Best compact microwaves 2024: save on space with these compact solutions

best compact microwaves of the year
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Best compact microwaves 2024: Jump Menu

1. The list in brief ↴
Best overall: Farberware FMO07ABTBKA
3. Best design: Panasonic NN-SD372SR
4. Best for power: GE JES1145SHSS
5. Best budget: Toshiba EM925A5A-BS
7. How to choose
How we test

The best compact microwaves are here to be your space-saving heroes when even the best microwaves can't cut it - sometimes they're just too big and can look clunky in your kitchen. If you’re short on counter space or live in an apartment, these portable compact microwaves can do everything that a regular microwave can, just in a smaller version. They say the best things come in small packages - whether you like to use a microwave to produce super-quick ready meals, heat leftovers, or defrost your prime cuts of meat, these compact microwaves have you covered. 

Compared to the best over-the-range microwaves and regular microwave models, compact microwaves can cost as little as $70. What they lack in size, however, they don’t necessarily lack in power. If you’re willing to fork out a little extra money, say $150, or even $200, your portable microwave could pack as much as 1000W in power - which guarantees thoroughly cooked food every time. 

Sounds good, but what about the capacity? While countertop microwaves may be smaller than regular microwaves, there’s still a lot of variety when it comes to capacity. If you’re cooking for more than one or using bigger plates and pasta dishes, look for at least one cubic foot of space.

Just because compact microwaves are small doesn't mean that they lack features either; many have pre-set cooking modes, sensor cooking, and an antibacterial coating to prevent bacteria build-up over time. Some models may also have smart features, letting you start warming your dinner on your commute home.

If this sounds like a perfect space-saving solution for your kitchen, read on to see our reviews and recommendations for the best compact microwaves available to buy right now, or head to our microwave deals page if you want to shop around more. 

The quick list

Below, you'll find a quick overview section of all the different compact microwaves in our list, showing you exactly what you need to know - all at a glance. This allows you to jump to the more detailed listing further down the page for the product you're most interested in.

The best compact microwaves we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We've rounded up the best compact microwaves that are currently available to help you find the right one for you and your household. While we've not been able to review every single one of these products in person, the first four on our list have been tested in person, so we can wholeheartedly recommend them. As for the rest of these models, we've examined the specs, features, and user reviews to give you a balanced view of how these microwaves compare to each other. 

The Best Compact Microwave Overall

The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA gets the job done, and the price is nice.


Watts:: 700 watts
Capacity:: 0.7 cubic feet
Dimensions:: H 10.1, W 17.75, D 12.91 inches

Reasons to buy

Great for heating individual portions
Good amount of cooking pre-sets 

Reasons to avoid

Popcorn cooking pre-set not as good
Only one year's warranty
Buy it if

✅ You want easy pre-sets: You get pre-sets for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetables, beverages, and dinner plates.

✅ You're on a budget: The Farberware is a very affordable option, as low as $70 at certain retailers. 

✅ You're looking for a really small microwave: The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA ties for the smallest size and lowest wattage of all the microwaves we compared, so it'd be great in an RV. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're looking for something slightly bigger: The smaller size might not be the best if you use your microwave for family meal preparation.

❌ You want SensorCook: This is not one of the microwaves that will sense the moisture levels and adjust cooking times automatically, but it does have a memory button for saving often-used settings.

❌ You want to make popcorn: This one struggled quite a bit with popcorn. It had almost the most un-popped kernels at the end. It did a lot better in the second round, though.

The bottom line

🔎 The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA is arguably the best compact microwave overall because it strikes the best balance between size and functionality. It gets the job done despite being so small. ★★★★½

The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA was by no means perfect in our tests. However, it ranks as the best compact microwave overall, as it is genuinely compact with just 0.7 cubic feet capacity, and it strikes the best balance between this small size, decent cooking performance, and a reasonable price. So it would be perfect for someone who needs a small microwave that gets the job done, whether in a dorm room, a small apartment, or an RV. 

