Samsung Vs LG Microwave Oven (Updated 2020)

panasonic vs lg microwaves (1)

In Modern America, almost every household has a microwave oven. Used for cooking, reheating, defrosting main food items while also having the capability to pop popcorn or soften butter. It’s no wonder these kitchen appliances are as ubiquitous as toasters or blenders!

Welcome to our in-depth review and comparison of Samsung and LG countertop microwave ovens. We’ve spent hours researching and compiling information to create this review comparison analyzing important buying factors like ease of use, reliability, size and capacity options, and amount and quality of features.

Two popular microwave brands go head to head, but who will come out on top?

The LG wins this battle. It’s fantastic for reliability, giving you peace of mind you’re making a purchase that can sit in your kitchen doing the dirty jobs for year after year.

Combine that with high power for super fast cooking times and a whole bunch of features including many unique to the brand of LG makes this one an easy choice. Read more here.

Features

A common feature in the line of Samsung microwave ovens is a grill element. Combined with its ceramic plate it offers a useful “all in one” package for getting that crispy surface on pizzas and toast, or making melted cheese that can only come from a high heat that normal microwaves can’t produce.

Samsung microwave ovens have a scratch resistant and easy to clean exterior which makes them beautiful to look at and keeps them looking perfect for years with minimal maintenance.

Other notable features include:

– Wide range of auto cook preset options.
– Dedicated soften and melt functions.
– Auto defrost.
– Turn off clock button.
– Sound on/off button to stop the microwave beeping.

The LG is another heavyweight when it comes to features on its microwaves. You get a whole host of sensor cooking and reheating options which uses a humidity sensor to tell when your food is cooked, no messing around guessing the amount of time needed.

The antibacterial coating on the inside of your microwave is unique to LG and helps improve hygiene in your kitchen. Another novel LG-only feature is the six-pronged turntable which offers more stability then the standard three-pronged which can easily slide off.

Other notable features include:

– Beautiful glass panel input controls.
– Patented Easyclean interior with antibacterial coating.
– Six-pronged turntable for added stability.
– Bright in-microwave LED light.
– Eleven different power levels for low power modes.

Winner: Samsung

Both of these brands are heavyweights when it comes to offering “quality of life” features on their microwave ovens. It’s a close run thing, but Samsung is shading it here. Your viewpoint may be different depending on how you rate the importance of the features that are listed above.


Power and size options

The Samsung line offers decent power of 900W to 1050W and fast cooking times, but nothing that’ll blow your socks off. The capacity of its microwaves are medium sized at 1.1 to 1.4 cubic feet. All of which is very middle of the road, not ideal for those with smaller kitchens or those who want to cook large amounts of food.

LG offers a truly vast range, covering countertop but also over-the-range microwave ovens.

The brand positions itself at the high end of the market, so for your flagship model, you’re looking at 1200W. This power output is as high as non-commercial microwaves will go so you’re getting the fastest cooking times on the market.

Size options cover a wide range too, at 1.1 to 2.2 cubic feet

winner: lg

LG wins this one by a long shot. They offer a wider choice of power and size options, especially at the top end.

The caveat is that neither of these brands is great for small countertop microwaves or those on a budget. If you want a smaller, cheaper microwave oven then this might be a better webpage for you to read.


Ease of use

Samsung microwaves are a joy to look at with their black mirror finish and ceramic interior. They use a simple but neat user interface with keypad buttons that are clear and not too cluttered. Entering what you want is simple and the kitchen timer, sound on/off button and “+30s button” make this microwave a dream to use.

The LG microwaves are all stunning, with a futuristic design, stainless steel exterior, and shiny black window. A variety of different interfaces are available, with choices of keypad or dial. The LG Neochef finishes its cooking with a cute jingle that seems to divide opinion among its users.

The LG has a kind of hidden “+30s button”. Press START when nothing else is entered and it will add 30 seconds. Useful, but you’d only know if you had read the manual (or this webpage!)

Winner: tied

I’m calling this one a draw. Both microwaves are visually stunning with clean, modern, and easy to use interfaces.


Reliability

For such a big name in electronics, it’s surprising to see Samsung has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to reliability of its microwaves. Reports of breakdowns and other issues are higher than you would expect. This should be balanced against the fact that most microwaves have no problems. People who are happy with their appliance will feel no need to talk about it or leave reviews.

LG have a respectable if not glowing reputation for reliability. Reports of breakdowns, faulty parts and other problems are low.

The thing is, at the price point of LG’s range of microwaves, i.e. near the top end, you would expect a near flawless record with the longevity of its microwave ovens.

A good (if imperfect) metric is to check Amazon reviews to aggregate thousands of customers’ experiences, and there are more issues being reported than you may feel comfortable with. This is reflected in average user ratings of around 4.0 whereas some of the top microwaves are around 4.3 or 4.4.

Winner: lg

LG wins here, but by a whisker not a mile. Its higher average reviews and fewer reports of mechanical and technical problems pull it ahead.


Overall

Both these beautiful microwaves are full of awesome features to gush over that’ll make cooking easier than ever.

Given the choice of only one, I’d put my hat in the ring with the LG line. The extra reliability gives you peace of mind and less chasing after repairs and warranties. You also have more options for size and power, especially at the top end of things.

On the other hand, if you want a quality grill function along with your microwave then the Samsung is a great choice. You can check this one out here.

Overall Winner: LG


What Other Brands Make Quality Microwaves?

The LG and Samsung offer great microwave ovens, but as I mentioned, they may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re looking for a cheaper, smaller microwave or one with excellent reliability then read the following.

Best Microwave For Budget

The Toshiba line is my pick for best budget microwave oven. The amount of features combined with surprisingly high power makes it a real “value for money” choice. You can see the latest price and also read more about it here.

Best Microwave For Reliability

If you’re looking for a quality microwave with a stellar record for longevity then look no further than Panasonic. Follow this link to view their most popular model and see price, reviews and other details. Their record for reliability is near spotless, I advise reading a few Amazon reviews to be sure.

Panasonic Vs LG Microwave Oven 2020 (Top Brands Compared!)

Two big brands in electronics are Panasonic and LG, with both companies being leading names for microwave ovens. If you’re looking to make a purchase and you want to know which is best, you’re in the right place. Whether it’s defrosting, reheating leftovers or popping popcorn, this article will tell you all about which machine is best for nuking.

We’ve tested, researched and reviewed the Japanese and South Korean brands’ two flagships models, pitting them against each other to analyze factors like number and quality of features, size, power, ease of use and reliability to comprehensively answer which of these microwaves is most suitable for home use.


Panasonic’s newest range of microwave ovens offer an outstanding array of features along with power output that’ll give you rapid cooking times. Throw in fantastic reliability backed up by a comprehensive one-year warranty and you’ve got a microwave that will last and last.


Features

Panasonic‘s calling card is its patented Inverter Technology which delivers a steady stream of heat on lower power levels rather than switching on and off continuously like other microwaves. This makes defrosting and other low power options a dream. In addition, you get:

– Sensor reheat that automatically cooks using a humidity sensor.
– Turbo Defrost which speeds up thawing and defrosting times.
– Popcorn button with three different levels.
– Smart controls combind with beautiful LED interface.
– Ten different power levels for low power modes.

The LG microwaves offer a whole host of sensor cooking and reheating options which allows you to cook or reheat at the touch of the button, no need to guess how much time is needed. Simply choose the food you are cooking and set it off. As well as that is:

– Gorgeous glass panel input controls.
– Patented Easyclean interior with antibacterial coating.
– Six-pronged turntable for added stability.
– Bright in-microwave LED light so you can see your food while it’s being heated.
– Eleven different power levels for low power modes.

Winner: Panasonic

Both these microwaves offer oodles of useful features to make your life easier. Overall, I’ve decided that the Inverter Technology that delivers consistent and thorough defrosting and low power heating gives Panasonic the edge.


Options

The Panasonic range of microwaves occupy the higher end of the market. They are big, powerful, expensive and packed with extras. A consequence of this is there are no budget options or microwave suitable for small spaces in the Panasonic line up.

The models of countertop microwave ovens offered by Panasonic are as follows. They also sell a modest range of over-the-range microwaves as well.

