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 mini 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 litres 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 or a ceramic coating.
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 £50 and £150 to get a decent model that suits your needs.
The Smallest Microwave in the UK
Russell Hobbs RHM1401S
Our current choice for the smallest microwave available to buy is the Russell Hobbs RHM1401S. It might not be the best microwave on our list but it is definitely the smallest measuring just 22.4 x 42.4 x 31.3cm. It means it only has a capacity of 14 litres, but its ultra-compact design is ideal for modest kitchens or even caravans.
It only cooks at 600W, so will take a bit longer to cook your food than some models, although Russell Hobbs claim the diamond cavity structure improves cooking performance. Overall 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 £65 it’s reasonably priced and while it might not be the prettiest, its understated design won’t dominate your countertop.
Best Small Microwaves
Panasonic NN-E28JMMBPQ mini microwave
This mini microwave does an outstanding job of providing not only 20 litres of capacity in a super small footprint but also 800W of power. It is a great option if you are short on space but don’t want to compromise on cooking power.
It’s a bit bigger than the Russell Hobbs above measuring 22.4 x 42.4 x 31.3cm, but it still fits very firmly in the compact category and an unobtrusive silver design also means it should blend into most kitchens.
It includes all the features you would expect of a full-size microwave, with 9 auto cooking programmes and auto defrost setting.
Users report the controls are easy to use and cooking performance to be good, although some found it to sound a bit “tinny” when opening and closing the door. At around £80 it is a bit more expensive than some of the other models on our list but it does provide an excellent balance of power and capacity in a small size.
Tower T24029RG small microwave
This black and gold offering from Tower can add a small bit of pizazz to your kitchen, while also getting the job done. At 24.3 x 44.6 x 32.3cm it sits between the Russell Hobbs and Panasonic microwaves above so will easily fit into a corner, but still matches the Panasonic’s 20 litre capacity.
Where it makes a concession to the Panasonic is in terms of cooking power. At 700W it is in the middling range of options so won’t be the fastest – or the slowest – but does come with 5 power options and a defrost mode.
At a bit under £60 it is a good option for those on a budget, but it may be worth spending a little bit more to get a slight bump in cooking power.
Igenix IG1707 compact microwave
If you’re hankering for an old school dial style microwave this mini model from Igenix might be what you are looking for. The twist controls give you the option of 5 different power levels to set the time to, so while it might be missing the pre-set cooking programmes of other microwaves, basic settings are easily accessed.
At 25.8 x 43.9 x 33.4cm it is the biggest (slightly) microwave on our list but is very much a small microwave. Disappointingly, it only manages to provide 17 litres of capacity and 700W of cooking power in this space. It is also a fair bit more expensive than some other models, coming in closer to £90. Unless you are really attached to dial controls, we’d suggest you look elsewhere.