Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Microwaves of 2022

We tested microwaves from Toshiba, Kenmore, Panasonic, and more to find the best on the market
We run a series of tests and include real-world use aimed at finding t...
Credit: Laura Casner
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 13, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Need a new microwave? Our appliance experts researched over 70 models before purchasing and testing 9 of the best microwaves available today. We put them all to the test, reheating plate after plate of leftovers, zapping family dinners, and defrosting meats. We compared how evenly and quickly each model heats, and ranked and rated how easy each one is to use. No matter what kind of microwave you're looking for, our extensive review highlights many options to help you find the one that best suits your home needs and budget.

If you're looking for more upgrades to your kitchen, we've tested a wide array of kitchen appliances, from food processors to toaster ovens.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on January 13, 2022 to include the Panasonic NN-SN67KS as our Top Pick for Frozen Foods. We also added more detail on our microwave testing and rating process and share more info on our heating tests.

Top 9 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 9
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price Check Price at Amazon$170 List
$149.99 at Amazon
$220 List
$202.02 at Amazon
$75 List
$74.99 at Amazon
$110 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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69
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65
64
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to useExcellent at defrosting, convenientExcellent heating, great with frozen foods, large capacityInexpensive, above-average performance, compactGood at defrosting meat
Cons So-so with mixed leftoversLarge, expensiveExpensive, so-so at defrostingLow power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functionsNot the most convenient to use, heating performance could be better
Bottom Line For those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we testedAn excellent all-around product with a large capacity, this model has convenient features and is exceptional at defrostingOffers unmatched performance for heating frozen food, and is one of the better products available for heating food evenly, without annoying hot and cold spotsThis compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integrationThis product pairs average results with an average price, failing to stand out from the competition
Rating Categories Kenmore 70929 Toshiba EM131A5C Panasonic NN-SN67KS AmazonBasics Microw... Panasonic NN-SB458S
Heating (40%)
6.0
5.5
6.8
6.1
6.2
Frozen Foods (30%)
8.3
7.0
9.0
7.4
6.7
Defrosting (20%)
8.0
9.0
4.0
6.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (10%)
6.9
8.1
6.2
6.4
5.5
Specs Kenmore 70929 Toshiba EM131A5C Panasonic NN-SN67KS AmazonBasics Microw... Panasonic NN-SB458S
Wattage 900 watts 1100 watts 1200 watts 700 watts 900 watts
Size 0.9 cu. ft. 1.2 cu. ft. 1.2 cu. ft. 0.7 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft.
Dimensions 17.7"W x 11.0"H x 14.5"D 20.5"W x 12.8"H x 17.1"D 20.7"W x 12.3"H x 15.8"D 17.3"W x 10.1"H x 14.1"D 19.1"W x 11.5"H x 14.8"D
Turntable Diameter 11.2" 12.4" 13.4" 10.0" 10.6"
Internal Dimentions 13.6"W x 9.3"H x 12.4"D 15"W x 9.5"H x 13.1"D 14.4"W x 9.9"H x 13.9"D 10.9"W x 6.9"H x 10"D 13.9"W x 8.1"H x 12.4"D
Child lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
45 Sec Heating Temp Rise 83 F 111 F 78 F 70 F 89 F


Best Overall Microwave


Kenmore 70929


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Heating 6.0
  • Frozen Foods 8.3
  • Defrosting 8.0
  • Ease of use 6.9
Power: 900 Watts | Size: 0.9 cu. ft.
Very good at frozen foods
Good at defrosting
User-friendly quick features
Lackluster with leftovers

The Kenmore 70929 packs a lot of punch into a small package. It performs impressively well across the board with an especially impressive performance on frozen food and defrosting frozen meat, delivering some of the best results we've seen. On top of its stellar performance, the Kenmore is very easy to use. Its quick-start buttons, like the 30-second cook or popcorn preset, make using this device a breeze, and the bright light makes it easy to keep an eye on your food while it's cooking.

While the Kenmore offers amazing results, there were still some inconsistencies. This model creates some temperature gradients in food when spanned across the turntable. Food items placed in the center of the turntable heat up more than food items that sit closer to the perimeter. Generally speaking, it is not the most powerful option out there either, but we were pleasantly surprised with the impressive results this compact appliance yielded. Nevertheless, we heartily recommend the Kenmore to anyone shopping for a top-tier option with a smaller footprint.

