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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.