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Quietest Microwaves of 2021: Reheat in Silence

Open plan living is becoming increasingly popular, and with that comes the necessity for kitchen equipment with reduced volume levels.

The microwave oven is ever-present in almost all kitchens; they are notoriously noisy. Not only the loud motor that rotates the turntable, but also the annoying series of 'pings' that alert when the contents are ready.

Quiet microwaves are available for the home or professional kitchen. Minimal noise disruption enables comfortable levels of conversation or concentration to continue uninterrupted.

The Quiet Microwaves

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1. Breville Smooth Wave Countertop Microwave Oven

The Breville Smooth Wave eliminates estimated reheating times with its Sensor iQ Technology. It automatically adjusts the power intensity ensuring everything evenly reheats and nothing is overcooked or dried out.

The Smooth Wave has a load of shortcuts. Inside the door are a series of One-Touch buttons, pre-programmed to perform specific tasks. There is a perfect popcorn button, one for softening butter, another for melting chocolate and reheating pizza.

There is a 'little bit more' function, a time-saving feature that requires one press to add a further 30-second cooking time.

The control panel is intuitive, displaying all information on a large, backlit LCD screen. There are 2-dials, one each for timings and the other for the required power. Smart reheat, defrost, and cook buttons are above a turntable stop and safety child lock button.

The instruction manual is simple to understand in the unlikely event that the control panel isn't self-explanatory enough.

Now, for the noise aspects. Dampening materials used within the 1200w motor housing keep the noise emitted to a minimum. That is around 80% quieter than similar models when in operation.

When the food is ready, there is a quiet 'ding' unlike other microwaves that beep and ping for a while.

The soft-close door feature also keeps the volume down, no more bangs and clatters.

The Smooth Wave microwave has contemporary styling, brushed stainless steel complements any kitchen setting while being easy to clean. It is relatively compact yet holds a generous 12.5" turntable.

2. Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven with Convection

The Toshiba microwave and convection oven is designed for the countertop to take care of many of your cooking needs.

It reheats and defrosts as expected, but it also roasts, bakes, and grills.

It is housed in an attractive black stainless steel both internally and externally; the microwave is extremely easy to clean. The metal is also scratch and rust-resistant, ensuring your microwave looks new for the duration of its service.

The user manual is excellent; both text and diagrams explain functions concisely. The microwave isn't confusing; it contains just enough functions to perform without complicating the issue.

The 1000w microwave includes Smart Sensor; It automatically detects the humidity of food and adjusts the time and temperature accordingly. It has 10-power settings, a clock, and a useful kitchen timer.

When left on standby, Eco Mode kicks in and reduces the energy consumed by 50%.

Warm Hold keeps prepared food at the optimum serving temperature for up to 99-minutes. There is even a button preparing piping hot popcorn in a matter of minutes.

It takes one press of a button to change to the 1400w convector oven. It works independently of the microwave or together as a combination-oven.

The two included trivets ensure it cooks evenly, even from frozen. French fries have a crispy coating and remain fluffy inside, while chickens and joints of beef roast to perfection.

The LCD screen and digital buttons ensure precision timings with every use.

There is also a button to mute the volume, so no ready alerts are emitted. The only noise to be heard is the gentle purr as the 13.6” turntable rotates.

3. Panasonic Microwave Oven 

This Panasonic microwave is the first in our reviews that can be used on the countertop or be built-in. Although it doesn't come with the finishing trim, it is available to order as a retrofit.

With a large 2.2ft³ interior, there is copious amounts of space for over-sized dinner plates or a large casserole dish. It is the ideal microwave oven for a large family or a professional kitchen. The turntable has a generous 16.5" circumference.

It has a quiet motor; the cooling fan makes little noise, Panasonic has taken care of any volume concerns. When in operation, it is quiet enough to continue a conversation while stood alongside it.

