Invented from some of the parts made possible by the invention of radar during World War II, the microwave oven is an invention that quickly became popular in households all over the world. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise since it allows people to do a multitude of kitchen jobs—from defrosting frozen foods to doing some types of cooking. It’s a kitchen appliance that really gets the job done.

While the original microwaves were large, bulky and rather expensive, times have changed and so have they. Over the range microwaves are now easier to use, more versatile and more inexpensive than they have ever been before. That’s why we’re going to talk about ten of the best models currently available. So, if your looking for a device that will heat up your pizza rolls in a hurry, then you’ve come to the right place.

Best Over the Range Microwaves – Reviews

10GE JVM7195SKSS Microwave

This 1.9 cubic foot microwave has many of the features people are currently looking for in an over the range oven. It has 1,000-Watts of cooking power and sensor cooking controls that automatically adjust the time and power level so you get the cooking results that you expect. It even has an easy-to-use melt feature that makes melting butter, cheese or chocolate a snap. With an easy clean feature that makes it easier for you to clean its interior and a charcoal filter indicator light that shows you when the built-in filter needs to be replaced, this unit makes cleanup and maintenance a breeze as well.

9Amana AMV1150VAW Microwave

This unassuming Amana microwave is approximately 29.9-inches wide, 15.7-inches deep and about 17.2-inches high with about 1.5 cubic feet of oven capacity in total. Inside this unit are a 14-inch turntable and an easy-to-clean interior. This 1,000-Watt microwave can cook meals in no time flat, and it has an assortment of built-in cooking programs to make it easy to use. These preset programs include a reheat mode, defrost, potato cook mode, and an auto-cook mode. It’s plain white exterior goes with a number of different kitchen styles, and it’s designed to provide a convenient cooking method for people on the go.

8LG LMV2031ST Microwave

With a 2.0 cubic foot oven capacity and 1,000-Watts of cooking power, this stylish looking microwave is ready to handle an assortment of cooking tasks. It features a 400 CFM exhaust fan with three different power levels, so users have no problem controlling smoke from their range. It also has 10-power levels and 8 different sensor cook functions that make it very simple to use. For added convenience, it has cooktop lights, a bi-level cooking rack and smooth touch glass controls that are LED illuminated. All of which makes this not only an extremely functional microwave but a sleek looking one, too.

7Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Microwave

This product combines two popular cooking devices into one powerful unit. One on hand, it’s a powerful microwave with a 1.5 cubic-foot capacity, a 13.6-inch turntable and with pre-programmed sensors for cooking a variety of different foods. On the other hand, it’s a powerful convection oven that can cook food from 175 to 425-degrees. It’s also a very stylish unit with a black stainless steel exterior and a beautiful interior surface. Other features which can be found on this unit include buttons to increase or decrease cook times, sensor cooking, 6-presets, a digital control panel and an LED light inside of it.

6Panasonic NN-SD775S Microwave

With the purchase of additional trim units that allow this microwave to be installed just about anywhere, this Panasonic microwave is sure to make a lot of people happy. Using cyclonic wave technology, this unit can cook a variety of food faster and more efficiently than many of the other microwave models on the market. It has a 1.6 cubic foot cooking area and provides up to 1,250-Watts of cooking power, so few food items are beyond its capabilities. Other features found on this unit include a keep warm feature, a turbo defrosts mode, 20 different auto-cook options, and an elegant display.

5Sharp R-1214 Microwave

Intelligent cooking is what most people are looking for in a microwave and that’s exactly what this product offers. It has 1,100-Watts of power and a 1.5 cubic foot cooking capacity, so it can handle most cooking jobs. It also features a lighted LCD display, a keep warm feature and a popcorn sensor that can cook popcorn perfectly, no matter the brand or type of microwave popcorn. It uses an interactive cooking system that has option for English, Spanish and French language speakers and has instant action keys that make cooking a meal really simple. Overall, it’s a product destined to work well in just about any kitchen.

4Frigidaire FGMV176NTF Microwave

The microwave ovens of the past were really only good for two things: making popcorn and heating up leftovers. Fortunately, all of that has changed, and products like this one have become a great way to make food. This microwave features over 30 different settings that allow the user to cook all kinds of different meals. It also has cooktop LED lighting to brighten up your range, and interior LED lighting that allows you to see into it when it’s cooking. This appliance is large enough to accommodate large bowls and casserole dishes and has an extra large turntable that rotates for even cooking.

3GE RVM5160DHWW Hotpoint

This microwave may not have all of the features that other microwaves may have, but it is a unit that does a stellar job cooking food. It has a 1.6 cubic foot capacity, and 950-Watts of cooking power so it can cook everything from microwave popcorn to cooking chili or to warm-up microwave meals. It can cook, reheat and defrost food, and has a number of features which make it really stand out in that department. This microwave also has a two-speed 200-CFM venting system that removes smoke and odors from the cooktop quickly, and it also has a 30-second button which easily adds time to the cooking time when needed.

2Frigidaire FGMV175QW Microwave

This 30-inch microwave brings style and function to just about any kitchen in which it’s installed. It has over 30 different settings and provides up to 1,000-Watts of cooking power, so making your favorite snacks and meals is really simple. But that isn’t the only thing this oven has going for it. It also has a two-speed 300 CFM ventilation system that helps to reduce smoke and odors in your kitchen while you’re cooking. The other features which can be found on this appliance include a keep warm setting, the ability to automatically adjust power levels and cook times for perfectly cooked foods and an easy-to-use reheat feature.

