Even though it’s essential to eat fresh, cooking from scratch isn’t always a viable option. If you wish to heat up your meal or make a quick snack, you can always whip up something with a handy microwave oven.
It’s even a dependable tool when it comes to recreational vehicles, campers, kitchenettes, trailer parks, flatshares, students, and the culinary challenged across the nation. With the right recipes, you can come up with various cup-sized or small-portioned dishes as well such as quiches and cakes.
You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Microwave Oven that Best Fits Your Needs
A retro microwave is a microwave like the ones made back in the 1950s and 1960s, when there were more dials as your human interface instead of push buttons or voice-activated tech.
- 1 The Best Retro Microwaves Reviews
- 1.1 Nostalgia 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven RMO4AQ
- 1.2 COMFEE’ Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
- 1.3 Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven
- 1.4 WINIA WOR07R3ZEC Retro Microwave
- 1.5 Magic Chef MCD992R Red Countertop Microwave
- 1.6 RCA RMW1112-RED 1.1 Cu. ft. 1000W Microwave
- 1.7 Oster OGB81101 1.1 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven
- 1.8 HB 700 Watt Microwave.7 cubic foot capacity (Red)
- 1.9 Panasonic Countertop/Built-In Microwave Oven with Cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology
- 1.10 Nostalgia RMO4RR Retro Large 0.9 cu ft, 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven
- 2 What to Expect From Retro Microwaves
- 3 In Conclusion
The Best Retro Microwaves Reviews
Here are the best retro microwaves we could get our hands-on. Which one is the best? Decide in accordance with the Amazon user ratings, the prices, the features, and your own personal needs.
The Nostalgia 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven RMO4AQ lives up to its company name by being a truly nostalgic relic remade for modern times.
It’s like one of those modern phonograph players that could play classic vinyl records even though most people have moved on to cassette tapes, music CDs, MP3 players, and streaming music from the Spotify app.
To be more specific, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ is a retro microwave oven with 800 watts of power.
800 watts is also near enough 1,000 watts to make it a viable standard microwave.
In other words, it doesn’t have as long a wait time in terms of cooking as its 700-watt RV microwave counterpart.
Additionally, this microwave scored 4.7 out of 5 stars by 2,399 ratings exactly because it’s jam-packed with classic features like its Aqua coloring, easy-clean interior, and human interface composed of dials and whatnot.
- Works with 110-volt voltage.
- Easy-clean 0.9 cubic feet interior.
- 800-watt retro countertop microwave.
- Retro aesthetics that any generation could make work.
- Compact at 19 inches by 17.9 inches by 11 inches and 30 pounds.
- Preset settings such as potato, beverage, dish, defrost, and so forth.
- It’s Amazon’s Choice for “Nostalgia Microwave”, making it a site-recommended retro microwave of sorts.
- It has the best of both worlds in terms of classic aesthetics and modern functionalities like preset modes and a digital clock.
- Quality control and sturdiness issues.
- Limited functionality compared to its peers.
Few retro microwave ovens are as comfy as a COMFEE or Comfee Retro Countertop Microwave.
To delve into the reason why it scores an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars out of 9,823 ratings at the time of this writing (a lower score than the Nostalgia Microwave but a metric ton of more reviewers reviewed this more popular machine), let’s look at its specs.
First off, its human interface controls include about six buttons that allow you to access its different modes at a glance versus a dial or the numerical keypad of modern microwaves. Secondly, for $20 less, you can get it in black or white.
For about $10 less you can get it in pastel green. It’s worth about the same in Passionate Red, another popular color.
- Child-Safety Lock included.
- It has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet.
- Retro input buttons instead of a dial.
- It features a position-memory turntable.
- A 700-watt countertop installation microwave.
- ECO mode for RVs and for energy-saving purposes.
- It sports a Sound On/Off button unique to this unit.
- It has a nice retro cream color common in the 1950s.
- Compact at 3 inches by 14.1 inches by 10.2 inches.
- Quality control issues in some units regarding longevity and operation (smoke and smells)
- Arbitrary price increases due to different color aesthetics (the cream version costs about $20 than the black version).
The Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 Retro Microwave Oven has a similarly high rating as the Nostalgia Microwave Oven.
It’s a retro microwave oven that is surf green in color, which is quite the classic aesthetic. Furthermore, the Galanz GLCMKA07GNR-07 has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity, which is a pretty average interior space and size.
The classic or retro microwave unit has a glass turntable with a roller ring that turns the dish in order to ensure 360° heating that’s quite even and equal.