– Panasonic Compact – 1200W / 1.2 cubic feet with 13.4″ turntable
– Panasonic NN-SN686S – 1200W / 1.2 cubic feet with 13.4″ turntable
– Panasonic NN-SN766S – 1250W / 1.6 cubic feet with 15″ turntable
– Panasonic NN-SN966S – 1250W / 2.2 cubic feet with 16.5″ turntable

The LG range is very similar to the Panasonic range. The brand doesn’t offer any microwaves on the cheaper and smaller side of things, where you might see a typical capacity of 0.7 cubic feet and a power of 700W. The main difference is that LG offers a comprehensive selection of over-the-range microwaves

– LG Neochef LMC0975ST – 1040W / 0.9 cubic feet with 11.5″ turntable
– LG Neochef – 1040W / 1.2 cubic feet with 14.2″ turntable
– LG Neochef – 1250W / 1.5 cubic feet with 14.2″ turntable
– LG Neofchef – 1250W / 2.0 cubic feet with 16″ turntable

Winner: TIED

The two brands are neck and neck with this category, both offering very similar selections of microwave ovens. It seems fairest to call it a tie.


Power

The Panasonic microwaves have a standard power output of 1200-1250W which is about as high as non-commercial microwave ovens go. With this wattage, cooking and reheating times will be rapid, saving you plenty of time for the rest of your cooking.

The LG microwaves come in slightly under with a range of 1000-1200W. This is much faster than older or cheaper microwaves, typically in the region of 700-900W.

Winner: Panasonic

Everyone wants faster cooking times, so the higher the power output the better. Both brands of microwaves here offer lightning fast cooking but the Panasonic shades it because every single microwave they sell is a minimum of 1200W.


Ease of use

The Panasonic microwaves use a standard keypad input with an LED display for a timer. It has a “quick 30” button for adding 30 seconds to the time quickly and easily. Convenient to hit it a few times rather than manually select 2:30 with the keypad.

The LG Neochef uses a futuristic “Smoothtouch” glass panel for input. It not only looks cool and modern, but simplifies the display massively. In addition, the LG has six spokes on its turntable instead of the standard three to make balancing a little easier, especially with larger or heavier items. The turntable is also more likely to stay in place rather than slip off all the time!

Winner: LG

This round goes to LG for thinking outside the box with their new and unique features to make using your microwave a little simpler.


Reliability

Customer reports and complaints including reviews on Amazon reveal little in the way of breakdowns or other issues with the Panasonic microwaves. This is reflected in its excellent average 4.3 star rating. Panasonic offers a 1-year warranty on parts and labor with a 5-year warranty on the magnetron itself. The warranty can be “mail-in” or “carry-in” depending on what you prefer.

LG has an excellent rating on Amazon albeit lower at 4.2 stars. This seems to be caused by occasional reviews complaining about certain issues. LG, equally, offers a 1-year warranty on parts and labor with a 5-year warranty on the magnetron.

Winner: Panasonic

Panasonic is a clear winner for long-lasting, durable microwave ovens. This respectable brand clearly has their A-game working with their line of microwaves, and it’s certainly not the type of appliance anyone looks forward to spending a Sunday afternoon trying to fix…


Overall

Putting it all together, we can rest assured these are two great brands for microwave ovens, leading the way in terms of features and forward thinking. There’s a reason both are so highly regarded on the market.

My choice for best overall goes to Panasonic. The company has put together a fantastic marriage of awesome features like its patented Inverter Technology along with reassuring reliability and solid power output. This is an appliance that’ll be a firm favorite in any home.

Overall Winner: Panasonic

While the LG Neochef line of microwaves didn’t win this particular battle, they are still a solid option for many consumers. Read more here.

What Is The Highest Microwave Wattage? (Blazing Fast Cook Times…)

highest microwave wattage

All microwave ovens have a power measured in watts. It tells you how much energy the magnetron (the engine of the microwave) can produce per second and ultimately how fast your food will heat up.

Over the years, microwaves have been getting more and more powerful, and the current crop containing power outputs that would blow your socks off! So…

What is the highest microwave wattage?

The highest wattages come from expensive microwave ovens that are only sold for commercial use. These microwaves are designed for kitchens that produce food in huge quantities, so they are large in capacity and quick in cooking times and can reach wattages of up to 3500W.

A microwave at this power level would cook five times faster than a small 700W countertop microwave you might find in someone’s kitchen! You can check some out here.

The highest microwave wattage available for home use right now is 1250W. This is still very powerful and gives fast cooking times compared to a typical older microwave of 700W or 800W.

Are you looking to buy a microwave oven with the highest microwave wattage? I recommend this model from Panasonic that comes in at a stonking 1250W, as powerful as anything else on the market for home use.


What is a 3000W microwave like?

I have actually had the privilege of using a high powered microwave during my time in a catering kitchen. The facilities were used to prepare lunch on a daily basis for 250-300 people so the kitchen was well equipped.

Actually, I’ve been kicking myself since I had the idea for this article as I can’t remember the actual wattage. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever learned it. There was no need to. All I knew was it was fast.

The microwave oven itself was massive, maybe the size of 6-8 standard microwaves put together. It had loads of features that we never used. We usually just put things in and used the automatic sensor to warm them up.

It was pretty funny how fast it was. You’d reheat a plate of something that might take three minutes in a normal microwave and it was ready before you knew it, in a matter of seconds.


Why don’t home microwaves go higher than 1250W?

The technology exists for three to four thousand watt microwaves, so why haven’t these uber-powerful microwaves made it onto the home market? After all, faster is better, right?

Well, historically, a 900W was a powerful microwave with 600W and 700W being your typical middle-of-the-road wattages. To put it another way, the UK government introduced guidelines for the power output of microwaves to help consumers.

Any microwave was given a rating A, B, C, D or E based on its wattage.

The most powerful rating was E which corresponded to a 900W microwave or above. C was more like 700W and it’s hard to find any info at all on ratings A and B as they were abandoned, presumably for being too low in power!

can you microwave styrofoam take out boxes

The point is that these modern, high power microwaves that touch the upper range of 1200-1250W are using the latest technology while still being affordable for the average user. The fact they have got so popular means people must enjoy the fast cooking times.

Will we see high power microwaves available for public use in the coming years? I suspect we will.


Are there any disadvantages to a high wattage microwave?

A common misconception is that high power microwaves don’t cook as well. The idea going something like the high heat can lead to burnt edges, cool spots and generally inconsistently heated food. Let’s dive into why this is wrong…

Microwaves (short length radio waves) are created by the magnetron and then bounce around the microwave oven until they are absorbed into the food. The amount of power, and consequently the amount of energy being absorbed, doesn’t affect the process.

best wattage microwave

There is one exception, which is when you have a thick or dense food. Microwaves can only penetrate 1-2cm into the food, so high power burns the edge and doesn’t heat up the center.

This is why it’s best to spread out your food (if possible) or use a lower power setting like you would if you’re microwaving a big hunk of beef.

Some foods do respond better to lower heat cooking, however this is not a problem with high wattage microwaves. Why? Because all microwaves come with lower power settings. You’ll no doubt have noticed a “defrost” button (around 30-40% power). Well, modern microwaves, and especially the upmarket high wattage ones, have up to ten different power levels that give you complete control for lower power modes or simply following instructions.

Let’s say the cooking instructions on a meal are for 3 minutes at 900W but your ultra-powerful microwave puts out 1200W at full power. Simply take the time in seconds (3 mins = 180 secs) and do the following calculation.


What’s the best high wattage microwave for home use?

The best high wattage microwave on the market at the moment is, for me, the Panasonic countertop range. These babies clock in at 1250W on the high end with a maximum capacity of 2.2 cubic ft and a 16.5″ turntable – although there are a variety of size options available.

On top of that, you get some awesome features. Panasonic’s patented Inverter Technology is a revolution in defrosting and other lower power modes, and if you’ve never used sensor technology to automatically and perfectly heat foods without even putting in a time then you haven’t lived (so to speak…)

Click this link to read more.

The company itself is renowned for electric appliances and has a stellar record in the microwave field with wall-to-wall excellent review ratings on Amazon across its microwave range and correspondingly few reports of faulty parts of breakdowns.

All this makes up a few of the reasons why Panasonic came out number one in my breakdown of the best microwave brands here.

Different Types Of Microwaves (5 Choices For Your Kitchen)

different types of microwaves

There are a lot of different types of microwave ovens sold these days. This useful appliance is mainly used for defrosting, reheating leftovers and things like popping popcorn or softening butter. But with the new variety of microwaves you can bake, broil, grill and more…

This article covers all the main types of microwave oven you’ll find in a kitchen, countertop microwaves, over-the-range microwaves, in-built microwaves, microwaves with convection oven and microwaves with built in grill.

We’ll look at the separate characteristics and features for each kind of microwave oven, look at the pros and cons and I’ll even throw in a recommendation for best microwave oven, too.

Got that?

Then let’s dive in!


