Best Retro Microwaves in 2022

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Updated August 12, 2022

What are the features that make the best retro microwave? For starters, these unique home appliances offer a focus on design, color, and aesthetics, making them interesting conversation pieces or products that tie the look of your whole kitchen together. If you’re looking for the best microwave to add a pop of color to your kitchen, then you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Of course, the best retro microwave shouldn’t focus solely on looks. It should still provide reliable and comprehensive microwave oven functionality. They may look like classic appliances, but they still need to offer modern features like a child safety lock, LED lighting, a digital clock, and more.

Keep reading to learn more about how to pick the best retro microwave for your kitchen.

Top Retro Microwaves

 #1  COMFEE’ CM-M093ARD Retro Microwave

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This nice Comfee microwave model is a beautiful addition to the line-up. Its stylish design is both very vintage and incredibly versatile. You’ll love the bright interior light included that provides a modern edge to your vintage aesthetic.

Pros
  • Features multiple cooking presets
  • Compact for small kitchens
  • Cooks through multiple stages
Cons
  • Preview window is a little small

This option is a perfect combination of good looks and functionality. You’ll love the choice of color, from aesthetic apricot to funky green to bodacious red. The body has a 0.9 cubic feet capacity and is made of stainless steel. This microwave features several modern technologies, such as an ECO mode and LED digital display. The only downside is that the preview window is a little on the small side.

There are a total of nine programmed presets. You can defrost and cook in one fell swoop for a quicker dinner every time. There’s a set of express buttons for snacks on the fly, and both a kitchen timer alongside a clock. It even has a mute function so quiet hours can be respected. All of the features are easily managed and programmed through the easy-to-operate control panel. Finally, the turntable features 360-degree rotation so heat is evenly distributed throughout your food.

 #2  Galanz GLCMKA07BER-07 Retro Microwave

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: With a bright light-emitting diode display and multiple power levels, this option marries old-school style and modern amenities. A whopping six levels of power bring this option to the next level.

Pros
  • Has 700W of power
  • Offers six power levels
  • Features a safety lock
Cons
  • Door may be harder to open

This microwave is both crazy cool and incredibly functional. The brand offers this model in a variety of retro-inspired colors. It also carries several features that’ll make every meal come quicker. You’ll know when your food finishes because of their alert system that features three loud beeps. The rotating glass turntable is easy to clean and ensures the content cooks evenly and thoroughly. Due to the safety lock, it might be a little harder to open.

However, a safety lock feature keeps households with children breathing easier. This is a great feature to have so that you know the appliance is safe from the tampering of little hands. You can use the control panel to easily switch the safety lock on or off. A bright interior light keeps you from having to guess how your food looks. All you have to do is peek in the oval-shaped glass window to take a peek.

 #3  Nostalgia RMO4AQ Retro Microwave

Award: BEST FOR RETRO DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: This model looks like a spaceship straight from The Jetsons. It has a creative design that feels out of this world. The large capacity, 12 options for power level, and delay timer all make this a powerful product and the first choice for many people.

Pros
  • 12 cooking settings
  • Easy to read LED display
  • Simplistic program dial
Cons
  • May be too vintage for some

If you want the most vintage-style microwave you can get, look no further. This intergalactic-inspired option is reminiscent of old diners. It also comes in enough colors to match any aesthetic. The sleek handle accents in stainless steel with several matching elements found across the body. An easily adjustable dial allows you to quickly set the power level and get your meal going. However, it might be a little too old school for some people.

You’ll love the high-capacity interior. The high-level watts of power push this option a class above many models of its kind. It’s small enough to easily fit on your counter but large enough to cook large side dishes in a hurry. The glass carousel is easily removable so that you can thoroughly clean the interior of your microwave. This carousel has a 360-degree rotation to ensure thorough cooking of your fresh, frozen, or leftover food.

 #4  COSTWAY Retro Microwave

Award: BEST FOR SIMPLICITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This great Costway microwave is exactly what most people want in a modern appliance. It’s easy to use and still packs in enough power to get the job done. The easy-use dial only adds to the vintage vibes, alongside the two gorgeous colors this design is offered in.