1Frigidaire FFMV1645TB Microwave

This 30-inch microwave has several features which makes it a great appliance. It has a 1.6 cubic-foot capacity that can hold even large casserole dishes or mixing bowls. It also has a zero clearance door that opens at a 90-degree angle without touching any walls and also has charcoal vent filters. Other features found on this appliance include cooktop LED lighting, multi-stage cooking options, and two ventilation speeds. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that it has a stylish look to it that would complement just about any kitchen’s decor. That’s a list of features that are sure to make a lot of people happy.

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How to Buy the Best Over the Counter Microwave

Now that we’ve gone over some of the best over the counter microwave ovens, I think it’s time to talk about what you should expect out of one of these units. Before we can determine what features you should expect on an over the range model, let’s take a few moments to talk about whether you even need one of these microwaves. After all, there are several different ways microwaves are installed and not every method is right for every kitchen.

Types of Microwaves

There are three different types of microwaves that consumers can consider: Over the range models, built-in models and counter-top models. Since each of these microwaves have their strong points and their weak points, we’ve decided to list some points about each so you can make an informed decision.

Over the Range

These units cost anywhere from $200 all the way up to $1,500 and save counter space by having the ability to mount over the range. And since they install over the stove, they generally have either cook-top lights, air venting systems or both. These models can usually be bought in wattages from 600 all the way up to 1,200-Watts and are usually wider than most counter-top models.

Counter Models

Truth be told, counter-top microwaves are the ones that are the most popular and the most common. That’s because they’re one of the cheapest models available and are the easiest ones to set up. They usually cost anywhere from $50 to $700, depending on features and size, and come in 600 to 1,200-Watt versions. The biggest problem with these microwaves is that they take up precious counter space.

Built-In Models

These microwaves have to be installed in custom-made cabinets, so their installation is pretty expensive, as is their actual price tag. They can cost up to $6,000 dollars, depending on features, and come in 600 to 1,200-Watt models. Unfortunately, the price tag of these units is prohibitive for most people.

Microwave Size

Once you’ve determined what type of microwave you want or need for your kitchen, it’s time to turn your attention to microwave size. Most microwaves, except for commercial models, come in sizes which range from 1 to 2 cubic feet. As the size of the microwave increases, so does the price, so you should buy a microwave that’s right for your family size as well as your budget.

Microwaves which are 1 cubic foot or under are considered to be compact models, and they are usually suitable for just one person or for small jobs such as reheating snacks. Models that are 1 cubic foot to 1.5 cubic feet are usually considered to be midsize microwaves, and these models are good for anywhere from 1 to 2 people. If you need something larger, then full-size models are approximately 1.6 to 2 cubic feet, and these models are generally good for a family of four. If you need anything larger than that, then you’ll probably want to buy a model that’s 2 cubic feet are larger.

How many Watts do you need your microwave to have? Well, it all depends on what you’re trying to cook. As a good rule of thumb, the more Watts a microwave has, the faster it cooks. Unfortunately, as the Wattage increases, so does the price of the appliance, which means you really have to weigh your particular needs against how much you want to spend. If you’re just warming up pizza rolls, making microwave popcorn or heating water for a cup of tea, then you can probably get away with a 700 to 800-Watt microwave. Just don’t expect these models to do a very good job at actually cooking real food. Models that are between 800 to 1,200-Watts do a pretty good job at cooking food. However, if really want to do some cooking, then get a commercial model that’s over 1,200-Watts. Sure, they’re expensive but they cook really quickly. How expensive are commercial microwaves? They’re usually about $2,000 for a 1,700-Watt model.

Microwave Features

Okay, having covered installation, size, and wattage, it’s time to turn our attention to what features you need your appliance to have. While each family will have their own requirements for what they want in a microwave oven, we’ve included some of the features that we feel are needed and/or are exciting enough that you should consider models which offer at least some of these features.

Preset Cooking Times: Generally speaking, this is usually a basic feature that’s found on all microwaves, no matter how cheap they are. Which means that you probably couldn’t buy a microwave that didn’t at least have this feature, but just in case, make sure that your microwave has preset options for at least the basics: potatoes, pizza, etc.

Easy Clean Interior: Once you own a microwave with an Easy Clean Interior Feature, you are never going to want to turn back again. Models with this feature either have stainless steel or enamel interiors that are easy to clean up with a sponge. Which makes this feature just short of pure magic.

Steam Option: This feature is a fairly new one for microwaves, but it’s also extremely handy, especially when you’re trying to cook vegetables or seafood in your microwave.

Cooking Adjustment Sensors: Just as the name implies, these sensors automatically detect how the food is cooking and automatically adjust power and duration of the cycle so that the food is cooked perfectly. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory. This feature isn’t foolproof and sometimes gets it wrong, but it’s still but a pretty nice feature to have available.

One Last Thing

That covers the basics of what you need to consider when purchasing a new microwave, regardless of whether it’s an over the counter model or not. The last thing you should make sure of before you purchase your unit is that it comes with the mounting gear you need. Once you’ve thought about how it’s installed and all of the other above considerations, then you can buy a model that will be a perfect fit in your kitchen and for your family.