Best small microwaves for countertops

While large microwaves are great for handling big operations for a large family or in commercial kitchens, compact microwaves are friendlier in tinier places, and generally, consume less power. So, let’s take a look at these best small microwaves for countertops and best microwaves for countertop reviews that promise you outstanding quality and function. Let’s start with a quick look, before getting into the in-depth reviews…

So what is the best countertop microwaves to buy?

what is the best countertop microwaves to buy

Best small microwaves for countertops

#1. Panasonic NN-SN686S Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology

Panasonic NN-SN686S CountertopBuilt-in Microwave with Inverter Technology

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What makes the Panasonic NN-SN686S Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology so special is that it uses a patented inverter technology. What it does, according to the manufacturer, is deliver a constant power stream even at low power settings. This ensures that the flavor and texture of your food are preserved.

We also like the power and space capacities of this microwave oven. It can operate at up to 1200 watts and measures 1.2 cubic feet. On the outside, you will notice the membrane-style keypad, which looks uber stylish, 5 menu buttons, and 14 preset autocook settings, and more.

Furthermore, there is no handle. In its place is a push-button release feature, which makes the entire thing look very sleek and modern. This oven is also compliant with the 2016 Energy Conservation Standards of the DOE.

Conclusion: In summary, we absolutely love this microwave from Panasonic. It looks very attractive, and we think its controls are sufficient in number and intuitiveness. We also have a list of the best kitchen torches that you might like to check.

– Uses patented inverter technology
– Capable at high power levels
– Good for heating large food items
– Flexible controls

– Few reports of about the unit catching fire

#2. Hamilton Beach 900W Microwave Oven

Hamilton Beach 0.9 cu ft 900W Microwave

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We just adore the Hamilton Beach 900W Microwave Oven because its look reminds us of Deadpool. Kidding aside, the black/red exterior looks very good and unique. It will definitely catch the eye of your guest as they enjoy some snacks in your pantry.

The capacity is 0.9 cubic feet, and the power is 900 watts. The controls look easy enough to understand and use, which is always a major plus for us.

Conclusion: All in all, we admire the understated elegance of this microwave. We also appreciate the simplicity of the controls and the ease of use it offers. You can also check out our list of the best cast iron tortilla press.

– Ideal for moderately sized food
– Good for easy-to-cook food items
– Removable turntable

– Timer max is unnecessarily large

#3. hOmeLabs Countertop Microwave Oven with Accessories

hOmeLabs 1050 watt Countertop Microwave Oven

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We think the hOmeLabs Countertop Microwave Oven with Accessories is another great addition to your stylish countertop. This oven has a gorgeous matte black finish and nearly all the conveniences you would expect from a modern microwave.

It weighs just 40 lbs and has a 6-quart capacity. It runs on AC power only at 1050 watts, 120 V, 60 Hz. The large handle is easy to grip because of its size, and it is made of brushed stainless steel, which we think adds to the overall appeal of the oven.

Some of the things we love about this are the BPA-free rotating turntable plate, which is made of glass, multi-stage cooking feature, memory function, and child safety lock. It also has the basics, such as 10 power levels, 7 preset cooking settings, and 11 cooking functions.

Conclusion: Its look is the first thing we think you will notice about this oven. We encourage you to get yourself one of these because they not only look nice but also do everything you would expect a top-of-the-line microwave can, plus some really neat extras.

– Large capacity
– Versatile options
– Includes accessories
– Elegant stainless steel body

– Few complaints about irritating sound coming from unit

#4. Nostalgia RMO400RED Retro 0.9 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven

Nostalgia RMO400RED Retro 0.9 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven

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The Nostalgia RMO400RED Retro Microwave Oven is one cute little oven. We also love that although the design mainly stays true to its retro peg, it still incorporates a modern touch, which is the LED display (still with a retro touch, of course).

There are 12 preset cooking settings and a delay timer. Inside is a rotating carousel made of glass, which is durable and very easy to clean in our opinion. The handle is made of chrome, which matches the accents and control buttons and dial.

It has a 0.9 cubic feet capacity and runs up to 800 watts. We think the controls are easy to understand and use. Overall, this eye candy is worth the price tag for us.

Conclusion: We recommend that you get this lovely retro microwave from Nostalgia, especially if you have fairly basic microwaving needs and do not require higher power than 800 watts.

– Great for medium-sized food items
– Clear LED display
– Cute design
– Many pre-programmed settings

– Isolated issues with exterior of unit

#5. Bella 700-watt Compact Microwave Oven

Bella 700-Watt Compact Microwave Oven

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We like the look of the Bella 700-watt Compact Microwave Oven. This model has 700 watts of cooking power (max), but you can adjust that because there are 10 power levels to choose from.

The inside measures 0.7 cubic feet, so this should be sufficient for those who frequently cook or reheat small and mid-sized food items only. The controls are all digital, there is an LED display, and the oven has 6 quick-start cooking functions.

