Small Microwave Ovens – Which are the Best Mini Microwaves in the UK?

Do you need a small microwave that doesn't take an age to cook, reheat and defrost food? You've come to the right place! We've listed our top 5 recommendations for a microwave with a reduced footprint below.

Microwaves are an essential home item. But with kitchen sizes getting smaller and more appliances filling our counters, not everyone can accommodate a large model. That's where small microwaves come in.

A small or compact microwave oven performs the same function as any other, but with a considerably reduced footprint. Mini microwaves are typically less than 20 litres in capacity (usually 14 litres or 17 litres) and often have a power output of 700W or lower. Most are solo appliances, but there are also grill and combination models available.

On this site, we review the best small microwave ovens in the UK. Each model is listed with a size, power rating and other features, so you can make an informed decision quickly.

Which are the 5 Best Small Microwaves?

To make choosing the best small microwave as easy as possible, we've listed out top 5 choices below. We think each provides great value and performance along with a smaller size - but be prepared for slower cooking than more powerful microwaves.

All the models on this list are compact in terms of width and depth. This makes them great for kitchens without much space. However, keep in mind the height can be just as important - especially if you want to use it for items such as baby bottles or jugs. Most of the best small microwaves are relatively short, so make sure you check the cavity height if this is something that's important to you.​

ImageProductPowerCapacityExternal WidthExternal DepthExternal HeightOur RatingView Price
Daewoo QT1600W14 litres42.4 cm31.6 cm22.5 cm5/5!View Price
Russell Hobbs RHM1714B700W17 litres45.2 cm36.0 cm26.2 cm4/5View Price
Currys Essentials C17MW14700W17 litres43.9 cm35.5 cm25.7 cm4/5View Price
Russell Hobbs RHMM701R700W17 litres45.1 cm32.6 cm25.6 cm4/5View Price
Daewoo QT3600W14 litres42.4 cm31.6 cm22.5 cm4/5View Price

 #1  Daewoo QT1 (14 litre)

The Daewoo QT1 is a tiny microwave with a 14 litre capacity.

Who Should Buy:

The Daewoo QT1 is an excellent microwave for small kitchens. Don't expect fast cooking, but it's a reliable model and our #1 recommendation. Click here to view its price.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 14 litres
  • Power: 600W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 42.4 x 31.6 x 22.5 cm

Our top recommendation for a compact microwave is the excellent Daewoo QT1. It's a functional and slim microwave without advanced features, yet is the perfect size for small kitchens.  But what makes this appliance stand-out from the crowd?

Firstly, it's is a "true" mini microwave. With a capacity of just 14 litres and a footprint of 42.4x31.6cm, it's one of the smallest microwave ovens on the market at the moment.​ It's also short (the height is just 22.5cm), so it's great for fitting under low-hanging cabinets. Even with these small dimensions, Daewoo claims it's capable of fitting a 25cm diameter plate.

The QT1 is a manual mini microwave. This means it doesn't have a digital display - or any of the advanced automatic programmes that comes with it. Instead, there are two simple dials for selecting power level and cooking time. It has a relatively short maximum running time of 35 minutes, but in reality you're unlikely to cook for longer in a microwave with this size and power.

Speaking of power, it's a 600W microwave. If your previous microwaves have been 800W or more, be aware that the QT1 will take noticeably longer to cook food. It's no slouch, but it's not fast either.​ There are also seven microwave power levels for cooking different types of food.

Other features of the Daewoo QT1 include a "diamond" cavity system for more even cooking and a defrost setting.​ We also like the sleek white design, as it won't clash with your existing decor.

Overall, the Daewoo QT1 is an excellent mini microwave oven that's available at a low price. If you need a small appliance for basic cooking and defrosting, it's our #1 recommendation.​

Type: Freestanding Solo | Our Rating: 5/5

 #2  Russell Hobbs RHM1714B (17 litre)

The Russell Hobbs RHM1714B is a small microwave oven with a digital display.

Who Should Buy:

If you want a small microwave that also has a digital display and auto-cook options (and don't mind paying more), the RHM1714B is our top pick. Click here to view its price.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 17 litres
  • Power: 700W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 45.2 x 36 x 26.2 cm

Another excellent compact microwave is the Russell Hobbs RHM1714B. It's slightly larger than the Daewoo QT1 and can only fit a 24.5cm diameter plate, but comes with a range of advance options not found on manual models.

