The RV or recreational vehicle serves as a home away from home for many people out there. It’s a vacation ride, like a camper. For people who love to travel, it’s their only home that they can move into trailer parks across the country.
Naturally, if you have an RV you want everything that makes a home inside it. One such essential appliance is the microwave if only to ensure that you can cook TV dinners rather quickly.
You can also use these units to cook regular food and dishes as well as heat up beverages or defrost meats. With that said, what’s the best RV microwave out there?
What to Look for in RV Microwaves
Space is tight in your recreational vehicle. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, you should hunt for an RV microwave that could fill out that limited space perfectly without eating boundaries or removing space reserved for your toaster or coffeemaker.
Space and Location
When shopping for an RV microwave, get one that can fit in the tightest of spaces. Size should be on the top of your list of specs, thus limiting your shortlist to a specific type of low-wattage, space-saving microwave perfect for RVs and its energy constraints.
They should have enough wattage to give you fast enough cooking times without taking up the entire counter or using up all the battery power of your RV. Even if you have a solar-powered kitchen, you still need to conserve wattage.
You may also like: Can You Use Any Microwave in an RV?
Mounting Types Available for RV Microwaves
Like kitchen microwaves, RV microwaves could be mounted in different ways.
You can get a standalone countertop unit with the most straightforward mounting configuration or you could get a wall-mounted model in case you really lack space in your RV kitchen or kitchenette.
If you’re short on space, the wall-mounted model is a safe bet but it will cost you extra when all is said and done.
How are RV Microwaves Different from Your Microwave at Home?
Size and wattage define the typical RV microwave. Their smallness directly contributes to their limited wattage and to get a small microwave with too high a wattage rating kind of defeats their purpose of being RV-friendly microwave oven units.
You need to be patient when working with an RV microwave the same way you need to be patient when cooking with a smaller grill since they draw power from limited energy sources like car batteries and solar panels.
Benefits to Having a Microwave in Your RV
The benefits and features you should be on the watch out for when it comes to RV microwave include extra settings or modes to streamline cooking, defrosting, heating, reheating, or preparing things like soup, rice, coffee, pizza, or popcorn.
You can also get the most basic microwave possible and live on TV dinners you buy in groceries and convenience stores. This is also an option. Microwaves are also inherently safer and faster to use than a stovetop.
Load Test Your Battery
Have your RV battery load tested then use that information when picking up the right RV microwave for the vehicle.
The load test will inform you of energy source limits, particularly how many times you can use your microwave per day, per solar panel recharge, or per refuel.
The watts of your microwave (600-700 watts at least for decent performance) should match the load your battery could take. This can also tell you how long the microwave oven could be used in a day.
Buying Recommendations for RV Microwaves
When searching for something like a halfway good space-saving RV microwave, you should be on the lookout for specs like a built-in microwave oven with a wide trim kit.
You can also avail of a black countertop microwave oven with convection heating features for quicker cooking even at lower wattages.
Then there’s the wall-mount variety of microwaves with ample interior capacity of about 1.1 cubic feet.
Make sure to get a stainless steel RV microwave for good measure to ensure long-lasting performance and durability.
Products to Review
Here are our reviews of the best RV microwave units out there by our estimation.
Nostalgia 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station
Nostalgia as a brand name lives up to its moniker. It harkens back to simpler times with its straightforward attitude and approach towards being a microwave.
This is one of the best RV microwaves we’ve gotten our hands on because it’s the ultimate space-saver.
Not only does it not hog the countertop. It doubles—or perhaps triples—as a multi-function microwave with a toaster oven and coffeemaker capabilities you probably won’t see in many other microwave oven brands out there.
The 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station by Nostalgia has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars according to 2,589 ratings at the time of this writing. The amount of Amazon customers reviewing this should increase over time, thus possibly changing its rating. However, it should remain at 4.4 in light of its flow of positive reviews.
People in RVs love the concept and execution of a microwave, toaster, and coffee maker in one unit. It’s a good camping microwave as well as an RV microwave.
Obviously, its main claim to fame is the fact that it allows you to have multiple breakfast appliances in one lightweight “Family Size Breakfast Station”.
