Microwave ovens are undeniably one of the best inventions of the twentieth century. This compact appliance enables you to make a quick sandwich or reheat a meal in the blink of an eye.
They have only one downside – most units are incredibly loud. Sure, the noise level doesn’t count most of the time. But if you’re a late-night snacker, the humming of the magnetron and the end-of-cycle beeping will likely wake up your entire household. This is where a quiet countertop microwave comes in handy.
A small quiet microwave can also make your life easier if you have a young child. Because we all know, dealing with a cranky toddler woken up from a nap is no fun.
There is only one teeny-tiny problem: most brands advertise their microwaves as quiet when in fact, they are loud. So, how can you find a microwave oven that suits your needs? No need to panic – we’ve done the hard part for you. After hours of thorough research and testing, we’ve found the best silent microwave on the market. Check the list below to find your preferred one.
Can a microwave be truly quiet?
As unbelievable as it sounds, a microwave can be truly quiet. However, there are a few characteristics you should check out to ensure a low noise level.
What makes a countertop microwave quiet?
Microwave ovens have five noise-making components: the magnetron, the capacitor, its transformer and diode, and the cooling fan.
To make sure the unit you want to buy is truly quiet, you should make sure all of these components are insulated. Improper installation can also increase the noise level of your unit – but since we’re speaking about the installation of internal components, this is a manufacturing defect.
Frequent installation problems include vibrations that are responsible for louder noises.
For this reason, you should make sure the microwave oven you want to buy has a motor housing lined with sound-absorbing materials. Last-generation microwaves also have silent cooling fans.
In addition to silent internal components and insulation, you should also check out the door’s latching mechanism (some doors are quieter than others) and a dedicated silent mode or a button that enables you to turn off the beeping sound at the end of the cycle.
How to choose the Quiet countertop microwave?
It goes without saying that when you’re looking for a quiet countertop microwave, the first thing to check is the noise level.
Generally, a microwave isn’t extremely loud when in use. The average noise level of a standard microwave is about 55 to 59 decibels (dB). By comparison, a normal conversation has a noise level between 55 and 65 dB.
The beeping sound at the end of the cycle is, however, much louder. Since non-beeping microwaves aren’t yet on the market, you should consider getting a unit with a beep-off button.
In the microwave world, power refers to the unit’s wattage output (which is different from the wattage input required by the appliance for proper functioning).
There is only one rule to consider here: the more power your microwave oven has, the better. Not only will the appliance cook your food faster, but more power also translates into better cooking results. By increasing the power level and reducing the cooking time, your food maintains most of its texture and flavor.
Countertop microwaves come in various sizes, from small units ideal for students and singles to large family-sized units.
For quick reheating and simple dishes, a small unit with a capacity of up to one cubic foot would suffice. If you cook frequently, go for a unit with a capacity of one cubic foot or more.
Microwaves with inverter technology are always a better choice compared to conventional microwave ovens.
The inverter technology enables the appliance to modulate the power output to match the selected setting. By contrast, microwaves that don’t have this technology always operate at full power and regulate the temperature by turning the power on and off.
Not only will this lead to quicker wear and tear, but the cooking results aren’t that great. Since the inverter technology allows the unit to use lower power continuously from the start to the finish of the cycle, these microwaves cook food better and have longer lifespans.
Another thing to look for in a microwave is pre-programmed cooking. The more functions the unit has, the better. Most microwaves have at least six pre-programmed functions for popcorn, potatoes, vegetables, and various types of meat. The most advanced models have specific functions for a variety of recipes.
Sensor cooking is different from pre-programmed cooking functions. The sensors detect the amount of water in your food and adjust the settings accordingly. The result is tastier food that maintains its texture and flavor. Moreover, you’ll never have to worry about over or undercooking.
Defining a smart microwave is often difficult. Smart features can vary from smart sensors – sensors that detect the amount of vapor coming from your food throughout the cooking cycle and adjust the cooking time and power several times throughout the cycle – to connectivity and voice control.
Voice and app control are nice add-ons, especially if you have a busy life and would like to find the food cooked as soon as you get home.