1
Countertop Microwave Oven

The countertop microwave oven is the original and still the most popular, accounting for the most sales across the country even today. It’s a standalone microwave that sits on your counter and plugs into an outlet. You can pick it up and move it around.

As this is the standard model, companies offer more versions than any other type of microwave which gives you more choice.

For example, if you want a smaller budget microwave or perhaps a larger microwave with higher wattage and more features.

Countertop microwaves are cheaper than their counterparts that offer separate features like baking or ones that need to be fitted in a fixed place in your kitchen.

Pros

  • Cheapest option for a microwave oven.
  • Portable, you can move it around easily.
  • Lots of choice, there are far more countertop microwaves than any other type.

Cons

  • Takes up valuable counter space.
  • Features can be minimal in some microwaves.
  • Expensive.

Recommended Model

The top brand right now for microwave ovens is Panasonic and this is their flagship countertop model. It’s powerful, cooks quickly and comes with tons of features including its patented “inverter technology”.

If you’re looking for something a touch cheaper, here’s my recommendation for best budget countertop microwave…


2
Over-the-range Microwave Oven

Over-the-range microwave ovens are fixed in a designated space above your range in the kitchen.

The microwave replaces the range hood, so the bottom of an over-the-range microwave has filters for ventilation to remove smoke, steam and cooking odors.

It’s a great space saving trick and has become super popular, now the 2nd most popular type of microwave oven.

Over-the-range microwaves cost a little more than countertop ones. Firstly, the cost of the microwave itself is more expensive as there’s a bunch of extra ventilation stuff to put in. On top of that, most folks are gonna want to hire someone to install it properly.

Pros

  • Cheapest option for a microwave oven.
  • Saves a bunch of space in your kitchen.
  • The height it’s at can be useful for tall people who won’t have to bend over.

Cons

  • These microwaves tend to be more expensive.
  • Installation can be a lot of hassle and isn’t cheap.

Recommended Model

The top brand to check out for over-the-range microwaves is LG. They offer the widest range of powers and sizes while also packing in a whole bunch of extra features. Check out their latest models here.


3
Convection Microwave Oven

Our next category is a microwave oven that doubles as a convection oven. It’s the same size as a normal microwave with the same interface except a couple more buttons on the keypad to select the “convection oven” mode.

These microwaves let you squish two separate appliances into one, useful for small apartments or dorm rooms where you wouldn’t be able to fit both.

Convection microwave ovens are not as powerful as an in-built oven. They do not heat up as quickly and struggle to attain the high heat sometimes needed for cooking and baking. On the plus side, the microwave performs as usual.

Pros

  • Microwave and traditional oven all in one.
  • Excellent space saver.
  • Saves money on having to buy two appliances.

Cons

  • Convection oven will not heat as well as inbuilt ovens.
  • No point if you already have an oven.

Recommended Model

This solid microwave offers high performing convection function without breaking the bank. Produced by Toshiba who has a long history of reliable electronics (and a prime spot in my best microwave brands article), look no further for a quality convection microwave oven.


4
Microwave With Grill Element

Another feature that can be added into countertop microwave ovens is a grill or broiler element.

This comes in the form of a heating element at the top of the microwave that can be selected using a keypad. One plus point is that it can (usually) be used while the microwave is in use.

Microwave ovens with grill elements have become very popular because they solve the biggest issues microwaves face: they don’t get hot enough to brown foods.

Reheat pizza in a microwave and it’ll come out soggy and doughy. But combine that with a couple of minutes of broiling and the crust becomes nice and crispy, and the cheese starts to get that melted goo that makes it taste so good.

Pros

  • Grilling element works easily and quickly.
  • Can use at same time as microwave heating.

Cons

  • You do pay more for the privilege.

Recommended Model

This top-of-the-line model from Panasonic offers a huge range of functionality including a 3-in-1 microwave with broiler element that will give you all the usefulness of having a grill in a separate countertop microwave appliance.


5
In Built Microwave Oven

In built microwaves are fitted as a permanent fixture in your kitchen. They are usually offered as a component of a fully equipped kitchen set but sometimes as part of an oven/microwave set.

The idea is to have a microwave that seamlessly blends into the rest of your kitchen setup rather than having a clunky appliance sitting on your countertop taking room.

In built microwaves are the most difficult to install of all types listed here, and this is the reason why they are the most expensive and the least common. That said, when done well, they save loads of space in your kitchen while looking pretty awesome.

Pros

  • Great aesthetics for your kitchen.
  • Few reports of breakdowns and other issues
  • A huge space saver.

Cons

  • Difficult to buy, need to go to a specific store.
  • You probably need to hire someone to install it for you.
  • Expensive.

Recommended Model

Choosing an in built microwave and buying it is not so simple. The most common way to get one is to have it come with a preinstalled kitchen, in which case you need to find a store that offers that service.

You can also see them as part of a oven + microwave set but again, these are typically not offered for sale with a couple of clicks on a website given the difficulty in installing them.

Best Container For Microwave 2020

best container for microwave

Whether it’s a dish, a bowl or a plate, you’ll need something to put your food in when using a microwave oven. Every kitchen has something you can use, but it’s important to make sure that you are using safe materials that won’t leach into your food or burn your hand when you take it out.

Best Overall: Veken Food Storage Containers
Best For Meal Prep: 50-Pack Promoze Food Storage Containers
Best Glass Containers: Pyrex Round Glass Containers
Best For Aesthetics: Vremi Food Storage Containers
Best For Lunch Separation: Rubbermaid Bento Box Containers

This article contains the best of the best in microwave food containers. They include all types of dishes that are plastic, glass or ceramic. We’ve done extensive research and found the best recommendations for all types of consumers. So take a few seconds, have a read, and see what you think!


1
Veken Food Storage Containers

Wide range of sizes included in each set, suitable for lots of different foods.

Airtight and leakproof container due to the high quality suction lid.

Vast number of positive reviews.

These Veken Lunch Box Set food containers are transparent, airtight and leak-proof. Perfect for all food storage and microwave needs.

You have the option of an 8-piece or 12-piece set with the capacities ranging from 8oz to 50oz and 8oz to 65oz respectively. This wide variety of size options lets you use them for small storage to fit snugly into the fridge as well as those huge “dad lunches”.

The containers themselves are made of BPA free plastic, perfectly safe for microwaving without the inconvenience of moving your food to a separate dish or plate.

The material itself feels thick and sturdy, “lightweight but shatter-proof” is how Veken themselves describe it and I’m inclined to agree.

The seal made by the lid is airtight and difficult to accidentally unlock. You can actually feel the suction when you pull the lid off.

In terms of reliability and safety, the Veken containers are top of the pile with very few negative reports of any safety issues and overall rating on Amazon of 4.4 stars.


2
Promoze 50-Pack Meal Prep Containers

Large number of identical containers make them ideal for weeklong meal prep.

Don’t be fooled by their resemblance to cheap plastic trays, they are durable and reusable.

The next food storage containers by Promoze are a set of 50 identical 24oz containers.

These are perfect for those who like to meal prep days in advance because they are all the same size. Do a big meal prep on Sunday then shove them in the freezer and they’re ready to be microwaved when needed.

The size themselves at 24oz is perfect for a medium sized lunch or dinner, but maybe on the small size if you like big portions.

The boxes themselves look a little like disposable takeaway boxes. Don’t let that fool you, they are made from high quality BPA-free plastic, are durable and reusable.

On top of that, they are (of course) FDA approved to be microwave safe and also freezer safe, making them perfect for meal preppers.

The Promoze containers are not the strongest on this list. It’s possible to crack a lid with a little heavy handedness, for example.


3
Pyrex Round Glass Containers

Great option for those who prefer solid feeling glass containers.

Take the lid off and they resemble glass bowls and can easily be used for the same purposes.

The next choice is from Pyrex and ideal if you want a high quality microwavable container that isn’t plastic.

Glass is arguably the safest material for a microwave and Pyrex glass is no exception. The lid is made from BPA free plastic but that’s not needed for the microwave. As you’d expect with this material, durability is excellent and it has a solid, strong feel to it.

Each listing gives you 12 containers of the same capacity with three different size options which are 1-cup (8oz), 2-cup (16oz) and 4-cup (32oz). I’ve linked to the 2-cup version but it’s easy enough to find the others.

The roundness of the Pyrex containers along with its solid, glass construction means you can easily eat straight out of these like they are bowls (which they kinda are), saving you some washing up. This works especially well for soups or chili.

These containers are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe so are suitable for all uses, whether that’s putting leftovers away for another day or full meal prepping your food for the week.


4
Vremi Food Storage Containers

Colorful containers with different sizes makes them a great family-oriented choice.

