It’s natural to assume that you have to sacrifice performance and features when buying one of the compact microwave ovens. For the most part it is true. Manufacturers seem to put most of their features into their larger microwave ovens while leaving compact microwave ovens as an afterthought. Part of the reason is because of the small space they have to work with. There just isn’t enough room to put all of the features of a larger microwave in compact microwaves.
Fortunately, not all compact microwave ovens are created equal. It’s actually possible to get a lot of the features you want plus outstanding performance in a small countertop microwave ovens.
What are some of the features you’re looking for?
Of course you’re looking for a compact microwave oven, but what does compact mean? For our purposes, small countertop microwaves are less than 1.0 cu. ft. Others may have different classification systems, but for our comparison, that’s what we used.
Looking for another Panasonic model? Be sure and see our posts:
Most compact microwaves come with minimal power because there isn’t enough room to put a large magnetron inside. It can be frustrating to wait a long time for your meal, when microwaves are supposed to be fast. It would be nice to get a compact microwave with about 1000 watts of power, but that’s not realistic. Most are closer to 700 or 800 watts. The closer you can get to 1000 watts, the better.
Looking for a larger microwave oven? Check out our article:
Inverter microwaves are uncommon in the compact category. An inverter adds a lot of cost and it might not make as much sense in a 0.7 cu. ft. microwave. Inverter microwaves do have bring a lot of benefits with them.
You may not be aware how a standard microwave adjusts power. It may have 10 power settings, but when the microwave is on, it is always using full power. To simulate varying power settings, it simply turns itself off and on. As you might imagine, that may be great for popcorn or other foods where you want full power, but on more delicate foods, it can really do a number on your food.
Want a convection microwave oven that bakes and microwaves? See our articles:
If you know what an inverter microwave is, you may be surprised to know that you can find a compact model. The Panasonic NN-SD372S Stainless Steel 0.8 Cu. Ft. 950-Watt Inverter Microwave stands head and shoulders above the rest because of its cooking performance and class-leading technology. You get true variable power in this Panasonic microwave rather than a microwave that just turns off and on to simulate variable power. That makes it possible to have real success cooking more delicate foods that would not be possible in conventional microwaves. Featuring a compact inverter magnetron that cooks better and saves space, it has allowed them to put a large 11-1/4 inch glass turntable inside. This model Panasonic is no slouch on style either. It has a sleek, stainless steel exterior and may be the best looking stainless steel microwave oven. Here’s what you need to know about this Panasonic microwave oven.
A full 0.8 cu. ft. interior space and a potent 950 watts of cooking power
10 levels of variable inverter microwave power allows you to cook have better success with all types of food including appetizers, entrees, breakfast, and after-school snacks
Use its Inverter Turbo Defrost for faster defrosting without pre-cooking food
Make your cooking easier by using its One-Touch Auto Cook buttons that automatically adjust variable power levels along with cooking times for your favorite foods including pasta, frozen entrees, potatoes, vegetables, and beverages
Reheat multiple servings of leftovers using the Auto Reheat feature without setting power or time
Set or add to cooking times quickly and incremental using the Quick Minute feature
Friends or family late for a meal? Don’t sweat it. Just use the Keep Warm feature to pulse very low microwave power for up to 30 minutes to keep food at the ideal temperature without overcooking
Leaves outdated keypads behind with its modern, easy-to-use Pop-out spin dial
You also get additional handy features like three cooking stages, a more/less control, a popcorn button and delayed start
The combination of a stylish stainless steel front will make this easy-to-clean countertop microwave oven a striking addition to any kitchen
Large 11-1/4 inch glass turntable thanks to the compact magnetron
Unit measures 15-9/16L x 19-3/16W x 11H inches and weighs only 21 lbs.
Inverter cooking is better
Intuitive and easy to use
Very powerful and great interior size for a compact unit
Some number pad better than a dial
Finish seems to attract fingerprints
Labeling on front may be too small
Fans that run for several seconds after cooking is done can be annoying
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
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 Convenience Cooking 10 microwave power levels
1.1 cu. ft. capacity Convenience cooking controls Auto and time defrost Turntable Instant on controls
750 Watts Cooking Power 10 Power Levels Add 30 Seconds Option Quick Touch Popcorn Button Tap Touch Controls
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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As always, thanks for reading our MicrowaveOvenCentral.com post! We sincerely hope that it has helped you choose one of the best compact microwave ovens for your needs!
Mark is a Systems Engineer with an advanced degree who has been trained to interface between non-engineers and engineers to design products that meet customer needs. He uses this training to help consumers make smart choices about the products they buy. He is a prolific writer who loves to research and provide helpful information about consumer products. He calls Virginia home along with his wife and three kids and loves all that it has to offer including the mountains, the beaches, and the historic sites. His hobbies include his three kids, NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, Premier League Soccer, UEFA Soccer, and MLS Soccer. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.