They’re designed for apartments, dorms, cubicles, and any kitchen where countertop space is at a premium. They are the small microwaves. Small microwaves have less power, less capacity, and many times less features, but what they lack in stature, they make up for in ease-of-use and space-savings.
What is considered a small microwave oven? 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. Our list has 5 small countertop microwave ovens and all of them are less than 1.0 cu. ft. ranging from 0.5 to 0.9 cu. ft.
How powerful are small microwaves? Smaller microwaves can’t accommodate the large magnetrons that generate all that power in larger microwaves. That means that their power has to be less. We looked at 5 top-rated small microwave ovens and found that they ranged in power from 600 to 950 watts.
With smaller size and less power, you can expect food to take longer to cook and you will be able to fit less of it inside the microwave.
There are basically two different microwave technologies in our list. All but the Panasonic simulate variable power settings by cycling power off and on periodically. That means that if you want to cook at 50% power, the microwave will simply be off half the time and on half the time.
They operate this way because that’s the way their magnetrons are designed. For popcorn, it won’t matter much, but for more delicate foods, you may find that the performance isn’t very good. That’s because even at a lower power setting, while the magnetron is on, it’s providing full power.
The Panasonic on the other hand uses an inverter magnetron which has true variable power capability. That means if you want 50% power, the magnetron delivers half of full power.
The advantage is that it opens up the range of foods that you can successfully cook in a microwave oven. Cooking more delicate dishes is even possible. Further, since it’s also used during defrosting, it’s possible to do a much better job of defrosting without pre-cooking the food.
Take a look at our list and see if one of these compact microwave ovens is the best small microwave oven for your needs!
Small Microwaves: Top 5 Best Rated Compact Countertop Microwaves
Westinghouse is known for quality appliances and their microwaves receive good reviews on the web and in forums. Their Westinghouse WCM660W 600W Small Countertop Microwave Oven is also very popular with those who need its space-saving size and quality. With a white finish that will match many kitchens of apartments, offices, and dorm rooms along with 0.6 cu. ft. of space and 600 watts of power, it is definitely a nice looking small powerhouse. Like many small microwave ovens, Westinghouse has made this model simple and easy to use. Here’s what you need to know.
- Its 600 watts of power, 0.6 cu. ft. capacity, and compact size are perfect for any small area like a dorm room, apartment, or cubicle
- Bright white finish
- 6 microwave power levels gives you the flexibility to cook a variety of foods
- 30 minute timer signals the end of cooking
- Handy grip handle
- Simple, mechanical dial controls
- Very compact, simple, and easy to use
- Great value
- Knobs are easier to use than buttons
- Saves power over larger microwaves
- Takes longer to heat for larger foods
- Turntable derails sometimes
- Interior light only works when the unit is running
- No clock
Kenmore is one of the most popular appliance brands in the world and with their Kenmore 0.9 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave it’s easy to see why. They have put a lot of thought and features into this compact model that you might only expect from larger, more expensive models. You get customized cooking levels, multi-stage cooking, stainless steel front, and smart-touch settings to make cooking faster. All of this in a compact size perfect for extra kitchens, small apartments, dorm rooms and more. Here’s what you need to know.
- 900 watt 0.9 cu. ft. stainless steel countertop microwave
- 10 power levels gives you the flexibility to cook a variety of foods successfully
- Memory cooking lets you create and save customized cooking levels and time for those meals you cook the most
- Multi-stage cooking allows you to pre-set a cooking program that moves from stage-to stage automatically for more customized microwave cooking
- 6 pre-programmed Smart Touch settings make cooking popular foods just a touch away
- Cook time is adjustable in 30-second intervals
- Large, easy-read LED display
- Large 10.6-inch dishwasher-safe glass turntable
- 1-Year limited warranty
Dimensions are 14.65D x 11.54H x 19.09W inches and it weighs is 33.52 lbs.
- A real space-saver
- Plenty of power
- Value price
- Nice styling and design
- Popcorn bags may get hung-up until expanded
- Light weight causes microwave to move when pressing door release
- Very short power cord
- Turntable easily derailed
The Whirlpool WMC20005YD 0.5 Cu. Ft. Stainless Look Countertop Microwave is one of the most popular compact microwaves available. It’s designed to be sleek looking with a stainless steel look finish and space-saving, fitting neatly into unused corners on your countertop. This makes it perfect for dorm rooms, small apartments, cubicles, and anywhere you need to save space. It’s a very small microwave, possibly the smallest microwave, but it still holds a full 11-inch dinner plate on its large, glass turntable. With Tap Touch controls, 10-level power settings, and 750 watts of cooking power, it rivals every other compact countertop microwave oven in functionality. Here’s what you need to know.