The containers easily stack into each other so they don’t take up lots of room.

This next set of food containers from Vremi are a colorful bunch. Each set gives you four containers of varying sizes (12oz / 17oz / 27oz / 41oz) and they all collapse into each other like Russian dolls. Cute.

On top of that, they all fold into 1/3 of the original size, makes for easy storage in small spaces! (Follow the link to see how they do that…)

These reusable containers are made from BPA free plastic (silicone, to be exact) and are FDA approved to be “microwave safe”. You can put your food straight into the microwave without using a separate bowl or plate.

The airtight lids keep your food in pristine condition for as long as possible. And actually, when you want to put them in the microwave you don’t need to take the lid off, there is a vent you can use to let steam come out! Convenient if you need to cover the food while microwaving.

The Vremi containers are not just microwaveable but also freezer safe. Perfect if you like to do meal prep Sundays and keep your lunches for the week on hand and throw them straight from the freezer to the microwave.

Reviews-wise the Vremi containers are well-rated, with the occasional complaint about mold being present when kept in the wrong conditions. So watch out for that.


5
Rubbermaid Bento Box Containers

Two compartments in each container are perfect for separating sauces or vegetables.

Solid quality and stain resistant material.

The last containers in the list, by Rubbermaid, bill themselves as “bento boxes” where the container can be split into separate parts. So you can put a sauce or some vegetables in with your lunch without it all mixing together.

You do this with small insertions that keep the food from touching, nice for prepping lunches to take to work or school. And you can just remove the insertions if you don’t need them.

The Rubbermaid containers are made of glass and the lid is made of both glass and BPA-free plastic. The plastic is used to make a seal which makes them 100% leak proof. Despite being made of glass, they are both “dishwasher safe” and “freezer safe”, too.

You get a set of 3 with each purchase with one 3.2 cup size (26 oz) and two 1.3 cup (10oz).

Lastly, they are made using stain resistant material to keep them looking brand new even after many uses.


Do I need a microwave container?

Microwave ovens can be pretty scary. They release electromagnetic radiation that heats up your food from the inside. While it’s perfectly safe for food, it presents a couple of problems if you use the wrong dish or container.

For example, any plastic container that has BPA plastics in it might leach into your food upon heating and lead to a whole host of health issues.

Or you could use the wrong kind of metal and see sparks fly (literally)!

So the smart thing to do is to have a dedicated microwave container that you know is safe for all uses.

And you can rest easy knowing all the containers on this list are perfectly safe for refrigerating, freezing and microwaving.


What material is best for a microwave container?

The main microwaveable materials are plastic, ceramic and glass. These materials all allow microwaves to pass through them so only the food absorbs the heat. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages to be the best container for microwave.

Note: Make sure all dishes or containers that you use in a microwave are labeled “microwave safe”. You can rest assured all the items in this article have that guarantee.

Plastic is a great material for use in a microwave as it’s strong, durable, and doesn’t absorb heat either from microwaves or convection. So you’re unlikely to burn a finger or drop it cause it’s hot. Plastic is also easy to put in the freezer for easy storing.

These reasons make plastic the most popular material for containers for manufacturers and why most items on this list are plastic.

Its major downside is some plastics can leach into foods, with BPA plastics being a particular danger. You can rest assured all containers recommended here are labeled “microwave safe” and FDA-approved to not have any issues.

Glass is one of the safest microwaveable materials as it will not leach into your foods. There are two glass options on this list for those who don’t wish to have a plastic microwave container. Just watch out when pulling it out the microwave as it can get a little hot by convection!

You absolutely must avoid anything metal. Metal reflects the microwaves rather than letting them pass through which can result in a dangerous build up of energy and even sparks flying. There are, as you’d expect, no metal containers on this list.

Best Microwave Under $50 2020

best microwave under $50

A microwave is an essential for any kitchen. Used for cooking, defrosting and reheating, these devices must be one of the most commonly used across the country. Of course, you don’t always want to pay over the odds, so this article is going to discuss the most affordable microwaves for your money.

We’ve researched countless microwaves to bring you the best of the best at the cheap end of the market. We’ve analyzed buying factors like reliability, ease of use, quantity and quality of features as well as, of course, value for money to bring you a full roundup of the best microwaves under $50.

At the price range of under $50 you’re at the bottom end of the market. But don’t fret, there are some kickass microwave ovens available for this price and this article is going to give you everything you need to choose the best one for you!

Best Microwave Under $50

1. Sharp ZSMC0710BB Microwave Oven
2. Danby DMW07A2SSDD Microwave Oven
3. RCA RMW733 Microwave Oven
4. Commerical Chef Microwave Oven
5. Amazon Basics Microwave Oven

Note: Prices do fluctuate so you’ll need to check the link to Amazon to see what the current price of each microwave is.


1
Sharp ZSMC0710BB Microwave Oven

Impressive amount of features for such a cheap microwave.

Solid reviews and rating from previous customers.

The door can be a little tough to open.

The first on my list and first choice as best microwave under $50 is this 700W microwave by Sharp. Rated as 4.2* average on amazon this little baby proves that good things do come in small packages.

This oven has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity with a 10″ turntable, enough to fit most plates and bowls. That comes with a 700W power output, not outstanding, but respectable at this price point. You won’t be waiting all day for your pizza to reheat with this thing.

The Sharp offers an impressive amount of pre-programmed functions. Among others, you can enjoy “time defrost”, “auto defrost” and a lot of auto food options like one to easily cook popcorn.

The “+30 seconds” button is a super convenient way to add on a bit more time. Or to simply choose “2 minutes” with a few button pushes. All accessible by its snazzy keypad.

The only criticism I can find is that the door is a bit hard to open.


2
Danby DMW07A2SSDD Microwave Oven

Gorgeous exterior design (bear in mind that the material itself is plastic and not stainless steel).

Ten different power levels for low power cooking.

Next up we have this model by Danby. A similar size and power as the Sharp, with volume of 0.7 cubic feet and a 9.5″ turntable paired with solid 700W power. This microwave is solidly reviewed on Amazon with an average of 4 stars at time of writing.

One nice feature of the Danby is its ten power levels of cooking. This gives you ultimate control of cooking, heating and reheating. For example, to soften butter it’s recommended to use precisely 10% power, not an option with every microwave.

The Danby is stainless steel colored and IMO the nicest looking oven on this list. Bear in mind the actual material is plastic. Perfectly safe, but not as “solid” looking. The keypad matches nicely with the rest of the oven too.


3
RCA RMW733 Microwave Oven

Good amount of pre-programmed settings for those who like to have the hassle taken out of reheating.

A few more reliability issues than others on this list.

Tons more useful features, the timesaving “sensor reheat” being a standout example.

The next model follows in a similar vein to the first two. Again, we’re looking at a microwave of 0.7 cubic feet capacity and 9.5″ diameter turntable and power output of 700W. Average review rating is 3.9 which I’ll discuss in a second.

This microwave has ten power levels so you have full control over how you cook and reheat food.

The LED and keypad are smartly laid out and easy to use, coming with six-button “one touch” cooking menu as you can see on the photo above.

The RCA has reports of reliability issues with reviews on Amazon claiming the oven stopped working after 1-3 months. Apparently customer support from the company was unhelpful, too.

These few complaints are, however, dwarfed by the large number of people who liked the microwave.


4
Commercial Chef Microwave Oven

Cheapest microwave currently available as of time of writing.

Decent microwave all things considered in terms of ease of use and features.

Slightly let down by having more reliability issues than you would like.

Our next microwave is, as of time of writing, the cheapest of the lot. If you want a functional microwave for as cheap as possible, this is your best bet.

Although the difference is only a few dollars, my bet would be to go with one of the more reliable options further up.

The Commercial Chef is by a fraction the smallest microwave here, at just 0.6 cubic feet and 10″ turntable. It still packs a decent power of 700W so you aren’t suffering with slower cooking times.

Despite its price, the oven comes well equipped with ten power levels and six pre-programmed presets to cook with, along with weight and speed defrost settings.

Along with plenty of good reviews, this one has multiple reports of issues and faulty parts that bring its average rating down. Unless you’re strapped for cash, a few more bucks for peace of mind would be my suggestion.


5
Amazon Basics Microwave Oven

Unique selling point of voice activation technology is a bonus for those who like the whole “smart home” thing.

A solid, if unspectacular, microwave otherwise.

The last entry on our list is a bit of a wild card as it’s produced by Amazon itself. Its standout feature is it can be programmed to function with Alexa.

