8 Best Microwave Ovens Under $80 of 2023
Countertop microwave ovens are a lifesaver. Because they cook or reheat food quickly, you save time.
You can easily reheat cold coffee or leftovers, bake a potato, or nuke a frozen dinner.
A microwave is also convenient, versatile, and saves on energy and fuel to promote a better quality of life.
And these days, countertop microwaves are more convenient than ever.
Many models come with different preset options for fast and easy cooking.
Those who own a microwave know that it has default presets dedicated to cooking popcorn, pizza, a dinner plate of food, and more with just the touch of a button.
Newer and more expensive models now come with presets like quick minute, auto reheat, delayed start, keep warm, and melt or soften food.
So, what should you look for in a microwave if you’re on the market to buy one?
We’re here to help you. We wanted to see how much wattage, features, and interior size you can get in a budget model in comparison to a more expensive one.
So, if you’re strapped for cash or don’t want to pay a lot because you only need a model that will reheat a plate of leftovers, here are our top picks based on categories.
Best Microwave Ovens Under $80
- Magic Chef HMM1110B: Best Multi-Stage Cooking Microwave
- Insignia™ Retro Compact Microwave: Best Retro Design Microwave
- Amazon Basics Microwave: Best Microwave For Smart Features
- Hamilton Beach VIPRB-P90D23AL-WR: Best Budget Microwave
- Hamilton Beach HB61B100027880: Best Modern Microwave Oven
- Comfee' EM720CPL-PM: Best Energy-Efficient Microwave
- Avanti MM07K1B: Best Simple Microwave Oven
- Vissani 1.1 Cu Ft. Countertop Microwave: Best Microwave for Value
Compare Microwave Oven Styles
Magic Chef HMM1110B: Best Multi-Stage Cooking Microwave
As a budget model, the Magic Chef has a lot to offer in comparison to higher-priced microwaves.
It features 1,000 watts and a 1.1 cubic feet size interior, which is enough space and power to handle most foods.
It even has 10 power levels and is available in black, white, and stainless steel.
It’s also great for defrosting as it comes with three auto-defrost menus, ensuring that whatever food you want to defrost comes out evenly.
But we chose this handy model for its multi-stage cooking, which is rarely seen at this price point.
Multi-stage cooking—which has inverter technology built-in--allows you to program different stages in the cooking process and all at different power levels.
For example, you can set the cooking power for the first minute at 40 percent, and then an additional 90 seconds at 50 percent without coming back to the oven to reset the time and power level.
Magic Chef HMM1110B Pros & Cons
- Affordable, low-risk purchase
- You won’t find a better value with all the included features.
- Easy to read and straightforward control panel
- 10 power levels
- Child lock
- Loud enough to be mentioned but not so loud that you can hear it in your family room if you have an open-concept layout.
- Stiff open button: The button used to open this microwave’s door takes a little extra effort to push.
Insignia Retro Compact Microwave: Best Retro Design Microwave
Insignia makes great value kitchen appliances like dishwashers and ranges in stainless steel.
They are not particularly known for their retro line of appliances but they do outfit their microwave and mini-fridges in this fun vintage style.
It comes in both mint and cherry red to add a pop of color to your kitchen.
With its tiny price, the Insignia comes with a tiny .7 cubic feet size and an even tinier 700-watt power.
If you don’t care for its tiny capacity, the lowest power, and fewest features, this model is great if you don’t rely on the microwave throughout the day, from morning to night.
But it’ll be a tight squeeze to fit your standard dinner dish.
Use this microwave for cooking popcorn, frozen single-serving meals, and quick defrosting.
The Insignia microwave is not just perfect for that person who wants something interesting in their kitchen but because ofits compact size, it's also a great space saver; making it also ideal for dorm rooms.
Insignia Retro Compact Microwave Pros & Cons
- One of the cheapest microwaves on the market.
- Simple to use: No confusing features mean no looking at instructions.
- Compact and lightweight, perfect for the office or a small kitchen.
- The retro look is not for everyone. Most customers choose a stainless steel model.
- Lackluster 700 watts of power that limits what you can cook.
- Dull LED: The display is dim and tricky to read.
Amazon Basics Microwave: Best Microwave For Smart Features
We chose this wildly popular Amazon Basics Microwave (4.4 out of 5 stars from 27,342 global ratings) because it makes cooking a cinch.
