Commercial microwaves are used far more often than most consumers realize. While you might be sitting down and eating a home cooked meal, there are restaurants of all calibers using a commercial grade microwave oven for:

  • Heating
  • Warming
  • Defrosting

Restaurant chefs will melt cheese or butters, warm herbs and use their commercial microwave ovens for a lot of tasks.

Choosing the right microwave will allow your chef to maximize their time in the kitchen.

best commercial microwave

Commercial Microwave Buying Guide

There are several things you should consider when choosing commercial microwaves, including:

Types of Commercial Microwaves

Before you start comparing models, first consider the type of microwave your kitchen needs. In the commercial sector, you have three main options:

  • Heavy-Duty: These microwaves are 2,000-3,000+ watts. They’re quick and durable enough to handle heavy demand from fast-paced restaurants. You can easily use these microwaves more than a hundred times per day. You'll find these models in fast-casual restaurants, catering companies and cafeterias.
  • Medium-Duty: These models are in the 1,200-2,000-watt range. They offer quick cooking speeds and can be used more than a hundred times per day. You’ll find these microwaves in convenience stores, bakeries and coffee shops.
  • Light-Duty: Ideal for establishments that only need a microwave for light use (less than 50 times per day). Concession stands, break rooms, wait stations and breakfast bars usually have these microwaves.

Most restaurants will need a medium-duty or heavy-duty microwave.

Size

The size is another important thing to consider when choosing a commercial grade microwave oven. The microwave’s interior must be big enough to handle your food items.

Usually, the heavier duty the model, the bigger the interior.

Choosing the right size can be tricky. Here’s a rundown of the most common sizes (in cubic feet).

  • 1.2-1.6 cubic feet: Big enough to handle full-size food pans and oven-safe muffin trays. You can also place most dishes, plates and pans in this size microwave.
  • 0.8-1 cubic feet: Can accommodate most 1/2 or 1/3 size food pans as well as medium-sized containers, plates and bowls.
  • 0.3-0.8 cubic feet: These microwaves are best suited for smaller food pans (1/4 and 1/6 sizes), small plates, ramekins, bowls and mugs.

Consider the types of foods that you regularly cook in a microwave and choose the appropriate size for your needs.

Types of Controls

There are two main types of commercial microwave oven controls:

  • Push Button: These are more advanced models that offer more features and programmability. In many cases, they have the ability to handle multiple unique recipes.
  • Dial: These budget-friendly models have dials with marked increments for timing. Most also have a cooking guide printed on the front for guidance.

Some commercial microwaves have digital displays and programmable functions that make it easy to store recipes and their cook times. Digital displays are also the most user-friendly option for employees, although these models tend to be more expensive.

Our 5 Best Commercial Microwave Models

commercial grade microwave

1. General GEW1000E

The General GEW1000E is a user-friendly model that can handle a variety of commercial kitchen tasks. This model offers the following features:

  • 10 power levels
  • LED display
  • Touch pad
  • 42-lb. weight
  • Stainless steel design
  • Dimensions of 14” L x 20” W x 12” H

From gentle defrosting to high heat, this microwave covers it all. The heavy-duty handle and interlocking system provide an ergonomic design and safe use.

The GEW1000E is ideal for use in fast-paced environments, like fast-food and fast-casual restaurants.

2. Summit SCM1800M2

Summit’s SCM1800M2 is a powerful model that has 20 automatic settings and programs that allow for rapid reheating and cooking of the same items. Need to melt butter often? A built-in program will make it simple and easy to melt butter on the same settings time and time again.

User-friendly controls and digital display options allow you to change settings quickly and easily.

There's a removable ceramic shelf included as well as an audible alert to tell you when the food is done. Dimensions for this Summit model are:

  • 23-¾" W
  • 16” H

Interior space is 1.1 cubic feet and there are 10 power levels that allow for refined heating control.

commercial microwave ovens

3. ACP Inc. RCS10DSE

The RCS10DSE is a countertop unit that is designed for medium duty. You’ll find this model in smaller establishments or restaurants that don’t rely heavily on the microwaves in their kitchens.

Stainless steel makes the unit easy to clean while ensuring that it will match the other appliances in your kitchen.

The unit’s dimensions are:

  • 19.75” L
  • 25.5”W
  • 17” H

A powerful 1000-watt design allows for rapid heating and no-hassle operation. Small and compact, this microwave is also used by outdoor catering companies that need to have a way to rapidly reheat certain items.

4. Turbo Air TMW-1800HD

Turbo Air’s TMW-1800HD offers a staggering 1,800-watts of power in a microwave oven that is perfect for small, family restaurants. Stainless steel interiors and exteriors make cleaning a breeze, and there are 14 touch pads to make rapid cooking as easy as possible.

One-touch cooking and a display that knows 200 menu items makes heating and cooking items as easy as possible.

There's a filter built-in, defrost function, auto cooling and a 60-minute timer, too. Dimensions for this unit are:

  • 18-¼" W
  • 14-½" H

The unit also has built-in settings to remember opening and closing times as well as other pertinent information.

microwave oven for restaurant

5. Winco EMW-1000ST

Winco’s 1000ST is a stainless steel, 1,000-watt microwave that has a 0.9 cubic feet oven capacity. The large capacity is more than enough for heating larger dishes, and the unit’s dimensions are:

  • 20.1” W
  • 17” D
  • 12.2” H

Compact yet durable, this is the perfect commercial microwave oven for reheating lunches, soups and sandwiches.

Ideal for concession stands and smaller eateries, the unit is small enough to fit even on small countertops. Heat is evenly distributed, with motors and antennas that ensure that heat is evenly distributed across the entire microwave.

A microwave oven for restaurants needs to be durable, powerful and produce even heating. The models above are just a few that we offer in our catalog of commercial microwave ovens.