When it comes to heating food or cooking quick meals, there is no better alternative than microwaves. These life-saving machines make your home cooking easy, even though they can be quite bulky and big and that is where “compact” microwaves come into place. In addition to being lighter and smaller, compact microwaves are popular for being cost-effective as it consumes less energy.
However, you will find yourself in a difficult position when you will be choosing a compact microwave with all the significant must-have features and options as the market bombards you with thousands of options. To keep you away from confusion and trauma, we have gathered some of the best compact microwaves on the market and without a doubt, we know that at the end of our article, you will be convinced to choose the best one for your kitchen.
We have entitled Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven as our best pick not because of its sleek design but also for its premium performance. Offering a huge 1.2 cubic feet capacity and 1100 watts power, this gives you the luxury to cook a wide variety of foods. Together with other basic and advanced features like a pre-programmed sensor menu and mute option, this is an all-rounder.
With being cheap, compact, and offering all the features that larger units do, our budget pick is none other than Amazon Basics Microwave. Featuring quick-cook voice preset technology and 10 different power levels, this is a great deal offered to you. Moreover, the smart look and all the other basic features make this a very budget-friendly addition to your kitchen.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Compact Microwave
|Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
|20.5 x 17.1 x 12.8
|Amazon Basics Microwave
|17.3 x 10.1x 14.1
|COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven
|17.3 x 13 x 10.2
|BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven
|17.3 x 13 x 10.2
|Commercial Chef CHM009 Countertop Microwave Oven
|19 x 14.38 x 11
|Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBSB Microwave Oven
|20.2 x 16.93 x 12.03
|Galanz GLCMKA07BER-07 Microwave
|17.81 x 13.75 x 10.31
|Panasonic NN-SN67KS Compact Microwave Oven
|15.8 x 20.7 x 12.2
|Panasonic NN-SD372S Countertop Microwave
|14.81 x 19.2 x 11
|GE JES1072SHSS Countertop Microwave Oven
|17.31 x 12.75 x 10.18
1. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
Featuring a very sleek design, this stainless steel with a black finish of the product does not only give an elegant vibe but also helps in elevating the standard of your kitchen. Having a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet, the microwave has a glass turntable diameter of 12.4 inches which is an ideal measurement for standard dishes. The microwave operates at a rated voltage of 120V (60 Hz) and requires a maximum power output of 1100 watts which is strong enough to cook/heat a wide variety of food.
Moreover, the large digital easy-to-read display allows you to see the readings effortlessly. The feature that we loved the most in this is its pre-programmed sensor menu which is absolutely perfect for heating common microwave foods like pizzas, potatoes, and veggies.
Not only that, but the open have other quick and easy options that include one-touch-start popcorn, two defrost settings and one-pound auto defrost.
Another feature that we loved in this model of TOSHIBA is the “mute” option. If the buzzer gets too noisy for you, you have the luxury to turn it off. You only have to long-press the “8” button for 3-5 seconds and it will automatically turn off after a long buzz.
Together with other amazing features like power-saving mode, clock, and kitchen timer, this versatile machine offers up to 1 year of after-sales service. Also, be careful to peel off the protective film that is used to cover the keypad at the time of shipment before use.
2. Amazon Basics Microwave
Do you want Alexa to get your tasks done? Because now she can! Amazon Basics microwave features a new technology echo device that comes with quick-cook voice presets that allow you to ask Alexa to start microwaving.
In addition to this amazing and interesting feature, defrosting vegetables and making popcorn is now a piece of cake. The standard-looking microwave features a black exterior and control panel and comes with 10 different power levels that you can choose from which allows you to cook/heat a wide range of foods.
Being compact in size, it helps you save a lot of space in your kitchen as it occupies a small counter space. The turntable diameter of the microwave measures 10 inches which is fit for most standard dishes. Together with all these amazing features, this one from amazon basics is best known for its smartness.
3. COMFEE' EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven
This compact countertop microwave oven from COMFEE’ features a 0.7 cubic-foot capacity and is capable of giving a power output of 700 watts which is just enough for cooking or heating common foods at a considerate cooking time. You can operate the microwave oven at 11 different power levels which means that a wide variety of food can be prepared using this machine.
The stylish microwave with a black stainless steel finish has a lot of versatile functions starting from kitchen timer to child safety lock to easy auto-cook function and many more.
Moreover, if you are bothered by the sound of the buzzer, you can always choose to mute the sound with the dedicated mute option. Furthermore, the one-touch express cook function with a 1-6 minutes and +30 seconds feature and two defrost settings (one dedicated to weight and another to time) not only makes it convenient but gives out a premium vibe.
