We all know how essential the microwaves have become for every modern kitchen and housewife. You and I both know that we cannot do without it, so all we need to do now is find the best microwave that will correspond to all our needs and preferences.
If you follow me and my work, you probably know I have already written about microwaves. If you have a small kitchen and struggle to save space so that you can have enough of it to enjoy your cooking without feeling restrained, you should read my guide on how to find and buy the best over the range microwave.
However, over the range microwave is not your only option. If you do not want such a model for whatever reason, you can still save space with the compact microwave.
I needed one for my summer house since the kitchen space in it is quite limited, and I have therefore set out to find the best compact microwave currently available on the market. Join my quest and find the most recommended compact microwave for your needs!
After all, all the good things come in small packages, don't they?
What Should You Consider When Buying the Best Compact Microwave?
Going small with your microwave does not necessarily have to mean that you need to make compromises and settle for less.
But if you do worry, know that you are not alone. My husband was also a bit skeptical when we initially set out to look for the best compact microwave and advised me to better sacrifice some space and opt for a larger unit.
He feared that the small microwave would provide much smaller wattage and thus slow down or compromise our food preparation process. His second concern was the capacity, and he wondered whether the inside of a compact microwave could be big enough to “feed” our entire family.
I must say that his concerns were well grounded, but after a lot of research, we have come to the conclusion that compact microwaves are still very practical, especially if you choose the one you are going to buy wisely.
So, what should you pay attention to when buying the best compact microwave?
1. The Wattage
Although by definition the smaller microwaves provide the lower wattage, not every microwave with the same wattage will cook at the same speed. What I am trying to say is that some microwaves, although rather small and with low wattage, can still cook your food quickly. Nevertheless, my advice is to opt for the highest wattage you possibly can.
2. The Capacity
You should always consider the capacity of the microwave you are buying, especially when you are buying a compact one. The capacity is always displayed somewhere on the package or in the product description, and it is expressed in cubic feet.
Besides the actual cubic feet measurements, you should also consider whether a certain compact microwave is big enough to fit your dishes and dinnerware in it. If you are able, try to put the bowls or plates you use most often inside the unit and make sure they fit and turn without any problems. In this way, you will be sure that that compact microwave is a right fit for you and your family!
3. The Convenience
We all know that microwave cooking is not the healthiest option, so why we still cook in them? For their convenience, am I right?
For this reason, convenience is one of the biggest selling points of a compact microwave as well. The best compact microwaves should be easy to operate and offer practical buttons such as a quick-cook and 30-second button. These buttons save both time and effort and allow you and your family members to cook faster.
Preset buttons are a very popular feature. My boys cannot do without them. If they want pizza they just press a pizza button and voilà - it is done! The same goes for popcorns, baked potatoes, a cup of tea or coffee. These buttons will initiate a preprogrammed cooking process that will provide you with a perfect meal without having to think about how to set proper time and temperature.
The automatic defrost function is also a big plus as it will estimate the appropriate temperature and time needed to defrost food according to its weight.
If you have kids, a child lock function is a must! It is not only convenient but can also prevent injuries and the accidental microwaving of things that should never be found in any microwave in the first place, such as toys or shoes. (We had such an incident when my boys were little, and believe me you want to avoid it at all cost!)
The food should reach the safe food temperature (165 F) in the recommended time. If it takes longer for food to cook, it loses its nutritional value, or its texture becomes altered.
One of the newest features available is the sensor cooking. Unfortunately not every modern microwave has this option yet. A sensor is there to “sense” when the food in the microwave is done and automatically stop the cooking process. It actually measures the amount of steam that comes out from your food and determines how much time it needs to heat up to the appropriate temperature.
The first clue when you want to predict how long your microwave is going to work with no problems or malfunctions is the warranty period offered by the manufacturer. It is best when the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty (but do not hope for that!), or at least the prolonged warranty for the magnetron.
The customer support is offered by definition and usually includes help that you can get with your phone or online. In order to know how good of help you can expect, look for the reviews and previous customer experience. It is always better to learn on other people’s mistakes rather than your own!
Sunbeam SGC7702 is a 700 Watts strong compact microwave that is 10.31 inches high, 13 inches wide, and 17.79 inches long. It offers 0.7-cubic foot capacity. This unit is easy to fit even in the smallest kitchens as it takes a very limited space on your countertop.
The control panel is easy to operate. You have an option to choose between ten adjustable power levels and six auto cooking buttons (pizza, popcorn, potato, beverage, frozen meal, and reheat). Unfortunately, if you are as lazy as my hubby can sometimes be, you will be disappointed to know that there are no quick cook nor 30-seconds button.