- 750-watt, 0.5 cu. ft. stainless steel-look countertop microwave oven
- 10-level variable cooking power gives you the flexibility to successfully cook a wide-range of foods
- Rounded corners and back allow this small microwave oven to fit neatly into any unused corners on your countertop
- Glass turntable can accommodate a full 11-inch dinner plate
- Convenient Add 30 Seconds option makes it easy to start cooking foods at 100% power fast and add more time to food that is already cooking
- Quick Touch settings include Add 30 Seconds, Defrost, Popcorn, and Reheat
- Tap Touch controls are easy to clean and stylish
- 1-Year limited warranty
Its small microwave dimensions are 15-3/8W x 13-3/4D x 14-1/8H inches
- Innovative, narrow shape fits in corners
- Modern, clean styling
- Small, but powerful
- Simple and easy to use
- Odd power levels – not really 10
- Taller than some so measure distance to cupboards
- Some complaints about low power
Get both a touch of elegance and wonderful cooking ability in the Danby Designer 0.7 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave Oven. Its Black and Stainless Steel finishes combine to bring additional style to this kitchen appliance. With 10-level power settings, one-touch cooking functions, and electronic controls, this model is perfect for dorm rooms, lunchrooms, office cubicles, small apartments, cottages, and anywhere space is at a premium. Here’s what you need to know.
- 700 watts of cooking power and 0.7 cu. ft. of capacity
- Stylish and trendy Black and Stainless Steel finish is also practical and functional
- 10 power-level options makes successful cooking easier for a wide range of foods
- 2-Stage, multi-stage cooking functionality allows you to customize an automated cooking schedule for your favorite recipes
- Smart electronics controls are easy to read on the bright LED timer and clock
- Simple one-touch cooking options for 6 options including Popcorn, Reheat, and Baked Potato among others
Easy-Defrost has 2 defrost settings including weight defrost and timed defrost
- 18-Month limited warranty
Dimensions are 17-5/16W x 14D x 10-2/16H inches
- Nice styling
- Great value
- Easy to clean
- Compact and powerful
- Button difficult to push and causes unit to slide
- Turntable derails too easily
- Loud operation
Also available bundled with Danby’s popular DBC120BLS Beverage Center >>>
The only inverter microwave oven in our list, the Panasonic NN-SD372S Stainless Steel 0.8 Cu. Ft. 950-Watt Inverter Microwave has cutting edge technology that make it more capable than other microwaves in its class. The Panasonic inverter microwave design provides true variable power rather than just turning off and on to simulate variable power like non-inverter microwaves making it possible to cook foods successfully that would not be possible in conventional microwaves. Panasonic microwaves have a high-tech magnetron that is more compact than those in traditional microwaves. This allows this model to have an 11-1/4-inch glass turntable inside only 0.8 cu. ft. of capacity. Sleek and stylish, this Panasonic model is one of the best looking in our list. Here’s what you need to know about this Panasonic microwave oven.
- 950 watts of power and 0.8 cu. ft. capacity countertop inverter microwave oven
- Inverter design provides 10 levels of true variable microwave power allowing you to perfectly cook and evenly heat breakfast foods, after-school snacks, dinnertime meals, appetizers, and more
- Inverter Turbo Defrost uses the inverter to defrost foods even faster without pre-cooking
- One-Touch Auto Cook buttons make cooking easier by automatically adjusting power levels and cooking times for popular foods like pasta, frozen entrees, potatoes, vegetables, and beverages
- Auto Reheat allows you to reheat one or two servings of pre-cooked, room-temperature or refrigerator-temperature foods without setting the power or time
- Quick Minute allows you to quickly set or add to the cooking time in increments of one minute
- Keep Warm pulses very low microwave power for up to 30 minutes to keep food at the ideal temperature with overcooking while you wait for family or friends to arrive
- Pop-out spin dial is easy to use and replaces outdated keypads to set time and weight
- Other convenient cooking features include three cooking stages, a more/less control, a popcorn button and delayed start
- Sleek and stylish stainless steel front and silver wrap will complement any kitchen and is easy to clean
- Compact magnetron design allows the inclusion of a large 11-1/4 inch glass turntable
Compact design measures 15-9/16L x 19-3/16W x 11H inches and weighs only 21 lbs.
- Quiet operation
- Inverter cooking is nice
- Intuitive to use
- Very powerful and great interior size
- Some would prefer number pad over dial
- Attracts fingerprints
- Labeling on front difficult for many to read
- Some don’t like the fan that runs for several seconds after cooking is done
Small Microwaves Comparison Chart
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