Are you thinking about buying a microwave? Whether you’re replacing an older model, moving to a new place or remodeling your kitchen, you’ll want to find the best microwave for your space, your family and your budget. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – our guide can help you find a microwave in three easy steps to help you prepare your family’s favorite foods quickly and easily.

Step 1: Find the right microwave size

When it comes to kitchen appliances, microwaves can vary distinctly when it comes to size, shape and installation options. Before you buy a new microwave consider what size is the best fit for your home.

Layout
Your kitchen’s layout is also an important factor – countertop microwaves may work for more spacious kitchens, while an over-the-range or built-in model may help maximize space in more compact areas. Over-the-range microwaves also feature fans and vents to help clear the air around your cooktop.

Family size
In addition to the size of your kitchen, you may also want to take the size of your family into account. Unlike built-in or over-the-range models, some countertop microwaves won’t accommodate casserole dishes, platters and other larger serveware. On average, microwaves range in capacity from 0.7 cu. ft., which is suitable for most dinner plates, to 2.2 cu. ft., which is a better size for bigger cookware. It's important to consider what capacity you need to fit your dishes and suit your cooking needs.

Typical use
Before you decide on a microwave, think about how you typically use it. If you have a larger family or frequently entertain, you may want to invest in a larger microwave that lets you defrost, cook and reheat larger dishes.

Selection tip: Wattage is another important factor when choosing a microwave to fit your family's needs. Wattage indicates cooking power, with most models ranging from 500-1200 watts. The higher the wattage the more quickly it cooks foods. Most microwaves also offer a defrost setting that lowers the power between 20 and 30 percent. Learn more about safely defrosting foods in the microwave.

Step 2: Select the best microwave type for your kitchen

Once you’ve decided on the right size, the next step in buying a microwave is figuring out which type is best for your family. Consider microwave styles and installation options have changed drastically over the years and now include:

A hand selecting a popcorn setting on a microwave

Countertop microwaves

These microwaves are easy to move and install – simply place them on your counter and plug them into a regular wall outlet. Some countertop microwaves even come with trim kits that allow them to be converted into built-in models. Countertop microwaves can be an economical choice, and they come in a variety of sizes.

A microwave installed over a range

Over-the-Range microwaves

These microwaves combine two appliances into one by replacing your stove’s range hood, making them a great microwave option for freeing up counter space. Featured in this category are low profile microwaves, which have a sleek design, roomy interior, and provide more space above your cooktop.

A kitchen with built-in wall oven and venting hood over a cooktop

Built-In microwaves

Built-in microwaves, like wall ovens, are usually installed in a wall or among cabinets. Available in a range of sizes and power levels, built-in microwaves are an excellent way to save space on your countertop. However, they do require professional installation – something important to consider when you’re buying a microwave.

Step 3: Choose the microwave features you need

Once you’ve decided on a kitchen microwave style that matches your layout, take some time to decide which features you need, such as pre-programmed settings, convection options or smart technology. Learn more about convection microwave cooking.

If you’re trying to shop on a budget, you may find that buying a microwave with more basic functions is less expensive than purchasing one with high end features. No matter what you choose, make sure that your microwave can be easily used by everyone.

A hand selecting a setting on a microwave touchscreen

Whatever the cooking task, find a microwave to match

Whirlpool brand’s selection of kitchen microwaves includes countertop, built-in, over-the-range and low profile options with features that help make cooking and clean up fast and simple. No matter which model you need, we’re sure to have the right fit for your family. Explore top picks, as well as our complete collection to find the right microwave for your home.

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