Consumers who don't have the budget for an over-the-range microwave must balance the capacity they need with the counter space they have available. The largest countertop microwaves can eat up 3 square feet of counter space -- and a fair amount of money. Cheap, compact microwaves take up very little space but start at 0.7 cubic feet of capacity, making them better suited to a dorm room than a family kitchen. Cheapism.com has rounded up highly rated midsize microwaves that cost less than $125. They have more than 1 cubic foot of interior space and their footprints measure little more than 2 square feet. These easy-to-use microwaves also have at least 10 power levels, a turntable, and convenience features such as a button for adding 30 seconds or a minute of cooking time.
Best 4 Inexpensive Microwaves Fit for Family Kitchens
This 1.2-cubic-foot microwave is the largest model featured here and also the most powerful, at 1,200 watts. It features a sensor that monitors the moisture level of the food inside and automatically chooses a suitable time for cooking or reheating. In online reviews, consumers say the microwave's Inverter Turbo Defrost does a much better job at defrosting than the traditional on/off method other microwaves use. This model comes in black (NN-SN651B) or white (NN-SN651W). The stainless steel Panasonic NN-SN661S starts at $130.
This is a solid budget microwave: 1.1 cubic feet of interior space, 1,000 watts of power, and shortcut keys for popcorn, pizza, frozen veggies, beverages, potatoes, or a plate of dinner. Reviewers often note a minor feature not always found in low-cost microwaves: a light that comes on when the door is open. The available finishes are black (DMW111KBLDB) and white (DMW111KWDB). A stainless steel option (DMW111KPSSDD) sold under the Danby Designer brand can be found for the same price.
This Frigidaire model is relatively powerful for its size, at 1,100 watts. Reviewers appreciate its quick, even cooking and attractive design. It sports one-touch buttons for popcorn, baked potatoes, fresh vegetables, and beverages. This microwave comes in black (FFCM1134LB), white (FFCM1134LW), and a stainless steel finish (FFCM1134LS).
Reviewers have found this microwave remarkably easy to use, thanks in part to four preset buttons (beverage, dinner plate, frozen pizza, and popcorn) and five auto-cook options listed right on the control panel (bread, soup, baked potatoes, fresh vegetables, and frozen vegetables). This model is available in black (R-309YK) and white (R-309YW). There's also a stainless steel option (R-331ZS) with a higher sticker price.
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