Best Microwave Without a Turntable: Flatbed Microwaves

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I've reviewed five of the best microwaves without turntables. My favorite? The Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Microwave Oven.

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A microwave can heat food with less cooking time and less power than an oven, making it the ultimate convenience. However, microwave ovens are notorious for uneven cooking, leaving hot and cold spots in a dish.

Furthermore, cleaning the nooks and crannies underneath a turntable is a pain. Fortunately, there are microwave ovens on the market that don’t feature a rotating motor. These flatbed microwaves are convenient and easier to clean.

The Panasonic NE-1025F Microwave Oven is my top choice because it’s simple to use, easy to clean, and has great performance for basic heating.

But there are many microwaves without turntables that offer unique advantages. This article breaks down the features, as well as the pros and cons, of the different flatbed microwave products. You’ll be heating food in no time.

Which flatbed microwave is right for you? Let’s jump right in.

Microwaves Without Turntables: Reviews

Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Microwave Oven: Best Overall Flatbed Microwave

Exterior Dimensions: ‎‎‎W: 20 inches (51 cm), H: 12 inches (30 cm), D: 16.5 inches (42 cm)

Interior Capacity: 0.8 cu. ft. (23 liters)

Power: 1000 Watts

Panasonic’s reputation for high-quality electronics extends to this NE-1025F Compact Microwave Oven. It features a compact design for commercial use but would look great in any home kitchen, as well.

This Panasonic microwave oven can fit 1 half-size 6-inch deep steam table pan or a typical 11-inch (28 cm) round dinner plate.

Even though this microwave doesn’t have a glass turntable, it uses microwave energy from the bottom to cook food quickly and evenly.

The stainless steel door has a grab & go handle for easy opening. No more push buttons or trigger-activated handles, which can break and malfunction.

This flatbed microwave oven also features a see-through oven door, interior light, and an anti-theft component for commercial spaces. It’s durable enough for high-volume use.

The electronic dial timer goes up to 6 minutes, with 10-second increments. The front panel features a cooking guide with common dishes and the recommended cook times for each.

The Panasonic microwave oven’s control panel lacks custom settings and food-specific cooking programs. However, that simplicity is part of the appeal.

Several customers bought this unit for elderly parents who needed something easy and safe to use. And since the dial only goes to 6 minutes, it doesn’t present the fire hazard of other microwaves.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, space-efficient microwave without a turntable, the Panasonic NE-1025F is one of the best microwaves for you.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Cooks food evenly
  • Space-efficient
  • Easy to clean
  • Anti-theft feature

Cons

  • No custom cooking programs

Sharp R-21LCFS Commercial Microwave Oven: Best Runner-Up Microwave

Exterior Dimensions: ‎‎‎W: 21 inches (53 cm), H: 12 inches (30 cm), D: 16 inches (41 cm)

Interior Capacity: 1.0 cu. ft. (28 liters)

Power: 1000 Watts

Sharp is another brand with a stellar reputation for innovative products. This Sharp R-21LCFS Microwave Oven has a spacious interior that can hold a large platter, prepackaged foods, or a half-size pan in either direction.

This is a commercial microwave, but it can be used in home kitchens, as well.

The stainless steel exterior wrap and flatbed interior are easy to clean. And the heating time reference guide is located above the timer with recommended times for a variety of popular foods.

Speaking of the timer, this flatbed microwave has a classic dial timer that can be set anywhere from 10 seconds to 6 minutes. The bright LED indicators “count down” the cooking process so you know how much time is left.

The timer also has an automatic cancel function. When someone opens the door while cooking food, the remaining time is canceled.

This function serves a dual purpose. First, it saves energy. It also increases the lifespan of the magnetron, the rotating motor underneath the base that’s responsible for emanating microwaves.

Instead of multiple power levels, this microwave oven just has one heat setting. Most customers were happy with the performance, however. They said their food was heated evenly and thoroughly.

You won’t have problems with hot and cold spots. But you’re out of luck if you were hoping for a specific defrost setting.

The microwave door handle is a bit fiddly. Some customers had problems with the latch breaking. While there isn’t a button to push, you do have to squeeze the handle to open the microwave. It’s not exactly intuitive, so that’s a drawback.

