Best 4 Inexpensive Microwaves Fit for Family Kitchens

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CHEAP MIDSIZE MICROWAVES

Consumers who don't have the budget for an over-the-range microwave must balance the capacity they need with the counter space they have available. The largest countertop microwaves can eat up 3 square feet of counter space -- and a fair amount of money. Cheap, compact microwaves take up very little space but start at 0.7 cubic feet of capacity, making them better suited to a dorm room than a family kitchen. Cheapism.com has rounded up highly rated midsize microwaves that cost less than $125. They have more than 1 cubic foot of interior space and their footprints measure little more than 2 square feet. These easy-to-use microwaves also have at least 10 power levels, a turntable, and convenience features such as a button for adding 30 seconds or a minute of cooking time.

PANASONIC NN-SN651 (STARTING AT $124)

This 1.2-cubic-foot microwave is the largest model featured here and also the most powerful, at 1,200 watts. It features a sensor that monitors the moisture level of the food inside and automatically chooses a suitable time for cooking or reheating. In online reviews, consumers say the microwave's Inverter Turbo Defrost does a much better job at defrosting than the traditional on/off method other microwaves use. This model comes in black (NN-SN651B) or white (NN-SN651W). The stainless steel Panasonic NN-SN661S starts at $130.

DANBY DMW111K (STARTING AT $80)

This is a solid budget microwave: 1.1 cubic feet of interior space, 1,000 watts of power, and shortcut keys for popcorn, pizza, frozen veggies, beverages, potatoes, or a plate of dinner. Reviewers often note a minor feature not always found in low-cost microwaves: a light that comes on when the door is open. The available finishes are black (DMW111KBLDB) and white (DMW111KWDB). A stainless steel option (DMW111KPSSDD) sold under the Danby Designer brand can be found for the same price.

FRIGIDAIRE FFCM1134L (STARTING AT $103)

This Frigidaire model is relatively powerful for its size, at 1,100 watts. Reviewers appreciate its quick, even cooking and attractive design. It sports one-touch buttons for popcorn, baked potatoes, fresh vegetables, and beverages. This microwave comes in black (FFCM1134LB), white (FFCM1134LW), and a stainless steel finish (FFCM1134LS).

SHARP R-309Y (STARTING AT $98)

Reviewers have found this microwave remarkably easy to use, thanks in part to four preset buttons (beverage, dinner plate, frozen pizza, and popcorn) and five auto-cook options listed right on the control panel (bread, soup, baked potatoes, fresh vegetables, and frozen vegetables). This model is available in black (R-309YK) and white (R-309YW). There's also a stainless steel option (R-331ZS) with a higher sticker price.