We're a big fan of modern technology in cooking. There are more microwaves than there used to be, for sure, but the appliances have taken a while to catch up with what the rest of our lives have been enjoying.
While a powerful microwave can heat up a chilly pack of popcorn in seconds flat, you can also multitask, using your oven's broiler and your toaster oven to sauté or crisp your veggies.
For even more options, look for one with many sizes and capacity. In the past, this limited selection of microwave ovens were small enough to fit in a cupboard. Now there are models that are just big enough for those late night snacks when all you want is a hot sandwich.
When we hear the words over-the-range microwave, we think of big and bulky. But that's far from the truth, especially when you consider the tiny footprint of a small unit like the one to be featured here.
We tried a selection of small over the range microwaves to help you decide on the best unit for you, all of which do a brilliant job of cooking eggs, toast and other breakfasts for yourself or the children. The compact size means you won't need an additional table to have an entire family meal ready for when you come home from work.
best small over the range microwaves
Small ovens are great for those wanting to cook for a couple or for one person. Some can be used as a full oven and double as a microwave at the same time.
You don’t need to have a massive kitchen, and you don’t need to have a lot of space either, as you just need a small space and the microwave to make sure you can get those family-sized portions into your belly. There’s nothing better than coming home from work to a hot meal.
There’s nothing better than coming home from work to a hot meal
And now there’s no reason why you can’t do that, as there are loads of great small over the range microwaves to choose from.
Here we've selected the 10 best small microwave ovens available. What will you be making in your new microwave?
2. First Alert GSX-31+
Another decent microwaves with convection and countdown timer
Range: 530W (270W fan/430W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 6.9-12.1 cu ft | Oven capacity: 35.7 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: 30°C/212°F/200°C/400°F | Manual timer: Yes
Timer and delay
First Alert is no stranger to microwaves, and its GSX-31+ model takes its decent recipe for quality design and its excellent performance and features to a whole new level.
It's extremely well made and tough and, with a variety of cooking modes, a handy programme counter and a decent food capacity, it’s great for family cooks. There’s a decent temperature range, too, with a decent deflection factor and a simple rotating rack to help you fit whatever you’re cooking onto your plate.
There are a variety of deflection modes, including a push-pull mode and a polarised mirror which tilts dishes at high and low speeds to help them finish up perfectly cooked and perfectly mixed.
Plus, there’s a separate 'cooking mode' mode which controls the microwave oven while you're preparing your meal, so you don’t have to leave the machine turned on while you’re cooking - a great feature for busy families.
3. Toshiba PB-SJE6311A
Small, clever and with a surprisingly good small capacity
Range: 460W (240W fan/420W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 7.5-11.7 cu ft | Oven capacity: 39.9 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: No | Temperature settings: 30°C/212°F/200°C/400°F | Manual timer: Yes
Melt the oil
Shorter than average timer
If your microwave isn’t big enough to cook for your family, this microwave uses the smallest and least powerful oven for its capacity.
You can fit everything in that you need for a small family, including two litres of saucepans and a standard plate of vegetables. There’s a small window to look inside as well.
There are a variety of cooking modes, including the aforementioned 'self-clean' function, which has three different temperatures, while the thermostat can be changed for a microwave with or without defrost.
There are four programmable buttons, so you can have it cook different types of food and with different cooking temperatures. There’s a programmable delay timer, too, for when you’re doing the cooking yourself.
You also get 'manual' and 'convection' modes, as well as the defrost and reset buttons you might need when cooking for yourself or your family. It’s the perfect size if you want to cook for one, but want to be able to keep an eye on what’s going on without having to open the door.
4. Leka XTW1024SSQ
Leka’s tiny compact oven is cheap to buy and clever to use
Range: 270W (110W fan/260W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 2.9-6.4 cu ft | Oven capacity: 27.5 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: 20°C/212°F/70°C/140°F | Manual timer: Yes
Compact and versatile
Limited cooking capacity
Lack of deflection
You’re going to have to buy your microwave-oven appliance before you can try it out, but the small Leka XTW1024SSQ is easy to use and doesn’t cost a fortune.
