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To determine the best compact microwaves for your needs, you’ll need to consider the size and style, wattage, heating method, and control panel for the microwave you want. Compact microwaves usually have no more than one cubic foot of internal capacity. And along the same lines, the external dimensions tend to be no more than 20 inches wide. Remember that you want a microwave that’s at least 700 watts to ensure food cooks quickly and evenly. Depending on your budget, you’ll want to consider which heating method is most appropriate for you — but we recommend inverter and convection options for power microwave users. And finally, consider the types of cooking features that are most important to you, as well as the control panel interface.

After looking at thousands of reviews across a variety of price points and microwave configurations, we nominated the Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven as our Top Pick and the best compact microwave. Keep reading to learn more about our selection criteria and review our recommendations for the best microwaves on the market. 

Top 10 Small Microwaves

 #1  Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven


WHY WE LIKE IT: The Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven is a compact and stylish appliance with six power levels, a digital display, and a timer, suitable for a variety of cooking needs.

  • Retro design to add style to your kitchen
  • Small size saves space on countertop
  • Heats efficiently
  • Controls may be hard to understand

The Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven is a stylish and functional appliance that is well-suited for a variety of cooking needs. This microwave oven has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet and features six different power levels, as well as a defrost setting for quickly thawing frozen items. It also has a digital display and a timer, making it easy to keep track of cooking times. The retro design adds personality and nostalgia to your kitchen space, and its smaller size will free up more countertop space for other cooking essentials.

In terms of warranty, this microwave comes with a one-year limited warranty. This covers any defects in materials or workmanship and provides protection for the original purchaser. Overall, the Galanz Retro Microwave Oven is a good choice for those who are looking for a stylish and efficient appliance that won’t take up too much space in the kitchen.

 #2  Toshiba ML2-EM09PA(BS) Compact Microwave Oven


WHY WE LIKE IT: The best small microwave with 900 watts of power, 0.9 cubic feet of internal space, and an intuitive eco mode to help minimize power consumption in standby mode.

  • One-touch start buttons for quick cooking
  • Smart eco mode to reduce standby power consumption
  • 900 watts of power
  • Lights can flicker during operation

When you need a compact microwave oven for your small kitchen, that doesn’t mean that you’re ready to sacrifice functionality. We think that this Toshiba model is one of the best small microwaves because it helps to save space while still providing intuitive features that can appeal to a wide array of users. In terms of essential specs, you’ll get 900 watts of cooking power and an interior capacity of 0.9 cubic feet, which puts this microwave in the median range for a compact option. The external dimensions are 19.2 inches wide, 15.9 inches deep, and 11.5 inches tall, with a 10-inch glass turntable diameter.

We noted complaints about the interior light flickering during operation after roughly a year of routine use in our review research. Still, we liked that this model offers an eco-power-saving mode that reduces consumption by as much as 50% when the microwave is on standby. You’ll also get six preset auto-cook buttons for options like reheating a dinner plate or making popcorn. Also, the first six buttons on the keypad are pre-programmed one-touch quick start buttons that automatically cook food from one to six minutes. You’ll also get a 30-second quick start option, 10 power settings, a kitchen timer, a button to silence indicator noises, and a memory function. We think it’s one of the best microwaves for dorms on our list.

Note: Toshiba sells a slightly less compact (1.2 CF vs 0.9 CF) microwave (Toshiba EM131A5C-BS) for about $40 less.

Related: If you like this microwave, you might be interested in finding the best quiet microwave.

 #3  Panasonic Compact Microwave Oven NN-SD372S


WHY WE LIKE IT: The best inverter microwave with a compact 0.8-cubic foot capacity that includes nine auto-cook options, sensor technology, and an array of intuitive cooking features.

  • Comes with 9 auto-cook options
  • 950 watts and 0.8 cu. ft. interior capacity
  • 900 watts of power
  • Some people may not like the control panel interface

Compact doesn’t have to mean basic, and Panasonic proves why this is true. Their NN-SD372S stainless steel microwave is a space-saving solution that’s powerful enough to do far more than reheat last night’s dinner or make popcorn. We think it’s the best inverter microwave because you’ll get 0.8-cubic feet of internal capacity and 950 watts of cooking power. The inverter ensures more even heat distribution. The external dimensions measure 19.2 inches wide, 14.81 inches deep, and 11 inches tall, and there’s an 11.2-inch diameter glass turntable.

