enough to reach an outlet from the desired location and do so without using an extension cord. Additionally, you'll want to choose a finish that complements your kitchen's decor. Your options include a stainless steel microwave, one with a black, white or slate finish.

Other Countertop Microwave Features to Consider

Some features are essential, such as a turntable and tray that keep food moving for uniform heating and others are nice to have, like a convection cooking option that uses a fan to circulate hot air on all sides of the dish for even cooking. Other features to keep an eye out for include racks that let you cook multiple dishes at once and preset/shortcut keys, which make quick work of settings for frequent favorites like popcorn or frozen vegetables. Also, cooking sensors that automatically adjust to prevent overheating and facilitate defrosting and inverter technology that regulates a consistent percentage of power for steady heat at lower ranges are great features. There's also grilling microwave and/or steam cooking microwave options. Additionally, the best microwave ovens have an easy-to-clean, non-stick interior that enables you to simply wipe away spills, splatters and dried-on food. You can find a large selection of quality cleaning options and other microwave accessories on this website.