The feature that makes it our favorite is its energy-saving eco-mode which is effective in minimizing 50% standby power making this one of the greenest options out there and if you are someone who connects deeply with the environment, there is no better alternative to this for you.
4. BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven
Out of the four microwave sizes, BLACK + DECKER has to offer, this model with a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet is the most ideal one for small apartments due to it being compact yet having all the essential features that you seek in a microwave oven. Having dimensions
With giving out a power output of 700 watts and 10 power settings, this oven is capable of preparing a lot of comfort food for you. There are pre-programmed buttons dedicated to popcorn, potato, pizza beverage, and frozen vegetables.
The microwave oven has other common and amazing functions as well starting from a clock and kitchen timer to 30 seconds express cooking to child safety lock and many more, this machine is a complete package. The microwave features a push-button for opening the door rather than a handle to ensure easy access. In addition to all these amazing features, the microwave comes with a removable 10” glass turntable which makes it easier for cleaning
5. Commercial Chef CHM009 Countertop Microwave Oven
Commercial Chef brings you a countertop microwave oven that is another of our favorites which are perfect for heating last night’s leftovers or food preparation altogether. The super-durable body including the door is made up of stainless steel which adds extra durability to this product. Not only that the stainless steel construction gives out a premium vibe in addition to providing excellent performance.
Moreover, you are offered the flexibility to choose from 10 different cooking power levels that allows you to cook a wide range of foods using this machine. Furthermore, it features six one-touch cook menu buttons that are pre-programmed for cooking popcorn, potato, pizza, beverage, for defrosting and reheating.
The defrost feature is dedicated and comes with a sensor for auto weight and speed which gives you a professional feeling in the kitchen. Together with the push-button style door and child safety lock, this product quite easily made it to our list.
6. Farberware Classic FMO11AHTBSB Microwave Oven
If you are looking for a microwave that is both compact yet offers a larger capacity then there is no better alternative than this one from Farberware which comes with a capacity of 1.1 cubic feet. It is not limited to being spacious only but the sleek and stylish look of the oven is another factor that makes this our favorite. The black stainless steel exterior adds an aesthetic value to your kitchen.
Moreover, the 10 power levels make it appropriate for you to try out a diversified recipe using this. Not only that but the countertop microwave ensures your utmost convenience in terms of both performance and appearance.
Similar to the previous product, this also comes with six auto pre-programmed cooking functions for comfort foods like popcorn, potato, pizza, and frozen vegetables. This gives you relief from the guesswork and gets your job done without any hassle. Moreover, the microwave features a pull handle instead of a push-button.
7. Galanz GLCMKA07BER-07 Microwave
If you dig the retro look and seek the same in your kitchen, this microwave from Galanz can help you give a vintage look to your kitchen. The round edges and the oval window large handles are responsible for giving it a 50’s dimension to your kitchen. The 0.7 cubic feet capacity and 700 watts of the microwave make it suitable for most recipes. Featuring a lighting pull handle and six power levels to cook, this one offers ease of use to the customers.
You can use this machine for easy defrosts and the interior light assists you to check the status of your food without you having to open the door frequently. You can furthermore prevent accidental access by children as it comes with a child safety lock.
The easy-to-read LED display allows you to set and see cooking time very easily and it will notify you with three beep sounds once you are done cooking/heating food. In addition to these, the glass turntable helps in even and efficient cooking. However, you need to be careful to clear the timer after use or it will have the risk of starting over again by accident.
8. Panasonic NN-SN67KS Compact Microwave Oven
The first product in our list from Panasonic with the model number NN-SN67KS is the one that offers the largest capacity of 1.2 cubic feet compared to all the others. It also gives a power output higher than the rest and operates at 1200 watts. The stainless steel body of the oven makes it durable and very stylish. Also, with this, you are given the luxury of choosing from 11 different power levels to choose from while cooking your desired recipe.
Another feature that is our favorite of this microwave is that it comes with an inverter technology which ensures a seamless stream of microwave cooking power. This seamless stream is responsible for maintaining even heating from the center to the edges, leaving out no uncooked or hot-cold spots, and helps retain the nutrients and texture.
Moreover, the larger 13.4 inches turntable has enough space to accommodate small and larger dinner plates without having to struggle. Not only that but this jack-of-all-trades is not only popular for its performance but is also known for being a space-saver as it only takes a small place on your countertop.
