A microwave is a convenient way to defrost and cook food quickly. But if you don’t have a lot of extra space in your kitchen, you’ll want a space-saving model.
The good news is that there are plenty to choose from! Here, we take you through the seven best compact microwaves on the market right now. And we discuss some of the factors to consider when deciding which is best for you.
So step this way to find out more!
The best compact microwave on the Market 2020
1. BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 compact microwave for Countertop
In recent years, BLACK+DECKER has extended beyond their roots in DIY equipment to household appliances. Their EM720CB7 is a compact and attractive microwave, with plenty of functionality.
It offers 700 watts of power and a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. It’s 17.3 inches wide, 13 inches deep and 10.2 inches tall. The finish is stainless steel with a black control panel and door. It looks sleek and modern, making it a great choice for contemporary kitchens.
It’s very easy to use, with one-touch functions for a range of popular foods. These include popcorn, pizza, frozen vegetables and a plated meal.
You can choose to cook or reheat using one of the ten power levels and the “time cook” option. Levels 1 to 6 offer “express cooking” of some foods in just 30 seconds. If you find your food needs a little longer, press the “start” button for 30 seconds of extra cooking time.
You can thaw frozen food by either time or weight too.
A clear LED display is positioned at the top of the control panel so you can keep an eye on the time. If your microwave sits on your countertop, it will also mean there’s no need for a separate kitchen clock. There’s a kitchen timer too, to help keep track of cooking times.
The controls are printed in white against a dark background, so they stand out clearly. But they’re not backlit, so can be hard to see in low light.
Open the door using the push-button door release and an interior light comes on automatically. Inside, there’s a glass turntable to help ensure every part of your food is properly heated.
This isn’t the most powerful microwave out there. If you’re cooking rather than reheating food be prepared for it to take a little longer.
Note too that the compact size means the interior isn’t huge.
The glass turntable is just 10 inches in diameter. It’s big enough for a standard dinner plate, but won’t fit anything larger. It can, though, be removed if you need more space. The interior cavity is 12 inches wide, 12 inches deep and just over 8 inches high.
- Attractive contemporary design
- Ten power levels with one-touch options for popular foods
- Clear LED clock and kitchen timer
- Cooking times will be slightly longer than for higher wattage options
- The control panel isn’t backlit.
2. AmazonBasics Small Countertop microwave (Our Top Pick)
This small microwave from AmazonBasics is very keenly priced. It costs just three quarters of the price of the BLACK+DECKER model. For that money, you’ll get the same 700 watts of power and 0.7 cubic feet capacity.
It looks smart too, with a glossy black finish and white controls. Like the BLACK+DECKER, the buttons aren’t backlit, but they stand out clearly in normal lighting.
There are ten different power levels, plus the option to defrost food by weight or by time. There’s only one pre-set, and that’s for popcorn. But what it has instead is a clever “Ask Alexa” button. This is a fun gadget for anyone who has an Echo device or Fire stick.
It means you can use voice controls to activate a range of pre-sets, such as heating coffee or cooking a potato. New pre-sets are being added all the time.
Of course, you will still need to be there to put the coffee or potato into the microwave in the first place. But if you’re visually impaired or not familiar with microwave controls, the “Ask Alexa” function does make life easier. And it means you can use your hands for other things at the same time.
There’s also a function allowing it to keep track of your popcorn usage and reorder it when you get low. All orders are, of course, fulfilled by Amazon.
If you’re not familiar with Alexa, though, there will be better microwaves out there for you. This one is considerably easier to use through voice activation than it is to use it manually.
There’s a kitchen timer and a child lock. The interior features a glass turntable and measures 10.75 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep and 6.75 inches high. It’s pretty small – if you have larger dinner plates you may find they don’t fit.
One thing to note is that we’ve heard some reports of this microwave overheating. Popcorn seems to be a particular issue, perhaps because the corn has relatively little substance to absorb the microwaves. Err on the side of caution with lower cooking times. You can always add extra time at the end if needed.
- Integration with Alexa for voice-activated controls
- Large and expanding range of pre-sets via Alexa
- Smart glossy finish
- If you don’t have an Alexa device, it’s less intuitive to operate
- Even for a compact microwave, the interior is very small.
3. Commercial Chef CHM660W compact microwave for Countertop
if you’re looking for a compact microwave that couldn’t be easier to use, check out this one from Commercial Chef.
The control panel here consists simply of two dials. Use the top one to select one of the six power levels. The dial below controls the cooking time, offering a range of 1 to 30 minutes.
There’s no LED and no clock. That could, however, be a bonus for anyone wanting an appliance for a studio apartment. It won’t emit any light to keep you awake. And there are no beeps or bells either.
The power output here is just 600 watts. That does mean cooking takes a few minutes longer.
We’ve seen some people selecting this microwave for off-grid connections to solar power generators. If this is what you have in mind, remember that microwave wattage is the output, not the input. The input here is 950 watts.
The microwave weighs 23 pounds. The exterior measures 17 inches wide, just over 13.5 inches deep and 10.3 inches high. The interior cavity is 12.5 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep and 7.75 inches high.
