Looking for a great everyday microwave, but on a budget? Then you have come to the right place.
Microwaves don’t need to be expensive and while you can get a bit more design choices and additional features in the more expensive varieties, you can easily find very capable microwaves under just $100!
What are the best microwaves under $100? Affordable microwaves usually only provide basic functionality and come in smaller sizes. These microwaves are perfect for small families or for people who don’t want to deal with fancy or gimmicky features.
Our guide is designed to help you pick the best affordable microwave without sacrificing the features that matter the most. Read below to learn more!
Why Choose Affordable Microwaves?
Microwaves come equipped with many useful and gimmicky features. Most of the additional features found on microwaves (like convection capability) are useful to some people but for others, it may be a waste of money.
If you want a microwave that heats food without you having to program it or read the manual, then we think the more affordable options will provide way more value to you.
The thing with microwaves is that they are generally very simple machines that are designed to do just one thing: heat food!
So, you can either choose a microwave that has all the bells and whistles, like a fancy design or smart digital controls, or you can go for a basic microwave that can instantly heat food with just a twist of the knob or press of a button.
Simple microwaves are built just for heating food as quickly as possible. Sometimes, they might even include some great features like a push-open door, an efficient turntable, or a light inside the microwave chamber.
The fancier varieties work the same way, except they might include some additional convenience features like a digital input panel or a sturdier design with premium materials.
However, it is important to make a distinction between gimmicky and practical or useful features.
Most people unknowingly end up paying more for a product that they probably won’t even fully utilize. In the case of microwaves, an example of bloated features may include an array of sensors.
While having sensors is a nice option, its practical use is limited, especially if you don’t want to tinker around with the settings.
Simple microwaves can easily heat or defrost just about any food but they do require manual input.
But is one less button worth the extra hundreds of dollars?
Of course, we aren’t suggesting that top-end microwaves are not worth it, the point here is that when it comes to just heating food without tinkering with the settings, simple microwaves will always come on top.
Again, we highly suggest that you make a list of all the features that you think are important to you.
Some features and design qualities, like the push close door or sound dampening chassis, may be indispensable for a lot of people and if you are looking in the right place, you can easily get these features within $100.
This buyer’s guide is specifically designed to help you prioritize features, designs aspects, and, more.
We have divided this guide into different sections, each section will discuss an important point that you must keep in mind before buying an affordable microwave.
Here is what you should keep in mind:
Microwaves come in many different sizes but usually, with the more affordable options, you are bound to be limited to either 0.7 Cu. Ft. to around 1.1 Cu. Ft.
When considering investing in a cheaper microwave, you must keep its size at the top of the list! Most people prefer a bigger-sized heating chamber but a considerable tradeoff with affordable microwaves may be its size.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t make do with smaller-sized microwaves! Keep in mind, a 0.9 Cu. Ft microwave is usually enough for most people.
While you may want to go with a slightly bigger appliance, we would recommend that you check out the 0.9 Cu. Ft microwaves first.
The reason for this is simple: they offer the best of both worlds.
See, when manufacturers offer a lower price, they tend to cut corners. So, if you are going for a larger microwave with a lower price tag, then there is a good chance that you might be getting a slightly inferior product, albeit its larger size.
So, be careful when choosing a bigger microwave. Please keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in a larger and more affordable microwave!
Instead, try to keep an eye on the build quality, features, and warranty of the product for peace of mind.
Design And Build Quality
Affordable microwaves don’t have to be big clunky appliances! Thanks to innovations in design and production, manufacturers can provide quite decent-looking microwaves, even on a budget!
As mentioned, microwaves are very simple machines. They work by powering a magnetron that generates microwaves which slowly cook food on all sides using a turntable.
It can be quite difficult to differentiate a brand’s product from a sea of similar products that work the same way. This is where design, branding, and build quality come into play.
When purchasing a budget microwave, always inspect its build quality first. Most microwaves are enclosed in a metal casing with a galvanized or stainless-steel interior that is designed to bounce off microwaves efficiently.
You can quickly check the quality of a microwave by lightly pressing on the top of the chassis.
Remember, the feel of a cheaper and thinner chassis will be immediately prominent when compared to the chassis of the more expensive options.
If the chassis bends down or feels flimsy then it is highly likely that it is made from low-quality materials. The chassis should be firm across the body of the microwave!
Similarly, always check the input panel on the front of the microwave. Some designs have knobs while others may use a system of either physical or digital buttons (push buttons for doors).
These buttons are usually designed to withstand the test of time but again, in the case of cheaper models, some brands may use less sturdy or flimsy buttons or knobs.