No more fiddling with controls since this smart microwave works using your voice when paired with Amazon Echo.
For example, you can say, “Alexa, warm up my coffee,” and Alexa will automatically heat it with the appropriate power and time settings without you having to specify the details as you’d be doing with manual operation.
Another thing that makes our lives easier is that there’s an “Ask Alexa” button on the microwave.
Just press the button and say, “Three minutes” or “frozen vegetables,” and the button will pair with Echo just like saying “Alexa” does.
While there are quick-cook presets, and besides the Alexa feature, this microwave has many shortcomings.
Its 0.7 cubic feet interior means that only a 10-inch dinner plate will fit. Likely, it will not fit anything larger.
And the 700-watt power is too low, which means the Amazon microwave will take longer to heat the food.
Finally, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, Echo Look, and Amazon Tap devices are not supported with the Ask Alexa button.
Amazon Basics Microwave Pros & Cons
- Functions can be voice-activated.
- Child Lock
- Echo constantly updates itself, making this microwave have more smart features.
- Doesn’t take up that much countertop space.
- Needs to be connected to an Alexa-enabled device for you to use voice control.
- It pairs with Echo and Echo dot.
- You have to purchase Echo separately and the Echo models cost between $30 and go up to $200.
- Features on standalone microwave (without connecting to Alexa) are limited.
Hamilton Beach VIPRB-P90D23AL-WR: Best Budget Microwave
Most bargain microwaves come with around 700 watts and at a 0.7 cu ft. capacity--meaning these are very compact microwave ovens with not much power.
This is why we were surprised that this Hamilton Beach budget model that costs well under $80 features 900 watts and measures 0.9 cubic feet.
For the same price or more, most brands and models offer a lot less, plus you can easily fit 10" onto the turntable.
An obvious great deal, this microwave comes in three modern finishes: black stainless steel, stainless steel, and red stainless steel.
Customers love the look and how compact the microwave is. Granted, because of the capacity and power, it's probably not going to be great if you want to actually cook in this microwave.
Most customers were happy with just heating up leftovers and some said it wasn't ideal for things like defrosting.
Hamilton Beach VIPRB-P90D23AL-WR Pros & Cons
- Easily view the time and kitchen timer from almost anywhere in the room with the bright LED digital display panel.
- Child-safe lockout feature.
- Handle makes it easier to open than most microwaves
- Only 6 standard presets.
- May not work well with defrosting.
Hamilton Beach HB61B100027880: Best High Wattage Microwave Oven
This microwave is a great deal at 1.1 cubic feet and 1,000 watts.
The size and wattage are considered a mid-size model, but this Hamilton Beach microwave comes at the price of a compact model!
You will be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a 1,000-watt microwave oven, especially one that fits standard-size dinner plates and larger.
1,000 watts is the general baseline for most instructions on microwaving frozen foods and dinners. If you have less wattage it takes longer as well as trial and error to assure your food is properly defrosted and cooked.
The Hamilton Beach HB61B100027880 includes six preset buttons, a child lock, and comes in three stylish finishes.
Hamilton Beach HB61B100027880 Pros & Cons
- Quick cook options prepare food with just one touch of a button.
- Handy digital clock/timer.
- LED display is bright.
- High wattage at a low price
- Can be noisy.
- Turntable is not removable
- Only 6 default presets.
Comfee' EM720CPL-PM: Best Energy-Efficient Microwave
Microwave ovens consume electric power when in standby mode. If you can eliminate the standby power, you can conserve energy.
That is exactly what the Comfee’ does.
A power saver allows your microwave to reduce energy by turning off the display, which eliminates the standby mode and reduces operating costs.
So now you can reduce energy consumption and still cook with efficiency.
With the 0.7 cubic feet interior and 700 watts, you may not be able to cook much because of the size, but it’s great for those who only rely on a microwave to pop popcorn or reheat coffee.
Another feature we love is getting rid of those annoying beeps when the microwave is done cooking.
In this model, all you have to do is press the sound on and off button. This is great if you don’t want to wake up your roommate while you use the oven.:
Comfee' EM720CPL-PM Pros & Cons
- Eco Mode minimizes 50% standby power.
- Child safety lock.
- Bright digital display and control panels for easy readability.
