Microwaves are one of those things that can get unnecessarily complicated and expensive. When was the last time that you used the “Popcorn” setting on yours and it actually worked? Does anyone remember that there’s a pizza setting when they’re trying to reheat last night’s pizza for lunch?
The truth is that most of us don’t need 15 different presets in our microwave ovens: we just need something that can properly reheat leftovers or warm up some milk for our morning coffee.
For those of you who are seeking more simple and affordable microwave ovens, we looked at models with prices under $100. We believe that this is a good price range for someone who is on a budget or looking for an oven without too many bells and whistles that are still capable of doing basic kitchen tasks.
If you’re wondering whether a microwave oven that is under the $100 benchmark will stack up to more expensive models, the answer is yes. Choosing a more budget-friendly oven may mean that you will have to compromise on the fancy presets but it doesn’t mean that you’ll wind up with a less-than-powerful appliance.
Quick Comparison: Top Microwaves Under $100 (2020):
Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB
BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Digital Microwave Oven
Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting
Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic Feet
**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The Best Microwaves Under $100
Quick Comparison: Top Microwaves Under $100 (2020):Things to consider when purchasing a microwave oven:The 5 Best Microwaves Under $100:1. Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB2.BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Digital Microwave Oven3.AmazonBasics Microwave4.Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting5. Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic FeetWhich One Should You Get?What to Do Next?
Things to consider when purchasing a microwave oven:
Regardless of price point, there are number of features you should be mindful of when shopping for a microwave oven to ensure that the model that you’re bringing home fits your needs:
Most microwaves will either be 700-watt or 1,000-watt with the latter being more powerful and able to heat things quicker.
Choosing an oven that is not powerful enough can mean that you will have to heat items for longer to get the same results that you would in a more powerful model. This can lead to undesirable results such as food that comes out extremely hot and dry in certain places and lukewarm and soggy in others because it’s been exposed to microwaves for such an extended period of time.
If you’re purchasing a microwave oven for light, occasional use you can definitely get away with a less-powerful and more affordable model. Those who are planning on using it more frequently and for heavier cooking will find a 1,000-watt oven to be a better investment.
Considering size is important not only to figure out whether you’ll have enough space in your countertop or in a shelf for a microwave but also for knowing whether the items that you want to put in it will actually fit inside.
Many people will bring home the cheapest oven from the store only to find out later on that it doesn’t fit their dinner plates or the large container where they usually keep leftovers.
Microwaves sizes are usually described in cubic feet. As a general rule, microwaves that are 1.2 cubic feet or larger will be able to fit most standard-size plates and containers. If you’re still unsure, you can use the height, width and depth measurements provided by the manufacturer to figure out whether a certain model is the right size for your needs.
Even the most affordable microwave ovens now come with plenty of gimmicky features. Again, taking into account your needs will help you decide whether that one less-powerful oven that can connect to Alexa will work for you or if you prefer a microwave that does not take voice commands to but that can still whip up a perfectly baked potato.
If you get too distracted looking at ovens that seem to have one button for every food group, do remember that most experts agree that those fancy microwave settings don’t really work as well as they’re advertised to work.
Some features such as child locks, however, may not be so extra and can prevent accidents and help anyone with small children running around have some peace of mind.
The 5 Best Microwaves Under $100:
1. Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB
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This 1,000-watt compact-sized oven scores high on the looks category with its sleek stainless steel exterior and is our top pick for a powerful and great-looking microwave for less than $100.
The cooking programs are simple, straightforward and cover all the basics: pizza, baked potatoes, dinner plates, popcorn and vegetables.
It features a child lock, easy-to-read LED display and a glass turntable to ensure even cooking.
High wattageGreat looksIt has quickstart controlsIt comes with 6 one-touch cooking functionsIt comes with an advanced defrosting featureIt comes with a 1 year manufacturer warrantyIt has a keypad lock
Users complain of issues with durabilityProblems with the cavity light
2.BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Digital Microwave Oven
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This Black + Decker model comes in four different sizes that all have the same features and 1,000-watt power.
