Updated November 15, 2019 by Tina Morna Freitas

The 10 Best Small Microwaves

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in August of 2015. If your office eating area is a little cramped or you only have a galley kitchen in your apartment, a mini microwave might be your best solution for enjoy the convenience of reheating leftovers and popcorn making. Though they take up very little space, these compact units still come with many of the features of full-sized models, and are offered in an array of colors and styles. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best small microwafe on Amazon.

9. Hamilton Beach Red

8. Danby Designer

7. Daewoo Retro

6. Kenmore Countertop

5. Nostalgia Retro Wave

4. Black & Decker Digital

3. Amazon Basics

2. Commercial Chef Rotary

1. Toshiba 900 Watt

Editor's Notes

November 13, 2019:

In updating this list we replaced a few choices with its newer updated model, like the Kenmore Countertop and the Commercial Chef Rotary.

We added the Black+Decker Digital in place of the GE Stainless Steel because users report better reliability in the long term, plus the control panel has large lettering and good contrast so it's much easier to read.

The Bella 700 is no longer available, plus the Amazon Basics that works with Alexa needed to be added to this list. It's an excellent option for someone who likes to do the same things over and over, as it has the ability to learn and add presets to voice commands. The most common complaint about this microwave is that users wish it was available in a full size option.

Why Go With a Small Microwave (As Opposed To a Big One)?

These settings may not be as intricate, but they are adequate for getting each job done, all the same.

Let's start with some basics. A small microwave is, well, small. And while the compact size may not be ideal for an elaborate kitchen, it is usually superb for any dorm room, break room, mobile home, or basement bar. A small microwave is easy to transport, which means that you can take it along on vacations, weekend getaways, and even camping trips. You can fit a small microwave into the trunk of any car, which is a major plus if your job or lifestyle requires you to constantly be out on the road.

Smaller microwaves are generally easier to operate than their bulky counterparts. The console has been simplified to account for a tighter space. Rather than needing a user's guide to familiarize yourself with all of the digital options, a compact microwave will accommodate its owner via an ample list of one-touch settings. These settings may not be as intricate, but they are adequate for getting each job done, all the same.

Smaller microwaves are lighter (most models weigh between 20-40 lbs), and they don't take as long to clean as their larger counterparts. In addition, smaller microwaves don't require as much energy, which should reduce your electric bill while minimizing the amount of stress that you place upon a circuit or a fuse box.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to owning a small microwave is that it functions in the same manner that a big microwave does. In the end you're enjoying a lot of the same benefits. You're simply paying less from the point of purchase to the amount of savings that you'll enjoy every month.

Several Little-Known Uses For a Microwave

Most people have a clear understanding of what they can cook inside a microwave, but they may not be aware of some of the other ways in which a microwave can be used. Consider a tube of hardened mascara, for example, or a container of dried-up skin cream. Thirty seconds inside a microwave will re-soften these items. The same goes for clumped-up sugar, or crystallized honey. Any microwave can penetrate these items, forcing their molecules to spread apart.

Speaking of odors, placing onions inside a microwave for several seconds prior to cutting them can eliminate some of the penetrating smell that causes a person to tear.

A microwave's electromagnetism is outstanding for removing any odor-causing bacteria. You can deodorize anything from a dish sponge to a pair of socks by placing them inside of a water-filled container, and then microwaving the contents for 30 seconds. The same applies to pasteurizing soil, with the only difference being that the soil should be damp, but not wet.

Speaking of odors, placing onions inside a microwave for several seconds prior to cutting them can eliminate some of the penetrating smell that causes a person to tear. In addition, placing a clove of garlic or a piece of fruit inside a microwave can help to draw out moisture, thereby making it easier to peel off the surrounding skin.

Of course, all of this activity might cause your microwave to get a little dirty. You can moisturize a microwave by placing a couple of wet paper towels inside for 40 seconds. The microwave will spread each towel's mist around the chamber, loosening any stains during the process. Once that's done, you can wipe the chamber down by mixing some lemon juice or vinegar with hot water. Leave the door open to let the microwave dry before using it again.

A Brief History of The Microwave (By Way of Its Inventors)

Electromagnetic waves were originally discovered by a German physicist named Heinrich Hertz in 1888. Hertz was able to prove the existence of these waves by developing a rudimentary transmitter that was capable of sending separate coded frequencies by way of air. Hertz's experiments provided the basis for early radio and television technology, along with radar and telephonic communication. In addition, Hertz laid the groundwork for what would eventually become known as microwave technology - a form of radiation featuring electromagnetic frequencies that range between 300 MHz and 300 GHz (It is worth noting that a frequency's given unit of measurement is called a hertz).

Electromagnetic waves were originally discovered by a German physicist named Heinrich Hertz in 1888.

The fact that a microwave could induce heat wasn't discovered until 1945. As the story goes, a self-taught engineer named Percy Spencer was using microwaves to operate a radar set when he noticed that a candy bar in his pocket was beginning to melt. This led Spencer to experiment, first by cooking some popcorn via the same process, and then by cooking an egg from the shell to the yolk.

What was happening was that the radar's transmitter had started sending out a series of microwaves. These waves were capable of penetrating any nearby food, causing its water molecules to vibrate at a rate of 2.5 billion times per second. The ensuing heat proved so intense that it caused certain foods to cook - or melt - much faster than they would inside a stove.

Spencer was working for an electronics company named Raytheon when he discovered the link between microwaves and cooking. Raytheon patented Spencer's technology, and two years later the company introduced The Radarange - a commercial microwave that measured 6 ft tall by 3 ft wide. A few months later Raytheon unveiled a giant vending machine that could microwave several hot dogs in less than a minute. From that point forward the microwave, as an industry, was born.

Today, Raytheon is a publicly-traded defense contractor with annual revenues in excess of $25 billion. Percy Spencer remained on the Board at Raytheon until his death in 1969. Spencer was never paid any royalties as a result of developing the world's first microwave oven. Instead, Raytheon paid Spencer a standard one-time gratuity in the amount of $2.

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Tina Morna Freitas
Last updated on November 15, 2019 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and three cats. She has a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in English, and has built a freelance career over the years in writing and digital marketing. Her passions for cooking, decorating and home improvement contribute to her extensive knowledge of all things kitchen and home goods. In addition, her 20 years as a parent inform her expertise in the endless stream of toys and equipment that inevitably takes over the homes of most parents. She also enjoys gardening, making and sipping margaritas, and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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