Whether you’ve got a small kitchen or your countertops are already crowded with other gadgets, finding a mini microwave compact enough to give you room to chop your vegetables isn’t always easy.
Then when you do find one it’s so low powered you might as well be cooking in a normal oven, or it’s too small to fit your plates in, or… well you get the idea. We’ve collected together the best microwaves that will fit in the smallest kitchens without compromising on quality and performance.
What to look for in a small microwave
Power: As far as microwaves go in general the more wattage the better. This means it will cook food faster, although to get an even cook you will need a turntable or otherwise will have to stop it every few minutes to stir whatever you are cooking.
A 600W microwave will cook an average sized baked potato in around 9 minutes, 700W takes about 7 minutes, 850W in about 5 minutes and 1000W in about 4 minutes. It’s worth noting that often variable power settings don’t actually drop the power but rather start and stop while cooking to approximate the power you select.
Capacity and plate size: These two are all about how much you can fit in the oven. Capacity is measured in liters and is the full volume of the microwave including the height. Plate size should also be considered as this is the width of the oven and will determine what size of plate you can put in the oven to cook your food on.
Cleaning: The main concern when it comes to cleaning is the material of the inside of the oven. Ideally you want something that can’t rust so you can easily wipe it clean such as stainless steel.
Design: While design might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to buying a microwave, this will be something you have to look at every day in your kitchen so it is worth paying attention to. Consider your other appliances and the style of your kitchen, would a super modern or a more retro style appliance fit the room better?
Price: Price is obviously an important factor no matter what you are buying and you may be surprised at how expensive some microwaves can get once you get to the “professional” end of the market. For a small domestic microwave, we would say it’s best to look between $60 and $150 to get a decent model that suits your needs.
The Smallest Microwave in the US
Daewoo KOR-7LREM Mini Maker Grill
This might not be the best microwave on our list but it is the smallest measuring just 12.7 x 17.6 x 10.6 inches. It means that it only has space for a 10 inch turntable, but it is a great choice if you’re really short on space.
It only cooks at 700W, so will take a bit longer than some models, but it is a very capable microwave and you won’t find many smaller, especially ones that will still fit in a 10-inch plate.
For around $90 it’s reasonably priced, especially as it comes with nice retro styling.
Best Small Microwaves
Hamilton Beach small microwave
This oven from Hamilton Beach may be small but it still packs in 1000W of power so you still can get the speeds you would expect of a full-size microwave. It has a capacity of 1.1 cubic feet and 10 power levels with 6 preset cooking modes for quick selection of the right settings.
Costing around $85 it is very reasonably priced so is a good choice if you are on a budget. It comes in black, red or stainless steel and measures 20.2 x 17.1 x 12.1 inches.
Toshiba EM131A5C-SS Microwave Oven
This excellent compact microwave from Toshiba comes with a power rating up to 1100W and a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet. It’s more expensive at $120, and larger measuring 20.5 x 17.1 x 12.8 inches, but it is a good option if you will be doing a lot of family cooking.
This model also includes sensor cooking that claims to measure the amount of steam produced during cooking and adjusts to improve performance. It’s hard to judge how much difference this makes, but users report good overall results.
Panasonic NN SD775S
This is a top-notch microwave but does have the kind of high price tag you would expect to go with it. At over $250 you should demand a lot and so Panasonic delivers its cyclonic inverter technology, designed to rotate the waves throughout the microwave delivering a more even cook. Reviewers are split on whether this makes a significant difference but it does seem to produce a more uniform result, especially on low power levels, for example when defrosting.
At 1250W it is by far the most powerful of our options and includes 20 preset food modes, a child lock and a keep warm function. Plus, all this in a body measuring 19.44 x 21.88 x 12 inches.