Over-the-range microwaves clear up counter space and look more streamlined in your kitchen. Consumer Reports checked out how much you have to spend to get a great microwave.
It compared three GE over-the-range microwaves. All three look similar. All have about 1,000 watts of power, a stainless steel finish, and about the same amount of cooking space but one costs $250, another, $400, and a third $550.
The differences? The two higher-priced microwaves come with some extra features like a wire rack, a sensor that detects when food is done, extra settings for things like snacks and steaming and more speeds for the exhaust fan.
To check for differences in performance, testers made popcorn and measured how much each microwave actually produced. They used frozen chop meat to see how well each defrosted and reheated trays of lasagna.
It turns out the $550 GE Profile only slightly outperformed the others. So you can save money and opt for the $250 GE JVM3160RFSS, which is a Consumer Reports Best Buy.
If you prefer a microwave that sits on the counter, Consumer Reports named a midsized one from Sharp a Best Buy for $140. It’s a bit smaller than the GE over-the-range microwave but is impressive at reheating and defrosting. It’s the Sharp R-323TKC.