Best apartment size microwave

Compact countertop microwaves are a popular and cost-effective option for many, from those in living in small homes to anyone simply trying to do more with less. And size really does matter—so be sure to measure the microwave’s dimensions along with the space available in your kitchen before buying one of these Best apartment size microwave, best microwave for small apartment and best microwave for an apartment options.

Best apartment size microwave

Whirlpool 0.5 Cubic Feet 750-Watt Countertop Microwave

Whirlpool 0.5 Cubic Feet 750-Watt Countertop Microwave

This countertop microwave from Whirlpool can do it all. And it takes only .5 cubic feet to do everything—even those quick reheats (it can start at 30 seconds at 100% power and has an add 30 seconds option). It’s incredibly compact but it certainly gets the job done. There’s enough room for a dinner plate without taking up valuable counter space. There’s also a control lock feature to avoid unintended use or unintended changes to cooking settings by disabling the control panel, all with the touch of a button.

Shop Now

Daewoo Retro 0.7 Cubic Feet 700-Watt Countertop Microwave

Daewoo Retro 0.7 Cubic Feet 700-Watt Countertop Microwave

This super cute retro microwave comes in fun and unique colors (like mint green) and has four auto-cook menu options, two-way defrost, zero standby function, and five microwave power levels up to 700 watts. There’s also an easy-to-read dial knob control panel and an all-important child safety lock.

Shop Now

Panasonic 0.8 Cubic Feet Microwave

Panasonic 0.8 Cubic Feet Microwave

This small but mighty compact microwave has 950 watts of high power and comes in at 0.8-cubic-foot capacity for a seamless (and even) stream of cooking power. The microwave is also helped along by a built-in automatic Genius Sensor that instantly can adjust power and times based on different foods. There are also preset menu items, quick-minute timer, delay start, and child lock. Another smart feature is the Keep Warm button that maintains heat on stews, soups, gravy, or desserts until you’re ready to take them out and eat them.

Shop Now

GE 0.9 Cubic Feet Microwave

G.E 0.9 Cubic Feet Microwave

This 0.9 cubic feet G.E countertop microwave oven has automatic and manual controls that can be programmed for all levels of defrosting and cooking needs. With its control lock (so you don’t accidentally change the settings when you don’t mean to), kitchen timer, auto and time defrost, and 900 watts of cooking power, there’s a whole lot of strength in a small package.

Shop Now

Bella 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

Bella 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

This 700-watt Bella countertop microwave comes equipped with ten power levels for tons of options and versatility when cooking, but the digital controls make it all easy and seamless. It’s compact at 0.7 cubic feet and has a 10-inch removable turntable—making it a perfect fit for a serving bowl or dinner plate.

Shop Now

Farberware Classic 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

Farberware Classic 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

This classic design compact microwave comes in at 700 watts of power, and an array of easy preset menu items. It also includes a 9.6-inch turntable, large enough for a plate of food or a bowl or soup, or, of course, that bag of popcorn.

Shop Now

Avanti 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

Avanti 0.7 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

This compact microwave features an electronic control panel with nine power levels, and six one-touch cooking programs, making it simple to reheat that meal—even if you have no idea what you are doing in the kitchen. It has 700 watts of cooking power and enough room to reheat that pizza, popcorn, or frozen dinners. There’s also an easy-to-use speed defrost option and a cook–defrost by weight option perfect for more precise defrosting and cooking.

Shop Now

Oster 0.9 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

Oster 0.9 Cubic Feet Compact Microwave

This compact microwave features six auto-cook settings, and 900 watts of cooking power with 10 adjustable power levels, making it easy to defrost and reheat and prepare all sorts of meals and snacks with one button. There’s also a glass turntable that allows for evenly heated food. Other great features include time defrost, weight defrost, LED display, a kitchen timer, and a cooking complete reminder.

How to buy a microwave

Your Pizza Rolls deserve a good microwave. This countertop wonder, whose origins date back to the 1940s, is probably one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen thanks to its ability to reheat food fast (and cook a mug cake or two). There are a variety of options when it’s time to select a microwave, so we’ve broken down the options you have when you’re ready for a new microwave.

Location

The first decision you need to make about a new microwave is where in your kitchen you want to put it. The location affects the price, features, size and installation of the appliance. You have three main options:

Whirlpool_Microwave.png
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Countertop

This is the most common type of microwave. They generally cost less and are significantly easier to install than other models. Just find a spot on the counter for it to sit, plug it into an outlet and you can use it right away.

The biggest issue with the countertop microwave is how much space it needs. If you have limited room on your countertop, you may either want to look at the smaller countertop models available, look into placing your microwave on a small cart, or consider another style of microwave.

Price: $40 to $700

External dimensions: From roughly 10 by 18 by 14 inches for compact models to roughly 14 by 24 by 20 inches for larger models

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

ge-pb911sjss-oven-product-photos-2.jpg
Some of GE’s stoves and over-the-range microwaves are connected via Bluetooth.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Over-the-range

You install this style of microwave above your range, which will save you some counter space. These models have vent systems that take the place of the oven hood and lights to illuminate your cooktop.

