Updated: May 9, 2015
Microwave Oven Reviews:Microwave ovens are a single mans best friend with the ability to heat up food quickly and without a hassle. Microwave ovens are found in almost all homes across America since they help with meal preparation and are a perfect compliment to a conventional oven or range stove. The top makers of microwave ovens are Panasonic, GE, Sharp, Kenmore, Samsung, LG, Emerson, Sanyo and Whirlpool. There are generally 3 types of microwaves, full size, mid-size, and over the range. The top full-sized microwave in tests was the Panasonic Genius NN-H765BF. Moving to the mid-size models, we came across the Sharp R-305KS which cooks as well as the Panasonic above but takes up much less space. If you are looking for a microwave oven to reheat leftovers and making popcorn, then this unit should perform well. The over the range microwave market is a step in terms of $$$, but not necessarily in terms of food quality. The Kenmore Elite 80829 is the best performer in this class (mounts under the cabinet over your range). At 3 times the cost of a countertop microwave, it's hard to justify the price unless you are looking to streamline your kitchen and get more counterspace open for other things besides appliances. A good microwave system is essential to a modern kitchen and microwave cooking is easy, even for younger kids.
What are some things to consider before buying a microwave. Determine the size and power of the oven in terms of how many people are in your family and if you will use it for primary cooking. You will need a high powered unit if you plan on doing the majority of cooking using the microwave. Consider the size of your cookware. Will it fit in the oven? How will you use the microwave? For more advanced cooking, look for defrost/cook/keep warm options. How much room do you have for the microwave? Microwaves are available as countertop, under-the-cabinet, over-the-range, or built-ins. When you are considering size, the compact or small microwaves are generally less than .8 cubic feet and are powered with 500 to 800 watts, the mid-size units have .8 to 1.2 cubic feet of interior space and run on 800 to 1000 watts of power, and lastly the full size microwaves have capacity of 1.2 cubic feet or more and require more than 1000 watts of power to run. Look for a microwave with a decent turntable that is at least removable so you can clean it up when messes occur. Some models have sensors or probes that tell you when the food is cooked. Also, make sure your microwave has plenty of preset timers - we always use our "popcorn" button and it's great not having to remember how much time it takes. Just press the button and it does the work. Microwaves are much more capable than the earlier models where owners used them mostly to reheat or thaw out foods - now you can actually cook entire meals with them. We found excellent reviews in Consumer Reports, on Amazon.com, and in magazines like Good Housekeeping. Online, Epinions is a good source to find out what owners feel about their purchases and they have a lot of microwaves models and brands listed in their reviews. To see a list of the current best sellers online go here.