See also: The best retro microwave.

Not everyone will love the control panel on this Panasonic microwave as it relies on push buttons and a dial as opposed to a traditional smooth keypad. But you still get the digital timer display. You’ll appreciate the nine included auto-cook presets, 10 power levels, and other smart features such as Keep Warm, Turbo Defrost, a kitchen timer, and a Quick Minute option for fast reheating, like what you experience through air fryers. Note, this model also comes with a child safety lock feature, making it a great option for families with small children so the kids can’t get hurt thanks to the child lock. If you’re looking for the best speed cooking microwaves, it’s a good choice.

 #4  Samsung MG11T5018CC 1.1 cu.ft. Compact Microwave


WHY WE LIKE IT: The best microwave for someone who wants to save space but likes robust features like the ability to grill, and doesn’t want to compromise on power.

  • 1000 watts of cooking power
  • Sleek charcoal finish
  • Comes with grilling element and ceramic plate
  • External dimensions may be too large for a tiny kitchen

For people who like sleek and modern appliances, this pick from Samsung should be at the top of your list. The MG11T5018CC can also be reconfigured to a built-in microwave — although you’ll need to buy a separate trim kit to install it properly. We think this is the best microwave for someone who loves the idea of a space-saving design but still needs the interior capacity to accommodate larger dishes for more robust cooking. This countertop microwave comes with 1000 watts of cooking power and an internal capacity of 1.1 cubic feet. However, with external dimensions that measure 20.. inches wide, 16.3 inches deep, and 11.75 inches tall, this might be too large for someone with a truly tiny kitchen or a break room with limited counter space.

This model also features a glass turntable with a diameter of 12.4 inches, making it perfect for accommodating serious cooking projects. For people focused on aesthetics, you’ll love the mirrored finish exterior for an elevated effect. We also like that this model comes with a grilling element and ceramic plate, which turns your microwave into a true oven replacement. Additionally, you’ll get a wide array of cooking presets, PowerGrill functionality, eco power-saving mode for energy efficiency, an easy-to-clean ceramic enamel interior, and a triple distribution heating system for more evenly cooked meals. And for families with small children, this option also features a child safety lock. For more Samsung options, check out our best Samsung microwave list.

 #5  SIMOE Retro Countertop Compact Microwave


WHY WE LIKE IT: A vintage-inspired countertop microwave oven that’s perfect for simple reheating or quick-cooking settings with 700 watts of power and a straightforward control panel.

  • Durable and sturdy door handle
  • 700 watts and 0.7 cu. ft. of interior space
  • Easy to use rotary dial and push-buttons
  • Limited functionality may not appeal to all users

There are microwaves for power users who want a power setting, and then there are microwaves for people who only need to reheat food like leftover baking potatoes or make popcorn. Knowing which category best describes you can help you to narrow down your choices within a focused selection that makes sense for your needs. This SIMOE vintage compact microwave oven is truly designed for someone who doesn’t rely on a microwave for most cooking needs but wants something that serves as a complement to their kitchen decor. You’ll get 700 watts of power and an interior capacity of 0.7 cubic feet — which is ideal for a compact microwave.

The exterior dimensions measure 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep, and 10 inches tall, and you’ll get a 9.5-inch glass turntable. We think that within the audience demographic that just wants a simple microwave that works with the push of a button, this could appeal to a wide array of customers, including senior citizens and college students. This is primarily due to the simple layout of the control panel, which relies on a rotary dial and three easy-to-use buttons. But you’ll still get a large LCD timer display alongside that simple button interface. In terms of functionality, you’ll get eight auto-cook options, a two-way defrost feature, and five power levels. This vintage-inspired microwave has a chrome finish pull handle and is available in three colors. Great for popping the best microwave popcorn. We recommend investing in a toaster oven microwave combo if you’d like to pop popcorn while toasting some snacks for a movie night.

