5 of the best compact microwaves

Save time and space with a smaller microwave oven that still boasts great cooking power. We pick out the best compact microwaves

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Whether your kitchen's on the smaller side and what worktop space you have is treasured or you live on your own so don't require big appliances, a compact microwave is a handy appliance to have. An easy way to keep your kitchen from looking cluttered and it'll cook your dinner in minutes after you've had a long day. Here, we take a look at the best compact microwaves so you can find the right one for you.

Not found what you want? Check out our full list of the best microwave ovens. On the hunt for more kitchen appliance recommendations? Head to our appliances hub page for plenty of advice.

What to consider before buying a compact microwave


Every kitchen benefits from a microwave, even if it’s a small model. The biggest consideration? Its power: anything less than 700W and you may as well use the oven. But if you’re looking for a microwave to cook food fast with oven quality taste, opt for one with 800 or 900W, such as the Samsung F300G microwave


When it comes to size, 30cm x 30cm is the average for compact microwaves, with some, such as the Swan Retro Digital Solo microwave, coming in slightly smaller for cramming into those teeny tiny spaces – just make sure you consider the size of your dinner plates first...


Russell Hobbs Aura RHM2079A 20 Litre Microwave

1. Russell Hobbs Aura RHM2079A 20 Litre Microwave

A high-tech, sleek, mini-microwave for modern kitchens

Best for: Sleek design
Power: 800W
Capacity: 20ltrs
Dimensions: H20.8cm x W30.6cm x D30.6cm
Reasons to buy
+ Simple to use + Easy to clean+ Looks great

This sleek white compact microwave, with its red LED display and mirrored door, has a really simple interface. In fact, this microwave is loved by users for its ease of operation, with no extra features or buttons bulking it out. It does, however, have a good range of automatic programmes to help you cook your food to perfection, and if you often buy frozen food, this microwave also has a special function that thaws food both quickly and hygienically. At 800W, it’s impressively powerful. Despite its compact nature, its interior is surprisingly large – there is enough room to fit a standard-sized dinner plate. It is also easy to clean. A great all-rounder and our pick of the best compact microwave...

Caterlite Commercial Microwave Oven

2. Caterlite Commercial Microwave Oven

A little larger but the most powerful on the list

Best for: Power
Power: 900W
Capacity: 23ltrs
Dimensions: H28.1cm x W48.3cm x D39.6cm
Reasons to buy
+ 5 different power settings+ High watt
Reasons to avoid
- Largest on this list

If power is what you’re after then you can expect good things from this commercial microwave oven. It’s the largest on the list, but still smaller than many microwaves, making it ideal for kitchens that have limited work surface space. It heats up food quickly with no complicated buttons or dials to slow down the process, it's surprisingly lightweight and, thanks to its simple styling, it suits most styles of kitchen.  

Swan Retro Digital Solo Microwave

3. Swan Retro Digital Solo Microwave

Small and good-looking for interior design lovers, this is one of the best compact microwaves you can buy

Best for: Retro look
Power: 800W
Capacity: 20ltrs
Dimensions: H29.7cm x W45cm x D25.6cm
Reasons to buy
+ Choice of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Not ideal for those who don't want the retro look

The style-conscious will love this retro-looking compact microwave from Swan. It comes in a range of different colours, and it’s one of the smallest on the list. It has a 20ltrs capacity but, despite its size, it packs a punch when it comes to power. It features a range of settings for different temperatures and even for defrosting food, with a 60 minute digital timer for ease of use. The turntable provides even heat distribution when warming up meals so you can expect quick and easy cooking in this microwave.  

Russell Hobbs RHMM701C

4. Russell Hobbs RHMM701C

Extra small for those really short on space

Best for: Smallest size
Power: 700W
Capacity: 17ltrs
Dimensions: H25.6cm x W45.1cm x D32.6cm
Reasons to buy
+ Very compact  
Reasons to avoid
-Retro design might not be for some

This Russell Hobbs microwave is the smallest on our list, operating at 700W of power and holding a capacity of 17ltrs. This cute, retro design might be just what you’re looking for if you like the look of the Swan but still think it’s a little too bulky for your kitchen. It’s the least powerful on the list but users have said it’s great for reheating dishes as and when needed, and could make a good choice of microwave for a studio flat or maisonette. The glass plate is 25cm in diameter, which should accommodate most standard dinner plates.  

Panasonic Silver with Grill NN-K181MMBPQ

5. Panasonic Silver with Grill NN-K181MMBPQ

This versatile microwave is ideal for all types of snacks

Best for: Versatility
Power: 800W
Capacity: 20ltrs
Dimensions: H25.8cm x W43.7cm x D33.7cm
Reasons to buy
+Microwave and grill +9 auto programs+5 power levels
Reasons to avoid
-Not as sleek looking as others

If you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to cook complicated recipes from scratch, this Panasonic microwave is the best compact microwave for you. It is a combination microwave and 1000W grill, with nine auto programs and five power levels that allow you to quickly and easily reheat meals or prepare hot snacks. It’s small enough that it won’t take up too much room on your kitchen counter, but powerful enough to cook a range of dishes quickly and thoroughly. 

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