Pros
  • Steel and glass body
  • Auto-reminder technology
  • Customizable cooking modes
Cons
  • Only comes in two colors

Without a doubt, this microwave is an awesome choice for any consumer. There is an extra-large glass window that allows you to see food more clearly as it cooks. That means no surprises throughout the process. You’ll love the multiple dials that help you set power level, cooking mode, and total cooking time. The dials add an extra layer of vintage vibes to this old-school model. The only problem is that it only comes in two options for color.

This product wins the title of the most customizable for both the number of options and how easy it is to customize. There are five power levels with two mechanical knobs that equate to a massive amount of control over how your food cooks. This means that you don’t have to worry about uneven heating or the other issues that pop up for microwaves. There’s also an ETL certification to guarantee safety, alongside a lock for safety.

 #5  ROVSUN Retro Microwave

Award: BEST FOR LONGEVITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This model is a budget-friendly option that packs a powerful punch when it comes to features. It also comes with a long life and has been rigorously tested to ensure that longevity. There’s an ETL certification to prove it.

Pros
  • ETL certification
  • Offers 20P to 100P
  • Overall compact model
Cons
  • Smaller size than other options

A vision in red, this model could be the next cult classic for vintage enthusiasts. It packs in a whopping eight power levels so that you have an option for every entree, snack, and dessert. The menu is further complimented by the auto-reminder feature, which comes in handy for those who are working away to make a meal. It is a smaller size than other options, which can be a dealbreaker for some consumers.

This premiere microwave for college dorms makes it suitable for smaller spaces such as college rooms or studio apartments. Don’t allow the small stature to fool you, however. This model is tiny but mighty and has a range of 20P to 100P for power levels. The mechanical control dials are both aesthetically pleasing and add better functionality to the design. Between the killer looks and packed-in technical features, you’ll fall in love with this darling, little microwave.

 #6  ARLIME Retro Microwave

We’re sorry, this product is temporarily out of stock

Award: BEST FOR HEATING OPTIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave comes with a thicker handle than other models. This allows a comfortable and secure grip when operating the door. Beyond this, the intimate detailing lends an air of sophistication to your kitchen.

Pros
  • Multiple default options
  • Thick handle for comfortable usage
  • Auto-reminder technology
Cons
  • Only comes in one color

A dreamy teal shade makes the design of this microwave a fantastic option for those looking to rock a seriously 60s aesthetic. Several technological features make it an awesome option for families, such as the lock for safety. You can control the lock with ease using the control panel so it works well for those without children, as well. You’ll only be able to choose one color scheme, however.

No matter what your life is like, using this model will make meals and snacks far more accessible. Simple operation is the name of the game. There is an auto-reminder alarm that sounds to let you know there is food waiting for you, just in case you forget. An easy-to-read light-emitting diode display allows you to quickly reference cooking time or just the time of day. The brand also offers a one-year warranty with fantastic customer service that inspires confidence in consumers.

What Are Retro Microwaves?

Like other microwaves, a retro microwave oven is a kitchen appliance you can use to cook or reheat food, whether leftovers or fresh food. When first produced, microwaves revolutionized the modern kitchen environment, making it easier for busy families to cook and reheat meals on a tight schedule.

Many normal and quiet microwaves are typically installed over your range or placed on your kitchen countertop. They feature a box shape and can come in a variety of different sizes and internal capacities. Also, they will have a control panel with either dials or number buttons and may have pre-set functions for you to specify how you would like to cook your food.

Retro Microwaves vs. Traditional Microwaves

Both retro microwaves and traditional Samsung microwaves offer the same when it comes to functionality and general form factor. They both feature an interior box where you place your food and a control panel that controls the microwave’s settings.

The largest difference between the types of microwaves lies in their design and form factor. Retro microwaves are explicitly designed to look like the first microwave ovens released in the 50s. While modern-day microwaves typically offer straight edges and muted color schemes, retro microwaves offer rounded corners and fun colors like red, blue, and mint. For a look at other modern units, check out our mashup of the Toshiba EM925A5A-BS and the Toshiba EM925A5A-SS microwave oven.