 #6  Farberware 0.7 cu. Ft. Compact Microwave


WHY WE LIKE IT: A compact microwave oven with 0.7 cubic feet of interior capacity, that’s available in two colors and plenty of auto-cook presets and features to make college life easier.

  • Available in 2 colors
  • 6 one-touch express cooking buttons
  • 700 watts and 0.7 cu. ft. internal capacity
  • Lacks an option to turn off audio alerts

Even though most college dorms offer a communal kitchen area, who wants to trek down to the first floor late at night to reheat pizza or make popcorn? Even though a great microwave for college dorms can make life easier when you live in a dorm, you also have to be mindful of the size since most college dorm rooms aren’t spacious. We’re including this pick from Farberware because it’s a great compact option that should fit in most dorm rooms with no issue. You’ll get 700 watts of power and an interior capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. The external dimensions measure 17.75 inches wide, 12.91 inches deep, and 10.1 inches tall.

This model also comes with a rotating glass turntable that measures 10.6 inches in diameter. The Farberware microwave comes with six one-touch express cooking buttons to automatically set the cooking timer to between one and six minutes. You’ll also get six auto-cook functions for items like popcorn or beverage reheating. This model comes with 10 power levels. And while a college student might not care, you also get a child safety lock to prevent unsupervised use.

 #7  Magic Chef White Countertop Compact Microwave Oven


WHY WE LIKE IT: A truly user-friendly microwave solution with a control panel with large font and a sturdy pull handle that’s ideal for people with vision impairments or reduced hand strength.

  • Sturdy pull handle for easy opening
  • Comes with 8 auto-cook presets
  • 900 watts, 0.9 cu. ft. of cook space
  • Control panel is touchpad instead of buttons or knobs

For many seniors, the more complex microwaves may be overwhelming or not as easy to use because of accessibility issues. This Magic Chef microwave is a great alternative since it offers great accessibility features that make this user-friendly, with a control panel that isn’t overwhelming. This microwave comes with 900 watts of power and an interior capacity of 0.9 cubic feet. The external dimensions measure 18.3 inches wide, 14.8 inches deep, and 11 inches tall.

As we mentioned, the Magic Chef microwave has a streamlined control panel with an LED display clock timer. However, one drawback we did see with this model is that the control panel is touchpad based instead of buttons or a rotary knob, which may be more difficult for some seniors to use. Even though it’s a keypad, we do like that the font is larger. More importantly, you’ll get a pull handle for the door, which is much easier to use than push-mechanism-style doors. The Magic Chef microwave comes with eight auto-cook pre-programming options and weight and time defrost control, so you have more control over the defrost setting to avoid cold and hot spots. It’s why we’ve designed it as one of the best microwaves for seniors on our list.

 #8  RCA 0.7 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave Oven


WHY WE LIKE IT: A convenient compact microwave with 0.7 cubic feet of internal capacity and an easy-to-use control panel that will work for all experience levels, even kids.

  • 10 power levels and auto defrost settings
  • 700 watts and 0.7 cu. ft. internal capacity
  • Simple control panel interface
  • Small turntable diameter of only 9.5 inches

Finding a microwave that’s compatible with all age ranges can be a tough feat. But we believe that the RCA microwave oven is a great solution for people of all ages who just need a simple microwave and don’t want to fight with complex control panels that waste your time while trying to figure out which push button to press. This model offers 700 watts of power and 0.7 cubic feet of internal capacity. It’s also a compact option with external dimensions measuring 17 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 9 inches tall.

However, this model has one of the smallest glass turntables we’ve ever seen at just 9.5 inches in diameter, which would be suitable for small food or drinks like a cup of coffee. Turntable concerns aside, the RCA microwave comes with a great preset menu that includes six auto-preset cooking options, six express-touch cooking buttons, 10 power levels, as well as defrost and quick-cooking buttons. If you’d like something you can install up high and out of the way, our best built-in microwave buying guide has several good options worth considering.

 #9  LG NeoChef LMC0975ST 1040W Compact Microwave

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WHY WE LIKE IT: A modern-designed compact microwave with an impressive 1,040 watts of power and 0.9 cubic feet of internal capacity that relies on inverter technology for superior microwave cooking quality and even heat distribution.