It’s finished in white, so it will fit into most kitchens. And although it’s not the most stylish appliance on the block, it has a clean and fresh appearance.
It’s well constructed, with the right-hand side weighted so it won’t rock when the door is pulled open. Because it’s small, though, opening the door can mean it slides forward slightly. Place a non-slip mat underneath it to deal with that issue.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated microwave with bags of functions, this won’t be the right choice. But if you want a small, simple appliance that can be used by anyone, it’s a winner.
- Ultra-simple design, easy for anyone to use
- No LED display – great for anyone in a studio apartment waning to keep their room dark at night
- Well balanced, so it won’t rock when the door is opened
- Only six power levels and no pre-set functions
- 600-watt output means longer cooking times.
4. Comfee’ AM720C2RA-A Small microwave for Countertop
Comfee’s compact microwave has bags of retro style. It comes in a choice of three cool color ways – cream, passionate red or pastel green. If you want your appliance to make a style statement, it’s well worth a look.
It has a power output of 700 watts and an internal capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. It measures 17.3 inches wide, 14.1 inches deep and 10.2 inches high overall. The interior cavity is 12 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches.
Inside, there’s a 10-inch glass turntable to rotate your food as it cooks. This has a clever “position-memory” feature. When cooking is finished, it returns to the exact position it was in at the start. If you’ve put in a cup, the handle will be in the same place so you can remove it easily.
This one has the traditional “beep” to tell you when cooking is finished. If you’d rather have peace and quiet, though, you can mute it. It’s also a good option for anyone sharing a room in student accommodation. You needn’t disturb your roommate when a midnight popcorn craving strikes!
There are ten different power levels and nine pre-sets for common items including pasta, potatoes, pizza and beverages. There’s also a pre-set function for reheating food. And there’s an eco setting to reduce energy use. It will cut the power consumed by half when the microwave is on standby.
The control panel features a series of buttons and a dial. It looks smart, but the symbols and operation aren’t at all intuitive. Be prepared to spend some time with the manual to work it all out. If you don’t use it often, you may find yourself needing to consult the instructions each time.
And remember that this is a 700-watt oven. Be prepared to spend longer cooking than you would in a higher wattage microwave.
Overall, then, this is a stylish and compact microwave with plenty of features. Just be ready to spend some time figuring out how to use it.
- Stylish retro design
- Ten power levels
- Eco function to reduce power usage during standby
- The control panel isn’t particularly easy to use
- Only 700 watts, so cooking times will be longer if you’re used to 1,000-watt microwaves.
5. Panasonic NN-SD372S compact Countertop microwave
If you’re looking for a compact microwave with more power, the Panasonic NN-SD372S may be for you. This has an output of 950 watts, so it’s faster than most other models on our list.
The interior is larger too. Here, the turntable has a diameter of 11.25 inches. It’s thin and light, maximizing the space for cooking. The cavity measures 12.4 inches wide, 13.8 inches deep and 8.2 inches high. That gives it a capacity of 0.8 cubic feet.
The exterior dimensions are 19.2 inches wide, 14.81 inches deep and 11 inches high.
It has a brushed stainless steel finish, so it will suit contemporary kitchens. Just make sure you’ve got some stainless steel cleaner to get rid of the inevitable fingerprints. An LED display at the top shows the cooking time or, when not in use, a clock.
It uses patented inverter technology to deliver an even cook. It’s very effective, with cooking times equivalent to higher wattage microwaves.
The defrost function uses the inverter to significantly cut the time required to thaw food. It keeps the power at a steady level, rather than cycling on and off as most microwaves do. The result is evenly defrosted food, rather than the all-too-common combination of part-frozen and part-cooked.
There’s also a separate button for popcorn and one to keep food warm until it’s ready to be served. Other features include a child safety lock and a delayed start function.
A dial is used to set the cooking time, and it’s very quick and simple to do. And there’s a “quick 30 seconds” button to add a little extra time if needed.
But perhaps most useful is the “genius” sensor. This automatically adjusts required cooking times and temperatures depending on what’s being cooked.
This is a great microwave, but it does have one significant shortcoming. We’ve heard a number of reports of it failing after less than a year of use.
Some people have loved its even cooking so much that they’ve been prepared to buy the same model again. But this isn’t the cheapest microwave out there. If evenly defrosting and cooking your food isn’t such a big deal for you, you may prefer something with a stronger track record.
- The compact dimensions house a surprisingly generous interior
- Patented inverter technology provides even cooking and defrosting
- Sensor can automatically adjust cooking times and temperatures
- We’ve heard a number of cases where this one has failed within a year
- The stainless steel exterior is smart but shows every fingerprint.
6. Kenmore 70713 Small Countertop microwave
Kenmore’s 70713 offers 700 watts of microwaving power and a 0.7 cubic feet interior. It’s finished in white with smart pale gray controls and an LED clock at the top of the display panel.
The exterior measures 17.7 inches wide, 12.5 inches deep and 10.2 inches high. But note that the power cable isn’t particularly long – just 2 feet 6 inches.