It’s important to note that most retro microwave ovens will only offer standard functionality and features compared to their modern-day counterparts, like the Commercial Chef CHM660B. As such, you’ll usually only get a few pre-set cooking modes and the ability to customize cook time with retro microwaves. On the other hand, modern microwaves tend to offer advanced functionality like sensor technology and inverter technology.

How Retro Microwaves Work

Retro microwaves don’t only look the same way as the first microwaves to be produced; they also function in much the same way, with some improvements. Your microwave oven is made up of several key components, including a power supply, magnetron, waveguide, reflective walls, and glass turntable. Once your power supply is connected to a wall outlet and the microwave oven is powered on, the appliance’s magnetron generates high-powered radio waves.

As soon as the radio waves are generated, the magnetron shoots them into the microwave’s cooking cavity via the waveguide. The waves bounce around thanks to the reflective walls and pass through your food. As the radio waves pass through your food, they agitate its molecules to generate heat, which cooks your food. Microwaves with higher power levels emit more radio waves at a higher rate, which in turn cook your food faster.

Do You Really Need a Retro Microwave?

When you need to purchase a new microwave oven, you’ll be faced with a wide range of different designs, sizes, and models, including retro options. If you’re looking to add a little bit of flavor to your kitchen, then a retro microwave oven can be an excellent choice for you. These microwaves are also on the more affordable end of the appliance price range, making them a good option for anyone on a budget.

Is a Retro Microwave Worth Buying?

  • You Have a Retro-Themed Kitchen: If you have a retro-themed kitchen, then having retro-themed kitchen appliances just makes sense. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen with a more homey feel or you’ve just bought a house with that same style, buying one of these appliances can tie the whole theme together.
  • You Own a Retro-Themed Restaurant: Many diner owners keep a retro theme as part of their restaurant. In this sense, purchasing a retro microwave can help create that immersion for your customers. Plus, since they’re generally more affordable, you won’t break your business’s budget by purchasing a new appliance.
  • You Only Need Standard Microwave Functionality: If you don’t need much in the way of advanced features and functionality in your microwave oven, then you’ll be fine sticking with a retro option. These microwaves usually only offer core functionality and basic pre-set cooking modes, which are perfectly fine for everyday household use.
  • You’re on a Budget: Retro microwaves are some of the cheaper options available today, making them a good choice for anyone on a strict budget. Many retro options offer a sub-$100 price tag. If you don’t want to break the bank when purchasing a new small appliance, you might consider a retro microwave.

Why a Retro Microwave May Not Be For You

  • You Don’t Like the Retro Look: If you don’t like the retro look of these microwaves, then it makes no sense to purchase one. The retro design seems old-fashioned to many consumers. If you find yourself in this category, then you’ll want to consider alternative choices. However, these older-styled units make great microwaves for seniors.
  • The Retro Design Doesn’t Match Your Kitchen Decor: Even if you like the retro design these microwaves offer, the look may not match your existing kitchen decor. Since retro microwaves often come in bold colors, it can sometimes be difficult to find a complementary option.
  • You Want Advanced Microwave Functionality: In general, most retro microwaves only offer basic functionality and features. If you need something more advanced, then you’ll need to consider an alternative type of microwave. Although, despite the difference in functionality, you can always keep your microwave clean using the Angry Mama microwave cleaner.

How Long Will a Retro Microwave Last?

Most appliance manufacturers estimate their microwaves’ lifespan to be around ten years in total. It’s important to recognize that many microwaves can certainly last this long with the appropriate amount of care and maintenance. However, appliance experts like those at Ocean Appliance have experienced an average lifespan of around seven years for microwaves, including retro options.

Remember that the way you treat and use your microwave can have a direct effect on its overall lifespan. In general, we recommend following these tips to maximize your retro microwave’s quality and lifespan:

  • Never cook anything metal in your microwave. If you accidentally leave a fork or can in the microwave, it can cause damaging electrical arcs.
  • Using your microwave to cook naturally sealed foods, like eggs or potatoes, without taking certain precautions can cause explosions and damage.
  • If you don’t regularly clean your microwave, bits of food and liquid can burn into the reflective walls, decreasing cooking efficiency.
  • If your microwave isn’t installed with the proper amount of clearance for exhaust fans, then it can cause overheating and internal damage.