But if you want the simplicity and durability of commercial microwaves in a solo flatbed microwave, the Sharp R-21LCFS is a great pick.

Pros

  • Simple to operate
  • Spacious interior
  • Easy to clean
  • Excellent heating performance
  • Safety measures

Cons

  • No partial power settings
  • The handle isn’t intuitive

FORTE Microwave Drawer: Best Splurge Pick

Exterior Dimensions: ‎‎‎W: 24 inches (61 cm), H: 15 inches (38 cm), D: 25 inches (64 cm)

Interior Capacity: 1.2 cu. ft. (34 liters)

Power: 1000 Watts

The FORTE Microwave Drawer is a unique pick with bells and whistles galore. This is the only drawer-style microwave without a turntable on the list.

You can open or close the microwave with just the touch of a button. No drawer pulls or handles to clean.

Unlike other microwaves with just a single power level, this microwave oven has 10 power levels. You’ll have maximum flexibility to cook and heat a variety of foods.

Instead of a turntable, this microwave features stirring blades underneath the base that distribute microwaves.

The auto-cook controls utilize the pre-set cooking menu with multi-stage cooking. That means you can easily defrost, melt, or soften your food with the touch of a button.

The interior light is ultra-bright to give you a full view of your rotating food. Plus, the child safety lock prevents someone from accidentally turning on the microwave.

The defrosting rack allows for more balanced wave circulation, in addition to increasing the amount of food you can defrost at one time.

Instead of the simple dial timer like the other microwaves, this kitchen timer has a time cook and numeric buttons, much like a traditional turntable microwave.

The built-in timer will alert you when your meal is done. Some customers found the timer and the unit to be noisy, however.

But buyers liked the heating performance. This unit is also easy to install, which is impressive for a drawer-style microwave. Since they aren’t suited for placement above the stove, it can be trickier to install them.

The biggest downside? This microwave oven is significantly more expensive than the other models on my list. And while it does have additional features and a unique drawer-style opening, I can’t personally justify the extra cost.

Pros

  • 10 power levels
  • No drawer handle to clean
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • Child safety lock
  • Defrosting rack
  • Ultra bright interior light
  • Multi-stage cooking

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive
  • Noisy

Midea Microwave Oven: Best Bargain Flatbed Microwave

Exterior Dimensions: ‎‎‎W: 20 inches (51 cm), H: 12 inches (30 cm), D: 17 inches (42 cm)

Interior Capacity: 0.9 cu. ft. (25 liters)

Power: 1000 Watts

Next up on the list of best flatbed microwaves is this Midea Microwave Oven. It features 1000 watts of cooking power, well within the average range. It has a stainless steel exterior for a sleek look.

Instead of a rotating plate, this Midea model uses a magnetron to evenly heat food. As a commercial-grade microwave, it can withstand high-volume use.

The dial timer has a six-minute limit with an automatic reset feature. When the door opens, the timer resets to zero. The door has a menu guide for the most popular dishes.

The timer is set for 15-second increments. This takes away some control over cooking times, but it makes the microwave super easy to use.

The EZ Grab’s Go door handle doesn’t require moving parts or pushing buttons, so it’s great for seniors or anyone who wants something easy to open.

Some customers found the fan to be loud, which is annoying. It wasn’t a dealbreaker for them, though. Overall, buyers liked the simple design and ease of use. This would be great for aging parents who need something simple to operate.

This Midea microwave is an affordable appliance, making it my top pick for bargain-seekers.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great for the elderly
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Loud fan

Amana RCS10TS Microwave Oven: Best Heavy-Duty Microwave Oven

Exterior Dimensions: ‎‎‎W: 22 inches (56 cm), H: 13.8 inches (35 cm), D: 19 inches (48 cm)

Interior Capacity: 1.2 cu. ft. (34 liters)

Power: 1550 Watts

This Amana RCS10TS is a medium-duty microwave oven that comes in a stainless steel exterior and is designed with commercial settings.

This microwave has a larger cooking volume, holding 1.2 cubic feet (34 liters). Its larger size and higher cooking power mean you can quickly make more than one dish.

But that also means it requires more energy to run.

This model has four-stage cooking, which means this microwave oven can do multiple cooking methods in one cycle. You can cook meals from frozen to perfection with this unique feature.