Furthermore, the smart cooking settings help you eliminate the guesswork as you can automatically adjust the weight and time and we think that is amazing!
9. Panasonic NN-SD372S Countertop Microwave
The very well-constructed microwave from Panasonic features a stainless steel body and comes with an industrial design. Even though the microwave comes with a touch-sensitive pad, you can still feel the buttons. Together with a very attractive light gray scheme and power up to 950 watts, this product is fit for rough and tough use.
In addition to all these amazing features, it also features inverter technology. The basic purpose of an inverter is that the food temperature will not vary between areas and will maintain an even stream of the makein microwave so that your food is cooked/heated to perfection at any given power level.
Moreover, being efficient in terms of energy, this microwave oven is also effective in preserving the food cells while heating your dish which will keep the food nutrient content intact and healthy to eat. Being quite spacious even after being a compact oven, supporting a capacity of 0.8 cubic feet with 950-watt power output, the microwave is super-effective when it comes to speed heating/cooking. The product is also accompanied by a free cooking e-book for you to try out amazing dishes with it.
10. GE JES1072SHSS Countertop Microwave Oven
GE microwave brings convenience to cooking comes with a very simple, minimalistic industrial design. Only weighing 21 lb, and with various control features, this is very portable microwave that won’t make you sweat.
The controls are touch-sensitive giving it a very futuristic vibe. In the settings, they have a Cooking Complete Reminder mode which is very useful especially when you are busy with other duties.
So even if you are busy, someone else in the house or near the microwave will be alerted that the dish is done. The 0.7 cubic feet with 700-watt power is something to not look down upon as sometimes, bigger does not necessarily mean better. It gets your daily job done in a jiffy with its pre-installed functions. This microwave is a mid-sized microwave with a 10.75-inch turntable; hence you can insert your dinner plates or dishes inside easily. It also has a digital clock, timer, child lock and sound on/off button for your convenience.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Compact Microwave
Generally, you need to keep in mind that when it comes to microwaves, the more the watt, the more the power it has to heat/cook your food. Hence, when looking for a microwave, a 1000 watt or more would be the best for optimal cooking. While less than 700 watts would not be sufficient enough for your purpose. Also note that the more the watt output, the faster your food gets done.
So, if you want to get heavy-duty work done then you need to go for a microwave oven that gives a power output of 1000 watts or above but for regular everyday use you can for a one that has an output of 700 watts.
Dimensions and capacity
While considering the size of the microwave of our choice, we need to think about both the exterior dimension and the interior capacity of it. The exterior dimensions must match with space on your countertop where you are willing to place it. Also, you need to be careful to allow enough space for the door of the microwave to open freely.
On the other hand, when we talk about the capacity of a microwave oven, we generally measure it in cubic feet. The ones we have covered in our review article vary within the range of 0.7 to 1.2 cubic feet. It is wise for you to choose one that is compact but also offers a greater capacity which will allow you to fit in standard dinner plates inside without many struggles.
Moreover, even though power and capacity are two different parameters, smaller units generally tend to have lower power outputs which makes them weaker and it will be wrong to think that larger-looking microwaves have a greater capacity. So, do not be deceived and judge both the exterior and interior dimensions wisely.
The most tedious and boring part of having a microwave is cleaning it. The most common problems with microwaves when bought happen when you don’t clean it. When looking for microwaves, make sure you look at the products where cleaning can be done easily. Cleaning up your microwave not only helps your machine to have a longer life but also helps your food to be not contaminated.
Turntables help maintain a seamless stream of microwave evenly cooking your food leaving no spot untouched as it rotates in either a full circle or in a rectangular motion or side-to-side. They are made up of tempered glass and the absence of it will require you to turn your dishes frequently in between cooking inside the microwave.
Most turntables are removable making them easier for cleaning. Some can also be tossed in a dishwasher to remove stain marks or residues that may be left behind.
Other Pre-programmed options
Microwaves nowadays come with many pre-programmed options that ensure your utmost comfort and ease of use. These extra options are always a joy and one should seek these in their choice of microwaves. Some of these features include smart sensors which automatically customize their setting to set the cooking time based on the weight of the food. This feature helps prevent overcooking or undercooking and eliminates the guesswork for you.
In addition to this, features like child safety lock, power saving mode, kitchen timer, and clock are all a bonus that you should seek in your desired microwave oven.
Is Microwave Oven Safe For Use?
Microwave radiations do not pose a significant risk to human bodies when sed correctly as per World Health Organization. However, it may distort the nutrition content of food and debates arise regarding the use of plastic while heating food as it can disrupt the hormones.