  • Inverter tech for even heating
  • Hidden door handle
  • 0.9 cu. ft. internal capacity
  • Dual control panel configuration may be confusing for some

Hands down, inverter-powered microwaves are a fan favorite for anyone who is trying to use a microwave as an oven replacement. Inverter technology guarantees more even heat distribution and reduces the risk of hot or cold spots as your food cooks, so a food type like your leftover baked potato heats up evenly and doesn’t have this unpleasant cold spot in the middle. The LG NeoChef is a great compact inverter microwave that has racked up a variety of positive reviews around the internet for good reason — because it’s intuitive. This is one of the more sophisticated configurations we’ve seen in a microwave with a hidden door handle. You’ll get 1,040 watts of power — one of the highest ratings we found in our research — and 0.9 cubic feet of interior capacity. The external dimensions measure 18 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep, and 11 inches tall.

While we like the sleek layout of the LG NeoChef, some people might experience an initial learning curve as the control panel is split between the hidden panel behind the door, and there are also functional buttons on the door’s glass panel. Still, you’ll get an 11.5-inch glass turntable which should accommodate most plates. This LG microwave comes with seven auto-cook presets, 10 power levels, a quick start option, a child safety lock, as well as a defrost and auto reheat option. For additional high-power options that can defrost and cook frozen foods like frozen vegetables and frozen dinners, check out our best Panasonic microwave buying guide.

 #10  Whirlpool Silver Countertop Microwave Oven 0.5 Cu Ft

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WHY WE LIKE IT: A truly petite microwave that can be nestled in countertop corners to maximize space, while still providing a commendable 750 watts of power and an 11-inch glass turntable.

  • Great for corner placement to maximize space
  • 750 watts and 0.5 cu. ft. internal capacity
  • Available in two colors
  • Relies on intermittent pulse to heat and move air
  • Limited features such as auto-cook presets

For the most part, microwaves all tend to have the same design — boxy and clunky. If you prefer a good Whirlpool microwave with rounded corners and a unique look, then the Whirlpool 0.5 cubic foot countertop compact microwave oven is anything but standard. We specifically like that this model is designed to fit into corners. And that makes so much sense considering many kitchens are designed in L, C, or U shapes with corner areas that are something akin to wasted space. This option fits in perfectly with external dimensions that measure 15.37 inches wide, 13.75 inches deep, and 3.12 inches tall. And with an 11-inch glass turntable, you can still fit most standard dinner plates.

While we think this is a great space-saving solution for college students or people with tiny kitchens, we’re also realists. For some people, the limited functionality may be a dealbreaker. Likewise, this is a more basic microwave that relies on intermittent pulsing as opposed to convection or inverter technology to heat and cooks food. If you’re not trying to find an oven replacement, then this model is fine with two one-touch cook options, 10 power levels, as well as a defrost and a reheat option. For more options that will fit tiny spaces, check out our best small microwave buying guide.

How We Decided

Compact microwaves are an essential appliance for anyone who’s living or working in a tight space where larger models wouldn’t make sense. To create our guide for the best compact microwaves, we prioritized the following key features — size and style, wattage, heating method, and the control panel.

Officially, a compact microwave should have less than one cubic foot of internal capacity. You’ll note that the majority of our selections have an internal capacity that ranges between 0.7 to 0.9 cubic feet. While we did include one model that was more than one cubic foot, this was strategic. Even though some people think they want a compact microwave, the reality is that their cooking style — especially if they rely on their microwaves as oven replacements — dictates that they need a larger solution.

All of our recommendations were countertop microwaves, but there were a few that could be upgraded to built-in configurations. Keep in mind that for built-in microwaves, you usually have to purchase a trim kit separately. We also made note of the wattage for each microwave we recommended, ensuring a minimum of 700 watts. In terms of the heating method, you’ll note that the majority of our selections are simple intermittent pulse models. However, we did include a few inverter options, which will guarantee more even cooking and a reduction in hot or cold spots.

And finally, we focused on the control panel. We don’t believe that a compact microwave has to be limited in functionality. So, we included several options with robust cooking features ranging from grilling elements to a variety of auto-cook presets and other intuitive cooking features. Likewise, all of our models include an LED display.

