Low-wattage microwaves are equally efficient and can easily heat food without drawing extra power.
While these microwaves tend to be smaller, they can be extremely useful for people who don’t need to heat large meals every day.
What are the best low-wattage microwaves? Most microwaves have a power output of around 1000W or more but there are many other smaller and affordable alternatives that can get the job done in 700-800W!
Read below to learn more about low-wattage microwaves, how they achieve more or less the same results, and some great product recommendations that you can buy today!
How Are Low Wattage Microwaves Different?
In a nutshell, high wattage and low wattage microwaves are designed to heat food using the same technique – but they do it with different intensities.
Larger microwaves can be as powerful as 1500W and some can even go up to 2000W!
What’s more, is that most 2000W microwaves are considered to be “medium-duty” commercial microwaves. The heavy-duty microwaves can cross 2100W and more!
The reason why customers demand such heavy-duty appliances is that most of the time, these appliances are used for commercial purposes.
Larger microwaves can service several types of food at a time and are efficient enough to get the job done within seconds instead of minutes.
But do you need such a powerful appliance for your home use?
The answer to this question is varied. Some people can get by with a 700W microwave while others require more power for quicker cooking times.
Also, another thing to keep in mind is that the size of the microwave is usually directly proportional to the power output of the appliance.
For example, most microwaves with a capacity of 1 cubic foot or more will often be rated at 1000W or higher.
The logic for this is simple: more space means that there is more room for the microwave energy to travel within the heating chamber.
Microwaves work by emitting high-energy microwave radiation that travels around the inner chamber and gets absorbed by the fat and water molecules in food.
The energized molecules then start to vibrate which creates friction and heat – this leads to the food getting warmed from the inside out.
So, with larger microwaves, these high-energy waves need to travel further distances and then reflect via the walls of the chamber and get absorbed by the food.
This requires more power to efficiently heat food without developing cold spots.
In general, the higher the output, the faster the food will cook. But this doesn’t mean that low-wattage microwaves are any less capable!
In fact, with a smaller chassis and a more compact cooking chamber, you won’t necessarily need a higher output appliance to heat food.
Most experts agree that a 700W microwave is more than enough for the average consumer.
700 watts may translate to slightly longer cooking times but you will be able to get more or less the same results.
Is there a huge difference? No. But people who have been using higher output microwaves may be able to detect a small discrepancy in the cooking time and efficiency when using smaller microwaves.
But the difference is almost negligible and will usually not affect your experience unless you are a demanding professional chef.
For example, if a 1500W microwave takes 30-50 seconds to cook microwave popcorn, then a less powerful microwave of half the power (700W) may take a minute and a half.
Of course, when you go with larger and more expensive microwaves, you are bound to come across some extra features.
These features can vary from one brand to the other—but not all of them are useful.
For example, a microwave with fuzzy logic may be able to automatically heat food using the best setting but one can argue that a non-smart microwave may be able to perform the same feat using guesswork by the user.
Smart features are a hit or a miss with customers.
Some people like to have lots of features, especially when paying for a higher-priced appliance, but for others who just want to heat their food as quickly as possible, these features may not be able to justify the value of the microwave.
On the other hand, in the case of low-wattage microwaves, you may be able to get competitive features.
Remember, the market for these affordable options is saturated because there is a high demand for cheaper microwaves. So, brands do their best to provide as much value as possible within the cost limits.
Most 700-900W microwaves are equipped with a lot of convenience-based and basic features like a spinning turntable, a lamp inside the cooking chamber, or digital controls with a soft-close door.
You can even get smart functions, presets, and other useful features with low-wattage microwaves.
While they might not be as smart as their larger counterparts, the cheaper microwaves usually have multiple programmable presets that you can use to cook different types of food efficiently.
Furthermore, some manufacturers may also label cooking times and the required power settings for different foods on the chassis of the microwave which can take the guesswork out of the equation when operating the appliance!
Are Cheaper Microwaves Low Quality And Dangerous?
With a lower price point than high wattage microwaves, one can easily become doubtful about the quality of the appliance.
However, in the case of microwaves, the build quality of these appliances is usually standard and manufacturers are legally required to follow international safety guidelines when manufacturing microwaves.
This is because microwaves generate high-powered microwave radiation that can be harmful to humans if the appliance is not built correctly.
Before you sound any alarms though, it is important to note that microwave radiation is not the same as the radiation that causes diseases, skin conditions, and other ailments.
Microwave radiation is known as non-ionizing radiation which isn’t powerful enough to affect DNA in humans but is powerful enough to cause burns.
There is a common misconception that some people believe that microwaves negatively affect food and can cause irreversible damage to humans.
This is simply not true and the safety of microwaves is also supported by countless studies done by several health agencies around the world.
Microwave radiation, when confined to the inner chamber of the microwave will never cause any harm and will not “change” the molecular structure of food either.
