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What's behind our microwave oven Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 157 models in microwave ovens to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    This score is based mainly on evenness of heating, ease of use, and auto-defrosting ability. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Heating evenness
    This reflects how evenly a model reheated a dish of cold mashed potatoes.
  • Defrosting evenness
    This is based on how well the automatic-defrost program defrosted one pound of frozen ground chuck.
  • Speed of heating
    This score is based on the temperature rise of water heated in the microwave.
  • Microwaving noise
    This is based on how quiet the oven is while microwaving on high.
  • Ease of use
    This includes how easy it is to set the microwave without referring to the instructions.
  • Usable capacity
    Measured capacity is the usable space based on our measurements, and excludes the corner spaces for models with rotating turntables. Note that most Over-The-Range models allow you to turn the rotation off to fit large dishes (a few countertop models offer this feature, as well.) With the rotation off, measured capacity approximates claimed. However, food may require extra tending and stirring.


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Recommended microwave ovens

Recommended microwave ovens are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Speed is being joined by smarts as the big brands heat up their microwave oven lines. Many now have sensors that automate a number of cooking chores beyond popcorn. Sales-hungry manufacturers are also adding convection cooking and other features aimed at homeowners who want a second oven without having to remodel. If you're looking for information about microwave ovens, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ microwave oven reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our microwave oven buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and microwave oven reviews to help you choose the best microwave oven for your needs.

Recently reviewed microwave ovens

This Samsung 1.9 cubic-foot 950-watt microwave oven has the following:
  • a sensor
  • auto-defrost
  • touchpad controls.

Microwave oven buying guide

Speed and smarts now go hand in hand as more microwaves serve as second ovens. Many have sensors that automate cooking for more than just popcorn. More also include convection and even slow cooking for homeowners who want added cooking capability without having to add a wall oven or replace a range with a double-oven model.

You'll find more automation as microwaves take on a growing list of tasks. Browning and speed-cook modes, along with interactive recipe databases, are also on the menu as brands push added capability for busy families. But as our tests have shown, you can pay a premium for those perks without getting the even heating and defrosting that are a microwave's two top tasks. Our Ratings also show that some brands overstate usable space by as much as 50 to 60 percent.

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