The microwave employs inverter technology, ensuring all cooking, reheating, and defrosting is done evenly. There are no hot or cold spots anywhere; dishes heat equally from the edge to the center.

The Genius Sensor reads the amount of steam produced and automatically adjusts cooking power and type, depending on the food type.

There are 14 auto-cook settings, including frozen pizza, soup, pasta, fresh and frozen vegetables, all at the touch of a single button.

The Keep Warm feature ensures dishes stay at their best temperature until you're ready to eat.

The Panasonic microwave is extremely easy to set. The dial adjuster allows quick 30-second increments for additional heating, and the pushbuttons are marked.

The 4-digit LCD is bright, as are the clock and timer features.

It is a great-looking machine that will enhance any kitchen setting. The stainless steel construction is easy to clean and guarantees a long service life.

4. BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave Oven

If space is at a premium, the Black and Decker 700w oven is worth considering.

It is a compact model with a small footprint, just 17.3" x 10.2"; it doesn't take up much counter space.

It is the ideal microwave for office settings, single people, and couples.

The 0.7ft³ interior has a 10” turntable, enough for a standard plate or a large jug of water.

Its sleek stainless style complements any setting, whether traditional or modern. It is well made, robust, and easy to clean.

You might be surprised by the number of features the Black and Decker appliance has. There are 10-power levels, allowing the user to adjust between 100 and 700w, depending on what's cooking.

The 6-auto-cook functions make frozen pizza and vegetables, popcorn, beverages, potatoes, and reheating effortless.

Easy Defrost is a nice feature; if you're unsure of the weight, set the timer instead, both options are available.

Express cook supplies full-power for 1 through 6 minutes by pressing just 1-button.

The control keypad is straightforward, and the backlit screen has large digits, including a kitchen timer and clock.

This compact microwave has all the features of one much larger, including a safety child lock.

5. COMFEE' Countertop Microwave Oven

The Comfee' microwave is small – but not too small. It takes up little counter space and comfortably holds a regular-sized dinner plate.

It is constructed from coated stainless steel and finished in black, though other colors are available. The best way to describe it is 'retro', but cute also fits the bill.

It has a digital control pad with One-Touch buttons. Unlike dials, buttons tend to beep. Comfee' has added a mute key; a single3-second press silences the noise while you set the microwave, but also the annoying beeps that alert you when food is ready. It is a fantastic feature in small accommodations, dorms, or offices.

The are 11-power levels with maximum utilizing the full 700-watts. It also has 6-Auto Cook buttons; they take the guesswork out of cooking and reheating the most regularly microwaved foods.

Express cook and +30 Seconds are self-explanatory useful features.

It also has a memory function, kitchen timer, and clock, all displayed on a bright digital LCD panel.

In ECO-Mode, the lights turn off when the oven is on standby. It might save a small amount of energy, but every little helps.

The Comfee' microwave is compact design meets full functionality. The control panel is intuitive; it does everything expected of a larger machine.

What to Look for in a Quiet Microwave

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Inverter Technology

Precisely control the output by adjusting the wattage level; without dipping in and out like traditional non-inverter models. Cooking time is shorter, results are superior.

Microwaves with inverter technology tend to be more expensive.

Smart Sensor

Microwaves with integral sensors work by measuring humidity levels within the cooking cavity. It sends signals to a microprocessor which calculates the remaining cooking times and automatically adjusts the power and timings.

Power

The potential wattage output of a microwave is important. It shows the maximum amount of power number of microwaves that it emits when on the highest setting.

700w machines take around a third longer to reheat their contents than a 1000w oven.

Therefore, high-power microwaves are more time and energy-efficient.

Combination Ovens

Combination microwaves contain an additional convection oven. It adds greater scope to the cooking possibilities as they also bake, roast, and grill.

Although more expensive, one machine can replace many other kitchen appliances.

Construction Materials

Stainless steel is a durable metal with scratch and rust-resistant properties. It looks sharp and modern and it is easy to clean.

