It’s that time of year again when your college student heads back to class. And what is one of the most important items they could take with them; a mini microwave oven of course! A mini microwave oven comes in handy for all sorts of on-the-go college meals from frozen dinners to popcorn. You want them to eat healthy and I’m sure they will but, if they need to grab something quick, then a compact or mini microwave oven will do the job nicely.
Whatever you buy, I would think ahead to post-college. Obviously you’re going to buy a small fridge because there isn’t a lot of room in the dorm. But, when they’re done with school will they be able to use the small fridge? Chances are not. In other words they will have to sell it and get a bigger one for an apartment. If they are already living in an apartment at school, then it’s a no brainer. Buy a microwave that will serve them well both while in college and afterwards. That means buying the largest microwave that will fit your situation and will be accepted by the dorm.
Usually it’s not as much about size as it is about power. Many colleges put restrictions on the power of microwaves to save energy in dorms. So if your student is in a dorm, be sure and check with your college or university to see what the requirements are. We have created this Back To College Residence Microwave-Refrigerator Table to assist you. Besides actual power restrictions most colleges require a UL listing on appliances your student brings. Always check for the UL listing.
Here are some mini microwave restriction examples:
Georgia Tech – less than 10 amps or 1200 watts.
University of Mississippi – less than 1000 watts
University of Connecticut – 700 watts or less
University of Kentucky – 700 watts or less
University of Virginia – 800 watts or less
You need to find out for sure but in any case go with the largest that your college or university will allow.
For this article we took a look at all the compact microwaves and picked 5 that we think represent the best choices from low-end to high-end. Take a look and see if one of them is just right for you:
Mini Microwave: Top 5 Back-To-College Microwave Ovens
This microwave oven is small with only 600 watts of power and is for the budget-minded. Even though it’s small, it has some great features:
- The Daewoo KOR6L0B uses the exclusive Concave Reflex System for quicker and more even cooking.
- According to Daewoo this unit has 700 watts of power but, everywhere it’s listed for purchase it is listed at 600 watts, so I am going to go with the 600 watts. That’s not a lot of power but, it will definitely get you in the door of most dorms that have restrictions. Just keep in mind that you will need to allow a little longer to cook foods.
- It’s also very compact at 17.6 x 12.8 x 10.6 inches which will make it a good fit for any dorm room situation.
- This unit comes with 10 power levels which makes it easier to cook foods without “nuking” them.
- It also has 3 One-Touch cooking menus and 5 Auto-Cook menus to make cooking easier for students.
- You’ll like the very accurate cooking time that will allow you to closely adhere to most food cooking directions. It also comes complete with a clock which you can set for 12 or 24 hour format.
- An Auto Defrost menu let’s you get food just right even from frozen.
- An electronic child-safety lock may keep the microwave safe from dorm food predators…like your roommate!
- Definitely the price
- Compact size
- Low power
- Lacks features of larger microwaves
If your student wants to get noticed, the Nostalgia Electrics RMO-400BLK retro microwave may be the way to go. Available in black or red, this mini microwave oven has the look and feel of a fabulous 1950’s diner, but brings the fast-cooking appeal of a modern appliance. It’s a fun and stylish addition to any kitchen! And although it’s stylish and retro, it’s not short of features which include:
- Powerful 800 watt oven is larger than many compact microwaves for faster cooking
- With 0.9 cu. ft. capacity this unit will accommodate just about any college cooking task.
- A glass carousel is included which rotates during cooking to cook more evenly. This is a nice feature for a compact oven.
- Nostalgic and modern, this unit has an easy-to-read, LED digital display readout to keep track of cooking time. The readout doubles as a digital clock when not in use.
- Many modern microwaves are going with a spinning dial for selection of cooking settings so even though this oven is supposed to be retro, it will fit right in with its up-to-date pre-programmed cooking dial. The dial allows you to select from 12 pre-programmed cooking settings for a variety of dished.
- This microwave features that classic 50’s, retro look right down to the oval window and deluxe chrome handle.
- It also comes with a convenient cord wrap to make packing and travel easier.
- It’s compact size at 19 x 14 x 11 inches should fit right into any dorm environment.
Haier is known for its quality products and this 0.9 cubic foot Haier HMC920BEBB mini microwave oven is no exception. This unit has the power you need for fast cooking in a size that will go perfectly in any dorm room. Just take a look at its many features:
- A full 900 watts of cooking power means food cooks faster. It is probably close to the borderline for most college and university dorms, so be sure and check first before purchasing.