Trust us, you wouldn’t want to end up with a broken push-button on your microwave since it will jam the door and you won’t be able to use the appliance until it is serviced by a professional.
While we are on the topic of doors, another thing to keep in mind is the door hinges.
Microwave doors should never squeak or produce any type of noise. A noisy door will only get worse over time, especially if you don’t plan on cleaning your appliance.
The buildup of dirt and grease from food can cause the hinges to deteriorate which may cause the doors to either squeak or even become imbalanced.
The best way to avoid this issue is to thoroughly inspect the microwave. You should also double-check the return policy of the brand before making a purchase online or trying the product at home.
Furthermore, the wattage of the microwave will determine its output and performance. If you are looking for a heavy-duty microwave in this class then we highly recommend going for the 900-1000W options.
Please keep in mind that most $100 microwaves will range around 700W. This is usually enough power to efficiently heat food in a small or medium-sized microwave but you can also go for the more power-hungry options too.
This is where you typically make a tradeoff.
Most people who shop for affordable microwaves are usually willing to let go of some additional features like an audio feedback system when the microwave is finished with its operation or a grilling option.
Other features include an in-built light, digital control systems, preset settings with memory function, and more. All of these features may be nice to have but are completely not necessary when it comes to microwaves under $100.
For example, if your goal is to only heat food without much input then ditch the digital control panel for a knob system.
Knobs are excellent input systems and since they work mechanically, you can leave the microwave at your desired settings and just turn it on by turning the timer knob.
Again, digital systems provide way more control and may even be more suitable for people who like their food to be cooked or heated in a precise way.
However, for the general population that doesn’t want to invest that much time, a knob system will be a great fit for your budget!
Don’t worry, we’ll be listing brands that offer multiple types of input systems so that you can choose a microwave that best suits your needs.
Similarly, audio feedback may be important to some while others might find this feature to be annoying, especially for foodies who get the munchies past midnight.
However, audible feedback can be extremely important, especially for people who have become accustomed to such appliances in the past.
Also, the feedback sound may vary! Knob systems usually have a single loud ding to indicate the microwave’s run. Digital controls, on the other hand, can be particularly annoying, especially if you can’t turn off the input sound.
The good news is that some brands will offer a mute button that will turn off all audio feedback.
This feature is extremely useful. Trust us, once you get used to microwaving with a mute function, it will be very difficult to settle for anything less!
Finally, while not as important, some users may prefer their microwaves to have a built-in clock too.
This feature has become redundant with the permeation of gadgets and technology in general but some old school folks would just prefer an appliance with a clock, though some options are also available without it.
We highly recommend going for warranty-covered appliances, especially when it comes to cheaper microwaves.
Most microwaves in this budget range will have at least a 1-year limited warranty while others may not offer any type of coverage.
While microwaves rarely break down, unless there is a manufacturing fault, you will hardly ever need to claim your warranty.
So long as the appliance is periodically serviced and operates as indicated by the manufacturer, a typical $100 microwave can easily outlast a lot of the more expensive models in the market.
Remember, simple is sometimes better! Fewer features mean less additional circuitry which will automatically equate to one less thing going wrong in your appliance.
The worst that can happen to cheaper microwaves is that they may stop working due to an electrical shortage or some parts may break down due to wear and tear.
However, if you compare this to fancier models, then the repair bill (outside of warranty) may be significantly higher!
It is always a good idea to check the terms and conditions of your appliance’s warranty so that you know exactly what is replaceable and serviceable under the brand’s coverage.
Hopefully, with proper usage, you may never need to repair your appliance!
The 11 Best Microwaves Under $100
We have curated this list according to our buyer’s guide above and we are confident that you will easily find an appliance that perfectly fits your needs!
Here are our top picks for the best microwaves under $100!
|1.||COMFEE' Countertop Microwave||Stylish compact microwave with a mute function and Eco mode.|
|2.||Black+Decker Digital Microwave Oven||700W, digital controls, and push-button for easy door release.|
|3.||Farberware Classic 0.7 Cu. Ft. Microwave Oven||Classic look, great basic features, and highly efficient.|
|4.||Nostalgia Classic Retro Microwave||Excellent retro design, tactile buttons, and essential microwave.|
|5.||Commercial Chef Counter Top Microwave||900W microwave with digital touch controls and a sleek design.|
|6.||GE Countertop Microwave Oven||Perfect for dorm rooms and countertops. 700W microwave with digital controls.|
|7.||Amazon Basics Microwave bundle with Echo Dot||Sleek, compact, and great for everyday use. Bundled with Alexa.|
|8.||Magic Chef 700W Oven||Excellent design, basic functions, 700W output.|
|9.||RCA WHITE Microwave||0.7 Cu. Ft capacity, durable design with presets and digital controls.|
|10.||Zokop Retro Microwave||Eye-catching red chassis, excellent durability with a knob and button-based input system.|
|11.||Willz Countertop Small Microwave Oven||Durable chassis, fantastic design, and a high-quality digital panel.|
1. COMFEE’ Countertop Microwave
We are starting with an essential microwave that will suit just about anyone.