Design: At only 0.7 cubic feet, this is tied for being the smallest microwave we tested. Things did seem a little tight inside on some tests, but if you just use your microwave for heating up individual portions it will work fine. The smaller size might not be the best if you use your microwave for family meal preparation.

There is a decent selection of cooking options with the FMO07ABTBKA. You get presets for popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetables, beverages, and dinner plates. You can also use the six express options and cook for between one and six minutes with the touch of one button.

Aside from the cooking options, you can defrost by time or by weight with this microwave. A keypad lock will keep the kids from accessing any of the features.

Performance: The Farberware FMO07ABTBKA turned in a solid performance on our tests: it cooks a baked potato well, can do popcorn evenly, although it might need a second try, and overall cooks evenly and consistently, considering how small it is. 

This is not one of the microwaves that will sense the moisture levels and adjust cooking times automatically, but it does have a memory button for saving often-used settings. For instance, if you often cook something at 80% power for 2 minutes and 10 seconds, you can avoid inputting those time and power level settings every time.

Price and availability: We found it for less than $70 on some sites like Amazon, while other sellers like The Home Depot have it for $79.99 - so it is easily available online. The low price means you can afford to replace your old microwave sooner. 

Read more: Farberware FMO07ABTBKA Review

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
Price: Very affordable, costing only $70 at some major retailers. ★★★★★
Design:A genuine compact, perhaps too small for some though.★★★★
Performance:A decent performance when considering price and size.★★★★

The Best Compact Microwave for Design

The Panasonic NN-SD372 microwave has a unique look and performs well.


Wattage:: 950 watts
Capacity:: 0.8 cubic feet
Dimensions: : H 11xW 19 3/16xD 14 13/16 inches

Reasons to buy

Nice stainless steel finish
Keep Warm function for up to 30 mins
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

Controls can be tricky to use
Buy it if

✅ You like modern design: This microwave has a modern look and a nice streamlined design on the controls, with slim buttons and a dial.  

✅ You need to keep food warm: This is one of only a few models in this price range to offer a Keep Warm function, which uses low-pulsing microwave power to keep foods warm for as long as 30 minutes without continuing to cook them.

✅ You want a wider compact microwave: Even though this model is on the smaller/compact side, it can easily hold a 10.5-inch dinner plate and a mixing bowl that measures 11.5 x 6.5 inches.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't like stainless steel: This model is only available in stainless steel, which means it'll need cleaning to prevent sticky finger marks on the outside. 

❌ You want an easy-to-use machine: This machine isn't too hard to use, but it does require you to use the user manual, and the control panel is quite a learning curve at first. 

❌ You like to use pre-set buttons: There is not a pre-set button for potatoes or anything else on this microwave, except popcorn, though it does offer suggested cooking times on the inside of its door frame.

The bottom line

🔎 The Panasonic NN-SD372SR looks quite special on a countertop because of its unique design, and it performs generally very well, but it does take some getting used to the controls and the way they work. ★★★★

The Panasonic NN-SD372 microwave has a unique look and performed well in our tests. Its old-school controls and stainless steel finish make it look cool, even if it is a little hard to use.

Design: The Panasonic NN-SD372 is an attractive appliance that scored very well in our cooking tests, but this unique look clashes with the fact that the control panel is trickier to master than other microwave ovens. Instead of the pre-set buttons typically found on compact microwave ovens, there are long, horizontal, rather oddly shaped buttons and a pop-out dial you use to set times or weights.

The control panel is not a deal-breaker, but there is a learning curve involved, and for some foods, you need to do a bit of guesswork to try and figure out which setting is best. For a microwave that is easier to use, consider the Farberware FMO07ABTBKA.

Performance: While testing the Panasonic NN-SD372SR, we got mixed results. It produced excellent cooking results for some foods but left cold spots or overheated others. It was the best unit in our potato test, cooking it all the way through without leaving any uneven spots.

It was not perfect on popcorn, but it did a good job of fully popping most if not all, kernels; it left the fewest kernels unpopped out of all of the microwaves we tested, but there were still some burned areas in the final product.

