The Best Microwaves for Getting Dinner on the Table in No Time

#3 is under $100!

Best Microwaves
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Think beyond making popcorn and reheating leftovers — a great microwave oven can turn out steamed veggies, baked potatoes, and crispy bacon that'll rival the cooking results you get from your range (and it'll do it two to five times faster). These top-tested models from the GolfHr Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab are worth putting to work.

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Top Performer: GE Microwave Oven
GE
homedepot.com
$199.00

With its top of the charts performance, this  proves you don't need to spend a bundle to get perfectly "baked" potatoes or evenly heated mac 'n cheese. Thanks to a smooth control panel, it's super easy to use and wipe clean. 

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Amazon's Best Seller: Breville Quick Touch Microwave
amazon.com
$249.95

If you're down to splurge, this  is state of the art. It offers 10 power levels, an LCD screen, and a Sensor IQ Reheat and Cook setting that auto-adjusts to the perfect cook time. Plus, this stainless steel beauty is the only one in our test that aced popping popcorn.

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Space Saver: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Microwave
macys.com
$124.99

This  won't hog too much space on your countertop and it defrosted beef evenly in our testing. Though it lacks sensors, it has eight preprogrammed, time-based settings for commonly nuked foods like veggies and popcorn.

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For Big Families: GE Profile Microwave
General Electric
amazon.com
$325.99

This large stainless steel  boasts a smooth easy-to-clean control panel and a super large 16-inch turntable. It cooks evenly so you won't find a cold spot in the middle of your ziti and delivers perfectly steamed veggies.

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Retro Style: Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series Microwave
Nostalgia
amazon.com
$81.99

With its cherry red exterior and sleek chrome handle, the Nostalgia Electric adds a touch of retro style to your kitchen. Just keep in mind that it's smaller and less powerful than most, so it may take a bit longer to cook than a larger model.

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Quick Cooker: Panasonic Microwave Oven
Panasonic
amazon.com
$199.99
$150.00 (25% off)

With its stainless steel exterior, this  will be a beautiful addition to your countertop. Plus, it can take on defrosting ground meat, cooking a frozen pizza, or baking potatoes in almost no time at all.

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Smart Sensor: GE Profile Microwave
General Electrics
amazon.com
$299.00

Thanks to its built-in sensor, the  can measure moisture given off by certain food to automatically adjust cooking time. Even better, it was excellent at reheating leftovers in our tests and the turntable can be deactivated for large platters.

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How We Tested

We tested nine microwaves in our Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, checking how well they melted cheese, "baked" potatoes, reheated and defrosted, popped popcorn, and cooked vegetables. We also looked at their ease of use — controls, opening the doors, view-ability inside, cooking alerts, and cleaning. For models with convection and/or grill capabilities, we tested their ability to roast chicken, bake cake, and broil steak, then noted surface temperatures.

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