We also love that this has multi-stage cooking and a keypad lock feature. The control panel is very easy to figure out because everything is clearly labeled. You should have no trouble getting it up and running in a few.

Conclusion: In summary, we love this oven from Bella. It does have all of the standards plus some convenient added features, like multi-stage cooking and keypad lock. It is also one of the most affordable on this list, so we imagine you won’t have a hard time liking this too!

– Great for small items
– Many power levels to choose from
– Multi-stage cooking
– Keypad lock for safety

– Not for those who are after max speed and power

#6. Daewoo KOR-7LREM The Classic, Retro Style Microwave Oven

Daewoo KOR-7LREM The Classic, Retro Style Microwave Oven

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We recommend the Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro Microwave Oven for those looking for a cute (read: vintage) and simple microwave oven. It is a lovely mint green, and the buttons and text on the control panel are very minimal.

That said, do not expect cutting-edge features here. We think it does the basics very well, though. It uses a concave reflex system, 4 auto cook menus, zero standby function, two-way defrost, and 5 power levels (max 700 watts).

Conclusion: We think this microwave oven from Daewoo is a cute and simple solution to your meal woes. It looks nice and is very simple. However, do note that this is merely for basic microwaving.

– Great for vintage-themed kitchens
– Convenient defrosting
– Has child safety lock
– Has end reminder signal

– Fairly limited control options

#7. Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven

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Having a sleek black exterior, the Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven complements modern interiors nicely. It is made of stainless steel, which is known for its durability and strength.

It is fairly compact, and the capacity is 0.9 cubic feet. The turntable measures 10.6 inches. The power is up to 900 watts (adjustable; 10 power levels). It also has a timer and time/weight defrost function.

Conclusion: We believe you will like this oven as much as we do. It looks super sleek and contemporary, a real eye-catcher in the kitchen. It also has some nice, useful, and important features. We think it gives great value for money.

– Large turntable
– Power saving mode
– Child safety lock
– Stylish black stainless steel exterior

– Limited preset cooking functions

#8. Westinghouse WCM660B / WCM660W Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven

Westinghouse WCM660B / WCM660W Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven

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Westinghouse is an established and well-known manufacturer of appliances. To us, company reputation plays a somewhat large role in whether we want to try out a product or not. Their WCM660B / WCM660W Rotary Microwave Oven is a countertop oven that is made of durable material. It has a very contemporary look, so it should fit right in if you have a modern-themed kitchen.

The handle is of grip type, so there is no need to fumble around for grooves when trying to open the door to get your food. An added bonus is that the handle looks good and is not an eyesore.

This oven has mechanical dials for controls. In the age of touchscreen, sometimes, we still long for the simplicity and bare-bones nature of mechanical dials. Those on this Westinghouse oven are very clearly labeled too, so you should not have any issues.

Conclusion: All in all, we recommend this unit from Westinghouse for those who often cook or reheat small to medium-sized food items. The brand is trusted, the oven looks awesome, and the controls are very simple and intuitive. We think this is well worth the money.

– Durable body
– Reputable brand
– Easy-to-hold handle
– Easy to use

– Not for larger food items

#9. Farberware Classic FMO11ABTWHA 1000W Microwave Oven

Farberware Classic FMO11ABTWHA 1.1 Cubic Foot 1000-Watt Microwave Oven

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If you are looking for a fairly large and powerful microwave, we suggest that you try out the Farberware Classic FMO11ABTWHA 1000W Microwave Oven. it looks super futuristic and can even be mistaken for hospital equipment (in a good way!). It would look great in predominantly white kitchens.

There is 1.1 cubic feet of capacity, 1000 watts of power, 6 cooking programs, time/weight defrost, LED display, digital clock, memory function, and keypad lock, among others.

Conclusion: We recommend this nice oven from Farberware partly because of its good looks and mainly because it contains features that you can rarely find at this price point! Read our latest guide about the Presto 03430 oven.

– High power and capacity
– Modern look
– Time and weight defrosting
– Keypad lock

– Few preset cooking settings

#10. Impecca CM0674 700W Microwave Oven

Impecca CM0674 700-Watts Countertop Microwave Oven

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Having an interior capacity of 0.6 cubic feet and a turntable measuring just 9.65 inches, the Impecca CM0674 700W Microwave Oven is ideal for probably single-person households.

There are 6 power levels and a 30-minute timer. You can easily tweak these using the mechanical dials in front, which are clearly labeled and very intuitively designed in our opinion.

Conclusion: This very affordable microwave oven is highly ideal for small households or anyone that heats or cooks only small food items. It is also very simple to use. For the price, we can’t really ask for more. It also looks great and is available in black and white. We recommend these for those on a budget.

– Restricted cook timer
– Good for small food items or meals
– Simple to operate

– Limited power levels

How to buy a microwave

This buying guide is what you need if you’re looking for a new 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.


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:

Tyler Lizenby/CNET


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

Some of GE’s stoves and over-the-range microwaves are connected via Bluetooth.Tyler Lizenby/CNET


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



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


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.


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.

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


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.


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.


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

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.

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