PROS / This mini microwave cooks foods evenly and consistently in a short amount of time.
CONS / You don't get a 30-second key or Quick Cook on this microwave.
VERDICT / The RCA RMW1414 is the best microwave we reviewed, with its impressive cooking performance, large capacity and efficient presets.
The RCA RMW1414 compact microwave combines function and form in a shiny stainless steel package that outperformed all of the other mini microwaves we tested. It cooks faster and better than any other small microwave, and its interior is large enough to fit big bowls, dinner plates or tall glasses. Its cooking performance and capacity are the main reasons we gave this RCA microwave the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
In one of our tests, this RCA microwave cooked a frozen meal of macaroni and cheese better than the other countertop microwaves. We followed the instructions on the back of the frozen meal box, and the RCA cooked it completely – it registered at the recommended 165 F – without any extra time.
In another test we conducted, we specifically chose a meal that would allow us to test for even heating. We took the temperature of each mini corn dog of a kids' meal after following the cooking directions, which revealed that this is the best compact microwave for even heating. None of the corn dogs had cold spots, an unmatched feat in our testing.
At 1.4 cubic feet, the RCA is larger than most of the compact microwaves we include in our review. The advantage to its size is that you can fit a standard-sized dinner plate on its turntable without worrying about whether the door can close. A large mixing bowl comfortably fits inside also, so you can heat up large amounts of leftovers at once. Even an oversized glass fits in this microwave.
The power levels on this RCA microwave work in increments of 10 percent. By default, it cooks food at 100 percent, or 1,000 watts. When you want to cook food more gently, you can choose a lower power level, such as Level 8 for 80 percent. If you prefer not to think about how to cook with your microwave, you can just pop in leftovers and press the reheat button – this RCA microwave uses different sensors to determine when your food is done. However, it does not include a 30-second key or Quick Cook function, so you can't just assign the microwave to cook for 30 seconds or a certain number of minutes with the press of a single button.
The RCA, like all of the microwaves we reviewed, has a timer feature, so you can use it when you're cooking on your stove or oven without turning on its heat. It also includes a child lock, which you can use to digitally lock the microwave so your children can't cook their toys or other items.
You can expect to see certain preset buttons on most compact microwaves, such as ones for popcorn, pizza and a potato. This RCA microwave is programmed to cook a 3.5-ounce bag of popcorn for 2:10 minutes. We heated a bag with 2.15 ounces of popcorn and stopped the microwave 10 seconds shy of the end of the cycle. The RCA only left behind eight unpopped kernels, which is impressive compared to most of the microwaves we tested.
This compact microwave's potato button is set for three minutes. However, we needed to run it for six minutes, which produced a fluffy, tender baked potato that registered at 201 F. One slice of cold pepperoni pizza reheated in only one minute. The pizza button is set for 40 seconds, but the microwave needed 20 more seconds to get the pizza to an acceptable temperature.
This countertop microwave includes buttons for a beverage, fresh vegetable and frozen entree as well. You can quickly pop in a pound of broccoli to steam or a frozen meal to cook and know that it's going to come out piping hot and ready to eat.
Help & Support
An especially important consideration when you buy a new appliance is the warranty so that you don't have to pay shipping to get your microwave repaired or buy a whole new unit if you find that it's defective. RCA offers a one-year warranty that covers parts and labor, including the magnetron, the piece that creates the microwaves that cook your food. This isn't the longest warranty in our lineup, but it's standard.
RCA has some limited FAQs on its website. If you can't find the answer to your question there, you can call or email customer support.
The RCA RMW1414 cooks food thoroughly and efficiently. Its high scores in our cooking tests, convenient capacity and versatile features are why we consider it the best mini microwave on the market.