On the bright side , this unit has a defrost button as well as a timer that will allow you to set the cooking time and do something else while you wait the microwave to finish. (And we all know that there is always something to be done around kitchen).
It is good that the unit closes quite securely, but sometimes it can be a bit hard to open the door without pulling the whole microwave forward. The unit cooks the food evenly although the turntable can be hard to position.There is a one year warranty.
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Compact Microwave is 19.2 inches wide, 15.9 inches deep and 11.5 inches high, and has a 0.9 cubic feet capacity. The interior dimensions are 12.36x13.66x8.7 inch (WxDxH) and the turntable has a diameter of 10.6 inches. As you can see, although quite small, this unit can satisfy all your basic cooking needs.
This 900 watts strong microwave offers ten power settings. It also has all the relevant preset buttons (popcorn, pizza, potato, frozen vegetable, beverage, and dinner plate) and a defrost by time or weight function. The convenient kitchen timer is also present.
The black stainless steel exterior looks modern and will enhance any kitchen. The most interesting feature that I have not seen in any other model is a sound on/off option, and I wish I had that when my boys were babies and every sudden sound used to wake them up from their afternoon nap. The unit has one year of limited warranty period.
My only complaints are that the unit is a bit loud while operating and tends to slide on the kitchen countertop when you pull the door.
Oster Ogyu701 compact microwave measures 17.8 x 10.3 x 13.2 inches, and has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. It is ideal for small kitchens and limited spaces as it is a true space-saver. The stainless steel exterior is both modern looking and easy to clean.
The power of this unit is 700 watts and it offers ten usual variable power levels to choose from. There are six convenient cooking buttons for automatic, hassle free cooking of popcorns, potatoes, pizza and your favorite beverages. You can also defrost a ready-made meal of reheat the leftovers from last night dinner.
Surprisingly, although it has a low wattage, this unit can stand neck to neck with the much more powerful microwaves. It cooks food efficiently, quickly and evenly. It opens with a push button and stays put every time.
On the downside, the control buttons are somewhat hard to push, especially if you try to do it with one hand only. My major complaint is the poor customer service. Namely, I wanted to find out whether I can turn off the beeping sound that warns me when the cooking is done (continuously!), but no one answered my calls after several attempts to reach them.
As with most units, there are ten different power levels you can set and a convenient LED Display to make sure you got the things right or check the status whenever you need to. Six instant cooking buttons allow for hassle-free operation (pizza, popcorn, baked potato, beverage, frozen meal and reheat button). Unfortunately, there is no 30- second button which is my hubby's all time favorite.
There is a one year manufacturer's warranty and this unit (so far) functions almost without a fault. The cooking is speedy and reliable. The food is cooked evenly and preserves its texture.
This unit is a good value one, and great for basic cooking when you are dealing with limited space. It is not very noisy while operating. It is easy to clean as well.
If you like a pop of color in your kitchen, Hamilton Beach compact microwave comes in a shiny, metallic, red and black combo that is sure to stand out and draw attention of your guests. This unit has the largest capacity of all the reviewed microwaves - 1.1 cu ft, and that makes it ideal for people with large families that do not want a bulky unit but still need to be able to fit in all they need to cook at once.
The Hamilton Beach Microwave is the most powerful unit I have tested as well as it offers you the strength of 1000 watts. It has ten usual power levels and six quick set menu buttons for all the usual quick food preparations (popcorns, pizza, potatoes..).
Although there is not a separate 30-second button, every time you press the START button you will add 30 seconds more to the cooking process. There is the timer function and a clock as well. The unit also features an automatic defrost function that can be set by weight or time.
The unit is 20.2 inches long, 17.1 inches wide and 12.1 inches high. A 13" turntable will allow you to prepare almost anything you desire. If your kitchen is tiny though (like the one in my summer house), this unit might not be an appropriate choice for you. It is also a bit noisy.
High power 1000W
Vivid Red color
Child-safe lockout feature
Not as compact as other units
A bit noisy
And the Winner Is…
Proctor Silex Compact Microwave , it is the best compact microwave in my opinion and it is already installed in my summer house eagerly awaiting for my vacation time.
My hubby is a bit despondent due to the lack of his favorite button, but the unit is so easy to use and offers numerous other conveniences that he is bound to forgive me eventually. 😉
The unit that I have chosen might not work the best for you, but any compact microwave I have reviewed is sure worth buying!
Let me know what you have chosen and how it turned out to be!
For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.