Price: $190 to $1,300

External dimensions: Usually wider than countertop models, about 16 by 30 by 15 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Sharp_builtin_microwave.jpg
Sharp

Built-in

Built-in models that you place among custom cabinets or paired with built-in, full-sized wall ovens are the most high-end (aka expensive) types of microwaves. Some microwaves in this category are even designed specifically as drawers with a compartment you pull out for your food.

Price: $500 to $5,000 and up

External dimensions: This varies widely depending on type, and drawers tend to have more depth than countertop or over-the-range models, hitting about 15 by 30 by 26 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Size

It’s important to find the right-sized microwave that will meet your food needs and fit in the space you have for it. First, you want to measure the counter or other space where you plan to put your microwave. Then, measure the height, width and depth of any model you’re considering to find out if it will fit on your counter top, over your range or in a custom spot. The external dimensions can vary a lot, from 10 by 18 by 14 inches on the smaller side to 14 by 24 by 20 inches on the larger side.

Then there’s also the internal capacity, which can range from less than 1 cubic foot to 2 cubic feet or more. There doesn’t seem to be any set rule for how internal capacity correlates to size (like 1 cubic foot = small, 1.5 cubic feet = medium, etc.), but here’s an attempt to break it down:

Compact: Under 1 cubic foot

Midsize: 1 to 1.5 cubic feet

Full-size: 1.6 to 2 cubic feet

Extra-large: More than 2 cubic feet

Most microwaves are somewhere around 1.4 to 1.8 cubic feet. Still not sure which size you need? If you’re out shopping, bring in a plate or bowl from home that you plan to use often to make sure that it fits inside the microwave.

Still in doubt? Measure everything, take notes and check with your appliance retailer for help deciding what would work best. For over-the-range and other built-in models, you most likely won’t be the one installing your new microwave, so you can always avail yourself of their expertise.

Wattage

Microwave wattage equals power. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Most microwaves sit somewhere between 600 to 1,200 watts. Larger, more expensive microwaves tend to have a higher wattage, so this is a price and size consideration that can strongly influence microwave cooking performance.

ge-smart-microwave-7
This GE microwave has scan-to-cook tech via a related app.Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

Many microwaves share common functions. Here are some microwave cooking essentials: cook time, defrost, power level and timer. Each one requires your direct input, but they are usually very easy to set. Most microwaves have touch panel controls and a rotating carousel to spin your food for more even cooking.

Default settings

Many microwaves come with preset cooking modes so you only have to press one button to automatically cook a dish. For example, many microwaves have a “popcorn” button that will cook your bag based on factory settings. This can be handy for common dishes you heat in the microwave, but you’ll have to figure out if the microwave’s default cook times work for your own food. Other common presets include: baked potato, pizza, beverage, frozen dinner and reheat.

Broil

Manufacturers are increasingly including features in microwaves that mimic what we see in full-size ovens, such as a broiler. This is a good addition for finishing off a dish or cooking something for which you’d prefer more direct heat.

Convection

A convection fan that’s built into the back of a microwave oven circulates the heat around the food to cook things more quickly and evenly. (Many new full-size ovens come with at least one convection fan.) However, microwaves with convection fans are generally more expensive than those without.

Inverter technology

Inverter heating is another option available on some high-end models. If you want to heat something at a 50 percent power level, most microwaves actually switch between 100 percent power and 0 percent power to average in at 50 percent power. This doesn’t yield great results if you want to heat something on a lower heat and achieve an even result. So, some models now use inverter technology, which maintains a consistent 50 percent power. That way, you can poach salmon, make a fluffy omelet, etc.

Other advanced features

In addition to new heating technologies, higher-end models usually have more presets than just the basic pizza, popcorn and baked potato standard. Some use moisture sensors to detect food doneness. And we’ve started to see models include LED lighting on the interior.

“Smart” technology, i.e. options that connect microwaves to the internet and other products, aren’t as widespread in microwaves as we’ve seen in other kitchen appliances. However, we’ve seen GE Appliances include Bluetooth technology in some of its over-the-range microwaves. This connection, which GE calls “Chef Connect,” pairs the microwave with compatible GE ranges so the light and fan beneath the microwave automatically turns on when you turn on a burner.

More options

june-oven-product-photos-2.jpg
Will the June Intelligent Oven become the next microwave?Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Other small appliances have started to make a case for forgoing the microwave, such as steam ovens that use water to cook for more moist heating or the basic toaster oven that mimics a full-size stove. These options promise to cook more effectively than a microwave, but it might take longer to reheat your food.

Smart countertop ovens have also started to become an option. The June Intelligent Oven uses facial recognition technology to identify food and cook it automatically, and the Tovala Smart Oven will scan packaged meals for automatic cooking, including frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. These options are promising, but the technology is too new to determine whether or not these will become kitchen staples.

Leave a Comment