smallest microwave

Let us take a look at what the smallest microwave is and examine the list of the best small microwave curated below.

In what appears to be another case of “good idea, poor execution,” Heinz has partnered with Frazer Designers to invent the world’s smallest USB-powered microwave. The little device aims to satisfy the appetites of office workers who have so much work on their plate they can’t find the time to step outside for a bite to eat. Stranger still, the microwave is called…the Beanzawave (what?!).

Smallest Microwave

The small turquoise device is officially the smallest microwave ever invented, measuring a tiny 7.4 inches tall, 6.2 inches wide, and 5.9 inches deep. Much like today’s external hard drives, the microwave is entirely powered by the USB bus on a computer, so there’s no extra plug necessary. If you’re wondering how it’ll nuke your food, the answer has the Microwave Association (what?!) worried as well. Gordon Andrews and Stephen Frazer, the masterminds and “microwave experts” (what?!) behind the Beanzawave claim the device uses phone radio frequencies that produce the heat necessary to cook a single serving of food in Heinz’s proprietary “Snap Pots.”

All right wait, what?! Phone radio frequencies to cook our food? Apparently we’ve totally forgotten our fear that cell phones are carcinogenic and catapulted directly to ingestion. Andrews claims it’s actually possible to adjust these radio frequencies to cook different foods, including pies, burgers, soup, or tea. He also suggests powering the Beanzawave with lithium ion batteries for campers and fishermen who want hot food in the field.

This prototype isn’t getting very good feedback from the Microwave Association, and they’re pretty sure this miniature technology won’t ever see the light of day. I’m with them. But Heinz is sticking to the plan and says the final production decision rests in the hands of public feedback

The Smallest microwave: A Compact Microwave You Can Fit In Any Space

Whirlpool Countertop Microwave$249.99|

This Whirlpool countertop microwave measures 0.5 cubic feet, making it the one of the most compact models you’ll find on the market, and the smallest microwave on this list. One unique feature reviewers love is the rounded back of this microwave, that makes it easier to fit this into tight spaces. On a happy note, this microwave may be compact, but it has a respectable 750 watts of power, 10 cooking power levels, and a control lock on the panel. Because of its size, you’ll have to compromise on what you can actually fit on its turntable — most reviewers say anything bigger than a dinner plate isn’t going to make the cut. But it can be used to bake a potato, pop popcorn, reheat and defrost food — and if you are truly looking for a compact microwave this is a stand-out option.

Best small microwave

These tiny microwaves vary in terms of size, wattage, and features. But they all share one important thing in common: they’ll fit your space like they belong there. And they’ll give you an excuse (as if you needed one) to pop popcorn every night.

1The Best Overall: An Affordable Microwave With Great Reviews & Plenty Of Features Danby Designer Countertop MicrowaveAmazon$89.99$64.78Buy Now

This is a 0.7 cubic foot affordable and tiny microwave with 700 watts of cooking power that won’t break the bank. Given its price tag, you might expect it to be basic, but it features an entirely digital control panel and one-touch cooking options, as well as 10 power levels that allow you to cook, reheat, and defrost a variety of snacks and small meals. These features are part of the reason this microwave is so well-reviewed: it has over 1,000 five-star reviews. With many of the same features as other digital microwaves, this option is a great value that fans say, “does everything it’s suppose to do and does it well.”

2The Smallest: A Compact Microwave You Can Fit In Any SpaceWhirlpool Countertop MicrowaveAmazon$249.99Buy Now

This Whirlpool countertop microwave measures 0.5 cubic feet, making it the one of the most compact models you’ll find on the market, and the smallest microwave on this list. One unique feature reviewers love is the rounded back of this microwave, that makes it easier to fit this into tight spaces. On a happy note, this microwave may be compact, but it has a respectable 750 watts of power, 10 cooking power levels, and a control lock on the panel. Because of its size, you’ll have to compromise on what you can actually fit on its turntable — most reviewers say anything bigger than a dinner plate isn’t going to make the cut. But it can be used to bake a potato, pop popcorn, reheat and defrost food — and if you are truly looking for a compact microwave this is a stand-out option.

3The Most Powerful: A 950-Watt Microwave That’s On The Larger End Of “Small”Panasonic Countertop Microwave With Inverter TechnologyAmazon$152.99Buy Now

With 950 watts of power, this is the most powerful small countertop microwave, which means it can heat up food faster and more evenly. It also has a special “inverter” technology and a generous 11 ¼-inch turntable, both of which aid in how evenly this option cooks. Something to note? While still smaller than your average microwave size, this option measures 0.8 cubic feet, which is on the larger size when compared to other options on this list. Aside from its powerful wattage, the digital features on this microwave are impressive: it has one-touch auto cook, a delay start and timer function, and 10 power levels to cook more food (including poultry, vegetables, and other side dishes). It even has a popcorn cooking button and a button you press to keep cooked food warm. This microwave was also reviewed by Consumer Reports, who gave it an excellent noise rating, saying it operates really quietly, and who praised its impressive five year warranty, as well.

4 Honorable Mention: A Stylish, Retro Microwave That’s Middle Of The Pack In Terms Of Price & FeaturesNostalgia Retro Microwave OvenAmazon$99.99Buy Now

This retro-looking microwave is a great middle-of-the-road option that offers plenty of unique features without an expensive price tag. It has 12 pre-programmed settings that make it way easier (especially for novice chefs) to defrost and cook foods at the perfect temperature. Find the food or food type you want to cook or defrost, press the appropriate button, and sit back and relax while it does all the work for you. Aside from its settings, this is a simple microwave to operate and has a turn-and-push program dial, making it a nice combo of high tech and retro. It has a 0.7 cubic foot capacity and 700 watts of power — it’s not the most or least powerful, but is perfect for cooking basic meals and for reheating and defrosting foods.

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:

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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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