Researches have shown that the nutrients can be kept locked while microwaving a food if only the cooking time is small. However, nutrients are lost in almost all cooking methods and microwaves are no exception and foods that are exposed to radiation for a longer period can result losing more nutrients, especially the ones which have more moisture in them can lose more flavonoids compared to the drier ones.
On the other hand, you need to be careful about the container you are using inside your microwave oven. If the plastic is not microwave oven-proof or of food-grade quality, the plastic as soon as exposed to the radiation can break down and the additives will impregnate your food. This causes harmful phthalates and other chemical additives to be introduced to your body.
Therefore, even though the radiation does not directly affect your health you need to take all the necessary precautions to mitigate the risks that it may pose.
Microwave Oven Tips For Better Cooking
- It is always a good practice to cover the food that you are microwaving. This will keep the moisture locked inside preventing it from drying unnecessarily, take less time to be prepared, and prevent it from creating a mess inside your oven.
- You should keep the size of the food uniform as there are higher chances of uniform particles being cooked more evenly compared to irregularly shaped ones. Also, it would be more effective if your food particles are smaller in size for the same reason.
- Frequent turning/stirring especially for the ovens which do not have turntables can be a very effective way to speed up your cooking time. This method will allow you to save time as well as cook your food evenly.
- Piercing foods that you can pierce for example potatoes and sausages will help release the steam from inside. This will eventually prevent it from exploding inside your microwave oven creating an unnecessary mess.
Types of Microwaves
Among all the types of microwaves offered to you, the most popular and commonly found in this particular type. Being found in a wide variety and price range, this is the most convenient option for your kitchen as you do not need a separate area for this and it offers the easiest installation. You can just place it on your countertop and plug it in to get it to start working. Moreover, this offers you the luxury to move it around your kitchen as per your requirement.
The only problem with this is that it takes up a lot of space on your countertop which may be a big deal if you have a shortage of space in your small kitchen.
2. Above the range
These are the ones that are mounted over your stovetop as this area is usually wasted. This type helps save counter area which may be used for some other purpose and gives a seamless look to your kitchen. Moreover, they are placed at an eye-level which makes them easy to operate. However, you need to match the color of your microwave with the color of your other kitchen appliances, or else it will look very odd.
Even though it helps save area, the installation process of this one is rather complex and may require a professional to do this for you which may, in turn, become expensive.
3. Under the counter
This type seems a bit inconvenient to us and that is because you need to get your body working to use it. You need to bend over and operate it but if you entirely do not have enough space in your kitchen to place your microwave, this type might be a consideration.
The built-in microwave ovens are installed in a wall cavity or a cabinet in your kitchen so it effectively saves up a lot of space. This type, however, is more complicated to install and may require assistance but it saves up a lot of counter space. Belonging to the costly group, this might not be an ideal option for those who are on a budget. However, some countertop ovens offer you the luxury to install them as a built-in one, making them more budget-friendly.
This type is considered to be the safest and most expensive out of all the other types as it comes with a built-in child lock and is difficult to install. As its name suggests, these microwave ovens are installed inside your kitchen drawer under your counter instead of having a swinging door. This too saves your counter space and does not come with turntables. This is considered an advantage to some as it is considered to be easier to clean.
Should I consider buying a convection microwave oven?
You could consider buying one as convection microwave ovens are more time-efficient compared to the traditional ones. They are capable of circulating hot air that is essential in even cooking and helps in speeding up your cooking time. So, if you want the perfect browning of your food that you are cooking, you should go for a convection microwave oven.
What is the right way to clean your microwave oven and remove the odor?
Your oven can get quite smelly from the food spills which you need to get rid of. The easiest way to do so is to heat a cup of a mixture of water and vinegar inside your microwave oven for a few minutes. The steam from the mixture will soften the stains. Once they are softened, you can now use a soft cloth and some mild detergent to wipe the insides of your microwave to make it odorless and clean. However, you need to be careful not to wash it with strong detergents or tough scrubbers.
Microwaves are a kitchen essential in any modern kitchen when it comes to ensuring comfort and versatility and not to mention, taking care of your pocket. To be more specific, compact microwaves are gaining more popularity by the day due to not only being smaller in size but featuring all the basic and advanced features a larger unit has and we hope our thorough analysis where we have picked some of the best compact microwaves out there and written all the do’s and don’ts, you have a clear understanding of what type of compact microwave you need to buy. And with that, we hope you can decide to buy and start heating your food today efficiently and healthily with ease.