The NN-SD372SR fared well on the consistency tests, with just 8 degrees of temperature difference from one side of the plate of pizza rolls to the other. It also had a fairly even heating pattern when we made a heat map with marshmallows.

Price and availability: It can be found for as low as $183 online at places like and $192 on Amazon, while it's fully priced at $219.95 direct via Panasonic. This is a decent price, and this model is one of the few that come with a Keep Warm function, which is rare at this price point. 

Read more: Panasonic NN-SD372SR Review

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
Price: It's one of the few models in this price range to have a keep warm function.★★★★
Design:Attractive, modern design in stainless steel.★★★★
Performance:Generally cooks well although it can be hard to use.★★★★

The Best Compact Microwave for Power

The GE JES1145SHSS is a powerful compact countertop microwave.


Wattage:: 950 Watts
Capacity:: 1.1 cubic feet
Dimensions:: 12 H x 20 5/16 W x 15 5/8 D

Reasons to buy

Great at cooking popcorn
Powerful and compact
Clear control panel/buttons

Reasons to avoid

Expensive, especially for the size
No sensor reheating
Buy it if

✅ You regularly make popcorn: In testing, this microwave popped almost every kernel and didn't burn any.

✅ You want it to be easy: This GE compact microwave includes popcorn, pizza, and potato buttons, as well as buttons for a beverage, a dinner plate, and a frozen vegetable. 

✅ You want reliable cooking results: We felt the GE performed well in every test. It cooks food completely and quickly. It does great on popcorn, preparing every kernel to perfection.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: This model is a little expensive when considering how small it is; there are similar models available for much cheaper. 

❌ You want SensorCook functions: This microwave is missing a sensor reheat button, so you have to guess the time your leftovers need and monitor your food to make sure it doesn't overcook.

❌ You'd like a longer warranty: This GE compact microwave only has a standard warranty of one year to protect your purchase; other units offer more coverage.

The bottom line

🔎 The GE JES1145SHSS is a powerful compact countertop microwave that scored well on all of our microwave tests. It's a little expensive when considering that it's a compact microwave, but it cooks well and is simple to use. ★★★★

The GE JES1145SHSS is an impressive compact microwave that scored well during testing. 

Design: This GE compact microwave, like most microwaves today, includes popcorn, pizza, and potato buttons. However, it is missing a sensor reheat button, so you have to guess the time your leftovers need and monitor your food to make sure it doesn't overcook.

In addition to these standard pre-sets, the GE includes buttons for a beverage, a dinner plate, and a frozen vegetable. This gives you a good variety, though some other microwaves include even more food settings, such as ones for fresh vegetables and frozen entrees.

Although it's a compact microwave, it can still fit a big mixing bowl, a tall glass, or a standard dinner plate with no problem.

Performance: Although it's missing the convenience of sensor reheating and some pre-sets, it includes enough buttons to help you cook efficiently and other features to place it among the best compact microwaves. It cooks food completely and quickly. The GE aced the first test with its ability to cook a frozen macaroni and cheese meal quickly and thoroughly. We followed the directions on the back of the box and cooked it for a total of 3:30 minutes. The temperature of the meal, when it finished cooking, was 171 Fahrenheit, which is above the recommended minimum temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. 

We also cooked potato in this microwave for six minutes, which is the average time it takes to cook a standard-sized russet potato in a microwave. It had a few raw spots, but it was still good overall. So, overall, this compact microwave performed better than most of the others we tested.

Price and availability: It is slightly expensive, but it can be found for cheaper online if you shop around a bit; I've seen prices ranging from $119 to $155. However, there are similar models, like the Farberware microwave listed above for $70, that are much cheaper, and they're pretty much the same in size and performance. Although we think you're paying for slightly more power and an easy user experience with this model, especially when compared to others on this list. 

Read more: GE JES1145SHSS Review

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
Price: Slightly expensive when compared to other similar models.★★★★
Design:Clear and easy to use buttons; no sensor cook features.★★★★
Performance:Cooks well and evenly with little to no burning or undercooking.★★★★½

The Best Budget Compact Microwave

This compact microwave is well balanced between performance and price.