It has an impressive 270W fan that’s powered by a single 20A standard plug, which means it can operate on the lowest possible power setting - and on that setting it’s powerful enough to boil an egg.
You can cook anything you like in the XTW1024SSQ, including pizzas, grilled meats, burritos and, yes, even a frozen pizza. You can also microwave for much longer than other microwaves of this size and still get a proper meal.
You can fit a standard deep dish pizza inside, or cook a whole salmon or steak. And if you think that’s cool, the XTW1024SSQ also has a vent that lets you watch your cooking on an LCD screen.
5. Infraloks SH-T603
This great-looking microwave cooks as well as it looks
Range: 230W (60W fan/200W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 3.2-7.1 cu ft | Oven capacity: 21.9 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: No | Temperature settings: 20°C/212°F/70°C/140°F | Manual timer: Yes
Difficult to clean
If you’re going to buy a microwave, you might as well splash out on one that will turn heads. The Infraloks SH-T603 may not be able to cook food as quickly as the best, but it’s an exceptionally stylish machine that will complement almost any kitchen.
The cooking range is a solid 230W, although you’re not going to be able to cook anything as large as a family-sized pizza in there. However, there is a deflection shelf to ensure the contents of the oven cook evenly, as well as a reading lamp.
You’ll need to install a wall-mounting kit for it to fit properly, but once it’s in place you don’t have to look at it too often because it’s one of the smartest microwaves you’re going to find. The heating control and timer are just two buttons on the front, but they work very well and a second, smaller button offers additional functions.
The easiest way to set the thermostat is to press the large Pause button, then press the second button again to start cooking.
You can pair the Infraloks SH-T603 with a smartphone or tablet over Bluetooth to set the temperature using the accompanying app. Alternatively, you can set the temperature yourself by pressing the main Pause button.
6. Frigidaire FSG75UCG-VIRGINIA
This is the latest version of one of the best air-fryers
Range: 190W (70W fan/125W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 2.7-7.2 cu ft | Oven capacity: 12.7 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: No | Temperature settings: 140°C/300°F/450°C | Manual timer: Yes
Great for steaming vegetables
Annoying fan noise
The Frigidaire FSG75UCG-VIRGINIA is one of the best air-fryers out there, and it’s great for steaming vegetables, creating burgers and crisping bread and potatoes. It’s a rather chunky and heavy-looking machine, though, so you’re going to want to hang it up somewhere in your kitchen to prevent it getting knocked about.
The Frigidaire FSG75UCG-VIRGINIA is very easy to use. There’s a dial that adjusts the power, while an OLED screen controls the heating element and other functions. As with other models in the Frigidaire range, you’ll need to put an optional funnel into the cavity of the machine to make it easier to dispense food.
The fan on this one sounds pretty awful, so you’re probably going to want to set it in your kitchen away from your noise-sensitive neighbours. We also found that the plastic casing doesn’t take kindly to being covered with oily debris, so if you want this machine to last you a long time you’re going to want to clean it on a regular basis.
7. LG MOMAXWB55RM
This powerful microwave is so smart it’s even got Wi-Fi
Range: 200W (65W fan/180W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 3.9 cu ft | Oven capacity: 7.2 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: 100°C/212°F/325°C | Manual timer: Yes
Smart Wi-Fi remote
If you’re looking for a mid-range microwave, then you’re not going to be disappointed by the LG MOMAXWB55RM. There’s a huge range of heating and defrost modes, so you should be able to cook nearly any dish, and a smart touchscreen display lets you perform simple adjustments to the temperature.
There are also a number of important smart features on board. An intelligent remote control lets you operate the MOMAXWB55RM without having to move from the comfort of your sofa. The touchscreen will automatically switch between the different function modes, so you don’t have to worry about taking your eyes off the telly.
If you’re really bored with the buttons, you can download an app from the Google Play Store, which will allow you to customize the remote control for different types of food. It’s a pricey machine, but it could be one of the best microwaves you buy.
