The best compact microwaves cook and reheat your food quickly and thoroughly, preferably on the first go around. We put every microwave we received or ordered through the same tests to gauge their power, size and convenient presets. Not all of the mini microwaves we tested could make it onto our top 10 list, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy competitors.
This countertop microwave from LG is a great size for small living spaces, such as dorms, apartments and tiny houses. Expect to spend more time cooking, though, because this small microwave only has 700 watts to power it. We cooked a microwaveable macaroni and cheese dinner according to the instructions on the box, but we needed to give the meal another 30 seconds to reach a safe temperature. We had similar struggles with the kids' meal we cooked the mini corn dogs didn't reach a safe temperature following the directions, and we had to give them a full minute more.
You can fit large, wide dishes in this microwave, but not tall containers, so keep that in mind if you purchase this microwave for your countertop. The LG LCS0712ST includes some of the best convenient options, such as a Quick Cook function and a 30-second button, so you can pop in a meal and simply press a button to reheat food in 30-second or minute intervals.
The popcorn preset didn't work as well as the best compact microwaves' presets did. After 2 minutes and 34 seconds for a 2.15-ounce bag of popcorn, there were 68 unpopped kernels left over. The top-rated machines left as few as four unpopped kernels after only two minutes.
However, this LG microwave has one of the best warranties available. It covers the magnetron for 10 years. All things considered, this is a good microwave for a small space; it was just edged out by microwaves that performed slightly better.
Although this Danby compact microwave isn't the best in performance, it is the smallest of all the units we tested and offers several convenient features. The Danby DMW7700BLDB includes a Quick Cook function, a 30-second button and a reheat button that senses when food is finished cooking. At 700 watts, this microwave takes longer to cook food, though. When we tested its performance with a frozen macaroni and cheese meal and a kids' meal, we found that both needed more time than the suggested times on the boxes to reach safe temperatures.
This microwave earns its descriptor of "mini microwave" easily we were able to fit a standard dinner plate in it, but not tall containers or large mixing bowls. However, the most popular preset popcorn did well on this microwave. After 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the popping slowed significantly, and only 28 unpopped kernels were left over.
The warranty is standard on this microwave, so Danby protects your purchase from defective parts and labor for one year. As the smallest microwave that also performs adequately, this is a good choice.
In spite of only having 700 watts to power it, this Daewoo microwave holds its own against the best compact microwaves, at least in some aspects. It needs more time to cook frozen meals, though, to get to safe temperatures. The macaroni and cheese meal we cooked in it needed another 1 minute and 30 seconds to cook completely. The kids' meal with mini corn dogs needed a full extra minute to reach a safe temperature. One of the most often used buttons on a microwave, the 30-second key, is present here, so you can just pop in something to reheat or cook and press the 30-second button to get cooking.
This mini microwave didn't perform that well with popcorn it left behind 70 unpopped kernels after 2 minutes and 15 seconds but it performed better than any other microwave we tested in baking a potato. The Daewoo only needs 3 minutes and 15 seconds to thoroughly cook a potato to perfect tenderness.
The warranty for the magnetron is better than most. You get five years of protection, and one year of protection from defective parts or labor. This may not be the best countertop microwave, but it's a good overall choice.
Of all the mini microwaves we tested, this Westinghouse was the outlier in design, performance and power. This microwave doesn't use digital buttons or display instead, it uses a dial, which makes it difficult to know exactly how much time you're setting. When we tested the power of this microwave, which has the lowest wattage of all the microwaves we tried at 600 watts, it didn't fare well. The frozen macaroni and cheese meal took an extra 2 minutes and 30 seconds to reach 165 degrees.
The Westinghouse WCM660W has almost no convenient features. You only get six power levels with this microwave, as opposed to the 10 or 11 power levels on most compact microwaves. One of them is defrost, and the settings are simply labeled low, medium low and so on, as opposed to precise times or food weights. There are no Quick Cook functions or a timer with this unit. There are no presets on this microwave either, and very little help from the manufacturer online. Overall, this is a pretty basic compact microwave.
Whether your next microwave comes from our list of the best compact microwaves or is one of these smaller, less powerful units, you're going to get a quality appliance that can pop your popcorn, bake your potatoes, reheat your leftovers and boil water sufficiently. The times they take to do these tasks vary, but they are all decent choices for small microwaves.