Best Compact Microwaves Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Size and Style
    If you’re shopping for a great GE microwave that’s compact (AKA a great mini microwave), the assumption is that you’re trying to save space wherever you plan on positioning this appliance.
    • So, you’re going to be focused on solid countertop models or small countertop microwaves, as over-the-range microwaves tend to be larger.
    • With that said, it’s a good idea to start shopping for the best small microwave of 2023. That way, you can find the best compact microwave that suits your needs and budget while not taking up much space on the kitchen counter.
    • When you’re searching for the right size microwave, look for options with a cubic foot or less interior space, as this size range is considered compact.
    • Another ideal search term to use is the “best small countertop microwave of one cubic foot.” This should result in a list of the finest compact microwaves for 2023.
  2. Wattage
    Regardless of whether you’re a power microwave user or not, the wattage will matter. In short, ensure you double-check those small microwave reviews for wattage before you buy anything.
    • Wattage references how quickly microwaves can cook foods. The higher the wattage level, the shorter your cooking time will be.
    • If you are looking for the top-rated smallest microwave with a higher wattage level, then the best choice is usually going to be those that offer 1,000 or more watts.
    • But keep in mind that higher wattage ratings usually come with a higher price tag in case you’re looking for affordable microwaves. Even some of the best small microwave ovens will be a little pricier if the wattage is high.
    • As you shop for a great compact countertop microwave, you’ll want to look for at least a 700-watt rating level, as lower ratings may cook more slowly and evenly. Be sure to compare devices, like the Whirlpool 31017Hz vs 53521Hz microwaves, as you check out the watts.
  3. Heating Method
    The heating method refers to how efficiently your microwave moves air and heats food. It’s important to keep this in mind when looking for the best compact microwave oven since smaller models won’t have the same heating power as larger ones.
    • If you’re focused on accuracy and speed, convection and inverter microwaves are the best options, but they’re also more expensive.
    • Budget-friendly microwaves (AKA: small powerful microwaves) tend to rely on intermittent pulsing, but this can lead to hot and cold spots due to uneven cooking.
    • If you’re after a versatile appliance, combination models are available, like the best air fryer toaster oven capable of heating and dehydration.
  4. Control Panel
    Compact microwaves (even as small as 0.7 cu. ft. microwaves) don’t have to be basic in terms of functionality.
    • Depending on your budget, finding a good microwave for small spaces can perform as well as many larger, more expensive high-end microwaves.
    • The best small space microwave should fit nicely in whatever kitchen or pantry you may have, while also providing the functionality and features of a full-size model to perform the cooking process properly.
    • These features can include power levels, defrost modes, and even sensor cook or auto-cook presets. The features you select will depend on what options are most important to you in the performance of these kitchen appliances.
    • In summary, keep these tips in mind as you browse through the best rated small microwaves we’ve reviewed on our site.

Compact Microwaves FAQs

What size is a compact microwave?

Small microwaves are rated as having no more than one cubic foot of internal capacity. A compact microwave will usually have 0.7 cubic feet or less. However, anything under one cubic foot should be ideal for most people seeking a small or compact microwave.

Where do you put a microwave in a tiny kitchen?

If you have a tiny kitchen, your goal should be to preserve your usable counter space. There are a variety of locations if you’re limited on space. The most obvious choice is an over-the-range microwave that preserves counter space. After that, a built-in microwave can be stored in a cabinet or as a combination with a wall oven.

What is the best small microwave?

The best small microwave is one that fits the dimensions of where you plan on storing it while still providing adequate internal capacity to fit your cooking needs. The microwave should also offer plenty of functionality to be compatible with your lifestyle.

Can I put a countertop microwave in a cabinet?

The short answer is yes, but with an asterisk. Not all countertop microwaves are automatically designed to be reconfigured as a built-in model. If you’re thinking about installing a microwave on a countertop or as part of a wall oven configuration, you’ll need to make sure that the model you want is meant to support built-in installation. You’ll also need to purchase a separate trim kit so that it matches your kitchen decor or the look of your wall oven.

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