Decide on the type of microwave you want. Countertop microwaves work best in kitchens with a lot of counter space, since most midsized versions use about 3 square feet of counter space. Both built-in and over-the-range microwaves preserve counter space, but an over-the-range microwave takes the place of your range hood, while a built-in microwave often requires an electrician to install.
Determine the wattage of the microwave. Microwave ovens come in 350 watts and higher. The lower the wattage, the longer it takes your food to cook. At the time of publication, the industry standard is 700 watts, with cookbooks and tested recipes often using a 700-watt microwave for food preparation.
Look at the cooking levels of the microwave. All microwaves cook using 100 percent of their power. However, if you want to defrost food, you need a microwave with a 30 percent power setting and one that operates at 50 percent power to simmer food.
Look for other additional features you want. Some microwave ovens have special preset buttons for pizza or popcorn. Some microwaves come with cooking racks or turntables. The microwave you purchase should have all the features you need.