If you’re a late-night snacker, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of dread you get right before the microwave is about to finish heating your food. If the humming of the magnetron isn’t loud enough to wake up your whole household, the beeping that signals the end of the process surely will be. But there’s a way to avoid detection! You just have to get one of the best quiet microwaves on the market — and I’m here to show you why you need to make the switch.
Even if you don’t want to get a new appliance, you’ll find useful information in this article. Before I wrap up, I’ll make sure to share a few tips on silencing and muffling microwave noises. And you’ll certainly be able to use all this information later on when you decide you’ve had enough of your oven’s shenanigans. For now, though, it may be helpful to learn where the different sounds could be coming from.
What Makes Microwaves Noisy?
If you have a particularly old appliance, keeping up with the various noises it can produce can be a challenge. You might find yourself hearing new and interesting sounds every other day. From humming and buzzing to vibrating and rattling, there’s nothing I haven’t heard from my old microwave. And sure, while some of these sounds are a sign that something is wrong with the appliance, others are a normal part of the process.
So let’s talk about that process for a second. How do microwave ovens even work? Well, there is usually a component in the back of the appliance called the magnetron. This tube is responsible for creating the energy that is then directed toward the food you’re heating by the waveguide, an angled part of the inner wall. These waves warm the food from the inside rather than the outside, as is the case with regular ovens.
Obviously, microwaves have other parts in them, but these are the main ones responsible for heating your food. So what’s so noisy about all of this? Better yet, how can the answer to that question help you avoid purchasing a noisy microwave?
The Main Culprits
Many people wrongfully assume that the magnetron is the main noisemaker here. To be fair, the parts that generate the energy are usually the noisy bits of any contraption. In this case, though, it’s likely that the exhaust fan, which is meant to regulate the temperature of the microwave, is behind the whooshing and humming.
The only way the magnetron would be making noise is if it were loosely attached and vibrating against the body of the appliance. But there are other things to worry about besides the standard humming sounds you might hear while your food is heating up.
Just like your phone charger, these appliances have your standard electrical noisemakers — diodes, capacitors, and transformers. If this trinity starts misbehaving, expect to hear a faint buzzing sound even when the appliance isn’t on. That, as well as grinding or clanking, is a sure sign that you’ll need to get a new microwave soon.
Before I give you a few recommendations, I also want to address the elephant in the room. Most of the time, the loudest sound any microwave oven can produce is whatever atrocious alarm goes off when your food is ready. It can be a single “ding” sound, continuous beeping, or something else altogether.
Either way, it’s usually incredibly obnoxious. With that in mind, my main goal for this article is to present you with quiet microwaves that won’t sound off like a bomb when they’re done heating your food.
List of the Best Quiet Microwaves
Now that I’ve aired my grievances on the subject of microwave noise, let’s see a few examples of some quieter units. Pay close attention! After the reviews, we’ll recap by discussing the features these quiet microwaves have in common.
1. Comfee’ em720cpl-Pmb Countertop Microwave Oven
The first product I want to discuss is this microwave oven from COMFEE’. Measuring in at 17.3 inches wide, 13 inches deep, and 10.2 inches tall, it’s compact while still being large enough to fit a removable 10-inch turntable. Naturally, the inside of the appliance is smaller, with a 12-inch square base and a height of 8.11 inches. Still, that’s ideal for apartments, offices, and dorm rooms.
This 700-watt microwave has six auto-cook keys for popcorn, potatoes, pizza, frozen vegetables, drinks, and reheating food. Apart from those presets, the appliance has eleven power levels you can select on the one-touch control panel, among other settings. The LED display above the flat keys can show the clock, a kitchen timer, or the remaining time until the microwave finishes heating your meal. You can even prolong the heating time in 30-second increments.
There’s even an ECO mode button, which turns the LED display off when you’re not using it. The power-saving option is great if you’re trying to reduce your energy bills.
