We compare the best commercial microwaves on the market to make the process of choosing your own as easy as possible.
A reliable and well-made commercial microwave can be one of the most underrated but highly useful tools in a professional kitchen. Used for quickly heating items, a commercial microwave is a tool that some may turn their nose up at, but it is actually something that many restaurant operators rely on. In this guide, we break down the best commercial microwaves on the market and how you should choose the right option for your restaurant.
The best commercial microwave ovens for 2023 are:
- Best overall: Panasonic Commercial Microwave 1,700 Watts
- Best high-speed microwave/convection oven: Turbochef ECO-9500-1
- Best heavy-duty commercial microwave: Amana HDC12A2
- Best high-wattage microwave: Sharp R-25JTF
- Best for longer cook times: Panasonic Countertop Commercial
- Best for affordability: Solwave Microwave
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Best Commercial Microwave Ovens Compared
Why You Can Trust Us
Ray Delucci is a food industry professional with over a decade in professional kitchens. He has experience in various restaurant types, from fast food to fine dining. Ray has worked with countless kitchen tools and gadgets in different settings and is well-versed in what is needed for a piece of kitchen gear to run smoothly in a professional kitchen. He brings his knowledge of restaurant operations management to his guides and his decision-making.
Best Overall: Panasonic Commercial Microwave 1,700 Watts
The Panasonic 1,700 Watt Commercial Microwave is our pick for best overall commercial microwave oven due to its restaurant-friendly features and durable kitchen build. Housed in a stainless steel exterior, the Panasonic Microwave includes LED lighting on the interior and two independent heating energy feed controls to ensure the unit is working as efficiently as possible. There are 90 programmable touchpad options on the microwave’s control center, and it offers 15 power levels so you have total control when cooking a variety of different foods. It also includes a One-Touch Start feature so that operating the machine is easy.
This unit can hold up to 30 different memory-logged cook functions, allowing you versatility in the way you store cooking controls for your staff. The 1,700-watt power level ensures that food will cook or reheat quickly, making it great for a busy business rush. The LED screen displays different information, including the setting you are on, the time left in the cook, and a clock when not in use. It will also troubleshoot any errors in the unit and relay them through this screen. This is the ideal microwave oven for any restaurant operator needing to rely on a machine that can heat fast and can be used by staff with relative ease.
Best High-speed Microwave/Convection Oven: Turbochef ECO-9500-1
This Turbochef unit is a top-rated commercial microwave convection oven that we added to the list for those looking for a next-level cooking machine. This oven is a high-powered, high-speed countertop oven that blends microwave and convection oven heating methods to give an uber-efficient cooking experience. The recipe database you upload can be stored via USB or stored and reached via Wi-Fi.
The software in this oven self-diagnoses any issues so you know right away what needs to be done when a problem arises. The cooking cabin is insulated, allowing for great heat buildup inside but not on the outside, trapping the dangerously hot heat where it needs to be. There is an external filtration system to keep the unit running smoothly, and it can be placed on a countertop in any busy restaurant.
This machine is expensive, so be sure to look into what this microwave oven hybrid offers before making your purchase. It would be a great addition for specific situations, such as cafes needing to heat up sandwiches and personal pizzas, restaurants needing to heat personal and ready-to-order dishes, and any establishment needing a smaller yet fast and reliable oven with many recipe settings to cook with.
Best Heavy-duty Commercial Microwave: Amana HDC12A2
The Amana HDC12A2 is a great heavy-duty microwave for a large volume of use in any professional kitchen. This unit has been tested to ensure it can withstand harsh kitchen environments and a range of changing ambient temperatures as well. This unit is made out of stainless steel and offers removable air filter components so that you can clean them regularly and protect the oven components.
With 11 different power levels, it is able to cook a wide variety of ingredients with relative ease. Another unique feature of this microwave is that it is compatible with an incredible 24 languages. It has smart USB connectivity so that you can download and transfer cook profiles between units, and it offers up to 100 different programmable settings that you can customize.
Best High-wattage Microwave: Sharp R-25JTF
If you are looking for extremely fast heating and a lot of power in your commercial microwave, then the Sharp R-25JTF is your best bet. With 2,100 watts, it is the highest-power microwave in this guide and is sure to be the most efficient when it comes to heating as well. This, paired with the bottom and top heating energy feeds, makes the Sharp R-25JTF an extremely powerful tool for the busiest kitchens. It can support 20 program inputs in its memory base, which may not be as much as others on this list. But with the power this microwave heats, it more than makes up for it.
The 11 different power levels also give you control over your heating process in a variety of ways. The Express Defrost setting offers a 3-stage cooking cycle that will defrost your frozen ingredients with ease and without cooking them. The 0.7 cubic feet chamber also allows for decent room in this microwave. If speed in heating and power efficiency is what you are looking for, then this unit is for you.
Best for Longer Cook Times: Panasonic Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven
The Panasonic Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven is a great touch-pad microwave for its ease of use and also in its own self-diagnostic function. The built-in self-diagnostic system will alert you of any issues or errors so that you can tend to them promptly and efficiently. The larger cooking chamber is great for busy restaurants or reheating a lot of food, and that extra space is heated by a bottom-fed energy feed. The unit comes with an anti-theft locking feature and a specially made handle that was designed for ease of opening and closing throughout a busy kitchen rush.
