Quick and efficient, microwave ovens are a busy person’s best friend in the kitchen. Using short waves of energy, they channel heat directly into the molecules inside your food, cooking and warming it faster than a conventional oven can. Plus, there’s no need to wait for the oven to preheat; microwaves start cooking at full power the second you press “start.” And while power capabilities vary, microwaves can cook two to four times faster than your gas or electric oven.
While you may have heard the microwaves are bad for your health, the science disagrees. According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, there’s no evidence to support that microwaves injure our bodies. And that persistent myth that microwaves remove nutrients from food? No! While cooking by any method does tend to cause some of the nutrients to break down, microwave ovens are actually one of the least likely methods to damage nutrients. The shorter cooking time is not only convenient for your life, there’s less time for nutrients to break down.
The verdict: Microwave ovens are a safe and efficient appliance to have in your kitchen. We’ve rounded up options from small to large, and from inverter technology to voice-activated models so you can find the perfect one to get cooking asap.
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1. Panasonic NN-SN936B Inverter Technology Microwave Oven
This large, 2.2 cubic foot microwave oven features Panasonic’s patented inverter technology. A steady stream of power at all temperature settings results in shorter cooking times along with consistent, evenly prepared food — edges to center — across a wide range of cooking techniques from braising to steaming. In addition, foods retain more color, texture and nutrients. With 1250 watts of high cooking power and 14 preset auto cook menu items, this microwave also offers one-touch genius sensor cook and reheat functions, taking the guesswork out of microwaving by automatically setting power levels and adjusting cooking or reheating time. Other highlights include a membrane keypad Inverter Turbo defrost technology, 10 power levels, popcorn button, keep warm mode, delay start, timer, quick 30 Sec, 15-inch turntable and more/less control.
2. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
This Toshiba 1. 2 cubic foot, 1100-watt microwave boasts 10 power settings and is the ideal size for small kitchens. Sensor reheating lets you optimally cook six popular food items — from pizza and potatoes to veggies and more — with the touch of a button. The large digital display has a clock function and can also display a countdown timer as well as the cooking time remaining. Program up to three favorite time and power combinations for additional one-touch convenience.
3. AmazonBasics Echo-Compatible Microwave
The AmazonBasics Microwave simplifies cooking (yes, even more!) by letting you microwave using your voice and an Echo device. Just say, “Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee,” and Alexa will start reheating with the appropriate power and time settings. Quick-cook presets mean there’s no need to guess cook times or heat levels when you’re defrosting vegetables or microwaving a potato. Compact in size, the AmazonBasics Microwave has 10 power levels, a kitchen timer, a child lock and a turntable so you can cook all kinds of food.