Need a great microwave that will stand the test of time? Our list focuses on microwaves that hold their value as they age. We’ve included a variety of options that all cost under $200. If you are looking for a new microwave, this list of microwaves includes models that are the best value for your money. Please note that all prices were correct at the time of publication, but that prices may fluctuate over time due to changes in demand.
1. Panasonic Genius ‘Prestige’ with Inverter Technology in Stainless Steel
The Genius Prestige Microwave Oven Model NN-SD681S or “Prestige” model offers 1200 Watts of cooking power. It boasts 1.2 cubic feet of cooking area, and a well sized 13.5 inch carousel. With 600+ reviews on Amazon, 73% of reviewers rate it 4+ stars, and Consumer Reports rates it 68/100. The Prestige is good for counter tops or installed as a wall unit. A trim kit is sold separately. The Prestige comes in stainless steel, white, or black.
Panasonic’s differentiator for this model is the “Inverter technology,” which delivers variable microwave power. The Prestige adjusts to generate even temperatures and consistent textures through the food being cooked so there are no more burnt edges or cold middles.
How does the Inverter Technology Work?
Traditional microwave ovens emit pulsating low level radiation; the Inverter produces a steady stream of low-powered energy cooking more consistently. Panasonic claims the Inverter helps food retain color, nutrients and flavor. For the environmentally conscious Panasonic claims the Inverter technology is more energy efficient, and requires less material in the manufacturing process. This enables Panasonic to reduce the size and weight of the Prestige.
2. Sharp Carousel R-331ZS Countertop Microwave Oven in Stainless Steel
The Sharp Carousel R-331ZS is a compact and powerful microwave oven. It measures 1.1 cubic feet in size, with 1000 watts of cooking power and an 11.25 inch carousel. Applauded for its size, 78% of reviewers on Amazon rate it 4+ stars. However, Consumer Reports rates it just 60/100. The ZS comes in stainless steel, and it is priced reasonably at $136.39 on Amazon.
3. Frigidaire FFCM0724LB 700-watt Counter-top Microwave
The Frigidaire FFCM0724LB is a 700 Watt countertop microwave with 0.7 cubic feet of cooking area and a 9.7 inch carousel. It comes with 10 cooking power levels, auto cook, auto reheat, defrost, 2-stage cooking and easy start features.
Reviewers report the cooking codes displayed are not easily understood and must be translated using a sticker on the oven door. That gives this microwave a steep learning curve. Reviewers also identified the power cord as too short. However, seniors love the large buttons. The 30 second one-touch and loud beeps are also favorite functions. The Frigidaire microwave is great for a boat or small apartment. However, while the small size means a small price, this microwave will cook more slowly than larger models. 70% of Amazon Reviewers rate it 4+ stars, and Consumer Reports rates this cheap microwave at a 68/100.
4. Kenmore 73093 Countertop Microwave in Stainless Steel
The Kenmore 73093 offers 900 Watts of cooking power, 0.9 cubic feet of cooking room, and a 10.6 inch carousel. This makes this microwave smaller than others, but its compact might appeal to some. 70% of reviewers on Amazon rate it 4+ stars. It comes with 6 smart settings and 10 Power Levels. A nice feature is that it allows you to create “Memory Settings” to save cook times and power levels for products you cook often. The Kenmore 73093 features multi-stage settings for defrosting/cooking/heating. The compact design makes this microwave ideal for countertops.
5. Panasonic NN-SD372S Inverter Microwave in Stainless Steel
The Panasonic NN-SD372S features Panasonic’s Inverter Technology, as well as one-touch auto-heat and reheat settings. There’s also an easy Popcorn key, which reviewers report “doesn’t turn your popcorn to a pile of ash”. It comes in stainless steel, has 0.8 cubic feet of oven capacity, 10 Power level settings, and an 11.25 inch wide turntable. The NN also has the Panasonic “easy programmable dial”, which we love.
Note: Reviewers report after use of the “Reheat” feature the Inverter technology creates a “buzzing” sound as the fan cools off the microwave. This may be annoying to some, especially if your microwave is within earshot of your TV. 75% of Reviewers on Amazon rate it 4+ stars, and Consumer Reports rates it 60/100.