If you’re all about that voice-activated smart home kinda stuff then you might love the idea of telling your microwave to “reheat for three minutes”.

The keypad itself is simpler than others in this list as you’re expected to use the voice recognition technology – possibly a drawback.

It finds its way onto this list because of its small size and affordable price tag. Like the other microwaves, we’re looking at a 700W power oven here that has capacity of 0.7 cubic feet and a 10″ turntable.

The downside? The price shoots up if you don’t already own an Echo Dot which is mandatory to use the microwave.

Other features are ten power levels, a kitchen timer, and a child safety lock, giving you a fair bang for your buck.

Lastly, a word from Amazon (and an idea of why they love getting people into the whole Alexa thing…)

“Automatically reorder popcorn when you run low and save 10% on popcorn orders—enabled by Amazon Dash Replenishment technology”


What you should know before buying a microwave under $50

A typical microwave will cost between $100-200. The ones on this list are much cheaper.

If you’re looking to grab something at a bargain basement price then you do sacrifice a couple of things. I’d like to talk about them now to make sure you’re ok with them.

The first is the power output, measured in wattage. All the microwaves listed here are 700W or below. This is at the low end and means your food will take longer to cook, longer to reheat, longer to defrost etc. If you’re used to rapid microwave times from a 1200W microwave then you might want to look elsewhere.

The second is extra features. On the lower end of the price range, pre-programmable options, child safety locks, keypads, auto-defrost and more advanced stuff like sensor technology and “inverter tech” is sadly absent.

The third is size. The turntable for all these microwaves measures 10″ diameter which will not fit all containers and dinner plates. Make sure this is acceptable for what you’re planning to use.

If you’d like to invest in those features, then try my review article here or simply just go for what I think is the best microwave (And best looking!) on the market right now.


Buyer’s Guide For Best Microwave Under $50

Necessary Features

Wattage

Your first and most important decision when choosing a microwave is to decide what amount of watts is necessary. The wattage of a microwave is a measure of its power, or more simply, how fast it cooks.

Generally speaking, the more the better. A higher wattage cooks things more quickly, a huge advantage whether you’re preparing a meal for ten people or just reheating yesterday’s leftovers.

The upper end of microwaves at around 1300W are almost twice as fast as the 700W or 800W microwaves you might be used to.

One caveat is that instructions and cooking times on packaged meals are for microwaves in the 700-900W range. However, you can simply reduce the power for most microwaves or just work out the time difference.

For example, a cooking time of 3 minutes (180 seconds) at 900W can be converted into 1200W using the following equation.

You might wonder why anyone would get a low wattage microwave. The technology used in microwaves gets exponentially more expensive to produce those higher wattages. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the extra power is worth the cost.

Dial or keypad

Microwaves use either a rotating dial or a keypad for input.

The keypad is the modern option. You have an LED display showing the remaining time and a plethora of buttons that offer different features or preset options.

A dial-based microwave is more simple and provides less information. You spin the dial to the amount of time you want. It’s tricky when doing smaller cooking times and doing increments of 30 seconds is often a guessing game!

Although nowadays you see some modern microwaves offer a dial input and LED display.

This option is useful for those who might have issues with a button-based input such as the disabled or elderly.

Size / Capacity

The standard measurement for size of microwaves in the USA is using cubic feet. Personally, I find this clunky and unhelpful. Here’s a rule of thumb to make sense of this measurement.

0.7 cubic feet – small microwave
1-1.5 cubic feet – normal-sized microwave
1.7+ cubic feet – larger microwave

It’s easier to judge size based on the diameter of the turntable on which you place your food. All microwaves I have reviewed have this diameter in the listing for your convenience.

To work out if a microwave will fit in your kitchen, it is best to use the dimensions of length, width, and height. These are available on any Amazon listing you can find by clicking on the links in the article.

Material

The materials that make up the inner components of the microwave oven are standardized across the industry. For example. the inner panels of the microwave are made from stainless steel which reflects the radio waves (or microwaves) and prevents them from leaving the oven. They are the same in all microwave ovens.

Typically, the outside body of the microwave is made of aluminum which is strong and cheap. In terms of buying a microwave, you don’t need to think too deeply about the material it is made from.

Power Levels

You won’t always want to use your microwave at full power. For example, one neat trick you can do with the microwave is to run it at 10% power to make beautiful and warm melted chocolate. Some microwaves give you more control over power settings than others.

The standard in modern microwaves is to have ten “power levels” where a five corresponds to 50% and a nine to 90% and so on. This gives you a lot of control.

On the other hand, you also come across microwaves that simply offer “medium” and “medium-low” heat, sometimes without even telling you the percentage of the full power that it’s using.

Optional Features

Inverter Technology

Older and cheaper microwaves have a peculiar quirk when using low power modes. For example, when using a 50% power they will not run at 50% power but will alternate between 100% power and then 0% power. This shortcut is not ideal and can lead to unevenly cooked food.

The issue is that the magnetron, the “engine” of a microwave, can either be turned on or off. Creating a microwave that can produce a steady stream of lower power requires a touch of tech wizardry.

You need to decide if it’s worth the investment to have this “inverter technology” for low power modes like defrosting, softening, melting and so on.

Sensor Reheating

Sensor heating is one of the highlights of modern microwave technology and takes the guesswork out of cooking and reheating.

Essentially, the microwave can detect moisture levels in the food and use this to calibrate precisely how much cooking time is needed. You select the type of food as different foods have different moisture profiles.

No need to put in an amount of time. In fact, some microwaves tell you how long is left before your food is ready.

Sensor technology can be used for reheating but also for cooking some foods from scratch. A valuable feature you may want to splash the cash for in your new microwave oven.

“Keep Warm”

The “keep warm” feature can be a lifesaver for a busy cook trying to juggle cooking five different things at once. Put this setting on and the microwave will keep gravy, soup, desserts or anything else at a steady heat, giving you room to manage the finer points of the meal.

Power saving / eco mode

An “eco mode” offers a reduction of up to 50% of the power used in standby mode, helping you to take a little off your electric bill and do your bit for the environment.

What an “eco mode” cannot do is reduce the amount of power used to cook food. The magnetron uses power at the output of the wattage itself and cannot be made more efficient.

Child safety lock

A microwave with a child safety lock will allow you to “lock” the microwave from being turned on when not in use. This can stop children from fiddling with a potentially dangerous appliance.

Sound on/off option

A “sound on/off” button will turn electric sounds off when selecting options or time and also when the food is finished. Handy for those who share living arrangements to mute the constant buzz of sounds.

“Soften”/”Melt”

A “soften” or “melt” button on a microwave allows you to soften butter or melt chocolate with a single touch. All microwaves have this capability with their low power modes, but a standalone button takes the guesswork out of it.

Convection Oven

A microwave with an in-built convection oven offers a great all-in-one appliance for those in dorms or with small kitchens where a separate oven is not an option. It can fulfill almost all the functions of a traditional oven but will rarely be as powerful. The cost is bumped up a fair bit, too.

The Ultimate Guide To Microwave Safety

microwave safety

Everyone’s got a microwave these days, and it’s super easy to think it’s as harmless as an ironing board or a wooden spoon. The truth is… your microwave oven works by emitting electromagnetic radiation. If that sounds a bit scary, it’s because it is.

Firstly, these “microwaves” (or radio waves) are harmful if they come into contact with humans. Secondly, they work in ways that are very different from just making food hot like an oven.

To give one example…

Do you know why it’s so dangerous to put metal in a microwave? You’ll know by the end of this article!

It’s true that microwave ovens are designed with safety as a priority. But even still, there are 21 microwave-related hospital admissions across the US every day! That’s about 8000 a year!

Don’t become a statistic. Read on to understand exactly how you should be using your microwave and what precautions you and your family should take. By the time you finish reading, you can rest safe knowing that you won’t end up as one of the “21”.

Sound good?

Then let’s dive in!

1
Heat up to 167°F (75°C)

We reheat food for two reasons. Firstly, because it tastes better hot. And secondly, because bacteria and other undesirables naturally grow on food and heat kills them.

To kill all viral and bacterial pathogens you need your food to reach an internal heat of 167°F (or 75°C). That’s pretty hot, not too far from the boiling point of water.

Ideally, you’d use a thermometer to check your food is at a safe temperature. Realistically, make sure your food is piping hot. It should be too hot to heat just after it’s come out of the microwave oven.

You should be letting your food stand for a minute or two after using the microwave to let the pockets of heat dissipate. So if in doubt, overshoot it and give it an extra minute. This helps for safety reasons but will also mean your food is more consistently hot, too.