- Comes in black or white.
- Compact size means you can’t defrost most meats.
- It can barely fit a standard dinner dish.
- With 700 watts, most Amazon user reviews say it takes more time to warm up food.
- The design looks dated.
- Only six default presets.
Avanti MM07K1B: Best Simple Microwave Oven
Remember rotary dials on microwaves? We don’t. All we know is that it’s a thing of the past and looks ugly.
But even with preset buttons on a microwave that require you to press down to get to the right cooking level, some have a hard time doing this.
That’s why mechanical dial controls on microwaves still exist.
Since you are just turning the dial, it’s very easy to use. It's as basic and as straightforward as a microwave can be,
In general, all these people are searching for an alternative to the electronic controls found on nearly all microwaves.
Avanti MM07K1B Pros & Cons
- Easy to grasp grip-type handle.
- Space efficient size is great for small areas like dorm rooms or small apartments.
- Speed and weight defrost allow for multiple uses in the kitchen.
- Good for those who are tech-averse
- Low wattage.
- Some complaints about the turntable's functionality.
- Can fit a standard-size coffee mug, but due to the low height, you can’t put in a tumbler-size mug.
Vissani 1.1 Cu Ft Countertop Microwave: Best Microwave For Value
Vissani may not be a household name in home appliances but this countertop microwave model is at a value too hard to pass up.
The Vissani 1.1 Cu Ft Countertop Microwave doesn't come with any fancy features but offers 1.1 cubic feet capacity with higher level wattage for under $70, which makes it a rare find.
The turntable is a whopping 12-inches which is pretty special at this price point--plenty of space for larger items and plates.
In addition, the Vissani comes with 10 power levels, 6 preset cooking buttons, and a child-safety lock.
The Vissani Countertop Microwave is a simple design that will blend in with any kitchen.
It also includes the features we expect to see as standard with any standard countertop microwave, such as an electronic touchpad, digital display, timer, auto-start function, and auto-defrost.
Most customers liked this microwave because it gets the job done with few complaints and at amazing price.
Vissani 1.1 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave Pros & Cons
- High customer ratings across a number of sites.
- Offers 1,000 watts of power.
- Rotating turntable ensures evening cooking.
- 1.1 cubic feet / 12-inch turntable capacity.
- Low price.
- No fancy features.
- May not be as durable as more premium brands.
What is a Countertop Microwave Oven?
A microwave oven is one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen.
Because it can heat up fast and can cook your food even faster, a microwave saves you time and energy and is also convenient.
It’s easily the simplest appliance in your kitchen too. If you want to defrost chicken breasts, you can just touch one of the presets that your microwave comes with, and the defrosting will take very little time.
For those on the go—heating a cold cup of coffee and some Danish in the morning before work—a microwave is your trusted source.
Are You in the Market for a New Countertop Microwave?
Microwave ovens come in various types, sizes, power levels, presets, and cooking capabilities.
They also differ in design. You should get a microwave that is designed to match the style of your kitchen and to match your needs.
If you want the sleek, stainless steel look, you’re bound to find one as microwaves in this finish are ubiquitous.
You should also look at how handy the microwave is.
Are there additional features that a comparable doesn’t have that make heating up easier and faster?
Maybe the microwave has additional presets to go along with the default settings?
What Should I Look for in a Countertop Microwave Oven?
There are three things you should look for that will ultimately determine the right microwave for you.
First, you should look at the wattage.
Second, you need to find a microwave with a size that fits your countertop.
Third, you should pay attention to the control panel, which will determine your cooking needs. Is it easy to use?
What Interior Size is Right for Me?
Pay attention to the interior size of the microwave.
The overall interior size is measured in cubic feet.
It determines the size of the food and the dish you put in the microwave.
If the interior can’t fit a standard dinner plate, which has a diameter of 10.5 inches, then that’s a microwave you shouldn’t buy.
That’s because many use a plate to heat food in a microwave.
The interior height is also important.
If you can’t fit a tall travel mug, which is the most popular item to be put in a microwave, then you have to pay attention to the overall height.
If you want a fairly compact microwave, like the ones we ranked here, the sizes generally range from 0.5 to just 0.9.
If you are thinking of getting something bigger, the range will be around 2 cubic feet.