Other smart features include self-cleaning and deodorization functions.
The brand is almost always guaranteed quality. Big brand names making non-beeping microwaves include Toshiba, Commercial Chef, Panasonic, COMFEE’, GE Appliances, and Breville. Other companies also manufacture quiet microwaves or microwaves with on/off sound buttons.
What features should a quiet countertop microwave have?
When choosing a quiet countertop microwave, there are a few features you should check:
- On/off beeping button
- Insulated magnetron
- Quiet cooling fan
- Soft closing door
Best Quiet Countertop Microwave
1. Panasonic NN-SN966S Countertop Microwave Oven
Starting off our list of best quiet countertop microwaves is this model in the Panasonic NN series. While it doesn’t actually have a beep-on/off button nor one that allows you to change the volume level, this microwave oven is pretty silent on its own.
An excellent choice for families with young children or anyone else who needs a larger capacity appliance without the annoying sounds.
Why I love it
The Panasonic NN-SN966S has a large capacity – 2.2 cubic feet. This is enough for warming up food for the whole family or cooking a larger casserole.
Designed to make cooking easy, the oven features 14 express cooking settings, and a turbo defrost. Combined with the 1,250 watts of power and the inverter technology, you can rest assured this oven can meet all your cooking needs.
In addition to the pre-programmed cooking options and inverter technology, this unit also features Panasonic’s proprietary Genius Sensor. This smart sensor detects the amount of vapor coming from your food, preventing overcooking.
While the microwave is indeed quiet – compared to the average microwave oven – you have no options to mute the sound or change its volume.
This microwave oven comes with a control panel that seems intuitive at first glance. However, the small buttons can make it a tad difficult to operate.
2. Breville BMO850BSS Smooth Wave Countertop Microwave Oven
The Breville Smooth Wave microwave oven is a smooth-looking appliance that can add visual value to any small kitchen.
Its vintage design yet sleek stainless steel finish make it perfect for traditional and contemporary interiors alike. Volume and sound-off buttons combine with the soft closing door for an overall quiet microwave cooking experience.
Why I love it
With this microwave oven, you can rest assured your midnight kitchen trips will go unnoticed. The unit features a mute button that turns off the beeping completely as well as a button that allows you to adjust the beeping volume.
Don’t you hate it when you have to spend ages figuring out how to set your microwave oven? If you do, the cooking shortcuts on this Breville will definitely come in handy. Handy is also the legend printed behind the door, next to the control panel – you can lose that instruction booklet without worries.
We all know that when cooking something in a microwave, there is a high chance that you’ll need just a bit more time. That’s where this button comes in handy.
Considering that this isn’t the cheapest microwave out there, I expected a backlit display. However, that’s not the case, so don’t expect to see the clock in the dark.
One of this oven’s strongest selling points is the smart IQ sensor function. It works like a charm, but very few options use it. Most pre-programmed functions only use a preset cooking time and power instead of engaging the IQ sensor.
3. Toshiba EC042A5C-SS Countertop Microwave Oven
This countertop microwave from Toshiba may not impress with its looks in the way the Breville does, but it’s an excellent unit to consider for a larger household.
It has a capacity of 1.5 cubic feet and can reach up to 1,000 watts of power. The 13 pre-programmed cooking functions and the possibility to use it instead of your convection oven make it a winner.
Why I love it
Microwave ovens don’t serve the same purpose as a convection oven, but it’s still nice to have a backup. This Toshiba microwave provides just that. You can use the oven for baking, roasting, reheating or defrosting.
Have you finished cooking, but it’s not quite dinner time? Nothing to worry about. The oven’s warm-hold function allows you to keep the meal warm until everyone’s around the table.
At first glance, the unit doesn’t have a sound-off button, but all it takes to mute the sound is to press the digit 8 for three to five seconds.
While I wouldn’t expect the results obtained with a microwave oven to be the same as when baking in a standard oven, I have to say this oven’s convection function is just meh. That said, it is still a valuable addition if you live in a small apartment.