Wattage:: 900 Watts
Capacity:: 0.9 cubic feet
Dimensions:: 16.1"D x 19.2"W x 11.5"H

Reasons to buy

Cooks food evenly
Good assortment of pre-sets
Decent capacity

Reasons to avoid

Lackluster warranty
Buy it if

✅ You want nice, even heating: It did just fine on our testing tasks and even impressively had the highest score for heat consistency out of all our units. This meant it heated food evenly from one side of the plate to the other.

✅ You love baked potatoes: The potatoes we microwaved also came out almost perfect by using the potato button. Overall, cooking different types of food scored well.

✅ You like pre-set buttons: You get a nice assortment of pre-sets and power levels with the EM925A5A-BS, including popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage, and dinner plate buttons.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a compact that's a little bigger: If you want to be able to cook large family dinners, though, this might not be the best bet. Consider the RCA RMW1414 if you're looking for a larger unit.

❌ You'd like a longer warranty: This compact microwave only has a standard warranty of one year to protect your purchase; other units offer more coverage.

The bottom line

🔎 The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS isn't one of the absolute best microwaves you could pick up, though it still performed practically perfectly on some of our tests, and it struck a good balance between the features on offer and its reasonable price. ★★★

The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS compact microwave isn't the best, but it strikes a good balance between performance and price. There are units with more capacity and more cooking power, but the Toshiba EM925A5A-BS did just fine on most of our tests.

Design: The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS was one of the smaller microwaves we tested, but it was not the smallest. When we loaded it up with a relatively large dinner plate and glass, there was plenty of room left.

It also fits a mixing bowl and a large popcorn bag just fine. If you want to be able to cook large family dinners, though, this might not be the best bet. Consider the RCA RMW1414 if you're looking for a larger unit.

Performance: The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS microwave is not the most powerful we tested; it only has 900 watts of power, but this should still be enough power for most tasks. It did just fine on our testing tasks and even impressively had the highest score for heat consistency out of all our units. 

This meant it heated food evenly from one side of the plate to the other, a nice change when you compare it to some microwaves that leave cold spots in frozen dinners and other dishes.

Overall, cooking different types of food scored well. The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS did a nice job on our tests. It was especially good at maintaining the same heat levels across its cooking surface, and at its price point, we think it could be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen.

Price and availability: The Toshiba compact microwave is very reasonably priced for a model that performs well and fits the bill as a compact that doesn't take up too much space at all. You can easily find it online, for $99.98 at Amazon, all the way up to $114.99 at Lowe's - so don't get caught out when shopping. An affordable, budget-friendly model. 

Read more: Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Review

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
Price: Decently priced, but other models in this list are cheaper.★★★
Design:Okay design, pretty standard, not too attractive.★★★
Performance:Cooks most food well, lackluster warranty if anything goes wrong.★★★★

Toshiba EM131A5C-SS microwave

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Toshiba EM131A5C-SS microwave

The Toshiba EM131A5C-SS is the best compact microwave for versatility


Watts: 1100
Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
Dimensions: H 12.8 in, W 20.5 in, D 17.1 in

Reasons to buy

 Easy to clean  
 Sensor cooking  

Reasons to avoid

 Not as powerful as some other models  
What the users say…

With over 50,000 Amazon ratings that average 4.5 out of 5, you can rest assured that this Toshiba microwave has been well-tested by its user base. One reviewer says that "This one operates perfectly and very quietly." However, other users show frustration with the design of the microwave keypad, saying that it can be difficult to read in low light.

It offers 1100 watts and has ten different power levels. It’s available in both black stainless steel and stainless steel, and you can expect 1.2 cubic feet of space to cook your meals. 

This compact microwave doesn’t have a bulky back on it as some models do, meaning it won’t take up too much room. The pre-programmed sensor menu means you can simply press a button, and it will automatically cook certain foods using the right settings. Preset options include Sensor Reheat, Sensor Pizza, Potato, Rice, Frozen Veggies, and Frozen Entrée.

Another feature we liked was the ‘sound off’ option, and you can also silence the buzzer on this microwave if you find the noises irritating.