It also has five power levels so you can have food cooked to your liking. The 100 memory settings and 60-minute max cooking time give you maximum control and customization.

The LED display is easy to see, while the touch control makes it simple to select your desired cooking program. This microwave oven is also adaptive for the visually impaired, featuring Braille touch pads on the control panel.

Customers were impressed with the quality of this microwave oven. Without a glass turntable, they found the microwave spacious and easy to clean. They were also able to heat food quickly and evenly.

One annoyance was the fan. This is a commercial microwave, which means it’s required to have cooling fans. However, the fan automatically turns on whenever the microwave opens, regardless if the unit is on or not.

Some buyers were annoyed at having a loud fan blowing for several minutes after crisping food. However, there is a way to limit the fan to just 15 seconds after closing the door, which helps quite a bit.

Pros

  • Higher power output
  • Braille touch pads
  • 5 power levels
  • 4-stage cooking
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Requires more energy
  • Fan automatically starts when the door is opened

Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Flatbed Microwave

Do All Microwaves Have a Turntable?

No. Many of the older microwave ovens didn’t feature a turntable. Back then, you had to rotate the dish manually.

Nowadays, almost all residential microwaves come with a glass turntable. But many commercial microwaves don’t.

What Do You Call a Microwave Without a Turntable?

Microwaves without turntables are also called flatbed microwaves or flatbed microwave ovens.

How Does a Microwave Cook Food So Quickly?

Microwaves cause the molecules in the food to vibrate and generate heat. All microwaves have either a turntable or rotating motor underneath the base.

The magnetron generates electromagnetic waves. The waves bounce around the cavity of the microwave to enter food and heat it.

Microwaves cook food from the inside out, whereas traditional ovens cook from the outside in. Traditional ovens use conduction to heat the food.

Convection microwaves additionally circulate hot air with the waves to cook the food. The convection method is what you find in an air fryer.

The bottom line? Microwaves travel faster, which causes food molecules to heat up more quickly. That’s why you can heat a single-serve frozen meal in just a matter of a few minutes with no preheating.

For further explanation, watch this video on how microwaves work:

Why Choose a Flatbed Microwave Over a Turntable Microwave?

Turntable microwaves have some advantages, but they can be a pain to clean. You won’t find a line of volunteers to clean the turntable microwave at the office.

Turntables can also cut into the available interior cooking space. Space efficiency is vital in any kitchen.

Lastly, turntables are almost always made of tempered glass. That’s great for withstanding high heat, but it’s just one more piece that can break. And if you’ve washed a glass plate, you know they can get slippery when wet.

A microwave oven without a turntable is the perfect solution to many of these issues.

Are Microwave Ovens Without Turntables Any Good?

Traditional models of microwave ovens have a glass plate or turntable. Underneath the plate are rotating plates that power the rotation. This turntable rotates food so it cooks evenly.

So it stands to reason that if you remove the turntable, the heat won’t be distributed evenly, right?

Wrong. It might surprise you, but flatbed microwaves cook food just as well as turntable microwaves. You might be wondering how that’s possible without rotating food.

Microwave ovens without turntables use microwaves emitted from a rotating antenna underneath the ceramic base.

These stirring blades release microwaves that bounce at slightly different angles than a turntable microwave.

When microwaves interfere destructively, they can result in cold spots in the food where there is no radiation. However, the rotating motor is designed to release microwaves at angles where that doesn’t happen.

The result is food that is cooked all the way through without hot or cold spots.

Can I Cook Food in a Microwave Without a Turntable?

Yes, you can. The best microwaves without turntables are of the commercial variety, though. You’ll find them in restaurants, offices, and even convenience stores.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a business owner or a professional chef to enjoy a microwave without a turntable. You can use most microwaves without turntables in your home kitchen.

What Size Flatbed Microwave Do I Need?

The perfect size microwave is the one that fits your space and cooking requirements. There are different size flatbed microwaves, but most people can get by with one that can hold approximately 1 cubic foot (28 liters).

Of course, you should also measure the exterior dimensions to make sure it fits on your countertop.

Best Microwave Without Turntable: Last Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best microwave without a turntable, I recommend the Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Microwave Oven. It’s one of the best flatbed microwaves if you want to heat food quickly and evenly.