It isn’t a secret that appliances sometimes need replacement parts, such as a new interior light or a door latch. Finding replacements from Toshiba is a nightmare, though. Not only are they challenging to find, but the customer service is not that helpful.
4. Black+Decker EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven
If you’re on the market looking for a small microwave oven that is quiet, the Black+Decker EM720CB7 could be the right one for you.
This compact microwave boasts a sleek design and sufficient functions to satisfy the casual home cook. Sure, it may not have as many functions as a higher-end appliance, but it packs everything you need from the best budget microwave – including preset cooking functions and an easy-to-use control panel.
Why I love it
Like the Panasonic microwave, this microwave oven doesn’t actually have a noise cancellation button. You can’t adjust the volume either since the beeping is, in fact, a safety feature. However, the unit is quieter than most other microwave ovens.
Have you ever wanted to monitor the cooking time of a meal simmering on your stove just to find out that the kitchen timer is broken? This microwave oven gives you the possibility to use its timer for all your cooking needs.
Compact enough for a dorm or RV, this stylish appliance impresses with a stainless steel finish that is easy to clean. The 10-inch turntable is also removable for easier cleaning. Overall, the oven is ideal for those with little counter space.
The keypad itself is intuitive, but it isn’t backlit. This lack makes the oven hard to operate in low light (like those midnight kitchen trips when you don’t want to turn the lights on and alert your whole household).
While nobody expects a surge of power when buying a 700-watt microwave, reheating a plate of vegetables should still be pretty fast. However, this microwave is a tad slower than its competition.
5. COMFEE’ EM720CPL-PMB Countertop Microwave Oven
The last best compact microwave on our list comes from COMFEE’ and is a sleek, black number with a modern design and easy-to-use control panel – though this keypad also lacks a backlight, so not the greatest choice for use in the dark.
That said, the unit brings all you’d expect from an entry model. It reheats food fast, has all basic cooking options, and even has 11 cooking power levels despite its low wattage.
Why I love it
Whether you want to reheat food in the middle of the night or prevent waking up your child, the mute function allows you to turn off the loud beep. Just press the 8 buttons for about three seconds. The silent mode also turns off the keypad sound.
In addition to the usual presets and pre-programmed cooking options, this microwave oven has a memory function that allows you to restart the last program with a simple touch of a button.
This is an unpretentious microwave available at a more than attractive price tag. It is ideal for anyone on a budget.
While the heating speed is good, this microwave oven doesn’t have inverter technology. You’ll have to stir up the food to prevent hot spots.
The cooling and exhaust fan are too weak to remove all vapor from the cavity when cooking.
This leads to condensation issues, and you’ll have to wipe it out frequently.
Quiet countertop microwave comparison table
|Panasonic NN-SN966S||Breville BMO850BSS||Toshiba EC042A5C-SS||Black+Decker EM720CB7||COMFEE’ EM720CPL-PMB|
|Capacity||2.2 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||1.5 cu. ft.||0.7 cu. ft.||0.7 cu. ft.|
|Max power||1,250 watts||1,250 watts||1,000 watts||700 watts||700 watts|
Quiet Countertop Microwave Related Questions
How do I make my microwave beeper quieter?
You can only make a microwave beeper quieter if the appliance has a volume button. Not all microwaves have this option – the beeper serves a safety function, alerting you when the food is ready so that you can take it out. The alarm also beeps when something goes wrong, such as a fire in the microwave, for instance. That’s why some brands don’t allow you to deactivate it.
If your microwave oven has a volume button, simply press it until the beeper is as quiet as you like.
How do you make a microwave go silent?
You can either press the mute button or another button on the microwave that enables the silent mode (on most models, this is the number 8 button, which you’ll have to press for about three seconds).
What is a mute button on a microwave oven?
A mute button is a button that enables you to deactivate the beeper as well as the keypad sound. The microwave will have a completely silent operation.
The quietest microwave is a valuable addition to your kitchen, whether you live in a dorm, in a big household, or if you have young children.
Whether you need a microwave large enough to feed a crowd or a small unit for occasional use, I hope this guide has helped you find the best microwave for you.