The mid-to-upper range is 1.5 cubic feet. But that’s probably too large for you.
|Compact||Under 1 cubic foot|
|Midsize||1 to 1.5 cubic feet|
|Full-size||1.6 to 2 cubic feet|
|Extra-large||More than 2 cubic feet|
You don’t need to go over 1.5 cubic feet or even 2 cubic feet. They are needlessly big.
However, they are large enough to reheat a plate of food, and you are guaranteed that your dinner dish size will fit.
Unlike our budget models, where we found the internal cavity to be around .6 cubic feet, that size won’t fit your dinner dish.
Nor will it fit a standard 13 x 9-inch casserole.
But if you’re just going to nuke popcorn or heat a cold cup of coffee or two slices of pizza, then .6 will be enough for these tasks.
Then you can choose one of the microwaves we recommended.
But if you want to do more than cook one of the foods in your preset mode, that’s when you should go larger, and your budget will exceed our $80 barrier and will cost you $100 or more.
For example, microwaves that have at least 700 to 1,000 watts of power and at least 1,1 cubic feet start at the $100 range and will go up depending on the features you want.
And if you do stretch your budget and spend an additional twenty bucks or more, a microwave oven in that range will have at least 1.2 cubic feet and will easily fit a rotisserie chicken—the whole thing.
What Exterior Size is Right for Me?
Next, pay attention to the external dimensions of the microwave.
You need to measure the external size because that will dictate where you plan on putting your microwave.
The external dimensions can vary a lot, but they usually range from 10 x 18 x 14 inches on the smaller side with a capacity of 0.5 to 0.9 cubic feet.
A midsized microwave with 1.0 to 1.5 cubic feet will most likely be around 12 inches x 24 inches x 12 or more inches deep. Most midsized models have around 1,000 watts.
Finally, a large microwave with up to 2.2 cubic feet and features 1,200 watts, will typically be 12 or more inches tall x 18 inches or more deep by 24 inches wide.
The kitchen countertop is usually where you will place the microwave, but it can also be put in a dorm room, staff lounge at an office, or a small kitchen in a studio apartment where space is a premium,
Measure the space wherever the microwave will be stored and compare that with the external size dimensions.
And remember, bigger isn’t always better.
What Wattage Should I Get?
Wattage is usually related to size. Large and high-priced models come with high wattage.
In short, the larger the microwave, the larger the wattage.
And the higher the wattage, the faster your microwave can cook.
The typical range of wattage is 900-1,000 watts and these come in mid-sized and mid-range microwaves.
Most of the microwaves on our list feature 700 watts. While that’s low, you pay what you get for.
But having 700 watts doesn’t mean your food can’t heat evenly.
And the disadvantage of higher wattage is that the oven can cook at a higher temperature, meaning the high wattage may overcook your food.
If you’re looking for an oven with lightning speed cooking, a 700-watt model can generate that without you having to buy a more expensive microwave oven.
And if you are just aiming to heat food or a beverage, 700 watts is plenty enough.
What Features Should I Look For?
Most microwaves come equipped with common features.
These include cook time, defrost, power level, and time. You should also have a good panel that is easy to read.
In addition, you should look at the pre-sets. Microwaves without the bells and whistles mostly come with 6 standard presets, which we’ll talk about below.
Some come with a bright LED digital display that’s large enough to read the control panel for those who have vision problems.
And others come with LED lighting in the cavity of the oven so you can check in with what you’re cooking without opening the microwave door.
Some also come with child lock safety and moisture sensors to detect food doneness.
Most come with turntables that rotate your food so it heats evenly.
Using a microwave that doesn’t come with a turntable means you have to manually stop cooking in the middle just to turn your plate around. This is a big hassle.
Further, make sure your turntable is detachable and microwave safe.
The “add 30 seconds” button is essential for heavy users.
It allows you to quickly start cooking or add more time without having to press a series of buttons. This makes cooking easier.
Which Microwave Presets Matter?
Most microwaves have a full panel of preset options for different foods.
Presets are convenient. You just touch one button, which takes out the guesswork on what temperature to heat, reheat or cook your food.
But will the default cook times work for the type of food you want to use in the microwave?
That’s an important question to ask.
If you need a preset not listed here and that will work for your food, you’ll probably have to shell out more money to get additional presets.
