Small Size, Big Convenience: The 5 Best Compact Microwaves

While most standard microwaves range from 1.4 to 2.2 cubic feet, some homeowners need a scaled-down appliance. Compact microwaves under 1 cubic foot are ideal for small kitchens, dorm living, offices, RVs, and other tight spaces. These pint-sized microwaves serve up the handy reheating and cooking abilities in a conveniently downsized package.

In this guide, we’ll review our picks for the top small and compact microwaves worth your consideration. We’ll look at critical factors like capacity, power, and size. We’ll also give tips for choosing the right scaled-down model to suit your space and usage. Let’s find the perfect micro-microwave solution for wherever you need cooking convenience!

Top Compact Microwave Models

While limited on capacity, the best small microwaves still deliver sufficient power, quality, and helpful extra settings beyond just reheating. Here are 5 leaders in compact microwave design:

1. Toshiba ML-EM34PA(SS) Solo Microwave Oven

At just 0.9 cubic feet, the aptly named Toshiba compact microwave saves space without skimping on features. The 1100 watts of power allow it to reheat or cook food in minutes. It’s an ideal size for dorm living, studio apartments, offices and more.

The simple dial control makes selecting times effortless. Pre-programmed one-touch buttons add convenience for common tasks like softening butter, making popcorn, melting cheese, and reheating meals. The small footprint still leaves room for food prep. For those with tight quarters, this Toshiba delivers.

2. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN667S

This 1.2 cubic foot Panasonic has a streamlined design perfect for RV kitchens, boats, or anyone avoiding a bulky model. The inverter microwave technology evenly distributes 1000 watts for precision cooking without cold spots.

The genius sensor detects the optimal heating time and power for different foods to prevent overcooking. Quick touchpad controls provide shortcuts for frozen meals, popcorn, reheat, and more. Stainless finish and turntable accommodate everyday use. It’s an ideal blend of small size and high performance.

3. Galanz GLS1029S1DR Retro Compact Microwave

For a compact microwave with retro flair, the pint-sized Galanz model fits the bill. It has a playful red dot matrix display while the handle echoes 1950s styling. Though just 1.0 cubic foot, it delivers 1000 watts for ample reheating and quick cooking.

The direct entry dial makes timing simple. Interior lighting showcases the food and vintage look. It would add flair in a studio apartment, dorm, or office lunchroom. Matching retro fridges and stoves available to complete the theme!

4. Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 Countertop Magic Chef Microwave Oven

As a leader in budget-friendly appliances, Magic Chef builds value into this 0.6 cubic foot microwave without sacrificing quality. The handy push button door release enhances the front access. It operates quietly, an advantage in open office settings.

The cooking guide label eliminates guessing with automatic times for common foods. Apartment dwellers will appreciate the compact footprint. For no-frills 700 watts of heating capacity, it delivers despite the small proportions.

5. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

For a black stainless steel compact model matching modern appliances, this 1.2 cubic foot Toshiba fits perfectly. It has a clean, touchpad control interface with quick start, +/- 30 second buttons, and 1-6 minute express keys.

The smart sensor adjusts heating time and power. An eco mode reduces energy usage when not cooking. Strengths like the mute function and nighttime-friendly low beep volume make this an ideal electronmicrowave room or dorm companion.

Choosing the Right Compact Microwave

While limited on size, compact microwaves can still meet daily heating and cooking needs with the right specs. Consider these factors when picking a small yet mighty model:

  • Look for 0.7 to 1.0 cubic feet capacities to sufficiently fit plates and mugs.
  • Ensure the wattage reaches at least 700-1000W for adequate power. Higher is better.
  • Note if the turntable or interior dimensions accommodate your cookware.
  • Models with sensor cooking or presets add convenience.
  • Extra settings like inverter or convection technologies enable more versatility.
  • Pick between countertop, built-in, over-range placements based on your space.
  • Review noise ratings as less ventilation can mean louder operation.
  • Compare prices between models offering similar size and features.

While compact, the best small microwaves shouldn’t skimp on core functionality and usability.

FAQs About Small Microwave Ovens

Some home chefs wonder if “micro” microwaves can still deliver ample cooking ability. Here are answers to some frequently asked compact microwave questions:

How much heating or cooking ability is sacrificed with a smaller microwave?

Thanks to wattage, a 0.9 cu. ft. model can reheat and cook nearly as quickly as larger units, just with less interior capacity.

Can you fit dinner plates and large dishes in small microwaves?

It depends on microwave dimensions, but most plates 10 inches or less can fit in sub-1.0 models sidewise. Bowls often fit better.

How portable are compact microwaves models?

The smaller footprints and weights make them highly suitable for moving between dorm rooms, in RVs, taking to offices, etc.

Are small microwaves good for college students?

Yes! The compact size, lower prices, and reheating abilities make them perfect for dorm life where space is limited.

What are the best uses for small microwaves?

Reheating leftovers, preparing single servings, defrosting foods, softening butter, making snacks, and cooking for 1-2 people.

Do compact microwaves have other modes besides standard?

Some include presets and sensors. Higher-end models may integrate inverter, convection, or grilling technologies for more versatility.

What power wattage is ideal for a small microwave?

700-1000 watts or higher provides sufficient power for efficient cooking and reheating despite the compact cavity size.

Are small microwaves safe for everyday use?

Yes, as long as you follow safe operating practices and read instruction manuals. Leading brands meet safety requirements.

How durable are compact microwave models?

Quality brands designing small microwaves intend for long-term use, not just short-term. Follow care guidelines for 5+ years of service.

Are small microwaves significantly cheaper than full-size?

Compact models do come at lower prices, but offer major savings. Performance between size classes remains comparable.

The “Mini” Microwave Revolution

Thanks to clever appliance engineering, today’s small microwaves serve up ample cooking power with practicality perfect for limited spaces. For anyone downsizing or equipping a dorm, office, boat, RV or other snug kitchen, compact models eliminate hassles while fitting right in. Match your power and feature needs to the ideal pint-sized microwave for the space.

Of the models reviewed, the Panasonic NN-SN667S stands out for combining an extra-small 1.2 cubic foot stature with brilliant inverter technology you’d expect in premium models. However, any of our top compact picks will allow you to cook, reheat, and defrost with space-saving convenience. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they compromise!
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