Pros / Sensor cooking takes the guesswork out of reheating foods.
Cons / This one lacks quick cook functionality that prepares foods with one-button convenience.
Verdict / This microwave is a little bigger and more expensive than some we considered, but it cooks foods evenly and consistently in a short amount of time.
The RCA RMW1414 compact microwave combines function and form in a shiny stainless steel package that tied for the best overall performance in our tests. This option is pricier than the majority, but it cooks foods to perfection, and its interior is large enough to fit big bowls, dinner plates or tall glasses.
Its size could also be seen as a drawback, depending on your specific situation. Not everyone has the counterspace to spare for a unit this size. It ties for the most wattage, so it might be worth sacrificing the storage space because it can prepare large quantities of foods quickly. If you need a more compact option, check out the Sharp SMC0710BB/BW.
This model has been out long enough that we have tested it twice. It did great on both rounds of testing. 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.
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 microwaves we compared, 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 microwave was great at popcorn. It left behind just 3.5 grams of unpopped kernels, which is impressive compared to most of the microwaves we tested. This unit's potato button is set for three minutes. Our potato came out great after pushing just that one button.
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.
The RCA RMW1414 is larger and more expensive than many we looked at, and that's why you’ll find it towards the bottom of our lineup, but it cooks food thoroughly and efficiently. Its high scores in our cooking tests, convenient capacity and versatile features are why we consider it a great option for your next microwave purchase.