Read review: Kenmore 70929

This appliance delivered one of the top overall performances.
This appliance delivered one of the top overall performances.
Credit: Laura Casner

Best Large Capacity Microwave


Toshiba EM131A5C


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Heating 5.5
  • Frozen Foods 7.0
  • Defrosting 9.0
  • Ease of use 8.1
Power: 1100 Watts | Size: 1.2 cu. ft.
Great at defrosting
Easy to use
Good for frozen foods
Higher price

If you're on the hunt for a full-sized, high-end microwave, we recommend checking out the Toshiba EM131A5C first. This appliance performs well across all our metrics, yielding especially exceptional results when defrosting. It defrosts without cooking, which can be a tall order for most microwaves, making this a great option for those who frequently keep frozen meat on hand. The EM131A5C also has no problem heating frozen meals quickly, and the user-friendly interface is chock-full of convenient presets, making tasks like this hassle-free.

While this speedy kitchen appliance will have your dinner warmed up in no time, it falls a little short in heating our food evenly (an issue we found with almost every microwave tested). This mostly occurs when there are different types of food being heated at once, such as a plate of leftovers or even a slice of pizza, as the cheese heats up much faster than the crust. It is also larger and a bit more expensive than some of its competitors, but if you have a few extra bucks to spend on a high-quality product, we don't think you'll be let down.

Read review: Toshiba EM131A5C

This model is one of our all-time favorites in this category of...
This model is one of our all-time favorites in this category of products.
Credit: Laura Casner

Best Bang for Your Buck


AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7


65
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Heating 6.1
  • Frozen Foods 7.4
  • Defrosting 6.0
  • Ease of use 6.4
Power: 700 Watts | Size: 0.7 cu. ft.
Great for frozen burritos
Very compact
Inexpensive
Low power

For a microwave with a price as small as its footprint, check out the AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7. This budget-friendly option performs admirably across all our metrics. Despite its low power output, it heats pre-prepared frozen items with ease. It is simple and easy to use, with the added benefit of being compatible with Alexa-enabled smart home devices.

We noticed some hot spots in our heat map testing, and food takes longer to heat up in this smaller, less powerful option. Its interface, while mostly user-friendly, requires some getting used to. The Alexa-enabled smart home capabilities also require some additional setup, and some of our testers wondered if it's worth the hassle. All in all, this offering from AmazonBasics is one of our top suggestions to anyone looking for a more economical option.

Read review: AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7

This Amazon Basics option is a great choice for smaller kitchens.
This Amazon Basics option is a great choice for smaller kitchens.
Credit: Laura Casner

Best for Frozen Foods


Panasonic NN-SN67KS


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Heating 6.8
  • Frozen Foods 9.0
  • Defrosting 4.0
  • Ease of use 6.2
Power: 800 Watts | Size: 0.9 cu. ft.
Great with frozen foods
Consistent and even heating
More expensive
So-so defrosting

If you want a kitchen appliance that delivers top performance on frozen foods, look no further than the Panasonic NN-SN67KS. It delivered the best performance in two of our three frozen food tests and tied for 2nd place in the third. It also stood out on one thing that can make microwave use frustrating: uneven heating, where one part of the item is still cold, and other parts are steaming hot. The Panasonic left the competition in the dust on our Heat Map test, which measures consistent and even heating of foods and earned the top score on heating overall.

Surprisingly, this Panasonic microwave delivered below-average performance defrosting meat, despite it being the top performer on heating frozen foods. It is also premium priced, which may give some consumers pause before buying. But, if you are looking for a microwave that's perfect for frozen foods and delivers more even heating across your food items, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS is a perfect choice.

Read review: Panasonic NN-SN67KS

The Panasonic NN-SN67KS is larger and premium-priced, but it...
The Panasonic NN-SN67KS is larger and premium-priced, but it delivers exceptional heating and frozen food performance. It isn't very portable; it takes quite a lot of force to slide this microwave around even on slick countertops.
Credit: Laura Casner

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
72
$180
Editors' Choice Award
This is a great top-tier option for anyone with a smaller kitchen
69
$170
Editors' Choice Award
This appliance is a fantastic choice for anyone predominantly heating up frozen foods and seeking a larger model
68
$220
Top Pick Award
This product was the top performer for heating frozen foods, and is one of the best for heating food items evenly and consistently
65
$75
Best Buy Award
An affordable option with good performance for those with smaller kitchens
64
$110
A middle of the road product for a reasonable price, but we weren't exceptionally wowed by any aspect of this microwave
61
$95
This model stood out for its ease of use and great performance with frozen foods, but performed poorly at defrosting
61
$120
While this appliance did alright in our rankings, it just didn't match the performance of some of the better models
58
$170
If this is your aesthetic, you may be willing to look past the average overall cooking performance offered by this model
54
$90
All in all, this appliance didn't deliver very impressive results, failing to earn it a recommendation from us