It comes with a glass turntable and a button opening that will be especially useful for those who use their microwave while cooking and don’t want to touch a handle with dirty or greasy hands.
Presets include popular foods such as pizza, potatoes and popcorn plus a child-safety function.
Multiple size choicesHigh-poweredButton opening
Door is hard to openNoisy
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The most affordable model on our list is also the most advanced of them all: it works with voice commands from Alexa, which is truly the last thing someone would expect from a microwave oven priced at much less than $100.
This not only turns reheating pizza into an event straight out of a Jetsons episode, it also means that your experience will improve over time as the Alexa presets get “smarter” with regular updates.
The voice commands may seem gimmicky to some but they are a wonderful feature for those who are visually impaired, have mobility issues or are truly clueless as to what the appropriate cooking times are for certain foods.
Although it comes with plenty of super advanced features, this oven does fall a bit short in the power and size side. We would’ve preferred a 1,000-watt capacity instead of the meager 700-watts it comes with and options for larger sizes as some people may find this particular model to be too compact.
For those who do not have an Echo device, the presets are much more basic – there are buttons for popcorn, potatoes, vegetables and rice and not much else – but for the price, this oven still remains a great option for light, casual use.
Voice command-capableCompact sizeAffordableRice preset
Some may find it to be too smallLow wattage
4.Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting
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This compact oven stands firmly in between low wattage models and full-powered ones which may help it be gentler to your food items without undercooking them.
It features presets for popular foods and even one for beverages, 10 different power settings and gives you the choice to defrost food either by weight or by time.
One-touch start option from 1-6 minutesEquipped with power-saving eco mode Sound on/off option Child safety lock
Some users complain about its durability
5. Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic Feet
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This compact Commercial Chef oven may not be the fanciest device around but it certainly is one of the easiest ones to use and the second most affordable microwave on our list.
It was designed with those who have a hard time using microwave ovens in mind by simplifying features that people usually have problems working with such as arcane button settings and hard-to-read numbers and instructions.
Two simple knobs substitute the key pad: the top one lets you choose the power setting while the bottom knob controls the heating time.
The white color on the surface was chosen on purpose as it makes it easier for people with vision problems to see the numbers on the dials.
It’s also very energy efficient: since there is no electronic display that stays on, this microwave will not consume any electricity when it’s not in use.
Extremely easy to useExcellent choice for people with impairments or disabilitiesMakes no annoying beeping sounds when choosing settings
It’s very smallLow wattageSome users complain that it’s not very durable
Which One Should You Get?
Large Capacity: Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBKB. If you like making big batches of meals and you also like reheating foods in a casserole, this is a good choice for you. It has a bigger capacity than standard ones out there, allowing you to reheat more foods.
Attractive Design: BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11. Digital Microwave Oven. This model has a super sleek and modern look that will look good on nearly every kitchen.
Space-Saver: AmazonBasics Microwave. It’s compact and with a nice and simple design.
Eco-Friendly: Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting. Equipped with power-saving eco mode.
Most affordable: Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave. It doesn’t have fancy automatic features but it gets the job done without breaking the bank.
Nothing can compare to the convenience of having thoroughly-heated food that feels and tastes as if it was just freshly cooked without actually having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is mainly for this reason why I believe that we should be very thankful for the creation of microwaves.
Having a microwave at home lets you consume leftover food as if they are cooked fresh. No food will ever be wasted because you can use this device to reheat your frozen meals and make them taste as good as when they were freshly-cooked.
You can also whip up new dishes with the help of this nifty appliance. From casserole dishes to roasted meals, the microwave oven will not fail you.
There are plenty of options out there. The more features are integrated in the oven, the more expensive it gets. However, there are also a more affordable choice. If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry because there are plenty of microwaves out there that should be within your budget range.
What to Do Next?
Now that you know all these, find the right microwave for your needs. Click the links of the product you think is the most suitable choice for you. Also head to our homepage to learn more about which products will provide the best cooking benefits.