Even if some microwave radiations were to leak out of the microwave, it will never be enough to cause irreversible damage or any damage that you won’t immediately notice.
Either way, manufacturers will always follow the standards set by health and safety agencies which means that you will never have to worry about the build quality of the microwave.
However, there are a few things that you may need to keep in mind.
For example, while the chassis of the microwave may be built to resist damage, the knobs and controls on the outside of the appliance are subject to quality issues.
This is where low-wattage microwaves will differ the most when compared to high-priced microwaves that are usually built with high-quality materials.
In most cases, cheaper microwaves may have faulty door handles or a knob that will come loose after several repeated uses. This is a common complaint about customers with cheaper microwaves.
Similarly, a cheaper microwave with a low-quality digital control panel is more likely to break down and require repair than expensive options.
But this isn’t true for every low-wattage microwave!
As mentioned above, since the market for cheaper microwaves has become saturated, manufacturers have also become highly competitive—this is good news for customers because they will benefit from better quality products!
Think about it: when all the low wattage microwaves provide the same function, manufacturers will have to come up with different ways to bring in customers.
Some of these ways may include the use of higher quality materials and better convenience-based features. Other times, manufacturers may also throw in additional warranty coverage for their products.
On average, most 700W+ microwaves will be covered with a 1-year warranty that will include various parts of the microwave but we doubt that you will ever have to claim the warranty, especially with high-quality low wattage microwaves.
You can also think of this another way: there is very little that can go wrong with low-wattage microwaves because they don’t have complicated electronic parts like the larger microwaves.
Usually, more electronics equals a higher chance of failure and this is especially true for “smart” microwaves that are built with complicated parts that are typically highly sensitive to power surges or mechanical/electric failure.
Low wattage microwaves, in comparison, are built with a singular focus in mind: to heat food as quickly and efficiently as possible without bogging down the user experience.
For this reason, these compact microwaves are built with simple controls and utilize very basic parts.
They normally consist of just the magnetron (a device that generates microwaves), an inner lamp, a knob or button system, and a turntable—that’s it!
Before you dive into our recommendations, please go through this buyer’s guide so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing a low-wattage microwave for home use.
Here is what you need to look out for:
As we have already discussed, a low-wattage microwave can be between 700W and 1000W.
So, if you want to go with power savings and don’t mind the slightly longer cooking time, then we would recommend going for a compact 700W microwave.
It is important to note, though that most professional chefs prefer a microwave with an output of at least 800W to properly heat food without leaving behind cold spots.
The 800W range is perfect for people who are looking for a compact but efficient microwave.
However, for most people, a 700W microwave should be enough for simple everyday use. For example, a 700W microwave will easily be able to warm up leftovers within 30 seconds at full power.
You may also be able to adjust the power output of the appliance using the provided input system for better control over how you heat leftovers. We’ll discuss more this below!
First let’s go through another great “middle-ground” option: 900W microwaves.
These microwaves are perhaps the gold standard for any home user who is looking to heat multiple types of food on a daily basis.
While the 900W microwave is only going to provide a small boost in terms of performance, it is going to be a great addition for most people. Why?
Well, with a 900W microwave, you will be able to thaw food better than a 700W microwave.
This is because a 700W microwave will produce less energized microwaves at the thaw setting (which already consumes less power) than a higher output microwave.
It is estimated that a typical microwave will consume 20-30% of its total output at the defrost setting so you can see how you may be able to benefit more from a slightly higher output microwave.
Design, Warranty, and Features
While most microwaves follow international quality standards when it comes to their build quality, manufacturers may instead try to cut corners and save costs when it comes to the design and features of their microwave.
Always go for appliances with a 1–2-year brand warranty. This will provide you with ease of mind. Plus, a warranty is also associated with reliability and higher quality as is evident by consumer studies.
So, you may be able to get a higher quality product with more intrinsic value than a microwave that is considerably cheaper but without any warranty.
Another thing to consider is the design of the microwave. A microwave is no longer just an appliance but can also be a statement piece, especially for people who like to have a little pizzazz in the aesthetics of their kitchen.
This is why you should shop for low-wattage, compact microwaves that provide the right look and “feel” for your use.
There are several design choices to choose from. Some microwaves have a retro feel while others look modern and have sleek design features.
While the design of the microwave may be subjective, as long as the brand supports its product with a well-covered warranty and uses high-quality materials, you should be good with any design or style.
Finally, always go for a microwave that provides the most convenience and value to you. This could either mean a microwave with a soft-close door or an appliance with a knob or button system that is easy to access and use!