How to Choose the Best Retro Microwave

Before you purchase a new retro microwave, you’ll need to make a few considerations first. Think about key factors like the microwave’s design and how well it fits into your kitchen’s look. Then, consider your microwave’s capacity and power so you’ll be able to cook your food with ease. Finally, consider the features and functionality your retro microwave offers. You’ll want to purchase an option that can do everything you want.

Retro Microwave Key Factors to Consider

1. What type of retro microwave should you purchase for your kitchen?

If you’ve shopped for a new microwave before, you’ve probably noticed the wide variety of different types available on the market today. These types include:

  • Countertop Microwaves: This common type of microwave simply sits on top of your kitchen counters and requires no complicated installation. A retro countertop microwave oven often features a more compact size, enabling it to fit nearly anywhere in your kitchen.
  • Over The Range Microwaves: This is another common type of microwave installed directly over your stove. These are also known as OTR microwaves.
  • Built-In Microwaves: This is the most expensive type of microwave since it requires a custom installation in a specific space. These microwaves are also known as drawer microwaves, and they typically feature the most advanced microwave technology available today.

For the most part, retro microwaves are only found in the countertop microwave category. Countertop microwaves are typically more affordable and more flexible than other types.

2. What size do you need for your retro microwave?

When it comes to the size of your retro microwave, there are two considerations to make: internal capacity and external dimensions. A microwave’s internal capacity is measured in cubic feet, and it indicates how many dinner plates or Tupperware containers can fit inside of the appliance. Most retro microwaves offer around one cubic foot of internal capacity, although you can find options on either end of that spectrum.

You’ll also need to consider the external dimensions of your microwave. This simply indicates how much space your microwave oven occupies. It’s important to know the size of the microwave you’re purchasing so you can be sure it fits in the space where you want to install it.

3. How powerful do you need your retro microwave to be?

Your retro microwave’s power is measured in wattage. More watts equates to more power. The more powerful your microwave, the quicker and more efficiently it can cook or reheat food. In general, retro microwaves offer different power levels ranging from 600 watts to 1,200 watts.

More powerful microwaves tend to be more expensive. However, you’ll find that most retro microwaves offer around 700 or 800 watts of power to keep costs down.

4. What specific functionality options do you need for your retro microwave?

While most retro microwaves offer basic functionality, you can still find options with specific preset programs and various other features. The options you choose will depend mostly on your own personal preferences. However, some features to consider include:

  • Digital clock
  • Digital display
  • Glass turntable
  • LED display light
  • Smart feature and functionality
  • Mute button

5. What color and design considerations should you make for your retro microwave?

One of the biggest reasons people purchase retro microwaves is because of their unique color schemes and designs. There is a wide range of different options from which to choose, and you’ll need to make a decision based on your personal taste and existing kitchen decor.

Common colors include:

  • Pastel green
  • Seafoam green
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Mint

Retro Microwave FAQs

Can microwave ovens destroy nutrients in your food?

One of the most common myths about using a microwave oven is that it will destroy the nutrients in your food. This is most likely because using a microwave technically uses radiation. Fortunately, it’s false. In fact, using a microwave can even be more beneficial since it cooks your food so fast that nutrients don’t break down as easily as they do in other forms of cooking.

Do retro microwaves offer the same performance as traditional microwaves?

Yes, most retro microwaves offer the same level of performance as a traditional microwave oven, depending on the specific model you purchase. For example, if you purchase the best compact microwave with a retro design, you can expect it to have a lower wattage rating and thus a lower level of performance. There are certain instances where manufacturers focus more on the design aesthetic of the retro microwave than they do on its overall performance. This is most common in off-brand retro microwaves. We recommend reading reviews to ensure you’re getting a good product when you buy one of these appliances.

How can you tell which retro microwave oven is the best for you?

The easiest way to purchase a microwave oven that is best for you is simply by purchasing one that meets all of your needs. As long as your new microwave oven offers the power settings, cooking modes, and internal capacity that you require, you should be fine.

What can a smart microwave do?

Simply put, smart microwaves can connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi connection. This enables them to be controlled with a smartphone, smart home system, or tablet. Some of the best Samsung microwaves offer smart functionality for the tech enthusiasts out there.
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