Heating it up to “warm enough” or “ready to eat” temperature might seem ok, but have a think about what might be growing on you or your family’s dinner for a second then get back to me. I think you’ll realize it’s worth waiting a touch longer.

best microwave for small spaces

2
Make sure your food is spread out

As you (now) know, you need your food to be hot. The issue with microwaves is that the heat is not distributed evenly, but in bursts of waves that are strong in some points and weak in others. Moreover, these waves can only penetrate 1-2cm into food!

The solution is to make sure food is spread out where possible. Try not to have a big, dense clump of food in the middle of the plate as it will be hard for the microwaves to penetrate to the center and make it hot. If your food is spread out, the heat can pass through easily.

Some foods you can’t spread out, (baked potato, anyone?) so make sure these foods are cooked long and hot so the heat can spread through conduction.

3
Don’t use if the door doesn’t close

The inner frame of your microwave is coated with metal that reflects the microwaves (AKA radiation) back into the appliance so it doesn’t escape. Even the door doesn’t let the radiation out. It might look see through, but those small holes are designed to be too small for any microwaves to pass through.

So what happens if you leave the microwave running with the door open? You are literally letting radiation in the form of short wavelength radio waves out of the machine, ready to be absorbed by the nearest unfortunate human being. While it takes a substantial dose for any damage to occur, this should not be a risk anyone ever takes.

It must be said that microwave ovens are designed to only operate with the door closed. If this happens something is wrong with your device and you must not use it. Get it repaired pronto, or better yet, chuck it and replace it with something more reliable.

4
Never put metals in

Metal is NEVER microwave safe. You should make it very clear to all your family that this is an absolute NO-NO to put in a microwave, whether that’s a dish, fork, spoon, whatever.

Metals are full of spare electrons that are heated up and agitated by the microwaves (AKA short length radio waves) which cause the metal surface to get extremely hot and can cause sparks and bursts of flame. Check out this video for a demonstration.

If you want a fuller explanation with all the science behind it (good to show the older ones who are learning about science) then check out this great video.

What materials can you put in the microwave? Let’s answer that in the next section.

5
Check for microwave safe materials

The best dish, bowl or plate you can use in a microwave oven is anythnig that has the words “microwave safe” or the following symbol on it.

A manufacturer must make their products pass strict tests that are regulated by the FDA before they can use a “microwave safe” symbol. If you don’t own anything that’s labeled “microwave safe” then it gets a little trickier.

Ceramics, glass, and plastic are the best materials for a microwave as they allow the microwaves themselves to pass straight through without being absorbed or reflected. Unfortunately, each of these comes with its own issues.

With plastic, you run the risk of plastics that are harmful to humans leaching into the food and being consumed. BPA plastics are linked with a whole host of negative health conditions and exposing them to high temperatures from the microwave oven is more likely to see them end up in your food.

For ceramics, the potential danger comes from possible water content that can reach high temperatures from the microwaves. Ceramics also easily absorb heat through convection from hot food and burning hot dishes can be a hazard, too.

Be smart and look for the “microwave safe” symbol for peace of mind. Don’t have anything with this on it? Glass is the safest microwave material and your best bet in this case.

6
Test the heat of the food before trying it

One of the most common causes of microwave accidents is burns, either to the touch when holding burning hot dishes or on the mouth and tongue when eating.

Microwaves tend to focus their energy in certain spots of the oven and have less effect in other areas. This is why you have a rotating turntable in every microwave, to spread out the hot regions. Without it, your food would be burnt in a few spots and icy cold in others.

Even with the turntable, most microwave ovens are not perfect and have hot spots that cause burnt tongues and unhappy infants.

Let the food stand for a few minutes to allow the heat to dissipate throughout the food and test the heat of the food before swallowing a big mouthful. This way you’ll avoid a hasty post-dinner trip to the emergency room.

7
Don’t just pick up your container

The containers or dishes that you put in your microwave are ideally “microwave safe” (see tip #5), but that doesn’t mean you’re protected from burns to the fingers or dropping your dish because it’s too hot.

Microwave radiation will pass straight through a glass or ceramic container and cannot heat it directly. But as the food becomes hot, the container becomes hot be convection (transfer of heat, the way an oven works).

This can be deceiving and mean you pick up your microwave container when it’s actually burning hot!

How to avoid this? Well, plastic is the best material because as well as not absorbing microwaves it doesn’t absorb heat through convection very easily either. You definitely need “microwave safe” plastic though as otherwise dangerous BPA plastics can leach into the food.

8
Pierce your food / film lids

Due to the way microwave radiation concentrates on some areas of the oven more than others, you can get energy build up the leads to popping, bursting and splattering. This is especially pronounced in foods with higher liquid content or with film lids where steam can easily accumulate.

All microwave meals will tell you to pierce the lid. You don’t need to overdo it, a couple of times is enough to create a pressure release for excess steam to escape from. Fail to do this and you may just hear a few loud pops as your dinner is being cooked.

This can also be an issue with dense foods like a baked potato, which you should also pierce with a knife or fork to prevent steam build up.

9
Be careful of “super heated” water

One of the best “microwave hacks” is its ability to make boiling water in quick time without a kettle. Microwaves work by heating up water molecules so this is very energy efficient. At the same time, this poses danger in the form of “super heated” water.

When you boil water in a kettle on the stove you get visible signs of boiling like steam and fizzing at the surface of the water. Water that is boiled in a microwave however can appear still, like it’s a normal temperature, when it’s actually really hot.

This “super heated” water can make sudden jerks at the slightest disturbance which can easily result in burns if you’re not careful.

10
Don’t use it to thaw meat

The microwave radiation that heats up food and water in a microwave oven is quickly absorbed by dense foods, unable to penetrate more than one to two centimeters into any given food.

So if you’re trying to thaw a large chunk of meat, you’re likely to have burnt, half cooked edges and an ice cold center.

The last thing you need when cooking a chicken or pork dish when the center is frozen solid and you need to stick it in the oven.

Thawing meat is best done over a number of hours by naturally raising the temperature to that of room temperature. If you’re in an unavoidable hurry then chopping the meat into smaller pieces works as a fallback.

best microwave for defrosting

11
Clean your microwave

When was the last time you cleaned the inside of your microwave? I’m willing to bet it wasn’t in the last two weeks (if it is, pat yourself on the back and skip this section!)

Foods that are heated in a microwave are renowned for spitting and bursting. These little splashes of food end up on the ceiling and wall of your microwave oven and are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other nasties that can find their way into future meals.

A quick wipe is all that’s needed to be safe in the knowledge that anything cooked in your microwave is free from unpleasantness.

12
What’s the safest microwave?

If you’ve managed to read this far then you’ve absorbed a solid 2000 words of safety-related material and it’s safe to say (pun intended) this is a big issue for you. In that case, you might wonder what is the best microwave for safety.

For my money, the top dog in the market is this model from Panasonic. This microwave oven has a hefty power output of 1200W so your food cooks fast with a range of size options, comes with loads of features including Panasonic’s patented Inverter Technology and things like Turbo Defrost, while also offering unparalleled safety.

Check out the link to see current price, reviews etc.

Best Microwave For Baked Potatoes 2020

best microwave for baked potatoes

You a big potato guy or gal? Baked (or jacket) potatoes can be awesome when combined with a microwave oven. A couple of buttons and you’ve got dinner in ten minutes flat. Far more simple and easier than turning you potatoes into fries, wedges or mash…

We’ve researched countless microwave ovens on the market to bring you a comprehensive round up the best microwaves for baked potatoes. We’ve looked at things like ease of use, reliability, features and how the microwave works for baked potatoes in particular.

Best Overall: Toshiba EM925A5A SS Microwave
Best With Convection Element: Toshiba EC042A5C BS Microwave
Best Premium: Panasonic Microwave NN SN966S

Read on for in-depth reviews and more.


1
Toshiba EM925A5A SS Microwave

High quality all round microwave suitable for all home cooking needs.

Inexpensive price tag.

Rock solid reliability from a known and reputable brand.

First up for best microwave for baked potatoes is this fantastic feature-laden and modestly priced microwave from Toshiba.

Its size is 0.9 cubic feet which is respectable, if modest. It fits a 10.6″ turntable, so big enough for most dishes but might struggle to contain larger plates or bowls.

Its 900W power output is more than enough for most cooking needs, including cooking baked potatoes through in a timely manner.

Use the Toshiba’s mute button to turn off the loud beeping sounds for a bit of peace and quiet, and enjoy the peace of mind from its eco mode which reduces electricity use in standby.

You also have six different preset options to make life a little easier. Many of these features are only seen in more expensive microwaves.