Inside there’s a 10-inch diameter glass turntable that can be removed when you need more space. It’s recessed into the oven floor, providing more room above and making it easier to take out. But it does have a bit of a tendency to wobble as it turns.
There are six pre-set functions for pizza, potatoes, fresh and frozen vegetables, soup and popcorn. Other times and power levels are set by means of a numerical keypad. There are ten different power levels to choose from. The start button can also be used to add an extra 30 seconds of cooking time if needed.
Kenmore use what they call a “concave reflex system”. This concentrates the microwaves on your food and is designed to produce more even cooking.
There are two defrost settings here. These allow you to defrost your food according to either time or weight.
If you have small children, you’ll also be reassured by the child lock feature. Select it to disable the control panel and stop little fingers messing up your cooking!
This is a smart, modern looking microwave that’s easy to use and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
- Concave reflex system helps achieve even cooking
- Ten power levels and six pre-sets for popular foods
- Defrost by either weight or time
- The power cable is rather short
- The turntable has a tendency to wobble.
7. Galanz GLCMKA07RDR-07 compact microwave for Countertop
This Galanz model is one distinctive looking microwave! If you love 1950s retro chic, this one may be hard to resist.
The rounded corners, oval window and large chrome handle give it a look somewhere between a vintage American fridge and a 1950s TV set! On the right-hand side, the clock, control panel and timer form three uniform circles, one above the other.
You also get options when it comes to the color. Choose between smart glossy black, rich ruby red, “bebop blue” and “surf green”. They’re all as pretty as a picture.
The oven offers 700 watts of power output and has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. There’s a glass turntable inside, with a diameter of 9.6 inches. It’s a good size for beverages or small plates. But if you want to put large dinner plates inside, you’re likely to struggle.
There are six power levels to choose from, and the option to defrost food by time or weight. The LED display shows remaining cooking time, and reverts to a clock when the oven isn’t being used.
There are pre-set functions for potato, pizza, a frozen dinner, beverage and popcorn, as well as reheating.
But while the control panel looks beautiful, it takes a little getting used to. To set the time, you twist a dial to the right. The same dial is twisted to the left to select the power level. You then need to push it in to start cooking. Most people find it becomes second nature after the first few uses.
Note that if you end cooking before the timer has run out, it’s important to clear the timer. If you don’t, it’s easy to push it back in by accident. That will start the microwave up again, and could be a fire hazard.
There’s an eco setting to reduce power usage when the microwave is on standby. There’s also a child lock to prevent any little people from using the push-button controls.
This one measures 17.9 inches wide, 13.8 inches deep and 10.3 inches high, and weighs in at 25 pounds. It’s not the most powerful microwave out there, but it might just be the cutest. And all that retro styling comes at an amazingly low price. This is one of the least expensive microwaves on our list.
- Ultra-cute retro style in a choice of colors
- Six pre-set functions
- Eco setting saves power while the microwave is on standby
- At 9.6 inches in diameter, the turntable is rather small
- Ensure you clear the timer after use – it’s easy to switch the power back on by accident.
If you’ve looked at all our reviews, but aren’t sure which microwave is right for you – read on! Here are some tips to choose the right model for your needs.
Check external and internal dimensions
All the microwaves on our list have been selected for their compact forms – but they still vary in size. If you need your microwave to fit into a specific space, measure that carefully. Then check it against the exterior dimensions of the microwave. Remember you’ll also need room to open the door properly!
And don’t assume that a larger microwave will necessarily have a larger cooking space. Some models, like the Panasonic NN-SD372S, have a good internal to external size ratio. So check the internal dimensions too.
If the oven has a turntable, check its diameter. Some compact microwaves have very small turntables. If you have larger dinner plates, check that they’ll fit.
What – and how – will you be cooking?
Is your microwave going to have a single user? Or are different people going to need to cook with it?
Some people prefer simple controls. Options with dials may be a good choice. And if you have particular foods that you cook often, consider an oven with a pre-set function to fit.
For anyone who’s visually impaired, the AmazonBasics microwave, with its voice activation, may be ideal. Others may balk at the idea of talking to their microwave!
And if you want to defrost frozen food, look for options that allow you to do so by time or weight. That will give you more flexibility.
Will it fit with your kitchen?
Finally, think about how the microwave will look in your kitchen. If your interior is uncompromisingly modern, a smart stainless appliance will look great. A simple white microwave will fit into most design schemes. And if you like quirky décor, there are some fabulous retro options out there.
If your microwave will be in a studio apartment, it’s worth considering one without an LED display. That will avoid it leaking light into the room where you sleep.
And if your kitchen is located anywhere near bedrooms, it’s worth looking for non-beeping options. You’ll be able to have a midnight snack without disturbing anyone! Some models also allow you to mute any sounds for maximum flexibility.
Ready to choose?
That brings us to the end of our list of the seven best compact microwaves the internet has to offer! We hope it’s helped you find one that will fit your needs.
Our top pick for gadget lovers is the small microwave from AmazonBasics. We love its smart design and integration with Alexa.
But if you’d rather keep it simple, the CHM660W from Commercial Chef is a great option. It’s compact, reliable and couldn’t be easier to use.
Good luck with your search – and happy shopping!