For its price, this Toshiba microwave provides a decent wattage. However, some users did mention they were a little disappointed with the power. Overall, for the price and amount of features you get with this compact microwave, not to mention its sleek finish, the Toshiba EM131A5C-SS is a really solid choice. 

Best compact microwaves

(Image credit: Hamilton Beach)

6. Hamilton Beach 0.9 cu. ft. Microwave

This Hamilton Beach product is another good cheap microwave.


Watts: 900
Capacity : 0.9 cubic feet
Dimensions: 18.98" W x 14.17" D x 10.63" H

Reasons to buy

10 power levels
Touch pad control

Reasons to avoid

Mixed user reviews
Basic features
What the users say…

Walmart reviewers have given this microwave an average rating of 4.2 out of 5. One user praises the cost-effectiveness of the product, saying, "The microwave is best at the given price." However, multiple users have reported the microwave breaking down after a few months of use. To help safeguard against this, we'd recommend registering your product for its 1-year warranty. 

It features 900W of power and a 0.9 cubic feet design, which will take up minimal space on your countertop (although it's not the smallest microwave that we feature in this guide). 

For those with small children, this microwave oven features a child safety lock to prevent it from being accidentally turned on. There are also six auto-cooking menus that will help you cook and reheat common microwave-friendly foods such as popcorn, potatoes, frozen dinners, or beverages. 

While this isn't the most powerful microwave in our guide, 900W should be more than enough for most households. Plus, the Hamilton Beach microwave also has a small array of useful features, such as time and weight defrost, a cooking complete reminder, a door with a handle, and touchpad control. 

Farberware FMO11AHTBKB Countertop Microwave

(Image credit: Lowe's)

7. Farberware FMO11AHTBKB Countertop Microwave

The Farberware FMO11AHTBKB is a great countertop microwave.


Watts : 1000
Capacity : 1.1 cubic feet
Dimensions: H 12.03, W 20.2, D 16.54

Reasons to buy

 Big capacity  

Reasons to avoid

 Only six cooking programs  
What the users say…

This Farberware microwave is rated 4.5 out of 5 with 37 customer reviews on Lowes. Users enjoy the size, with one saying, "It is more on the small side, but I was happily impressed with the interior space." However, another user complains about the noise level while in use. 

Its capacity is 1.1 cubic feet, but it won’t take up too much space on your countertop. Available for under $100, you’re getting a good amount of space for your money, and you can also take your pick from a stainless steel or black finish. This countertop microwave has a pull handle rather than a push button, and its digital display makes it easy to use. 

In terms of functions, you’ll get 10 power levels with the Faberware FMO11AHTBKB, an Express Cook mode, and a Memory Function, which will get to know your cooking preferences. What’s more, you can expect six preset cooking settings including popcorn, pizza, potato, beverage, dinner plate, or frozen vegetables.

Users rate the Faberware FMO11AHTBKB microwave highly, saying it has ‘great features’, and many commented on how ‘stylish’ it looks in their kitchen. Other users also mentioned that for the price, this microwave offered them all they needed. A few reviewers did state that this microwave is quite loud when you’re using it. 

LG NeoChef LMC0975ST Countertop Microwave:

(Image credit: Home Depot)

8. LG NeoChef LMC0975ST Countertop Microwave

The LG NeoChef LMC0975ST is an easy-to-clean countertop microwave.


Watts : 900
Capacity : 0.9 cubic feet

Reasons to buy

 Anti-bacterial coating  
 EasyClean interior  

Reasons to avoid

 Smaller capacity than some other models 
 No alternative colors  

The LG NeoChef LMC0975ST isn’t the biggest microwave in our round-up with 0.9 cubic feet of space, but it has some great features that make it easy to maintain and keep clean. 

What the users say…

Over 2,800 Home Depot reviewers have given this LG microwave an average rating of 4.3 out of 5. One user praises it for its "stylish looks and reasonable price" and adds that "in a throw-away society, it's a great choice." However, users who have experienced issues with their microwaves report a lack of customer support from LG. 

