Microwaves are a super convenient kitchen staple that allows users to cook food, reheat meals, and even defrost frozen items. Countertop microwaves are the most common and generally the most affordable and simple to use. Unlike over-the-range microwaves that are built-in, these styles don’t require any extra installation, simply unpack the box, plug it in, and microwave.
We’ve gathered a list of our favorite simple and compact microwaves available on Amazon, and following our review we’ve included a buying guide with things to consider when purchasing a new microwave.
The best simple microwave
Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave OvenCheck Latest Price
The Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven from Amazon is a super compact microwave—and really just a simple appliance. The mechanical rotary dials make it great for those seeking a basic operation. The dials allow you to set a timer ranging from 1 to 30 minutes and to choose from among the six cooking power levels.
This is a great option for someone with minimal space, looking for a simple microwave to prepare small items.
- Simple to operate, easy to read dials
- No electronic controls to malfunction
- Doesn’t have a digital display
- Mechanical rotary dials
- Easy to grasp grip type handle to open and close the door
- Speed and weight defrost
- 6 power levels
- Removable glass turntable
- Brand: Commercial Chef
- Dimensions: 17.75 (W) x 12.5 (D) x 10.25 (H) inches
- Capacity: 0.6 cu. ft.
- Power: 600 watts
- Weight: 23.1 lbs
- Color: white
BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave OvenCheck Latest Price
The Black + Decker model comes with a 10-inch removable glass plate that rotates when the microwave is on to prevent hotspots and allows food to cook more easily. The plate is easily removed and cleaned with warm soapy water.
This model comes with a large LED digital display that serves as a clock, countdown timer and displays remaining cooking time. The microwave can be turned on for one to six minutes at 100 percent power by simply touching the number. The door is easily opened with the push of a button. Stop the microwave at any time by pressing the stop button.
- Clean modern design
- Print on the function keys can be difficult to read
- Pre-programmed buttons for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage and dinner plate
- 10 power settings
- Large LED digital display
- Removable 10” glass turntable
- Push-button door release for easy access
- Brand: Black + Decker
- Dimensions: 17. 3 (W) x 13 (D) x 10.2 (H) inches
- Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
- Power: 700 watt
- Weight: 24.1 lbs
- Color: Black and stainless steel
AmazonBasics Microwave, Works with AlexaCheck Latest Price
An Amazon Echo device (not included) is required to use the voice control features and quick-cook voice presets on the AmazonBasics Microwave. To start cooking, use your voice or just press the Ask Alexa button and say your cook time. The button will instantly wake up your paired Amazon Echo, just like saying “Alexa” does. You can say commands like “cook for 3 minutes” or “cook frozen vegetables,” and the microwave will start cooking.
We love how simple this appliance makes heating something up. This would be a great option who is familiar with how Alexa works and is looking for a simple appliance to heat up small items.
- Voice activated with Alexa makes microwaving super simple
- Some features not available if you don’t use Alexa or other Amazon devices
- 10 power levels
- Child lock feature
- Removable turntable
- Kitchen timer and clock
- Brand: Amazon
- Dimensions: 17.3 (W) x 14.1(D) x 10.1 (H) inches
- Capacity: 0.7 cu. ft.
- Power: 700 watts
- Weight: 21.9
- Color: Black
COSTWAY Retro Countertop Microwave OvenCheck Latest Price
The COSTWAY model is one of the largest microwave ovens in our review, and at 0.9 cu. ft. capacity, it is considered a mid-sized microwave.
We love that this model is super user-friendly and simple to use with just two knobs, two buttons and an LED display time screen. The microwave comes with a rotating glass turntable and offers multiple functions and default cooking presets.
- Unique and stylish design
- Super simple turn knobs to set power level and cooking time
- Continues to beep after the timer has gone off until the door is opened
- Two mechanical knobs and two buttons allow you to select power level and time from 0-60 minutes
- 5 cooking levels
- Rotating glass turntable
- Easy-to-read LED display
- Cooking presets for popular foods such as popcorn, pizza, potatoes
- Child lock function
- Brand: Costway
- Dimensions: 19.5 (W) x 14 (D) x 11 (H) inches
- Capacity: 0.9 cu. ft.
- Power: 900 watts
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Color: Mint Green
Our best simple microwave guide
When it comes to purchasing the best microwaves, it is important to research the different features each one offers. Make sure you understand what each can do, how you will use it, and if it will suit your needs. Before you go shopping, consider the following:
What you cook
The best microwaves will have variable wattages ranging from 600 to 1200 watts. Higher wattage microwaves will cook food faster but often come with a higher price tag. If you are planning to use this primarily for cooking, do note that most recipes specify at least 800 watts to ensure that food is cooked thoroughly and evenly.
If you are a light user and plan to use your microwave primarily for reheating items or making popcorn, you likely won’t need a higher wattage or a lot of fancy features.
The internal capacity of microwaves ranges greatly from 0.5 cubic feet (big enough to fit 10-inch dinner plate) to over 2 cubic feet (accommodates larger cookware). Most simple microwaves will fall into the compact of mid-sized range, coming in at 0.5 to 1.3 cubic feet.
Consider what you will be using your microwave for, the type of cookware you will be using and if the capacity will be adequate.
If you have young children in your home, or those that visit often, consider the child lock feature to keep them safe.
Consider if you plan on using your microwave for common items such as; pizza, popcorn or frozen vegetable. If so, having a model with cooking preset buttons may be a convenient option.