The maximum time you can cook in the unit is 99.99 minutes, making it a beast of a machine when it comes to cooking longevity. Another great feature is that the touchpads come in braille, making it a very accessible unit in any kitchen or hospitality space. This is the ideal microwave for those who value the ease of button use, efficient handle builds, and great accessibility in their kitchen tools.
Best for Affordability: Solwave Microwave
The Solwave Microwave is a solid microwave for those looking for commercial quality on a budget. The 0.9 cubic feet interior is the largest on this list for microwave ovens, and that makes it very useful for large amounts of food. There are 10 available programmable memory settings for your staff to use, and built-in features such as a cooling fan to ensure longevity of the unit over time.
The unit comes with 4 different power levels, including defrost, and an over 90-minute timer. The ceramic interior makes it a very easy unit to clean, and the stainless steel exterior makes it very durable in professional kitchens. Add in the see-through door and the lighted interior and you have all of the basic components of a high-quality commercial microwave at a very low cost.
Types of Commercial Microwave Ovens
There are several different types of commercial microwave ovens. What is best for your restaurant will depend on the tasks you need to perform. Here’s a brief overview of the different microwave types you’ll encounter in your search.
Light-duty Commercial Microwaves
These commercial microwaves are the least powerful of all “commercial” types but can still get the job done. They will offer 1,000 watts and are great for lower-volume restaurants. They heat efficiently and can be relied on when used in a setting like a small cafe or restaurant. They are often cheaper than their heavier-duty counterparts and are popular for smaller operators when it comes to price and general use. Around 50 to 75 uses throughout the day is standard for these units.
These microwaves will offer medium power levels—more power than their light-duty counterparts. They tend to be made in a more durable fashion and can withstand much more use throughout the day. They still have their limits on daily use and function, but being able to be used around 150 times per day is a feat that many restaurants can live with. They bridge the gap between small restaurants and larger operations, and many operators may find themselves opting for this version.
Offering higher power, the heavy-duty microwave is the best choice for any operation that is using this unit many, many times throughout the day. These units are built to last and withstand constant use in a kitchen, as well as the tough environments they may be operating in. They put out a lot of heating power and are reliable and efficient to use during the busiest times of service.
These microwaves incorporate microwave heating and other functions to give you a very quick cook time. They can be pricier but worth the money as they will offer you a valuable resource in return for that investment—time. They may not be needed by every operator; it really depends on time constraints and the types of food products you need to heat or reheat. But they are on the market and you should consider checking a few models out.
What to Look for in a Commercial Microwave
There are many variables to consider when choosing the best microwave for your food service business. This list gives you a snapshot of what you’ll want to consider when buying a commercial microwave.
One of the first variables to look for in a commercial microwave is its size. You need to know not only if it can fit into your kitchen space but also how much product can fit into the microwave itself. Will it leave a large physical footprint? Can you fit the amount of food needed at one time? These are important questions and should be considered when making your choice.
Knowing the wattage is key to understanding the heating speed and overall efficiency of the unit. Technically, the higher the wattage, the more power, which in turn means faster heating times. Understanding how powerful a unit is and what that means relative to how you will use it is key.
Understanding the food you will be heating is an important factor when deciding the best microwave oven for your establishment. If you are heating small, simple food, then an inexpensive unit might be the better option. But if you are reheating larger food items or just technically more advanced foods, then a more powerful unit will be needed.
Knowing how many times a day your microwave will be used is another factor in knowing which one to buy. If you purchase a microwave oven that cannot keep up with your kitchen demands, then you have effectively wasted your money. It is important to know the constraints of the microwave you are buying as compared to the needs of your restaurant before committing to a purchase.
The final factor in your buying process is the budget you have for a commercial microwave and how much you are willing to invest in one. Knowing the realistic amount you can commit to a microwave will help you trim down your search for units within your price range. Make an educated budget before you look to see what is on the market.
How Our Expert Chose the Best Commercial Microwave Ovens
Below is a breakdown of how we rated each microwave and what criteria brought us to our relevant scores:
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Commercial Microwave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These are some of the most common questions we get about commercial microwaves.
Wattage is important because it dictates the power your microwave has to cook your food. The higher the wattage, the higher the power, which means your microwave will cook your food faster. Lower-wattage microwaves may only be able to reheat certain types of food, while higher-powered microwaves can reheat the toughest of frozen foods.
Commercial microwaves are made to withstand commercial demands. They are built with durable materials and can withstand the heat and grease of a restaurant kitchen. They offer more wattage, which in turn heats food quicker and makes for more efficient cooking. Lastly, they are made to be used more. You may use the microwave in your home up to 10 times a day. A commercial microwave can be used hundreds of times in a particular day.
Commercial microwaves are made of durable materials that are meant to last a long time. They are built to withstand many uses and many people operating them and can hold up to the general environment of a professional kitchen. They are meant to be used regularly and are created in a way that ensures they are.
The commercial microwave can be one of the most important yet underrated investments you can make in your restaurant. A tool that heats food rapidly, consistently, and whenever it’s needed is one that is worth some investment. The Panasonic Commercial Microwave 1,700 Watts is our pick for the best microwave oven for commercial use—its dependable features, solid base of power, and durability for kitchens make it a formidable unit for any professional setting.