We put each microwave through a gauntlet of more than 72 individual...
We put each microwave through a gauntlet of more than 72 individual performance tests to find the best.
Credit: Laura Casner

Why You Should Trust Us


Our testing team of Austin Palmer and David Wise has extensive experience with kitchen appliances, including testing more than 250 products for GearLab ranging from juicers and food processors to ice cream makers and blenders. Throughout the testing process, both Austin, David, and the rest of the GearLab team became frozen food connoisseurs, consuming far more Hot Pockets, mini-lasagnas, and frozen burritos than anyone perhaps should.

Our microwave testing is divided across four rating metrics:
  • Heating tests (40% of overall score weighting)
  • Frozen Foods tests (35% weighting)
  • Defrosting tests (20% weighting)
  • Ease of Use tests (10% weighting)

We've purchased and tested over 20 different microwaves over the last five years. We conduct extensive head-to-head tests and have a group of judges evaluate the quality of the heated food. We objectively compare how efficiently each appliance is able to heat the desired item by measuring the temperatures across food and liquids with multiple digital thermometers and a laser infrared thermometer. We used the products in our office and personal kitchens over multiple months to see how they perform over a longer period and how easily they function in a real-world kitchen.

We subjected this fleet of microwaves to 162 individual tests to rate performance. The most emphasis was placed on the Heating tests, which corresponds to 40% of each product's total score. We broke that metric down into five specific tests that include heat mapping and the speed at which each product heated. We also placed a significant amount of scoring weight on how well each microwave could heat frozen foods.

There was just a bit of a cool spot in the center but all three...
In our Heating tests, such as the Pizza Heating test shown above on...
We liked that all three types of food came out fairly close in...

Analysis and Test Results


For the nine microwaves we tested, we split our suite of testing assessments into four weighted metrics: heating, frozen foods, defrosting, and ease of use. Each metric includes a variety of different tests, with the performance of each product detailed in the sections below. Remember to consider what you typically use a microwave for and what aspects matter most to you as you read through our metrics and scores.


Value


When you pay more for a microwave, you'll often get a more powerful unit that heats food quickly and has more convenient (AKA more specific) functions. If you're on a budget, one product stands out well above the rest: the AmazonBasics 0.7. It is substantially more affordable than many of the other contenders yet still holds its own when it comes to performance. It's also quite a bit smaller, so it may take slightly longer to heat food, but it's hard to beat when it comes to the price.

The high-end Panasonic NN-SN67KS delivers top heating performance...
The high-end Panasonic NN-SN67KS delivers top heating performance and heats up food very evenly.
Credit: Laura Casner

Heating Performance


Heating performance is of fundamental importance to your day-to-day use of, and satisfaction with, a microwave oven. So, it is no surprise that we gave Heating a full 40% of the overall score weighting. To rate microwaves on heating, we challenged each product with five different tests:
  • Heating Map test (35% of Heating score weighting)
  • Heating Speed test (20% weighting)
  • Leftover Heating test (15% weighting)
  • Soup Heating test (15% weighting)
  • Pizza Heating test (15% weighting)


The standout performer on heating was the high-end Panasonic NN-SN67KS, which came in 1st place in two of our five heating tests, and tied for 2nd place in two other heating tests. The Toshiba EM925A5A and the lower cost Panasonic model NN-SB458S also delivered strong heating performance, but unlike the top-end Panasonic, neither was above average when it came to even heating.

The worst performer in our heating test was the retro-looking Nostalgia RMO4AQ, which heated foods unevenly, leaving too many hot and cold areas.

The Nostalgia may add a fun retro look to your countertop, but be...
The Nostalgia may add a fun retro look to your countertop, but be aware that it was the worst performer in our heating tests.
Credit: Laura Casner

Heating Map Test


Our heating map test rates the consistency of heating across a wide area of the microwave. To perform this test, we spread an even layer of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow creme on parchment paper, cut out a disk the size of the turntable, and then heated it on high for 2 minutes. We scored each product based on the consistency of temperature and browning. The products that scored best created an even amount of heating across the entire disk of marshmallow fluff. Poor performers had hot and cold spots, which are visually evident on the marshmallow creme surface. We also looked at the underside of the disk, which was visible through the parchment paper.