There's no doubt Russell Hobbs has produced a stylish microwave. With a classy black design and curved handle, it'll fit nicely into any modern kitchen.​ It's slightly larger than the Daewoo models on this list, albeit only by a few centimetres, so make sure you check it fits in your kitchen.

One of the advantages it has over the QT1 is the 700W power output. This means it can cook, defrost and reheat noticeably faster - although it still lags behind 800W+ models.​ There are five power levels so you can tailor your cooking speed depending on the type of food.

But the biggest difference between this microwave and manual alternatives is the digital control panel. ​This provides features such as multi-stage cooking, pre-set cook menus, weight defrost and even a kitchen timer. Compared to manual microwaves that only provide options for power and time, it's a big step up.

If you want a small microwave oven but don't want to sacrifice the features of a digital machine, the Russell Hobbs RHM1714B is our top recommendation.​ The control panel isn't the clearest, so it takes a bit of getting used to, but overall it provides a lot of value considering the price.

Type: Freestanding Solo | Our Rating: 4/5

 #3  Currys Essentials C17MW14 (17 litre)

The Currys Essentials C17MW14  is the cheapest 17 litre microwave we've seen.

Who Should Buy:

If you're on a tight budget, the Currys C17MW14 is the cheapest option on this list. It's a basic model but it gets the job done. Click here to view its price.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 17 litres
  • Power: 700W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 43.9 x 35.5 x 25.7 cm

The Currys Essentials C17MW14  is the best option if you want a small appliance without spending a lot of money. It's a simple manual model with a two dial control panel - so don't expect advanced features. But it's effective at basic jobs such as reheating and defrosting.

Like most of the other microwaves on this list, the C17MW14 is a 700W model. It can cook food simply and easily, but you'll need to add some extra cooking time compared to 800W or 900W machines. There are also five power levels to choose from. It's not as small as the Daewoo appliances on this list (which we class as true mini microwaves), but it's still a compact model.

It's controlled via two dials - power and time - so it's easy to start using. The defrost mode is a little confusing the first time you use it, but the manual is clear and straightforward to read.

One of the best things about the C17MW14 is its price. It provides amazing value considering it's one of the cheapest small microwaves in the UK. So if you're looking for no-frills and basic cooking from your microwave, and don't mind a model that's slightly larger than the Daewoo options, it's a great choice.​

Type: Freestanding Solo | Our Rating: 4/5

 #4  Russell Hobbs RHMM701R (17 litre)

The Russell Hobbs RHMM701R is a 17 litre microwave.

Who Should Buy:

The Russell Hobbs RHMM701R is a slightly larger manual microwave than the QT1 - but it's also more powerful and can cook larger quantities of food. Click here to view its price.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 17 litres
  • Power: 700W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 45.1 x 32.6 x 25.6 cm

If you need a larger capacity than the Daewoo QT1 and your kitchen can accommodate a bigger footprint, the Russell Hobbs RHMM701R could be a good solution. It's a stylish red microwave that's available for a relatively low price - and it's great for small kitchens.

The first thing to note about the RHMM701R is that it's a 700W manual microwave. This means it cooks food faster than the QT1 - although it also uses more energy. Like most microwaves, it has a variety of power levels - although the five options are more restrictive than other models.​

One of the best things about this product is its attractive retro design. Unlike the Daewoo QT1, which has a basic appearance, the RHMM701R has a bold colour scheme and stylish curved door handle. You can also buy this microwave in cream and or black if you prefer.​

In fact, the only reason this model hasn't been awarded our #1 rating is that there are questions about its reliability. We've heard from a number of customers that it quickly starts to rust or develop other faults. While some of these are probably due to unrealistic expectations (the low price means this model is never going to match the functionality of more expensive alternatives), it prevented us placing it higher on the list.​

Even so, considering the low price, stylish appearance and 700W microwave power, we think the Russell Hobbs RHMM701R is one of the best small microwaves on the market.​

Type: Freestanding Solo | Our Rating: 4/5

 #5  Daewoo QT3 (14 litre)

The Daewoo QT3 is another 14 litre microwave.

Who Should Buy:

The Daewoo QT3 is an excellent 14 litre microwave. It has the same features as the QT1, so the only real difference is the colour scheme. Click here to view its price.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 14 litres
  • Power: 600W
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 42.4 x 31.6 x 22.5 cm

If you think the Daewoo QT3 looks familiar - you're correct! In most ways it's identical to our #1 mini microwave (the QT1), but it has a different colour scheme that you'll either love or hate.

