How Do I Choose the Best Small Microwave?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Modern microwave ovens are not the monstrous appliances hogging up valuable counter space like they once were. It’s entirely possible to find an inexpensive, small microwave that boasts many of the features of their larger, more expensive counterparts. Small microwave ovens are ideal for dorm rooms, apartments, compact kitchens and even the workplace break room. When choosing a small or compact microwave, pay attention to interior volume, power wattage, and keypad features.

When choosing a small microwave, look for one with a capacity of at least .7 cubic feet (.0198 cubic meters). Anything smaller and you might not be able to fit a dinner plate inside. When comparing power wattage, first determine what you need or want your microwave to do. If you are simply reheating leftovers or popping popcorn, then a 600 or 700 watt microwave may suffice. However, if you plan to also defrost or cook, something between 800 and 1000 watts is more appropriate. Unfortunately, the more wattage, the larger the microwave becomes in most models. There are compact models that produce 800 or 900 watts, so compare product specifications when shopping.


Many small microwave ovens that have an interior capacity of .7 cubic feet only take up about 18 x 11 inches (45.7 x 27.9 cm) of surface area. This makes them the ideal size to place on a shelf, cabinet, or other stable surface where space is limited. Fortunately, several of these smaller models have a few extra features that make them nice to own.

Keypad features range from simple presets like popcorn and beverage heating to preset time and power levels for defrosting and cooking things like frozen vegetables, baked potatoes, and prepared meals. Though many of the smaller ovens won’t have all the bells and whistles of the larger models, some of the extra keypad features can be expected. While none of the keypad features are essential, you can compare the different models’ features and determine which ones best suit your regular use.

The price range for compact or small microwave ovens can vary, but many good options are available for not much money. If possible, measure your space before buying and determine if a small microwave cart or stand may be suitable as well. This provides a place to put your microwave as well as providing additional storage options underneath, all while avoiding consumption of valuable counter space in the kitchen.


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Post 1

Remember when microwaves used to be huge, expensive and lasted forever? Times have changed -- they are now small, cheap and completely worthless after only a few years with regular use.

The best advice in picking one of these is to keep going up in "watts" until you start hitting microwaves that are too large for your purposes. Even the compact ones pack the same wallop (or more of one) than the huge ones that dominated kitchens in the 1980s.

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