This all-black stylish microwave provides a simple one-button solution for heating food without wasting a second.
It comes equipped with a digital panel and even features a mute function which will turn off all feedback sound from the microwave.
If you have been looking for a basic but well-built and designed microwave then this countertop appliance is just for you!
2. Black Decker Digital Microwave Oven
The Black+Decker digital microwave oven is designed for the modern user.
Its compact, stylish and can conveniently heat food just the way you want it thanks to its digital panel with multiple presets and soft-touch buttons.
This model features a child lock, turntable, and a useful push-button door that eliminates the need for you to struggle with your appliance.
3. Farberware Classic 0.7 Cu. Ft. Microwave Oven
Faberware’s classic microwave is an excellent choice for users who want a classic-looking microwave with all the basic features.
This model boasts an extremely simple rectangular design with Led lighting.
It operates at 700W and can easily heat or defrost food at a moment’s notice!
The front of this appliance has a smooth black finish with digital controls that have multiple presets and heating options too!
4. Nostalgia Classic Retro Microwave
As the name suggests, this retro microwave will instantly take you back to the good old days.
The design of this appliance mixes the old with the new, which means that you get the best of both worlds!
We think this is an excellent choice for people who want a classic-looking microwave or even an appliance that doubles as a statement piece!
It’s built with high-quality materials and features tactile buttons. Nothing on this microwave is digital except for the old-school clock screen near the top!
Another great reason to purchase this product is that it provides convenience and flexibility as you can choose how you want to heat your food in several different ways thanks to the added presets.
5. Commercial Chef Counter Top Microwave
The reason why we love this microwave is that it perfectly balances its price and features.
Equipped with a digital touch panel, push-button door, and a 900W magnetron, this microwave is designed to fulfill all your heating needs.
It also has 10 power levels and a child-lock feature that will come in handy with kids around the house. All in all, if you are looking for a simple and elegant solution for your microwave needs, then this is the appliance to invest in!
6. GE Countertop Microwave Oven
Featuring an excellent compact design, the GE Countertop microwave is designed for small spaces and families.
It operates at 700W and is perhaps the most balanced microwave design on the market. It is neither too flashy nor too plain!
This microwave provides multiple power settings and is designed to work with just a few taps on the digital control—and yes, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty as well!
7. Amazon Basics Microwave bundle with Echo Dot
Amazon presents a smart solution and a glimpse into the future of smart kitchens.
Bundled with an Echo Dot (3rd Gen) this is a fantastic option for anyone who wants a simple, sleek, and smart heating solution.
Featuring a compact design with digital controls and a kitchen timer, this microwave allows you to control it over WIFI using Alexa!
The great thing about this combo is that as Alexa gets smarter, it will continue adding presets to your old microwave!
8. Magic Chef 700W Oven
The main reason why this microwave makes our list is that it offers a great design and all the basic functionalities under $100.
Bored of the same old microwave design that has flooded the market?
Then this microwave has a slightly different door pattern and a powerful 700W magnetron that can easily heat food with just a few taps of the digital panel!
It has multiple presets, an LED display, a timer, and a great rounded keypad design that looks and feels different than the competition.
9. RCA WHITE Microwave
The RCA microwave is designed to be durable, elegant, and super simple.
It features a digital keypad and a highly visible led screen that displays the different operations of the appliance.
This microwave has several different presets that can help you heat food efficiently without leaving cold spots.
10. Zokop Retro Microwave
The Zokop retro microwave sets itself apart with its eye-catching red color and fantastic design aesthetics.
This microwave provides multiple presets, a 700W output, and a mix of a knob and button input system that we think is better than most other expensive options in the market.
This is surely one of the best investments that you can make on a budget. Just plug it in, set the power settings, and twist the knob to heat food within seconds!
11. Willz Countertop Small Microwave Oven
This microwave is perhaps the best way to end our list because it encompasses everything that we have been talking about.
The Willz Countertop microwave is compact, durable, and stylish.
It comes in a cool blue color and features 11 power settings that you can use to heat all types of food with ease.
It has a well-spaced digital input system, interior light and LED display, and, of course, a highly convenient push-button door to help you access the microwave chamber with just one finger!
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