While we’re talking about disabling features, you can also disable all sounds at the touch of a button. The sound-off feature is quite useful whether you’re trying to heat up leftovers at midnight or you want to let your child have a restful mid-day nap. And if you have little ones, you’ll also appreciate the child safety lock feature, which prevents kids from messing with the microwave.
- 0.7 cubic feet capacity
- 700 watts, eleven power settings
- LED display and one-touch control panel
- Sound on/off key
- Comes in black and white
2. Comfee’ am720c2ra-R Retro Style Countertop Microwave Oven
The second COMFEE’ microwave on my list looks completely different from the first. Its stylish vintage design is available in three fantastic colors: cream, red, and pastel green. But don’t be fooled by the historic charm — it’s a state-of-the-art appliance.
Once again, we have a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet and 700 watts of power. The internal and external dimensions are pretty much identical to those of the previous product I’ve reviewed. So this is another fantastic microwave oven for small spaces — and its quirky design is an excellent perk!
The LED digital display will certainly become your new kitchen clock. It’ll also show the remaining time until you can bite into whatever you’re heating up.
Additionally, there are nine auto-cook options for simple things, like making popcorn or reheating drinks. The assigned codes for each one of them are written right under the LED display, so you won’t have to learn anything by heart.
Unlike the previous product we’ve seen, this one has a dial and five physical buttons. Because of that, you may have to read the manual with more care. Still, all of the important features are present and accounted for. The timer is adjustable in 30-second increments, and there are ECO Mode, Child Lock, and mute keys as well.
- 0.7 cubic feet capacity
- 700 watts, ten power levels
- LED display with a dial and five buttons
- Sound on/off key
- Comes in cream, red, and pastel green
3. Magic Chef mcd770cm Mint Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
This Magic Chef microwave oven is another example of what a vintage microwave might look like. If you’re not sure about having all those buttons on the side of the door, this unit will allow you to go fully old school.
This appliance comes in several attractive colors: mint green, red, and white. It’s 22 inches wide, 17.7 inches tall, and 12.8 inches deep, which makes it slightly bigger than the previous products I’ve reviewed. However, it has the same internal volume as the previous microwaves — 0.7 cubic feet. Furthermore, it has the same power of 700 watts.
Instead of an LED display and buttons on the side, the Magic Chef retro microwave has two rotary dials. You can select one of seven heating options with the upper one, and set the timer with the bottom dial. It goes up to 35 minutes, so if you need more time than that, you’ll have to add it. I don’t know about you, but I’m happier when I have fewer options — it simplifies things.
But that also means that there’s no mute button to eliminate the timer sound. Still, I’ve decided to include this product on my list because the oven emits a relatively soft chime when it’s done heating. It’s no louder than a bike bell, so it should still be bearable.
- 0.7 cubic feet capacity
- 700 watts, seven heating options
- Two rotary dials
- Ding sound
- Comes in mint green, red, and white
4. Nostalgia rmo4aq Retro Large Countertop Microwave Oven
These last two products are both larger microwave ovens with a 0.9 cubic feet capacity. But let’s make the transition a bit softer, with another vintage-inspired microwave oven from Nostalgia. Like the other retro-looking products I’ve recommended, it comes in aqua and red, as well as black and white. Also like the others, it’s a part of a whole series of retro kitchen appliances, so if you want to have a matching set, you can.
Even though it technically has more space inside, this microwave is not inconveniently large, coming in at 19 inches wide, 15 inches deep and 11 inches tall. On the right side of the door, there’s a bright, round LED display that shows the current time or the time remaining and lets you select one of the twelve preset heating options. Apart from those settings, there are five power levels you can set by using the dial and the four keys underneath the display.
The 800-watt microwave should be powerful enough to heat your food quickly and evenly while still being relatively quiet. The loudest noise you’ll hear from this appliance is the click of the locking mechanism as you close the door. Other than that, the interior fan and the alarm are both pretty quiet. When the timer runs out, all you’ll hear is a subtle bell sound.