- 0.9 cubic feet is a great size. It’s small enough to fit into any dorm setting while having enough space to cook just about any size food.
- The HMC920BEBB comes with electronic touch controls for ultimate convenience
- Haier has included 6 One-Touch convenience cooking programs for the most popular foods.
- Look for 10 microwave power levels to cook anything from large items to delicate items at the right cooking speed. Look for convenience cooking controls for popcorn, baked potato, pizza, beverage, reheat, and frozen dinner.
- This oven even features multi-state cooking which add the convenience of allowing for multiple power and time settings within a single cycle.
- It includes weight, time, and speed defrost cycles.
- The Express Cook feature starts the unit automatically at full power whenever a single digit is selected on the electronic touch control pad.
- Larger size and power
- Some nice features
The GE JES1142SPSS mini microwave is a little bit larger and a little bit more powerful than the previously reviewed units. At 1100 watts, this is probably going to be more applicable to an off-campus apartment than most dorms. But, on the other hand it is a very nice microwave and your student will be able to take it with them and use it after college. It has some really nice features that will serve you well for a long time:
- A full 1.1 cubic foot capacity insures that this unit will serve well at college and beyond.
- A powerful 1100 watts for cooking a variety of foods more quickly
- Convenience cooking controls make easy work of your most popular foods. Controls include popcorn (instant-on, 2 sizes), Potato, Beverage (instant-on, 4 sizes), reheat, vegetables (frozen/fresh/canned), and pizza.
- This oven includes 10 power levels giving you complete control over the cooking of a variety of foods from heavy to delicate.
- It includes both automatic and timed defrost capability to give you the flexibility to properly defrost any foods.
- It’s large 12.5 inch rotating glass turntable helps heat foods evenly and properly
- Instant on controls give you one-touch instant operation
- This oven is powerful but, still compact at approximately 11 15/16 x 21 7/32 x 15 11/16 inches.
- The LED readout includes timer capability and a clock when not in use.
- Some of the control features include: Start/Pause, Clear/Off, Kitchen Timer, Clock, Add 30 Seconds (instant-on), Auto & Time Defrost, Time Cook I & II, Time Preference – Control Enhancement (1/9), Control Lock, and a Cooking Complete reminder.
- This oven comes with a 1-year entire appliance limited parts and labor warranty.
- Large size and power
- Great feature set
The only compact microwave in this review using inverter technology, the Panasonic NN-SD372S is truly at the top end of compact mini microwave ovens. While traditional microwaves simply turn off and on at timed intervals depending on the power setting, inverter microwaves actually vary the power of the microwave to give you far more control over cooking. Traditional microwaves can leave your food dry with overcooked edges, an inverter microwave lets you vary the power to give you full power when you need it and less power for more delicate foods. The result is more even cooking and better tasting food. In addition this microwave has the best feature set of all the compact microwaves.
This oven also has a sleek stainless-steel front and silver wrap making it a stylish addition to any contemporary dorm room or apartment. This Panasonic mini microwave perfectly cooks and evenly heats anything from breakfast foods and after class snacks to dinnertime meals and appetizers when entertaining. Ideal for individuals, this compact unit provides quick and easy meal preparation–without taking up all the shelf space in the room. Check out these great features:
- Panasonic Inverter Technology cooks food more evenly leaving in delicious flavor while cooking faster than traditional methods. You can easily make dips and other delicate snack food with inverter technology that you have never been able to properly make in a microwave oven before.
- This oven even uses the inverter for their Inverter Turbo Defrost feature for quick defrosting without pre-cooking or damaging food.
- It owes its compact size to innovations in power technology from Panasonic who have been able to reduce the size (only 15-9/16 x 19-3/16 x 11 inches) and weight (21 lbs.) of the oven while maintaining a large cooking volume inside.
- Its 950 watts of cooking power is higher than most compact microwave ovens but, still saves energy costs.
- You get the convenience of One-Touch Auto Cook and Reheat. Auto Cook takes the guesswork out of cooking by providing ready-made settings that adjust power levels and calculate the cooking times for popular foods like pasta, frozen entrees, potatoes, vegetables, and beverages.
- The Auto Reheat feature allows you to reheat one to two servings of precooked room-temperature or refrigerator-temperature foods without setting power and time.