It doesn’t drain off all the battery power or solar panel power of your RV with its wattage, although there are some complaints on the Amazon page about it being no more powerful than an “Easy-Bake Oven”.
Still, it’s worth the money for all its other features as well, such as doubling as a coffeemaker and tripling(?) as a toaster oven with a griddle.
- Stay-cool handle.
- Non-stick griddle.
- Lightweight at 13.1 pounds.
- It has a half-hour auto shut-off timer.
- Easy clean up when all is said and done.
- 2-4 bread slices could be toasted by the toaster.
- 4 cups of coffee can be made by the coffeemaker.
- 3-in-1 microwave, coffeemaker, and toaster (plus griddle).
- A relatively compact unit considering its sheer amount of appliances crammed into one product.
- Small microwave capacity due to other attachments.
- Primitive, low-powered “Easy-Bake Oven” microwave function.
Commercial Chef CHM660B Countertop Small Microwave Oven
The Commercial Chef CHM660B Countertop is a mini microwave oven. It has a capacity of 0.6 cubic feet and it has a black color.
It’s rated currently on Amazon as 4.3 out of 5 stars according to 7,159 ratings at the time of this writing.
Aside from the 0.6 cubic feet capacity version, you can also avail of bigger ovens with capacity sizes of 0.7 cubic feet, 0.9 cubic feet, and 1.1 cubic feet. There are even white-colored models for good measure.
The bigger they get the more wattage they offer, so we ultimately went with the 0.6 cubic feet model.
Although the capacity is quite snug, the CHM660B makes up for it with its RV-ready wattage, its deep black cabinet that makes the most out of its 0.6 cubic feet capacity for your dishes, and its durable stainless steel front with trim.
This countertop microwave by Commercial Chef (or Commercial CHEF) has an old-timey human interface input dial.
The dial is ergonomic and easy to understand at a glance versus buttons that require a manual to work.
Additionally, the handle is easy to grip and the whole thing is designed a la old-school rotary microwave. It even includes a decent defrost mode for extra utility.
It’s one of the hardiest microwaves we could find. However, unsatisfied customers claim the other 5 levels aside from the highest setting are worthless.
- It can go up to 6 power levels.
- Offers an ergonomic input dial.
- Relatively lightweight at 23.1 pounds.
- It’s a space-saving countertop microwave.
- Durable microwave oven made of stainless steel.
- The 0.6 cubic feet capacity is decent for the RV lifestyle.
- It’s quite compact at the size of 17.75 inches by 12.5 inches by 10.25 inches.
- It’s highly recommended for reheating leftovers, preparing snacks, or cooking mug-sized dishes depending on the recipe requirements.
- Only the highest setting is worth using, rendering the rest moot.
- Some competing microwaves out there have a larger capacity while still meeting RV wattage requirements.
Amazon Basics Microwave
Amazon Basics Microwave, also known as the AmazonBasics Microwave Oven, is a make and model of the microwave by Amazon that attempts to make a high-end RV microwave with extra modes and advances despite the wattage requirements of a typical RV that’s far away from a power grid connection.
The power grid of a typical brick-and-mortar household allows for higher-wattage microwaves to cook, defrost, or reheat food at faster rates and shorter times. An RV has no such power grid access.
The AmazonBasics Microwave is also quite high-quality by virtue of being made by Amazon, the same company selling many of the microwaves on this list.
This advanced RV-style mini microwave amazes by fulfilling the wattage and size requirements of a typical RV while also showing that such a microwave could also give conventional-sized, regular-wattage microwave ovens in terms of modes, utilities, presets, settings, and uses. As expected of Amazon.
Also, as expected of a microwave with a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars by 23,297 reviewers (at the time of this writing), Amazon Basics works with Alexa and various Amazon apps.
Yes, this low-wattage mini microwave is advanced enough to be voice-activated and voice-controlled, especially if you have an Amazon Echo included in your RV. The device defies the stereotype of RV microwaves being primitive devices no better than an Easy-Bake Oven indeed.
- It features 10 power levels.
- It has a deep 0.7 cubic feet size or capacity.
- It includes a handy turntable for even cooking.
- It also has a child lock for child safety purposes.
- It’s perfect for classic microwave functions like making TV dinners and popcorn.