The high-end Panasonic model, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS, did the best in our heat map test by a wide margin, showing very few hotspots with the marshmallow fluff and excellent temperature consistency over the disk. However, the inner section did heat up slightly more than the outer areas.

The Nostalgia RMO4AQ is very inconsistent in heating &amp;#40;even worse...
One of the worst performers in our heat map test, the Toshiba...
The Panasonic NN-SN67KS had the best heat map test, with fairly even...

Poor performers in the heat map test include the Nostalgia which left the inner ring hardly cooked at all, while the outer ring was nearly burnt. Similarly, the lower-cost Toshiba model, the Toshiba EM121A5C had a center ring that gets super-heated compared to the rest of the disk.

Heating Speed Test


To test heating speed, we put a 125 mL beaker of water in the center of the oven, then heated it on high for 45 seconds. This allowed us to measure the rise in temperature, from the starting temp (room temperature) to the temperature after 45 seconds of heating.


The high-end Toshiba EM131A5C outpaced the rest in heating speed, raising the water temp 110.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a full 25% higher than any other oven. The slowest heating performance was by the affordably-priced AmazonBasics 0.7, only boosting the temperature by 70.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

For our Heating Speed test, we measured how much the temperature...
For our Heating Speed test, we measured how much the temperature increased in 124mL of water when heated for 45 seconds on high.
Credit: Laura Casner

Leftover Heating


Heating leftovers was the one test where the lowest-cost products shined. The low-end Panasonic product, the Panasonic NN-SB458S, did the best with the mixed plate of leftovers, heating all three types of food fairly evenly, an admittedly difficult task for a microwave. Tied for 2nd place was the value-priced AmazonBasics 0.7 and low-end Toshiba.


Some surprising and notably poor performances on Leftovers came from the Toshiba EM131A5C and Panasonic NN-SN67KS. Despite doing very well across many tests across the metrics and landing at the top of the pile overall, these models failed to achieve consistent heating results here.

The AmazonBasics scored near the top in our leftover heating test...
The AmazonBasics scored near the top in our leftover heating test. All three types of food were warm enough to eat after the heating cycle, though the sausage was a bit warmer than the veggies.
Credit: Laura Casner

Soup Heating


All the products did a pretty good job heating soup, but this was another test where the AmazonBasics was tied for first place in our tests. The Toshiba ovens also performed very well in our soup tests, sharing first place with the AmazonBasics.


Pizza


We heated two slices of leftover pizza in each microwave, checking to see which models could heat them evenly and thoroughly. This test accounted for 15% of the Heating metric.


If you love pizza, keep the Panasonic NN-SN67KS at the top of your list. This model not only excelled with frozen foods, but was one of the top scorers at reheating pizza.

Both slices of pizza came out of the Panasonic quite evenly heated.
Both slices of pizza came out of the Panasonic quite evenly heated.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conversely, the Panasonic NN-SB458S, performed the worst in the pizza test, unevenly heating the slices, with one being nowhere near hot enough to eat and the other slide exhibiting hot and cold spots.

The Panasonic NN-SN67KS offers unmatched performance heating frozen...
The Panasonic NN-SN67KS offers unmatched performance heating frozen foods, although it was oddly below average at defrosting frozen meat.
Credit: Laura Casner

Frozen Foods


Our next series of tests focused on how well each of these products could heat premade frozen food items, such as Hot Pockets, mini-lasagnas, or frozen burritos. We followed the manufacturers' instructions for reheating, adjusting for the power level of each model when necessary. We used a grid of instant-read kitchen thermometers to compare how evenly heated each piece of food was to determine the scores.


Of all the products we tested, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS stood out when heating prepared frozen foods. This appliance did an excellent job with all three types of frozen foods, producing an average temperature difference of 10 degrees Fahrenheit or less between zones.

