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 healthily and I’m sure they will but, if they need to grab something quick, then a compact microwave 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.
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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 afterward. That means buying the largest microwave that will fit your situation and will be accepted by the dorm.
Usually, which microwaves are allowed by colleges and universities is not as much about size as it is about power. Many colleges put restrictions on the power of microwaves to save energy in dorms and for electrical safety. 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.
We searched microwave oven forums, college forums, retail sites, social media, manufacturer sites, customer review sites, and consumer sites to find the most popular and highly rated compact microwave ovens.
Take a look at these mini microwaves and see if one is the best microwave oven for your needs!
Mini Microwave: Top 5 Back-To-College Microwave Ovens
This Daewoo KOR6L0B 0.7 Cu. Ft. 600 Watt Compact Microwave 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.
Mini Microwave: Features
- 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 lets 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
Nostalgia Electrics RMO770RED Retro Series 0.7 Cu. Ft. Microwave Oven features a sleek, retro design that will be the highlight of any kitchen. Its, 50s styling belies that this is a fully modern appliance with plenty of power and features. Use its 12 preprogrammed functions and modern dial control make it easy to get excellent results cooking your favorite foods. You can adjust its power to any of five levels so you will get the best results with a variety of food.
- 700-Watt, 0.7 cu. ft. capacity, compact countertop microwave oven
- Beautiful retro series styling in bright red with chrome and silver accents
- 5 power levels let you tailor power to individual recipes and foods
- 12 pre-programmed features allow you to cook popular food automatically without worrying about cooking time or power levels
- Dial control is a feature most often found in high-end microwaves
- Modern LED display features a digital clock
- Child safety lock
- Long 56.75-inch power cord provides placement flexibility
- Dimensions are 18L x 14.2W x 11H inches and it weighs in at a lightweight 27.6 lbs.
- Compact size
- Beautiful color and retro design
- Quality construction and materials
- Several reports that the microwave dies after about a year of use
- Complicated, non-standard controls
The Westinghouse WCM660W 0.6 Cu. Ft. 600W Countertop Microwave Oven in White combines 600 watts of cooking power with a compact 0.6 cu. ft. size perfect for a variety of applications where space is limited like apartments and dorms. It features easy-to-use mechanical dials for setting time and power that are simple to use for reheating dinner plates, cooking personal pizzas, warming beverages, and more. You will appreciate the value price compared to other models and its easy to clean size and surfaces.
- 600 watt, 0.6 cu. ft. mini microwave perfect for dorms and apartments
- Simple rotary mechanical dials for timer and power are easy-to-use for senior citizens, people with vision impairment or anyone looking for an alternative to the complex electronic controls found on most microwaves
- Speed and weight defrost allows for multiple uses in the kitchen
- Durable construction with a white front display and cabinet
- Six cooking power levels let you soften butter or chocolate, re-heat food or defrost veggies, cook a frozen dinner, and more
- Lightweight construction, with comfortable, easy-grip handle and curved edges
- Easy to clean with minimal upkeep and dishwasher-safe glass turntable
- Accommodates dishware up to 9.5 inches
- Dimensions are 17.75W x 12.5D x 10.25H inches and it weighs 23.1 lbs.
- Compact size
- Value priced
- Simple to operate
- Noisy operation
- Have to turn the dial to zero if you cut short the cycle or microwave will continue to operate when you close the door
The RCA RMW733-BLACK 0.7 Cu. Ft. 700W Compact Microwave Oven in Black has lots of features at a value price. It has 700 watts of microwave power and provides 0.7 cu. ft. of space enough for apartment, office, or dorm cooking duties. Its 10 power levels and 6 one-touch functions allow you to tailor your cooking to a variety of foods. Its stylish design will complement any room.
- 700 watt, 0.7 cu. ft. mini microwave
- 10 power levels
- 6 One-Touch functions
- Express cooking allows you to Defrost/Cook by weight
- Auto defrost function
- Digital kitchen timer and LED display
- Removable glass turntable for even cooking and easy cleaning
- Child lock
- Digital kitchen timer
- LED display
- Removable glass turntable
- Dimensions are 13.8D x 19.2W x 11.2H inches
- Space-saving size
- Stylish design
- Noisy operation
The only compact microwave in this review using inverter technology, the Panasonic NN-SD372 950W Compact Microwave Oven 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.
- 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 mealtime.
- 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.
- Perfect dorm size
- Very stylish look
- Inverter technology gives this model the edge
- Reliable and high-quality
- Some complaints that function buttons are difficult to read
- Dial that replaces keypad may be difficult for some to get used to
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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 your 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.