- It’s a compact RV microwave of the 700-watt variety to prevent battery overload.
- It’s designed to work with Amazon and Alexa voice controls, particularly with Amazon Echo.
- Concerns regarding overheating.
- Quality control issues regarding the panel melting in certain AmazonBasics units.
Sharp Microwave ZSMC0710BW
This Sharp 700-watt microwave brings space maximization and loads of modes to the table.
It might not be able to compete with the Amazon Basics ability to respond to voice commands but it is pound-for-pound multi-functional as well for a countertop installation type of microwave oven.
More to the point, this microwave should be compact but not in a way that sacrifices utility. That’s why it has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet, allowing for some large plates with its deep interior.
Furthermore, it’s an aesthetically versatile countertop microwave oven with its white coloring and amazingly durable with its steel construction.
It weighs about 21. 4 pounds and can carry about 0.7 pounds of food. It’s not that lightweight as other microwaves on this list but it’s space-saving enough to be used as a portable camping microwave of sorts.
Its smallness is to its benefit for sure in the context of RVs or even campers and camping expeditions. However, some might find its heaviness despite its compactness as the worst of both worlds. It should at least be lighter if it’s going to be smaller.
It even features a multitude of functions that belie is smallness such as timed cooking, timed defrost, and auto defrost.
Its wattage makes it useful for RV usage because it won’t eat up your battery’s electricity or overload it.
This is the reason why the device has a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars according to 393 reviewers at the time of this writing. Many satisfied customers have kept the rating for the ZSMC0710BW consistently high with few complaints and amazing quality control consistency.
This is evidenced by how in our previous review of the device in a separate article, it had the same rating.
- Relatively lightweight at 21.4 pounds.
- A +30-seconds key function for instant start.
- The installation type for the oven is a countertop.
- 7 pounds and 0.7 cubic feet of interior capacity.
- It features timed cooking, timed defrost, and auto defrost.
- It has a carousel table that measures 10 inches in diameter.
- This 700-watt microwave works great with RV batteries and solar cells.
- It’s not big enough to fit in 11-inch dinner plates.
- Size limitations serve as the number 1 concern of the reviewers.
Impecca CM0674K 700-Watts Countertop Microwave Oven
Impecca CM0674K is a black-colored 0.6 cubic feet type of countertop microwave oven that works with 120-volt power sockets.
It has a nice and compact design with sleek black coloring for a modern look.
Furthermore, the Impecca CM0674K has a human interface input of buttons and dials to accommodate older and younger generations who are used to either control type.
The mechanical dials allow you to seek at a glance how long and how high-powered a setting you want to go rather than having to push buttons in order to digitally access different settings.
This makes it easy to operate by even senior citizens who are used to rotary dials instead of modern push buttons.
Additionally, the Impecca Countertop Microwave Oven CM0674K has an interior capacity of 0.6 cubic feet and a 9.65-inch turntable size that can fit in almost any dish that’s less than 10 inches in diameter.
The oven has a 30-minute timer that’s perfect for defrosting purposes. It also limits the cooking time when you’re making microwave recipes. This way, you won’t accidentally overcook a dish by entering a longer cooking time.
Its 6 power levels are pretty good for a mini microwave for RVs, only 10-level microwaves like AmazonBasics do better.
- 120 volts of voltage.
- 65-inch size for the turntable.
- 6 cubic feet of size and capacity.
- It has a combination of buttons and dials.
- It’s a countertop installation type of oven.
- It features a 30-minute timer for safety’s purpose.
- 6 power levels to accommodate different cooking tasks.
- 700-watt RV microwave for out-of-the-power-grid solar or car battery usage.
- The unsatisfied customers prefer handles and dials instead of its fragile buttons.
- Certain ovens have quality control issues like broken doors and a push button that easily comes apart.
Also, Take Note
An RV microwave brings the comforts of a regular home into an RV or camper. Most importantly, it’s the type of microwave that takes into account the voltage or energy limitations of a vehicle that doubles as your home compared to a home connected to the power grid.
Therefore, most RV microwaves tend to be of the 600-watt to 700-watt range instead of the normally 900-watt and above big-box microwaves most Americans are used to.
They also have snugger, tighter designs to save you as much space or kitchen real estate as possible to boot.