The center came out a bit warmer than the edges during our heat...
The center came out a bit warmer than the edges during our heat testing of the Panasonic NN-SN67KS.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Kenmore 70929 and the Toshiba EM925A5A closely followed, both performing nearly as well. These products delivered almost perfect results with the Hot Pockets and heated our burritos evenly. However, they showed a bit more of a temperature spread with the mini-lasagna, particularly the Toshiba EM925A5A, which left an average temperature difference of 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

One side of the lasagna was quite a bit cooler than the middle and...
One side of the lasagna was quite a bit cooler than the middle and other side during our heat test of the AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7.
Credit: Laura Casner

The bulk of our test suite — the AmazonBasics 0.7, the Black+Decker EM031MB11, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ, the Panasonic NN-SB458S, and the Toshiba EM131A5C — all lagged behind the top performers. These underperformers all did decently well with the Hot Pocket and the frozen burrito but average or below with the lasagna. Of these products, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ was the least impressive, showing an average temperature variation of 43 degrees Fahrenheit between zones. The rest of the group ranged between 15 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The roll of turkey, ready to be defrosted in the Toshiba EM925A5A.
The roll of turkey, ready to be defrosted in the Toshiba EM925A5A.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Defrosting


Our defrosting metric is based on the results of a single test: defrosting a one-pound block of frozen ground turkey. We ran a defrosting cycle for that weight of food based on the instructions for each model, then based scores on the amount of turkey that was successfully defrosted after the test, noting if any was prematurely cooked.


The Toshiba EM131A5C led the way, perfectly defrosting the entire block of meat without cooking any of it in a little under 10 minutes. This microwave also beeps halfway through to alert you to flip the meat over.

The Toshiba EM131A5C defrosted the entire block of turkey.
The Toshiba EM131A5C defrosted the entire block of turkey.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Black+Decker EM720CB7 and the Kenmore 70929 came next, with the Black+Decker defrosting about 12 ounces of turkey and the Kenmore defrosting just under 11 ounces. The remaining turkey broke apart fairly easily even if it was still a little frozen, and we wouldn't have any issue tossing it directly in a pan after taking it out of either of these models. The Nostalgia RMO4AQ narrowly followed, marked down because it ended up cooking a tiny bit of the turkey during the defrosting process.

The Panasonic NN-SB458S defrosted just under nine ounces of the turkey, but the remainder was barely frozen and crumbled easily. The AmazonBasics 0.7 performed similarly, but the residual frozen parts were still quite solid and would be a struggle to break apart without further defrosting. The remaining microwaves all delivered lackluster results, not only leaving a large frozen chunk of turkey but also cooking sections in the process.

The Toshiba EM131A5C does a great job with premade frozen items.
The Toshiba EM131A5C does a great job with premade frozen items.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Our final set of tests assessed the user-friendliness of these kitchen appliances. We looked at the different preset features and one-touch buttons, as well as the internal lighting and whether they were prone to sliding around on a counter when you opened and closed the door or pushed a button.


Both the Toshiba EM131A5C and the Toshiba EM925A5A impressed us with their overall ease of use. They don't slide around and shine plenty of light inside. Their popcorn buttons were actually pretty good at correctly popping popcorn. They both have +30 seconds buttons and one-touch quick start functions for one to six minutes. However, their standalone kitchen timers can be somewhat finicky.

The Toshiba EM925A5A is convenient and easy to use.
The Toshiba EM925A5A is convenient and easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Black+Decker EM031MB11 and the Kenmore 70929 have all the one-touch features you would typically want, but both slide around a bit on slicker surfaces. They feature decent lighting, but the preset popcorn feature wasn't amazing, particularly the Kenmore's.

The AmazonBasics 0.7, the Black+Decker EM720CB7, and the Panasonic NN-SN67KS were each hampered by a few flaws that we believe make these products less convenient to use. The AmazonBasics 0.7 did very well in the popcorn preset test and is rock-solid on most countertops, but the +30 seconds button requires you to hit it twice, and this appliance's internal lighting is only so-so. The Alexa integration can also make it easier or harder to use, depending on how you feel about smart home systems.

The AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7 gives you the option to integrate...
The AmazonBasics Microwave 0.7 gives you the option to integrate with your smart home.
Credit: Laura Casner

We liked the interface on the Black+Decker EM720CB7, but the entire appliance slid around some when we opened or closed the door. It fared poorly in the popcorn test, leaving tons of un-popped kernels behind after the preset time elapsed. Conversely, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS delivered excellent popcorn results and remained securely in place when pushed. However, it lacks some one-touch features we like to see.

Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


We sincerely hope that you have found this review to be both helpful and informative. If it has made it a little easier to find your perfect new microwave, we've done our job. We're confident that there's something out there to match your needs and budget.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

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