Any drawbacks? Well, at 900W it’s not the most powerful. If you’re impatient, and baked potatoes in particular take a while to cook as they are so dense, you might want to look at the convection oven hybrid which is next on this list.-


2
Toshiba EC042A5C BS Microwave

Offers convection element to get the real crisp on your baked potatoes.

Three appliances in one comes in super handy.

Rock solid reliability from a known and reputable brand.

The next model is a microwave and convection oven hybrid that also comes from Toshiba and gives you unrivaled versatility. Baked potatoes, oven cooked pizzas, homemade cookies and a whole other host of treats are available to you with one purchase.

A more expensive and larger model which comes in at 1.5 cubic ft capacity with a 13.5″ turntable and respectable 1000W power output, this thing is large enough and powerful enough that you’re not waiting around all day for your food to cook.

On top of that, you have convection cooking and a grill. It’s three appliances in one, basically.

The convection oven itself works really well, with the preheat time no longer than a regular oven. It fits in seamlessly with the microwave function, too.

The convection function is accessed using the same control panel as the microwave and setting it off is a breeze, especially with its many “one touch start” options. In fact, you would hardly know it was anything more than a normal microwave on first inspection!

One thing I like about using convection for potatoes is you can use it to melt cheese. I’m a fan of cheese and beans or cheese and tuna on my potatoes, and getting that hot, melted cheese spread out makes it that bit tastier!

As a top of the line model, the Toshiba packs in plenty of extras, too. Timesaving sensor technology which uses humidity to automatically set cooking, reheating and defrosting times is a gamechanger.

Throw in power saving eco mode for when the microwave is in standby, “auto menu” filled with presets for cooking and silent mode all into the mix as well.


3
Panasonic Microwave NN SN966S

High 1250W power for blazing fast cooking speeds – about as fast as anything currently available.

Loads of features to make cooking easier than ever.

A touch more expensive than the others in this list.

The last option is a superb microwave that sits at the top end of the market. It’s larger than the other two, coming in at a whopping 2.2 cu. ft with a 16.5″ turntable – do make sure it’ll fit your kitchen however!

With that size comes a fantastic 1250W of power and rapid cooking times, almost twice as fast as you might get with a small 700W microwave. (Oher size options in the range are available).

This microwave uses Panasonic’s patented inverter technology. What this means is when you use low power modes like defrosting, the magnetron uses a steady stream of power rather than just turning off for a few seconds then on for a few seconds, like most microwaves.

This gives you much more consistently cooked and reheated food. It’ll also give you full control over heating up baked potatoes if you find a recipe that suggests not to use full power.

The Panasonic tops all that off with a child safety lock, a delayed start feature, turbo defrost and loads and loads of pre-programmed stuff to make cooking and reheating super simple.

It’s even got a keep warm mode to keep soups and gravies hot while you are prepping the rest of the meal. For potato aficionados though, it can keep your spud piping hot while you prepare your accompaniment.


What makes a microwave good for baked potatoes?

As awesome as cooking potatoes in a microwave is, it’s technically not “baked”. That word is reserved for being cooked in an oven at high heat.

Making real baked potatoes comes with its own issues, however. It takes upwards of an hour to bake a potato, a long time and a lot of gas or electricity for a single meal.

And not everyone has an oven in their kitchen, especially those in dorms or small apartments. So the right microwave can be a solid replacement.

A good microwave for baked potatoes needs a decent power output. Microwaves can only penetrate a centimeter or two into any food. Not nearly enough for most potatoes.

And this is compounded by how dense they are which is why microwaving potatoes takes so much longer than, for example, soup.

In a microwave, large and dense foods like a potato are cooked by convection. Where the edges are cooked and the heat moves slowly towards the center. A high power microwave cooks the potato quickly and evenly with little risk of cool, uncooked spots in the middle.

You also have the option of a microwave with a convection oven element built in (number 2 on this list). Useful if you don’t have an oven but still want that “crisp” of a freshly baked potato.


Buyer’s Guide For Best Microwave For Baked Potatoes

Necessary Features

Wattage

Your first and most important decision when choosing a microwave is to decide what amount of watts is necessary. The wattage of a microwave is a measure of its power, or more simply, how fast it cooks.

Generally speaking, the more the better. A higher wattage cooks things more quickly, a huge advantage whether you’re preparing a meal for ten people or just reheating yesterday’s leftovers.

The upper end of microwaves at around 1300W are almost twice as fast as the 700W or 800W microwaves you might be used to.

One caveat is that instructions and cooking times on packaged meals are for microwaves in the 700-900W range. However, you can simply reduce the power for most microwaves or just work out the time difference.

For example, a cooking time of 3 minutes (180 seconds) at 900W can be converted into 1200W using the following equation.

You might wonder why anyone would get a low wattage microwave. The technology used in microwaves gets exponentially more expensive to produce those higher wattages. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the extra power is worth the cost.

Dial or keypad

Microwaves use either a rotating dial or a keypad for input.

The keypad is the modern option. You have an LED display showing the remaining time and a plethora of buttons that offer different features or preset options.

A dial-based microwave is more simple and provides less information. You spin the dial to the amount of time you want. It’s tricky when doing smaller cooking times and doing increments of 30 seconds is often a guessing game!

Although nowadays you see some modern microwaves offer a dial input and LED display.

This option is useful for those who might have issues with a button-based input such as the disabled or elderly.

Size / Capacity

The standard measurement for size of microwaves in the USA is using cubic feet. Personally, I find this clunky and unhelpful. Here’s a rule of thumb to make sense of this measurement.

0.7 cubic feet – small microwave
1-1.5 cubic feet – normal-sized microwave
1.7+ cubic feet – larger microwave

It’s easier to judge size based on the diameter of the turntable on which you place your food. All microwaves I have reviewed have this diameter in the listing for your convenience.

To work out if a microwave will fit in your kitchen, it is best to use the dimensions of length, width, and height. These are available on any Amazon listing you can find by clicking on the links in the article.

Material

The materials that make up the inner components of the microwave oven are standardized across the industry. For example. the inner panels of the microwave are made from stainless steel which reflects the radio waves (or microwaves) and prevents them from leaving the oven. They are the same in all microwave ovens.

Typically, the outside body of the microwave is made of aluminum which is strong and cheap. In terms of buying a microwave, you don’t need to think too deeply about the material it is made from.

Power Levels

You won’t always want to use your microwave at full power. For example, one neat trick you can do with the microwave is to run it at 10% power to make beautiful and warm melted chocolate. Some microwaves give you more control over power settings than others.

The standard in modern microwaves is to have ten “power levels” where a five corresponds to 50% and a nine to 90% and so on. This gives you a lot of control.

On the other hand, you also come across microwaves that simply offer “medium” and “medium-low” heat, sometimes without even telling you the percentage of the full power that it’s using.

Optional Features

Inverter Technology

Older and cheaper microwaves have a peculiar quirk when using low power modes. For example, when using a 50% power they will not run at 50% power but will alternate between 100% power and then 0% power. This shortcut is not ideal and can lead to unevenly cooked food.

The issue is that the magnetron, the “engine” of a microwave, can either be turned on or off. Creating a microwave that can produce a steady stream of lower power requires a touch of tech wizardry.

You need to decide if it’s worth the investment to have this “inverter technology” for low power modes like defrosting, softening, melting and so on.

Sensor Reheating

Sensor heating is one of the highlights of modern microwave technology and takes the guesswork out of cooking and reheating.

Essentially, the microwave can detect moisture levels in the food and use this to calibrate precisely how much cooking time is needed. You select the type of food as different foods have different moisture profiles.

No need to put in an amount of time. In fact, some microwaves tell you how long is left before your food is ready.

Sensor technology can be used for reheating but also for cooking some foods from scratch. A valuable feature you may want to splash the cash for in your new microwave oven.

“Keep Warm”

The “keep warm” feature can be a lifesaver for a busy cook trying to juggle cooking five different things at once. Put this setting on and the microwave will keep gravy, soup, desserts or anything else at a steady heat, giving you room to manage the finer points of the meal.

Power saving / eco mode

An “eco mode” offers a reduction of up to 50% of the power used in standby mode, helping you to take a little off your electric bill and do your bit for the environment.

What an “eco mode” cannot do is reduce the amount of power used to cook food. The magnetron uses power at the output of the wattage itself and cannot be made more efficient.

Child safety lock

A microwave with a child safety lock will allow you to “lock” the microwave from being turned on when not in use. This can stop children from fiddling with a potentially dangerous appliance.

Sound on/off option

A “sound on/off” button will turn electric sounds off when selecting options or time and also when the food is finished. Handy for those who share living arrangements to mute the constant buzz of sounds.