Keep in mind that the more presets a microwave has, the more expensive the microwave will cost.
|Popular Presets||Unique Presets|
|Baked potato||Auto reheat Delayed start|
|Pizza||Keep warm or warming|
|Beverage||Melt or soften (like butter)|
Are There Features in a Countertop Microwave That Are Only Seen in Higher Priced Models?
Yes. There’s sensor cook, convection, invertor technology, and smart technology. Most of these unique features can also be found in high-end smart ovens and your full-size stove.
The Sensor Cook Preset
The most useful preset—sensor cook--unfortunately only comes in higher-priced models. But that’s not a hard and fast rule.
The Black + Decker Digital Microwave Oven that we reviewed has sensor technology at a very low price.
Sensors adjust the cooking time based on the amount of steam the food gives off which will make the oven automatically shut down when your food is cooked.
As such, your food will come out at the right temperature and you don’t have to keep resetting a preset to get the desired results.
Sensors also allow you to avoid exploding meat and cold spots.
In essence, sensor technology takes the guesswork out of microwaving when you put some food in it.
Microwaves with convection are extremely expensive than those without.
A convection feature means there’s a fan built into the back of the oven that serves to circulate the heat around your food to cook faster and evenly.
Inverter ovens have an inverter circuit that controls the power delivered to the food smoothly, offering consistent results every time.
The technology heats food at a 50% power level. The technology maintains a consistent 50% power.
As a result, you can cook delicate foods like poached salmon or very fluffy omelets.
Smart technology often uses voice control so you don’t have to fiddle with controls.
For these microwaves, voice control is enabled when paired with an outside source, like Amazon Echo.
You can tell the oven things like, “Alexa, warm up my pancakes,” and Alexa will do that automatically and with the appropriate power and time.
A large-size microwave oven may come with a removable rack—usually made of metal-- which resembles an oven rack.
In this way, you can cook two things at the same time (but at the same temperature) since you’ll have two levels.
Also, microwaves with metal racks are better at distributing heat.
How Much Should You Spend on a Countertop Microwave Oven?
A countertop microwave starts at $50 or $60 and goes up to $2,000.
But since the core technology is the same for all microwaves, higher-priced models aren’t that much different than the ones that cost under $80 or $100.
But say you get a microwave that costs between $400 to $600.
As we suggested, the more presets or features, the higher the microwave will be in terms of cost.
And at that cost range, you should get a lot of unique features.
A “Bit More” button lets you add a little extra cooking time.
|Air Fryer||Lets you cook crispy French fries, chicken wings, and more with little or no oil.|
|Grilling||A grilling function achieves oven-like results without preheating.|
|Soft-close door system||Prevents loud banging.|
|Self-locating turntable||Avoids annoying issues with dislocated or broken turntables.|
|Volume control||Option to cook quietly|
|Unit weight conversion||Converts easily from metric or imperial and vice versa.|
How We Decided
With hundreds of countertop microwave oven brands and models to choose from, it can be hard to differentiate which is best.
In making our selection, we took many factors into account, including customer reviews, features offered, pricing and more.
The following criteria had the biggest impact on our decision.
We perused sites mentioning notable compact microwaves and made a note of the appliances that kept coming up and why.
Of the many sites we looked at, a few stand out: Consumer Reports, Reviewed, Warmchef, bestmicrowavee.com, Kitchen Feeds, Best Kitchen Buy, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, mealprepify, New York Magazine, and Cnet.
The best way to gauge the effectiveness of a product outside of rigorous testing is to look at the opinions of those who know best - customers and users of the product.
We considered customer reviews when pulling together our list of the best microwaves and chose those with the best and most relevant customer feedback.
Microwaves can be expensive. Compact ones start at $50 but the more wattage, interior space, and special features you want, you’re looking at spending $100 and more.
We wanted to focus on budget models to make it easier for customers to buy without shelling out a boatload of money.
In this way, we chose to cap the best microwaves on the market by staying under an $80 price range.
While it was difficult to differentiate models in that price range—most were the same and came equipped with 700 watts and .6 cu. ft—we tried to look at models that had the best features specific to their category, from the best that had sensor technology to the best that was energy efficient.
Ultimately, we focused our list on those microwaves that had unique features or features that were notable because they only could be found on higher-priced microwaves.
So we also chose microwave ovens that we felt were a fair balance between price and highly-coveted features.