Aside from its handy features, the LG NeoChef LMC0975ST is a very sleek and stylish microwave that looks premium even though it’s not as expensive as some other models.

Complete with LG’s smart inverter. This microwave heats more evenly using precise power rather than blasting your whole dish. Internally, the LG NeoChef LMC0975ST is designed with easy use in mind. The controls are made with smooth glass, and there aren’t any old-fashioned dials to navigate. 

The completely smooth outer shell of this microwave makes it easy to clean and wipe down, but inside the LG NeoChef LMC0975ST, there is an anti-bacterial coating that is stain-resistant and aims to prevent build-up inside your microwave. The EasyClean coating means you don’t need to use harsh cleaning products to maintain this microwave. Instead, you can just wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

Another simple but clever feature that we like about the LG NeoChef LMC0975ST is its hexagonal stabilizer. This makes the microwave turntable much more solid and less likely to tip - most microwaves just have a three-point stabilizer. 

Users rate the LG NeoChef LMC0975ST highly on aspects including style and performance. Other users commented on how easy to use this microwave is and that it’s ‘super quiet.’ A few criticisms come in the form of this microwave being fairly expensive, and a few reviews mention how this microwave is prone to showing fingerprints and marks on the outside.  

Best compact microwaves

(Image credit: Galanz)

9. Galanz 0.7 cu. ft. Microwave

This Galanz compact microwave is an adorably retro find.


Watts : 700
Capacity : 0.7 cubic feet

Reasons to buy

Stylish retro design
Perfect for minimal countertop space

Reasons to avoid

Minimal features

If you're looking for something a little different from the sea of black, silver, and gray microwave ovens that are usually on offer, your interest might just be piqued by this retro-inspired design from Galanz.

What the users say…

With over 1,000 reviews on the Walmart website, this Galanz microwave has earned an average rating of 4.3 out of 5. One user says that it's "so cute and functional… [and] easy to use". However, other users are lukewarm about the quality of the microwave itself. 

Available in colorways of Blue, Cream, Red, and Yellow, this vibrant microwave oven can breathe life into any kitchen. However, the trade-off on its colorful appearance is a lower-than-average power wattage of just 700W and minimal features. But, if you don't use your microwave often, then this might not matter to you. 

While it's not jam-packed with features like other products on this list, this Galanz microwave still has some useful points worth mentioning. It has six different power levels and a 9.6" removable glass turntable. Meanwhile, the controls are made up of delightfully vintage-inspired knobs and buttons to complete the retro look. 

This Galanz microwave does have some auto menus and a defrost program, so there are a few automatic features that help to make this a competitive product for those looking for a new microwave oven. 

Best compact microwaves

(Image credit: Samsung)

10. Samsung MG11H2020CT

This is the best high-end compact microwave


Watts : 1,000
Capacity : 1.1 cubic feet

Reasons to buy

Features grilling element
22 preset options

Reasons to avoid

On the larger side

Samsung has a fantastic reputation when it comes to consumer goods, and this high-end microwave proves why. 

What the users say…

Lowes reviewers give this Samsung microwave an average rating of 4.2 out of 5. One user remarks that they feel that it's a "very solid, well manufactured, quality product that will last for many years." However, reviewers seem to be split on the grilling function, with some saying that it doesn't work very effectively. 

This sleek and stylish microwave oven also features a grilling element, which is great for reheating food such as pizza or grilled cheese. It also has 1,000W of cooking power and ten different power levels to enable you to customize your food prep process to whatever you're cooking. 

Meanwhile, the smooth ceramic interior is designed to be easy to clean and not scratch or get discolored over time. The microwave's exterior has a stainless steel finish and electronic touchpad controls. 

The turntable has a diameter of 12.5 inches, which is larger than other products within this guide. Meanwhile, there are 12 one-touch cooking options for the ultimate ease of use when cooking or reheating food. 

How we test the best compact microwaves

We fired up each microwave and tested them on commonly prepared items like popcorn, pizza rolls, and potatoes. Microwaves that cooked food evenly got higher scores than those that left cold spots or burned spots. 

