Microwave Rating Sources
With the caveat that "there is no perfect microwave oven, Ganda Suthivarakom ultimately chooses the GE JES2051SN as the best microwave. In total, she evaluated seven microwaves, including talking to experts, examining user feedback, and performing hands-on testing.
The ConsumerReports.org website has ratings more than 215 countertop and over-the-range microwave ovens. The countertop microwave category also includes two built-ins. Microwaves are rated on evenness and speed of heating, noise, ease of use and usable capacity. Each gets a score of up to 100, and are ranked accordingly.
Reviewed.com rates and ranks microwaves in four categories; over-the-range, countertop, built-in and convection. There is some crossover between categories, as the top rated built-in is also the top-rated countertop, and the top-rated over-the range is also the top-rated convection oven. However, reviews are thorough and include hands-on testing.
There are quite a few microwaves listed on the CNET website, but only five get hands-on reviews by editors. Reviews are extremely detailed and look at performance, styling, ease of use and durability. The microwaves are not specifically compared to each other, but there are discussions of where that particular oven falls in its class, i.e. if it's a good value, comparatively, or if you can get similar features or performance for less money.
HomeDepot.com carries hundreds of microwaves and many of them get hundreds of reviews as well. Countertop, over-the-range and built in models are well-represented. Some of the reviews here are drawn from manufacturers' websites, but many other are unique to HomeDepot.com. In addition to a 5-star rating system, owners can indicate if they would recommend the product.
Like at HomeDepot.com, many of the microwave reviews at Lowes.com are drawn from manufacturer websites, so there are duplicate reviews between the two sites. However, there are unique reviews as well, and Lowes.com carries a large number of microwaves from a variety of manufactures. Also like HomeDepot.com, reviewers rate on a 5-star system and can recommend the product, or not.
BestBuy.com may be thought of more as an electronics destination, but they carry hundreds of microwaves in every style and at every price range. Also, these reviews are unique to Best Buy, and many of the purchases are verified through the buyer's reward program. As with Lowes.com and HomeDepot.com, these reviews are an excellent way to assess a microwaves real world performance.
Amazon.com carries hundreds of microwaves, but they tend to get worse reviews than at dedicated appliance sites. However, many microwaves come from third party sellers, and we see a lot of low ratings due to shipping and packaging complaints, rather than actual use or performance of the microwave. Some scores are also dragged down by reviews of different microwaves from the same maker -- including some not purchased at Amazon.com.
This comprehensive guide to integrating a microwave into your kitchen offers an in-depth look into the various ways a microwave can become a built-in. It includes an overview of each type of microwave, as well as the pros and cons of each. The photos help to illustrate each approach for clarity.
In spite of what the title of this article implies, there are no "ratings or reviews" of specific drawer microwaves here, just a mention of a few common brands. However, the author says that since all drawer microwaves are made by Sharp, they all should perform similarly, leaving the decision to aesthetics (what matches your appliances) and value, including any available rebates.
This forum discussion was originally started in May of 2013 with a ChowHound.com reader asking for other cooks' input into the convection feature on microwaves -- something that's new since she bought her last one. The resulting discussion is an interesting overview of the differing opinions about convection microwaves, as well as a look at how useful, or not, a convection feature on a microwave might be.