Home News These tiny but powerful microwaves are perfect for small counters

These tiny but powerful microwaves are perfect for small counters

Microwave ovens have been around for over 50 years, but for dorm rooms, apartment dwellers or anyone with a small kitchen, there may be limited space to place one of these popular appliances.

Compact microwave ovens, also called countertop microwaves, solve the space problem with capacities designed for small spaces while maintaining the power needed to quickly heat food and drinks. They come in stylish modern designs and even retro models that reflect the colors and designs of the 1960s and 1970s. There is a compact microwave oven for your kitchen no matter how small your kitchen counter may be.

How big is a compact microwave oven?

Most compact microwave ovens are 20 inches wide or less, and they typically have a capacity of one cubic foot or less. Many counter top microwave ovens are built with 0.7 to 0.9 cubic feet capacities. For reference, one cubic foot is equal to 7.5 gallons, and 0.7 cubic foot equivalent to just over 5 gallons of capacity.

How powerful are compact microwave ovens

Microwave power is measured in watts. Most compact microwaves run between 700-1,200 watts. The higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly food cooks.

Higher wattage compact microwaves typically cost more. You will need to weigh the cost benefits of a quicker meal against your budget.

If you buy a new compact microwave that has more wattage than your previous model, it may take some trial and error with popular foods. Popcorn that took two minutes to heat up in a 700-watt microwave may only take one minute to cook in a 1,200-watt microwave. You will want to monitor quick-cook items initially to find the new baseline.

What to look for in features

Most compact microwave ovens come with preset cooking features that are pre-programmed to run for a certain amount of time at a specific heat level for popular foods like pizza, popcorn and frozen dinners.

Some microwaves have a one-touch button that adds 30 seconds of additional cooking time if the item inside has not reached its full temperature.

Child safety locks on microwaves are also popular in apartments and homes with small children.

Best microwaves for small counters

Panasonic Counter Top Microwave Oven

This stylish stainless steel microwave oven has a capacity of 0.8 cubic feet and up to 950 watts of power. It is equipped with patented inverter technology for consistent cooking and a genius sensor that automatically adjusts power for different foods. It comes with an extra thin 11.25-inch turntable.

Comfee Retro Microwave

This retro-style microwave has a 0.9-cubic foot capacity and up to 900 watts of power. It has multi-stage functionality for defrosting and cooking simultaneously. It comes in three throwback colors of apricot, green or red.

Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave

With a classic look and seven auto-cooking settings, this 0.7-cubic foot microwave oven has 6 variable power levels up to 700 watts. It has green LED light and a child lock. It comes in red, blue and green.

General Electric 1.0-Cubic Foot Multi-Function Microwave

This black stainless steel microwave oven has power levels up to 1,050 watts. There are 10 quick cook settings, an express feature and has a timed defrost function.

Breville Compact Wave Soft-Close Microwave Oven

This premium compact microwave oven has a 0.9-cubic foot capacity with 900 watts of power. It is designed with an 80% quieter soft-close door. It includes shortcut buttons, a child lock and a mute button. It has a one-year limited warranty.

Farberware Compact Countertop Microwave Oven

This extra compact microwave has a 0.7-cubic-foot capacity with digital controls and express cooking controls for popcorn, pizza and frozen dinners. It has 10 power levels and 700 watts of power. This microwave oven features memory functions and a child safety lock.

Black and Decker 0.7-Cubic-Foot Microwave Oven

This sleekly designed microwave fits snugly on counter tops with 700 watts of power and six one-touch settings. It features a digital time display and has a child safety lock.

Nostalgia Retro Compact Countertop Microwave Oven

Available in a wide range of retro colors, this 0.7-cubic foot microwave oven has eight pre-programmed settings and multi-sequence cooking. A simple turn-and-push dial hearkens back to the past.  It has 700 watts of power and a 10-inch glass turntable.

General Electric Countertop Microwave Oven

From a trusted brand, this 0.7-cubic-foot microwave is designed for the countertop or to be mounted underneath a cabinet. Its one-touch functionality makes cooking easy. It has a child lock, kitchen timer and auto-defrost functions. The stainless steel looks stylish in any kitchen.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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