As you've probably noticed, the QT3 comes with a fetching pink colour exterior. This certainly gives it a different appeal than the bland white QT1, but it's not going to be to everyone's tastes. It also has circular dials, unlike the QT1 which has rounded squares.​

Like the QT1, the QT3 is a 600W microwave. You shouldn't expect it to cook food as quickly as more powerful options, although it does a decent job of heating food thoroughly and evenly.​ It's also a manual microwave that's controlled using two dials. This makes it simple to reheat or defrost food, but it lacks advanced features found on digital models. Other features include seven power levels, a power saving mode that kicks in after 10 minutes and a 10" turntable.

The QT3 mini microwave is identical in most respects to the QT1 - so you might be surprised to see it has a lower rating. This is because we don't think the colour scheme is for everyone, so the QT1 is a safer bet for most people. With that said, if you like the pink colour scheme or just want to jazz up your kitchen, the Daewoo QT3 is an excellent microwave for the money.

Type: Freestanding Solo | Our Rating: 4/5

What to Look for in a Compact Microwave?

In most respects, choosing a compact or mini microwave is the same as any other type of appliance. The most important thing is to find a model that suits your requirements. A cheap appliance might be great for someone on a tight budget who only needs to cook the occasional meal. But for daily cooking it might not provide the best value.

With that said, there are features almost everyone wants from a microwave. These include cooking speed and reliability. Here are some of the things we look for when reviewing mini microwaves:

  • Dimensions - this is the most important thing when choosing a mini model - for obvious reasons!
  • Power output and cooking speed - smaller appliances tend to cook slower, but that doesn't mean you should settle for a low-quality model.
  • Types - there are three main types of mini microwave, solo, combination and grill. Most small models are solo, but we look for great appliances in all categories.
  • Manual or digital - manual appliances are usually cheaper but have fewer options and settings. It's also harder to be precise with cooking times when using a dial instead of a digital display.
  • Power levels - most microwaves have multiple power levels, but some have more than others. While you'll often stick to defrost or full power, having extra options can be useful for certain foods.
  • Cooking programmes - many digital microwaves include programmes for automatically cooking certain types of food. Common options include pizzas and popcorn.
  • Automatic defrost - this is a useful feature when you need to defrost a common item, such as a chicken breast.

Aside from these features of a microwave, we also consider the brand and price. To be a recommended model, a microwave needs to be made by a high-quality brand that is known for its reliability. It's also vital that an appliance provides value for money in terms of durability, cooking potential and speed.

Who Needs a Small Microwave Oven?

For many people, the idea of buying a smaller microwave on purpose doesn't make sense. Why would you want a microwave that can cook less food...often with a slower cooking speed and fewer features? Here are just a few of the reasons you might want to buy one.

  • Small Kitchens. Some kitchens just don't have a large counter - or perhaps your other appliances take up most of the space. In this case, a mini microwave can provide fast cooking without being too large.
  • Caravans. A caravan naturally has a small kitchen space. Microwave ovens with a mini footprint are often the only option if you want convenient cooking while on your travels. However, any microwave used in a mobile home or caravan should be built specifically for this location. Standard microwaves may become damaged and even emit harmful radiation due to the bumpy nature of a caravan (although this isn't an issue with permanently stationed caravans).
  • Travelling. Some of the smallest microwaves can even be taken with you while on the road and used at hotels.
  • Vans. If you have a commercial van, such as those selling food or drinks, then one of the microwaves on this list could be a good option if you need a way to quickly heat food. Like caravans, these microwaves should be suited to mobile use.
  • Camping. Most camp sites have electricity sockets you can use. While bringing a microwave may not provide the "true" natural experience, it can take a lot of the stress out of cooking.
  • Minimalist Kitchens. If you want to maintain an uncluttered appearance, smaller microwaves are a good option. They have a much less bulky appearance than larger alternatives.

Of course, there are some downsides too. Small microwaves usually aren't the best choice if you want to cook food quickly. All of the models on this page are either 600W or 700W, so they reheat and defrost slower than an 800W microwave. Smaller microwaves also aren't great for cooking large amounts of food - for obvious reasons!

Even so, most compact models can fit a standard dinner plate and cook food evenly. If you just want a simple microwave that doesn't take up much room, any of the models on this list could be a great choice.​

If you have any questions about buying a small microwave, or just want to get in contact, please feel free to use the contact page. We do our best to respond to every question.