- 0.9 cubic feet capacity
- 800 watts, twelve presets and five power levels
- LED display with a dial and key controls
- Silent operation and alarm
- Comes in aqua, red, black, and white
5. Toshiba em925a5a-Ss Microwave Oven
If you’re not a fan of the vintage aesthetic, but you still need a large microwave, don’t worry. You might say that I’ve saved the best for last when you see this borderline futuristic-looking Toshiba model.
This microwave has a capacity of 0.9 cubic feet and 900 watts of power. There are six preset heating options for foods like popcorn, pizza, potatoes, and others — similar to the first few products I’ve reviewed. If you don’t want to bother setting the timer, you can also use the express cook button, which heats your food in about six minutes. And once again, you can adjust the timer in 30-second increments.
When you’re not using it, the bright LED display will show the clock, but it can also show time remaining and other information. The microwave even has a power-saving ECO mode that can cut your energy consumption by half while it’s on standby.
Similarly to the first product on my list, all of the buttons are set on a one-touch control panel. Furthermore, you won’t even have to worry about those pesky alarm sounds as this model has a mute button. Just hold the “8” key for about five seconds, and it’ll switch off.
This product comes in black and silver, but both versions are made from stainless steel. Needless to say, this will probably be one of the most durable kitchen appliances you’ve ever had. Additionally, the whole thing measures just over 19 inches wide, 16 inches deep, and 11.5 inches tall. You’ll definitely need to free up some counter space for it.
- 0.9 cubic feet capacity
- 900 watts, ten power levels
- LED display and one-touch control panel
- Sound on/off key
- Comes in black and silver stainless steel
How to Find the Best Quiet Microwaves for Your Home
Now that we’ve had the opportunity to see the best quiet microwaves on the market, let’s talk about how you can find more of them. Here are the criteria I used while looking for the products on my list.
When you’re looking for quiet microwave ovens, the best you can hope for is that they have a “sound off” feature. If you often find yourself sneaking off to the kitchen in the wee hours of the night, that function will come in handy.
Conversely, if the microwave doesn’t have a mute button, the next best thing you can do is figure out what kind of alert it has. Some of them give off three succinct beeps while others keep beeping until you take out the food. There’s a huge difference between those two kinds of alerts, so you have to keep that in mind.
While you’re shopping for microwave ovens, you’ll also want to check what other users have to say about the amount of noise they produce while heating meals. These sounds can be coming from the fan, the turntable, or something else entirely. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that the microwave oven you’re eyeing is quiet, both while it’s heating up snacks and afterward.
The size of a microwave is probably the most important factor to consider, especially if you’re not working with a lot of counter space. And that’s another thing — your appliance doesn’t have to take up counter space at all. Even though I didn’t mention them here, there are plenty of over-the-range microwaves you can go for if you want a dual-purpose product.
Those units hang over your stove, doing the work of a range hood and a microwave at the same time. They’re a great option for people who want their appliances to match the rest of their kitchen. Unfortunately, they’re also pretty pricey.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a countertop unit, like the ones I’ve recommended, you’ll have to figure out where you’ll keep it before you place your order. Clear up as much of your counter as you’re willing to sacrifice and measure the space before you go looking for microwaves.
But it’s not only the external dimensions that matter. You’ll also want to consider the internal size or volume of the machine — which is usually expressed in cubic feet. I only included 0.7 and 0.9 cubic feet ovens on my list, but larger ones are available.
Wattage and Performance
When it comes to reheating your meals in a microwave, you probably want the process to be as quick and painless as possible. But that’s where the wattage may present a problem. Appliances with lower wattages may take longer to heat things up, but they’re often quieter than more powerful units. You’ll have to choose based on where your priorities lie — quiet operation or quick heating.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend getting an appliance that offers less than 700 watts. Trust me — it would be too weak to heat your food quickly and evenly. You’ll just end up frustrated and wanting to chuck it through the window. But the higher you go, the louder it gets, so I wouldn’t go above 1,000 watts either.