- A Keep Warm feature delivers very low microwave power in a pulsing fashion to keep foods at constant temperature levels without overcooking for up to 30 minutes after cooking. This feature is great when unpredictable events force you to adjust your meal time.
- It features a large 11 1/4 inch glass turntable which is sizable enough for most any food
- The NN-SD372S includes a delay start and timer so that you can coordinate with other cooking tasks.
- This unit has 10 power levels and three cooking stages for complete control over your microwave cooking.
- A More/Less Control allows you to add or subtract time from your cooking with one button.
- There is a Quick Minute one-touch button that allows you to automatically set the time in increments of one minute.
- A handy Popcorn button makes it easy to pop a bag in the microwave and start cooking immediately.
- This unit has the latest in Panasonic technology including a Pop-Out programmable dial for easy programming of the time or weight for your favorite foods.
- Panasonic microwaves feature easy-to-clean interiors
- A child safety lock prevents electronic operation to protect against unplanned usage.
- The Panasonic NN-SD372S has been awarded the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and it comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Mini Microwave Oven Comparison Chart
|Title||Nostalgia Electrics RMO-400RED Retro Series .9 CF Microwave Oven, Red||Daewoo KOR6L0B 0.7 Cu. Ft. 600 Watt Compact Microwave||Panasonic NN-SD372S 0.8 cuft 950-Watt Microwave with Inverter Technology, Stainless Steel||Haier Hmc920Bebb .9 Cubic Feet 900-Watt Microwave, Black||GE JES1142SPSS 1.1 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave||Whirlpool WMC20005YB 0.5 Cu. Ft. Black Countertop Microwave|
|Color||Red||Stainless Steel||Black||stainless steel||black,white,silver|
|Feature||0.9-cubic foot capacity|
Unique sleek, retro styling with chrome accents
Dial controls feature 12 pre-programmed settings for a variety of different foods
LED display with digital clock
Exterior dimensions: 19-inch by 14-inch by 11-inch and interior dimensions: 12-1/2-inch by 11-1/2-inch by 8-inch
|.7 cu.ft Microwave oven|
Microwave power output : 600W only
10 power levels for microwave
Accurate 59min 90sec cooking timer
One touch cooking of 3 menu
|"Inverter" Technology for even cooking and delivering delicious flavor and "Inverter Turbo Defrost" for quick defrosting|
950 Watts of High Power; One-Touch Auto Cook and Reheat for automatic cooking settings and even Keep Warm feature
13 1/2" turntable; Delay Start and Timer; More/Less Control; Quick Minute, Popcorn Key,Pop-Out Prgrammable Dial for easy-to-use programming
Measures 15 9/16" (D) x 159 3/16" (W) x 11" (H), 20.9 lbs., Stainless steel
Upper left-corner of the door has a small indentation to allow the door to open smoothly and is completed at the factory
11 1/4" turntable; Delay Start and Timer; More/Less Control; Quick Minute, Popcorn Key,Pop-Out Prgrammable Dial for easy-to-use programming
|.9cubic feet capacity|
900-watt Convenience Cooking
Electronic touch controls with led display
10 microwave power levels
|1.1 cu. ft. capacity|
Convenience cooking controls
Auto and time defrost
Instant on controls
|750 Watts Cooking Power|
10 Power Levels
Add 30 Seconds Option
Quick Touch Popcorn Button
Tap Touch Controls
|Warranty||90 days||1 year parts / 1 year labor|
|Height||12.9 inch||11.1 inch||11 inch||14.17 inch||26 inch||14.13 inch|
|Weight||30.66 pound||23.7 pound||20.9 pound||30 pound||39 pound||33.23 pound|
|Width||17.9 inch||18.25 inch||19.4 inch||19.02 inch||16 inch||15.38 inch|
|Length||21.65 inch||14.5 inch||15.8 inch||11.06 inch||20 inch||13.75 inch|
|Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
|Link||More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of Aug 22 22:35:06 EDT but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
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I would love to get your opinion of this article or hear your microwave oven story. Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
If your student is going to be living off-campus, you should consider our article Panasonic Microwave: Best Full-Size Countertop Microwave Oven which reviews some of the best medium size microwaves available.
Remember all dorms have different restrictions. Be sure and check with you student’s dorm to make sure the model you’re interested is okay. I hope this article has helped you to find a mini microwave that is a good fit for your student.