Coated steel and plastic are used in the construction of microwaves. Over time, they tend to stain, rust, and crack if used in the cooking cavity.

Placement

Microwaves should only sit on a counter; unless otherwise stated. If you're looking to build your appliance into the cabinets, you should get a designated model that has additional vents.

Strict regulations are surrounding minimum clearance distances for built-in appliances; microwaves need plenty of ventilation to avoid overheating.

Operating Method

Touchscreen – The most accurate way to set precision timings.

Keypad – Low profile buttons with an LCD digital display screen.

Dial - Often less responsive and with fewer features; timings set in larger increments.

What is a Microwave

microwave diagram

Microwave ovens use electricity to heat and cook food via electromagnetic radiation.

It causes polar molecules inside the food to glow, producing thermal energy.

This process is known as dielectric heating, and depending on the method employed, it heats food very quickly and evenly.

The Difference Between Inverter and Non-Inverter Microwaves

Three of our featured microwaves use inverter technology. They are more efficient and produce food to a higher standard.

How Non-Inverter Microwaves Work

Inside a microwave is a magnetron unit, a high-powered component that generates high numbers of microwaves and power.

Each time the microwave is in use, the magnetron directs all the waves into the cooking cavity.

A magnetron cannot self-regulate. It always supplies the maximum amount of power depending on the electricity available and the microwave's output rating. Food overcooks, dries out, and loses flavor, color, and nutrients.

Non-inverter microwaves have various settings. When a lower level is selected, the only way to reduce the power strength is by dipping in and out in phases. The magnetron alternates between 100% then 0%, resulting in overall cooking power of 50% (in theory).

It is an effective method, but food doesn't always heat evenly.

Non-inverter microwaves are usually smaller and more affordable.

How Inverter Microwaves Work

An inverter is a device that converts direct current, DC, into alternating current, AC. It gives you control over the level of output required from the magnetron assembly.

The inverter enables the magnetron to run at the desired temperature. If your dish only requires 50% power then that is what it delivers, consistently.

Cyclonic inverters emit 3-D circular waves to cover more of the food; in doing so, reducing the possibility of dried-out edges.

Inverter Benefits

  • Improved Temperature Control – Inverter microwaves continuously produce a steady amount of waves; Food cooks and defrosts evenly and safely.
  • More Energy Efficient – Fluctuating temperatures and power pulsations from non-inverter machines demand more energy. Inverter microwaves direct the power exactly where it's needed; to cook in less time.
  • Better Food Quality – Cooking at constant high temperatures reduces the quality of the food, nutrients leach, and flavor is lost.

Can a Microwave be "Quiet"?

Moving metal components are always going to create sound; it's just a matter of how much.

Microwaves contain 5-main noise-making components -

  1. Cooling Fan - It blows across the magnetron to keep it cool as it releases high amounts of microwaves.
  2. Magnetron - Only creates noise if it is poorly secured and allowed to vibrate against the chamber wall.
  3. Capacitor
  4. Transformer
  5. Diode

Numbers 3, 4, and 5 emit the humming sound we relate to operational microwaves. It is them working hard to convert the electrical energy to mechanical.

Methods Used to Quiet Microwaves

  • Dedicated 'quiet microwaves' have sound-absorbing materials within the motor housing to reduce noise.
  • Most modern microwaves feature 'Silent Mode' Once activated, any beeps or pings mute until the action reverses.
  • Soft-close doors eliminate noise each time they're opened and closed.
  • Place it on a piece of foam or other soft material; It helps to absorb sound waves, preventing them from bouncing from the hard counter and into the room.
  • Clanking or banging noises imply a mechanical issue; a part should be repaired or replaced. It is a dangerous job best left in the hands of an expert.
Clayton Dillon
Clayton, like millions of people, suffers from issues related to sleep. After decades of poor sleep and hundreds of hours of independent research, he decided to create a resource and share his findings with fellow snorers.

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