In addition to the wattage, there is one more thing that determines the efficacy of a microwave oven — the heating technology it uses. Conventional microwaves are usually cheaper and more plastic-friendly, but they may leave your food half-cold. Conversely, convection microwaves are similar to ovens, but they’re pretty expensive, and there’s a risk of burning your food.
Depending on the kind of microwave you go for, it may also have different preset buttons. Some microwaves even have sensors to help you select the most suitable time and level of heat for a particular type of food.
Last but not least, you should also consider the design of the appliance. And it’s not just about the way it looks, though that is certainly a factor I couldn’t ignore in my reviews. You’ll want to think about the materials the microwave is made of. Some of them are more durable and easier to clean than others.
For example, that stainless steel microwave from Toshiba seems like it would be pretty easy to wipe clean and sturdy enough to store items on top of. I’m not sure the same can be said for some of the microwave ovens that didn’t make my list.
Additionally, you should get a microwave both you and your family will know how to use. That is also a matter of design. If everyone in your household knows how to operate an LED screen or preset keys, get a modern-looking device. If not, you already know that vintage microwave ovens with dial controls are making a comeback.
How to Fix a Noisy Microwave
To recap, all microwave ovens have several parts that may start producing noise at some point:
- The turntable motor can malfunction due to age and use, causing the oven to vibrate
- Similarly, the stirrer motor, which moves the metal blade that distributes the energy in some appliances, can wear out, resulting in grinding sounds
- The magnetron tube can make buzzing or growling sounds if it’s burning out
- The exhaust fan may become audible, producing typical humming and whirring sounds
Now, even though you’re already aware of the main potential noisemakers, you shouldn’t try to fix anything by yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t tamper with it unless you’re a licensed professional. If you’re not, I suggest calling one as soon as possible, especially if the sounds are concerning. You’ll know the sounds you need to worry about when you hear them.
If you’re curious about what a professional could do that you couldn’t, I recommend checking out the video. As you can see, microwave oven troubleshooting isn’t exactly a walk in the park. You shouldn’t even try it without having certain skills and, of course, tools. Still, until you get the appliance checked out, you can try to muffle the noise it’s making.
Put Your Microwave on an Anti-Vibration Mat
If you’ve noticed that your microwave is rattling or shaking while in use, there’s a simple way to prevent it from transferring those vibrations to the surrounding surfaces. One of the best ways to do that is to put the microwave on a rubber mat. You can even use one of the products I mentioned in my article on anti-vibration mats for washing machines. However, if you’re looking for a quick solution, you could achieve a similar effect by just using a towel.
Soundproof the Kitchen Door
Sadly, if your microwave is making any other sounds, like beeping incessantly, there’s not much you’ll be able to do without calling a repairman. Well, I suppose you can try to keep the sound contained in the kitchen. I’ve written about ways to soundproof doors before, so I won’t repeat myself. Just know you should focus on:
- Thickening the door
- Closing any gaps around the frame with caulk
- Installing a door sweep
On the other hand, if you don’t have a kitchen door, or if you live in an open-concept apartment, I would suggest that you create the privacy you need by installing soundproof curtains or room divider curtains around the microwave. Hopefully, that will do the trick.
Enjoy Your Midnight Snack Without Shame
If you’re currently being terrorized by your microwave oven, I hope this article has managed to tempt you into purchasing a new one. After all, the wrong timer alarm can easily make or break your midnight sneak and snack. Nobody wants their entire household to know that they’re reheating pizza leftovers from three days ago!
But of course, the products I’ve shown you have a purpose outside of your home as well. If you’re shopping for an office or a hotel, one of them might turn out to be the quiet, functional, and stylish microwave you’ve been looking for. As long as you begin by defining the size, capacity, and wattage you need, you should have no trouble finding the perfect model.