Top Portable Microwave Reviews
Looking for a way to cook or reheat food on the go? Portable microwave ovens make it easy to eat hot food in a variety of different settings, not just in your kitchen. However, because most microwaves aren’t built for travel, you’ll want to choose carefully within this product category and understand exactly what you’re getting before you purchase so you don’t end up disappointed. These reviews should help you pick just the right mini microwave for your needs.
What You Need to Know About Portable Microwaves
When it comes to portability, microwaves aren’t exactly built to move. These appliances seem simple from the outside, but they actually use complex and potentially dangerous technology, so they must be built properly. Most manufacturers have their hands full creating a useful, reliable and safe microwave for stationary use in the kitchen, so truly portable microwaves that are built to use on the go just aren’t that common.
You may see some options here and there, but they tend to be manufactured by small businesses and don’t present enough of a consumer demand to justify a steady supply. Even among these microwaves built for portability or use in the car, you won’t find many, if any, microwaves with battery power. So it’s important to adjust your expectations; the technology that makes microwave cooking possible just isn’t compatible with small-scale portable appliance design.
For this reason, the countertop microwave ovens we cover in this review article are smaller than average, which makes them suitable for portability in situations such as RV travel or car camping with access to a proper electrical outlet or a portable generator for a decent power level. These microwaves offer less than 1 cubic foot of interior space, which means you probably won’t be able to stick a full dinner plate in there, but smaller items like single-serve frozen dinners or small bowls are likely a good fit.
Where Can I Use a Portable Microwave?
Due to the operational and manufacturing challenges outlined above, most microwaves that are small enough to be considered “portable” are designed for countertop use with a standard 120-volt outlet. This means that most people won’t be able to plug these microwaves into a car’s cigarette lighter, even with an adapter. If you have an RV with proper power or a portable solar generator, though, one of these small-sized microwaves may just do the trick. For example, a trucker could set up his or her microwave on an unused seat in order to quickly heat up food with a small standard microwave.
True Portable Microwave Options
Let’s take a look at some of the common names that come up when shoppers look for the most portable units available. Though most of these products are either manufactured in small quantities, making them difficult to find or are discontinued entirely, if you’re really dedicated you might be able to find something available for purchase in an online specialty store or a resale site like Craigslist or eBay, such as a sturdy stainless steel model with a decent power level.
Power Hunt WaveBox is one of the most popular truly portable microwaves ever made—it features a carrying handle on top, a 12-volt car power adapter and thick walls for safety. The company made a few different models with different features, but, unfortunately, they appear to have been discontinued as of September 2017. Power Hunt lists the WaveBox for sale on its website, but product pages have broken links and online retailers like Amazon that list the product tend to list it as unavailable or discontinued. You may be able to find a WaveBox on eBay, though product reviews on other sites offer dramatically mixed reviews of this portable microwave’s performance and longevity.
Semi-Portable Small Microwaves
So, finding a truly portable unit isn’t exactly an easy task, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. These small-size microwaves offer a nice blend of performance, major-brand reliability and small stature that you can easily scoop up and carry from place to place if you need to. We’re focusing on microwaves that are .7 cubic feet, which is the smallest widely-available microwave size manufacturers tend to offer.
Oster OGG3701 If you care about looks and performance for your portable microwave, the Oster OGG3701 is a great choice. It has a retro design with exterior knobs and handles that make it a great choice for dorm rooms and RVs. Those knobs and handles could be seen as an inconvenience in a truck or another cramped setting, though, so think carefully about how much space you have to spare for your microwave before choosing this model. Overall dimensions of about 10x13x17 inches make this option slightly larger than the competition, and its 23-pound weight is about average.
Aside from the minor potential drawback presented by the handle and knobs, this is one of the best portable microwave options on the market. It’s widely praised for its reliable performance and surprising power delivered in a small .7 cubic foot package with just 700 watts of max power. This microwave also features a generous range of food-specific settings that allow for quick one-touch cooking for foods such as potatoes, pizza and even fish.
This small microwave offers .7 cubic feet of interior capacity and runs on 700 watts of power. At about 10x7x14 inches, it’s small enough to fit in most compact spaces, and its overall weight of about 23 pounds means it’s not prohibitively heavy for frequent movement. The EM720CPN-P has multiple cooking settings and lacks an interior turntable, which can be seen as a plus because it both saves space and avoids moving parts that can jar out of place or break in a mobile context.
Overall, the exterior design of this mini microwave is sleek and efficient with a flat top and sides that can stack easily or fit in with other equipment in your truck or RV. However, the front pull handle isn’t integrated with the body of the microwave and while it does have a low profile, this could, theoretically, be seen as a nuisance if you’re working with very limited space.