See the LG MOMAXWB55RM at Currys PC World
8. John Lewis NEORMWF85UK
A super-efficient machine that’s also a fantastic value buy
Range: 800W (100W fan/100W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 2.7 cu ft | Oven capacity: 7.2 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: No | Manual timer: No
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient and well-built microwave, then the John Lewis NEORMWF85UK should be high on your list. It’s not cheap, but it has some really clever features, including a smart power monitor that tracks the temperature of your appliance and then automatically shuts it down if the energy is exceeding a specified limit.
There’s a sleek digital display with six buttons to allow you to control the functions of your appliance. There are also a number of advanced heating modes that can be selected, allowing you to cook foods at high or low power levels. There’s even a digital steam rack that will automatically send cooking instructions to your cooker.
See the John Lewis NEORMWF85UK at John Lewis
9. Hotpoint DFMO55BKQUD
It’s not cheap, but if you want a top-notch microwave, then this is it
Range: 600W (400W fan/330W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 2.4 cu ft | Oven capacity: 7.2 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: No | Manual timer: Yes
Here we have the Hotpoint DFMO55BKQUD, which is one of the most energy-efficient microwaves on the market. It’s also reasonably compact, which makes it an ideal fit for small kitchens. It features an easy-to-read LCD screen and you can select from a number of heating levels to cook your food quickly and effectively.
An auto-rotation feature means you won’t have to worry about taking your eyes off the telly as the cook, and you can also select between 4,000 and 15,000 rpm to suit your food. There’s a simple cooking cycle option, which controls the heating cycle so you can cook various types of food at the same time.
The DFMO55BKQUD features a Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can set up your device from the comfort of your own home, which is handy if you want to save yourself the hassle of having to go to the kitchen and manually switch things on.
See the Hotpoint DFMO55BKQUD at John Lewis
10. Gaggenau TRB180MWT
A bit of all-rounder, with decent performance and smart features
Range: 900W (430W fan/360W microwave) | Microwave oven size: 2.4 cu ft | Oven capacity: 7.2 cu ft | Cooking mode: Flip-up | Manual controls: Microwave, Microwave cooking only | Convection: Yes | Temperature settings: No | Manual timer: Yes
Robust build quality
We’ve already recommended the Gaggenau TRB180MWT a few times over the past year, so this retro-inspired piece of kitchen kit just adds another one to our list. The stainless steel finish is machined, ensuring that it will withstand years of use and will come as a saving when it comes to keeping costs down.
The TRB180MWT features two adjustable steaming baskets, which can hold two quiche dishes or a double frying pan, while the front panel has a built-in warming drawer that’s great for reheating delicate dishes. There’s even a rotisserie feature that allows you to roast a piece of meat at high heat for several minutes without overcooking it.
There’s a handy smart-menu touchpad control for accessing the menu and features. The Gaggenau TRB180MWT also has very good aeration, which means that food is cooked thoroughly and without falling out of the cooking process.
Also note that it doesn’t feature the same rotisserie function as the TBB210UK that we’ve chosen to recommend here, which is a minor niggle, but at this price, you really can’t complain.
See the Gaggenau TRB180MWT at Gaggenau
10 Best Small Over the Range Microwaves
1. Toshiba HT-C55U4DF Microwave
When it comes to small microwaves, we’ve featured some fantastic models in the past, but there’s also some horrible designs. This Toshiba unit is a superb example of both the good and the bad.
It looks good, but it’s difficult to fit it into your kitchen, and it’s certainly not a feature-packed design, with no convection or automatic stop/start features. But it’s got plenty going for it in the small microwave department.
It’s relatively inexpensive and there’s a handy 30-minute countdown timer and convection. It has a super-quick 1.5kg food capacity, the lid closes with the push of a button and the operation is decent with good deflection and precise heating.
The turntable is built in, so you don’t have to place a plate under it. It’s got a row of buttons too for various functions including defrost and meal settings.