We also looked for units that have food-specific settings and a wide selection of power levels, as well as how good they looked and how easy they were to set up and use. 

Find out more about how we test

How to choose one of the best compact microwaves

The most important feature of any microwave is how well it cooks. Here's what to look for when choosing from the best compact microwaves...

Convenience features in a microwave
Most countertop microwaves come with a Quick Cook function, which makes microwaving food even faster. The 30-second key is also a time-saver because you can simply add 30 seconds to the cooking time as your food is cooking.

Sensor cooking is a newer feature only available on a few countertop microwaves. With this, you press the reheat button, and sensors measure the steam that emits from your food to determine when it's done. So, it cooks for the right amount of time.

Pre-set buttons can also be time savers. The most common are popcorn, potato, and pizza. Other pre-set buttons include ones for a beverage, fresh and frozen vegetables, soup, and bread.

Warranty and support
One of the most overlooked pieces of information in your user manual is the warranty, and some microwave manufacturers offer a longer warranty specifically for the magnetron. Many manufacturers give you an all-encompassing warranty that covers all parts for the same amount of time.

Dimensions and power
The right balance between a small countertop footprint and adequate cubic footage inside can be tough to work out. We were pleasantly surprised by how much the smaller microwaves could fit, so we generally recommend getting the smallest one that makes sense for your household. 

However, the smaller units tend to have less overall power. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by how much power didn't really speed up cooking. So you can still get a smaller unit with less power and expect to be satisfied.

Compact microwave FAQS

How long do compact microwaves last?

The average lifespan of a microwave is only about nine years, according to the National Association of Home Builders' Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. That means lots of folks are in the market about once a decade. Not everyone is ready to throw a broken one out right away, though, of course.

Just like many other home or tech appliances, you can improve or ensure the lifespan of your compact microwave if you know how to care for your microwave, especially how to clean a microwave. If you need any guidance with this, we've put together a great page of cleaning hacks for microwaves.

Are small microwaves powerful enough to cook food properly?

You can rely on compact microwaves to cook your food properly thanks to their wattages, which range between 650W to 1950W. Obviously, the higher the wattage, the quicker this will be done. 

These appliances are powerful enough to help serve a range of foods and usually have defrost settings. Many models also have adjustable cooking temperatures so that you have a little more control depending on what you’re cooking. 

What is the average small microwave size?

The size of a microwave is measured in cubic feet. In our guide, we’ve included compact microwaves that range from 0.7 cubic feet to 1.2. But generally speaking, a compact microwave can range from 0.5 cubic feet to 1.3 cubic feet. 

Anything above that, so from 1.4 to 2.0 cubic feet, is considered family-sized or full-sized. A compact microwave is perfect for those living alone or a couple. But also consider the size of the dishes you will be using inside of your compact microwave. 

The smallest microwave size (0.5 cubic feet) is made to fit most 10-inch dinner plates – but that’s all. So, you won’t be able to reheat leftover foods in large casserole dishes without decanting them to a smaller plate or dish. 

Are compact microwaves suitable for RVs? 

If you spend a lot of time vacationing in your RV, or if you live in one full time, having access to a microwave will be pretty high on your agenda. After all, these appliances are excellent for putting together a quick and easy meal, especially if you’ve just had a long day of driving. 

When it comes to installing one of these in your van, you’ll probably want to go as small as possible, as space can be sparse at the best of times. Beyond that, you also might want to opt for a lower voltage to avoid tripping out your power supply. This might involve a longer microwaving period and more frequent stirring to ensure cooking is thorough, but it will save you from power outs. 

You shouldn’t just opt for any old space-saving microwave, though, as your new device needs to be versatile enough to earn its small spot in a cramped caravan. Of course, you’ll need a microwave that covers the basic pre-sets such as potato, pizza, or soup, but as it’s unlikely you’ll have a wide selection of kitchen appliances on hand, you may also want to invest in a microwave that can handle a little more complexity, such as frozen food and bread too.

Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who has worked extensively for Top Ten Reviews during the past year. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper and has since then worked across digital and social media for food titles and home interior magazines. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing. 

With contributions from