“Soften”/”Melt”

A “soften” or “melt” button on a microwave allows you to soften butter or melt chocolate with a single touch. All microwaves have this capability with their low power modes, but a standalone button takes the guesswork out of it.

Convection Oven

A microwave with an in-built convection oven offers a great all-in-one appliance for those in dorms or with small kitchens where a separate oven is not an option. It can fulfill almost all the functions of a traditional oven but will rarely be as powerful. The cost is bumped up a fair bit, too.

Best Microwave For Home Use 2020

best microwave for home use

Are you on the hunt for a new microwave oven for your kitchen? Microwaves are an important part of family life, used for cooking, reheating, defrosting and even popping popcorn or softening butter! Husbands, wives, and children all get a kick out of a quality microwave…

This roundup article will cover reviews for the best microwave for home use in 2020. We’ve tested and researched the products and scoured consumer reports to provide expert analysis and recommendations. We looked at ease of use, reliability, safety and other important factors when making a buying decision.

Best Overall: Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S
Best Budget: Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
Best With Convection Oven: Samsung MG14H3020CM Grill Microwave Oven

Wanna learn more? Then keep reading…


1
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN766S

Unique, patented “inverter technology” designed for defrosting and other low power modes makes this a no-brainer for best overall microwave for defrosting.

High 1250W power means all cooking, reheating and defrosting is super quick.

Tons more useful features, the timesaving “sensor reheat” being a standout example.

The Panasonic flagship microwave oven comes in at a beefy 1250W for super fast cooking times along with a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet and an interior turntable diameter of 15″.

The brand offers variations of power and size, too. Check out the link to see what options you have.

This microwave has an awesome set of features that’ll make cooking, reheating and anything else you want to do with a microwave a dream.

Panasonic’s patented “inverter technology” delivers a steady stream of low power for consistent defrosting and reheating. It comes equipped with a genius sensor that works out the cook time based on the humidity of the food. Seriously, you just press a button and it heats it up perfectly, no need to put in a time!

The second main reason is Panasonic’s great reputation for reliability. No-one wants to spend a Sunday afternoon getting their microwave fixed, so buying something that will last is a smart bet.


2
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

Excellent all round microwave oven that packs a lot in for the money.

Toshiba have a stellar record for reliability of their microwaves.

This model from Toshiba packs a mighty punch for its size. It comes in smaller than all the Panasonic range at 0.9 cubic feet with a 10.6″ turntable and is the smart choice if you’re looking to stretch your dollar.

It also offers a sleek, modern stainless steel finish rarely found outside of the more expensive microwaves.

The wattage is a respectable 900W which means you won’t be waiting around all day for your food to cook and reheat.

The features are solid if unspectacular. The Toshiba comes with pre-programmed cooking options as well as a power saving eco mode, child safety lock and mute button for the microwave’s beeping sounds.

Toshiba has a stellar reputation for reliability. Reports of issues and breakdowns with their microwaves are reassuringly rare and this is backed up with a superb average rating on Amazon of 4.3.

Click the link to check out the reviews if you want to see for yourself.


3
Samsung MG14H3020CM Grill Microwave Oven

Convection heating element allows for browning and crisping that is not possible in normal microwave ovens.

Beautiful scratch resistant aesthetic with Easyclean surface.

Lots of presets to make your life easier.

The next choice comes from Samsung which finds its way onto our list for one superb feature useful around the home: a convection oven element built into the microwave oven.

Microwaves, for all their uses. cannot melt cheese or brown bread and other doughy products. Pizza and microwaves do not mix, for instance.

So the best microwave for your home use might be one with a particular combined grilling and microwave element that can be used for pizza, toast, fish and anything else that does well with a crispy exterior.

The Samsung is a beautiful looking machine with its stainless steel finish and hyper modern interface. The exterior is scratch resistant and “easyclean” so it’ll stay looking nice for ages. The interior is fitted with a strong, solid-feeling ceramic plate.

You can throw in a bunch of auto cook presets including soften and melt functions, an auto defrost mode and sound on/off button in the many reasons why this could be a good choice for your household.


What makes a microwave good for home use?

A good home microwave needs a few key things to be a good purchase. Here are the factors we considered.

Reliability. A microwave oven is not a glamour purchase. One that works well and does the job with no issues for many years is ideal. So reliability, warranty length and quality of customer service are all important factors when choosing a home microwave to recommend to you.

Features. Modern microwaves are kitted out with cool and convenient options to make cooking at home super simple. Automatic sensor heating and “turbo defrost” are two examples of what some brands offer to make your life easier.

Power. The higher the wattage of your microwave the more powerful it is and the quicker it cooks your food. Modern microwaves have high powers of up to 1200W with equally blazing cook times. You do pay more for the privilege.

Type of microwave. The most common model of microwave oven is the countertop microwave that sits on your counter and plugs into an outlet. You can also find microwaves above-the-range or built-in to the framework of your kitchen.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Take Out Boxes? (2 Things You Should Know)

can you microwave styrofoam take out boxes

The microwave oven is perfect for those lazy mornings when you just want to shove last night’s takeaway into your mouth.

But can you reheat the leftovers in the styrofoam (or polystyrene) takeout boxes they give you? Or do you need a separate plate?

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Take Out Boxes?

You shouldn’t microwave styrofoam. It’s not a durable material and it has a low melting point, so it easily breaks down upon heating and can leach into your food.

While it’s unlikely to kill you or even cause any long term damage, it’s a type of plastic that most people would be put off having make its way around your intestines or bloodstream.

Generally speaking, if the container isn’t labeled “microwave safe” then it has not been tested or proven to be safe for humans.

Why Is Styrofoam Not Suitable For Microwaves?

Styrofoam is widely used in packaging hot takeaway food, so you might wonder why we can’t use the same material for hot reheated food.

Styrofoam has not been tested and regulated for microwave use so we can’t be sure it’s safe for humans to eat food that has been in contact with microwaved Styrofoam takeaway boxes.

Moreover, there is evidence to suggest negative health consequences as a result of exposure to Styrofoam, as I’ll expand on in the next section.

The issue with microwave ovens is the way they heat foods.

Have you ever noticed after microwaving food that some parts are burning hot and some are still icy cool? This is fine for most foods as you can let it stand.

But for some containers, this high heat can cause the material itself to degrade and leach into your food.

Is Styrofoam Dangerous?

Styrofoam is a type of plastic with specific properties that make it useful for things like takeaway boxes or food containment.

You can tell a material is Styrofoam from the following symbol, a triangle of arrows surrounding the number “6”. The PS stands for polystyrene as Styrofoam is a trademarked kind of polystyrene.

Image result for styrofoam symbol

Styrofoam is a styrene, an umbrella term that encompasses all polystyrene. Evidence, albeit limited, suggests a carcinogenic link due to exposure to styrenes in humans.

The following quote sums things up well.

Polystyrene contains the toxic substances Styrene and Benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to humans. Hot foods and liquids actually start a partial breakdown of the Styrofoam, causing some toxins to be absorbed into our bloodstream and tissue

Be safe. Throw your food in a ceramic or glass bowl and enjoy your reheated chicken chow mein with some peace of mind.

What Materials Can I Use In The Microwave?

Glass. This is the safest all round microwaveable material. The radio waves (or microwaves pass) straight through the glass and there is no risk of undesirable chemicals leaching into your food.

Ceramic. Ceramic containers are a safe bet for microwaving foods for the same reason as glass with one caveat, they have a high heat capacity. Watch out for ceramic bowls or plates that get heated by convection by the hot food – careful not to burn your hand or drop the dish!

Plastic. Plastics are a good material for the microwave in the sense that the radio waves are not absorbed, but it’s a big risk for leaching into your food, particularly the infamous BPA plastics. Use containers that have a “microwave safe” label to be sure they have been tested for human consumption.

Metal. Never put metal into your microwave. The unique properties of metals cause dangerous build ups of energy and can cause literal sparks to fly.

Can I Microwave Food On The Glass Turntable?

The convenient option of putting your leftover pizza on the glass turntable inside the microwave does work, but it’s inadvisable.

Without a container, your food may pop, splatter or stick to the turntable or other parts of your microwave. Bacteria and other harmful pathogens then have the opportunity to grow so the next time you (or someone else) uses the microwave you run the risk of cross-contamination.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to wash the turntable right after then go straight ahead.

Sources:
1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-plastic-a-threat-to-your-health
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-microwave-styrofoam#bottom-line
3. https://plasgranltd.co.uk/plastic-recycling-symbols-what-do-they-mean/