3 Things to Look for in Your New Microwave

These kitchen appliances have seriously evolved—the new ones are sleeker, more powerful and high tech than ever before. Here’s what you need to know before you buy one.

We swear popcorn tastes better when it's popped in a cute microwave.Getty Images

Microwaves can do so much more than warm up your coffee, defrost chicken or melt some cheese on chips. Today’s models can air fry, talk to Alexa (yes, that Alexa) and more while looking great doing it. Read on, whether you want to upgrade or just need a replacement ASAP.

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, Black Stainless Steel

Compact Pick

This model has a power-saving mode and a mute button.Toshiba

Microwaves no longer have to be clunky black boxes. These days they come in colors like fire-engine red and baby blue with decidedly cool design aesthetics. And still have all the necessary cooking functions, shortcut buttons and power levels. A compact pick works great for a small space such as studio apartment, dorm room or office.

Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu. ft/900W, Stainless Steel

Smart Features

One-touch settings, plus six pre-programmed options, give you the ability to cook or re-heat food with the press of a single finger.Toshiba

Smart ovens may be “microwaves” at heart but are packed with advanced technology. Amazon’s, for example, is a microwave, convection oven, food warmer and air fryer plus has voice control through Echo devices. (“Alexa, cook for one more minute.”) Other “smart” features include a temperature probe to know when food is cooked to your liking and, our favorite: A “scan-to-cook” option. Just scan a packaged food and the microwave will cook it according to product instructions.

Panasonic NN-SN936W Countertop Microwave with Inverter Technology, 2.2 Cubic Foot, 1250W, White

Large Capacity

14 presets let you get the job done even faster than usual.Panasonic

Some models now include inverter technology—in which the power supply comes from an “inverter” rather than a traditional magnetic coil or a transformer. This speeds up cooking time and uses less energy. Look for models with a “warmer” feature—if your food is done before you’re ready to serve it up, it’ll keep things warm.

Also Consider:

COMFEE' EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off, ECO Mode and Easy One-Touch Buttons, 0.7cu.ft, 700W, Black

Affordable Option

This product features a mode to minimize standby power, saving money and helping the environment.COMFEE
Amazon Smart Oven

Impressive Size

The inside of this microwave oven is large and spacious with enough room to cook a 5 pound chicken.Amazon