The 9 Best Low Wattage Microwaves
Now that you know what to look for in a high-quality low-wattage microwave, here are some excellent recommendations based on our buyer’s guide above!
|Black Decker Digital Microwave Oven
|Classic digital microwave with 700W power output.
|COMFEE' Countertop Microwave Oven
|Modern design with sound on/off and eco settings. An excellent 700w microwave for daily use.
|Commercial Chef Counter Top Microwave
|600W low-energy, high-efficiency microwave for daily tasks.
|Farberware Classic 700-Watt Microwave Oven
|High-quality, stainless-steel chassis with a 700W power output!
|Nostalgia Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
|Retro design with 800W power output. The best-looking microwave for any retro kitchen.
|Breville Countertop Microwave Oven
|25L capacity with 900W power makes this the easy choice for any demanding user.
|Sharp Microwave Oven
|Stainless steel body with convection cooking feature. A great 900W microwave for typical use.
|Sharp Over-The-Range Convection Microwave Oven
|Lightweight, compact but super-efficient 850W microwave.
|Mainstays RED Microwave Oven
|Killer color with an intuitive input system – the best 700W microwave for daily use.
1. Black Decker Digital Microwave Oven
Looking for a microwave that has mechanical and digital controls? Then the Black + Decker countertop microwave will fit your needs perfectly!
It’s equipped with a powerful 700W magnetron that can efficiently heat food without leaving behind cold spots.
The soft digital buttons on the front of the machine make it incredibly easy for you to choose presets and set the timer for heating and defrosting.
Oh and, this microwave also features a push-button door that can effortlessly open the front door of the microwave without you having to wrestle with the handle.
2. COMFEE’ Countertop Microwave Oven
Simple, elegant, and loaded with useful convenience-based features.
Not only can this 700W microwave heat food but it can also provide you with a lot of flexibility thanks to its presets and eco mode.
Now you don’t have to deal with the annoying beeps and audio feedback that is common with digital microwaves – just press the mute button and heat food without waking up everyone in the house!
3. Commercial Chef Counter Top Microwave
This microwave is a great example of a no-frill appliance that delivers on its promise of efficiency and power savings.
It has a 600W magnetron that, combined with the compact cooking chamber, can easily heat and cook food without you having to continuously add 15 seconds intervals like in other low-wattage microwaves.
It is compact and classy enough to fit most modern kitchens and is extremely easy to maintain as well.
Plus, if you dislike having to deal with buttons then this microwave features two knobs that control the power output and timer!
4. Farberware Classic 700-Watt Microwave Oven
Here’s another high-quality microwave that is built with a strong chassis and an extremely intuitive input system.
The Faberware classic microwave can heat food within minutes and has several digital functions and presets for pizzas, beverages, popcorn, and more.
You also get a memory function that can save your personal presets so you can easily heat your favorite food just the way you want it.
5. Nostalgia Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
Retro microwaves are making a comeback and if you want to get on the trend then this appliance is a great place to start.
It’s made with high-quality materials and is designed to provide both function and style.
It also features a great button and knob system where you can quickly set the power settings without fiddling around with multiple controls. It’s easy, classic, and great to look at too!
6. Breville Countertop Microwave Oven
If you hate dealing with stiff doors then the Breville countertop microwave oven was made just for you.
It features a powerful 900W magnetron that will blow away other smaller microwaves in terms of heating efficiency and overall performance.
This microwave was also designed with convenience in mind because it features a great knob system with larger buttons that you can use without bowing down to your microwave to read the labels on the buttons.
Another great reason why you should opt for this microwave is that it also features a soft-close door that can cut down the annoying and loud thump of the microwave door by up to 80%!
7. Sharp Microwave Oven
Sharp is known for manufacturing high-grade products and this microwave is no exception.
The 1.5 cubic feet of storage space will be more than enough for the average consumer and the 900W output of this machine will guarantee a quick heating session!
It also has an intuitive digital control with easy-to-press and tactile buttons.
Want more? This microwave also features multiple auto functions that can efficiently and smartly heat food without you having to constantly adjust the power setting of the appliance.
8. Sharp Over-The-Range Convection Microwave Oven
Here’s another great entry by Sharp. This time, with an over-the-range form factor that is perfect for people who want more counter space.
It has an easy-to-follow interface with lots of programmable presets.
The installation of this microwave is also made to be extremely easy. Just fit it over any cooking range and forget about it!
It is built around a powerful yet low-wattage 850W magnetron that will easily defrost rock-solid frozen food within minutes and can bake, broil and roast multiple foods without much effort too!
9. Mainstays RED Microwave Oven
This microwave is a great pick for many reasons.
It is perhaps one the most intuitive microwaves that you will ever find in this price range.
It is also highly efficient, even with a low wattage (700W) magnetron.
It has a convenient digital panel on the front that allows you to control the cooking time and the programmable presets of the microwave within seconds.
Not only that, but you also get a mechanical push-button door that is soft to the touch, unlike other low-quality microwaves with stiff parts.
The cherry on top is that the Mainstay microwave comes in a beautiful combination of red and black that will easily make it stand out in any kitchen.
It is ostentatious enough to catch the eyes of anyone and yet it is also compact and efficient in every way!