This improves cooking and heating efficiency when push comes to shove. Some claim this is a dangerous product that can fill up small spaces but could end up on fire if left turned on an entire night. These are the minority of Galanz microwaves though, in light of its 4.7 star rating.
- It’s easy to defrost meat here.
- 7 cubic feet of interior capacity.
- It features 6 variable power levels.
- It’s a 700-watt countertop retro microwave oven.
- You can defrost the meat via the microwave by weight or time.
- It includes an LED display that clearly shows the remaining cooking time.
- It includes a child lock for your children’s safety and interior light for status checking.
- Issues with the plate and overheating.
- Fire hazard claims. Risky and dangerous according to some.
It’s a relatively high rating but only a few people have availed of this Winnie microwave compared to the thousands of reviews for the Nostalgia, Comfee, and Galanz microwaves.
Regardless, it shares the best tech from its peers, such as its classic color, its preset settings, and its 2-way defrost tech that’s weight-based.
It has a unique C.R.S. (Concave Reflect System) that uses Dual Wave technology in order to reflect microwaves or micro radio waves in a more efficient manner.
Just because it’s a retro microwave, it doesn’t mean that it should not enjoy more modern tech to allow for efficient heating, reheating, and defrosting for a microwave of its wattage (700 watts).
- Recessed turntable.
- Countertop installation.
- 7 cubic feet of interior capacity.
- Retro design with a vintage aesthetic.
- Energy economy mode is known as “Zero On”.
- Cream-colored 700-watt countertop microwave oven.
- The compact size of 6 inches by 12.7 inches by 10.6 inches.
- 5 Auto Cook menus and a Concave Reflect System to enhance the cooking process.
- It includes a handle on the door and a dial as well as a few buttons for its human input interface.
- 2-way defrost that thaws various frozen foods using a weight defrost function technology.
- Primitive and weak.
- Small but not ferocious (it takes forever to heat up a cup of tea).
The Magic Chef MCD992R has a capacity of 0.9 cubic feet and the wattage of 900 watts.
It’s quite the striking microwave oven with its red coloring.
It stands out in the good way with its sleek retro coloring reminiscent of an automobile.
It’s also amazingly lightweight at 1.8 pounds, mostly because it’s made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum.
The retro microwave also has 10 power levels. This means that it can go up all the way to Level 10 or 900 watts. Its power levels are divided into 10 increments, which means that at Level 5 it’s about 450 watts.
The red microwave cabinet also comes with a numerical keypad, Kitchen Timer, and Child Safety Lock to safeguard your children from accessing this device.
For a red microwave designed to be so small, it has a pretty deep interior.
- Lightweight at 1.8 pounds.
- 9 cubic feet of interior capacity.
- Durable aluminum box construction.
- Auto cook menus and auto defrost mode.
- Wattage or energy consumption of 900 watts.
- It features Kitchen Timer and Child Safety Lock.
- 900-watt red countertop installation microwave oven.
- Its smallness allows you to maximize countertop space.
- Its Amazon page lists it as a compact 21 inches by 16.8 inches by 13.7 inches.
- The right side of the metal is bulging out.
- Smaller than its measurements indicate on the Amazon page and less popular than its peers.
Here’s another cherry-red retro-style microwave that has this automobile finish sleekness to it. The RCA Red Microwave is much better than the Magic Chef in terms of wattage.
It can go all the way up to 1,000 watts, which practically disqualifies it for use with an RV or off-grid electronics use.
However, it also means that it can heat up food much faster than many other microwaves reviewed here so far.
It has a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 stars according to 298 ratings. Only a few reviewers have rated it but it has more ratings (and higher ones at that) than Magic Chef.
Its interior is spacey at 1.1 cubic feet, thus allowing you to put bigger bowls and plates inside the oven. It’s much larger than the other RV-type microwaves but its spacious interior makes its slight bigness of 24 inches by 18.5 inches by 14.5 inches worthwhile.
- Child lock feature.
- Available at under $100.
- It has an item weight of 39 pounds.
- It has a much larger capacity of 1.1 cubic feet.
- Human interface uses an electronic touchpad.
- 1,000-watt sleek red countertop retro microwave.
- It offers a striking retro red color. It’s also available in white.
- It has a relatively compact size of 24 inches by 18.5 inches by 14.5 inches.
- Turntable gets stuck and won’t turn properly in some units.
- Mostly mediocre in operation but better than the unpopular WINIA.
We’d say it’s underrated and deserves a full 4 stars, but its quality control issues dragged its customer ratings down.
The things we like about it are the fact that it belongs to the 1.1 cubic feet capacity and 1-kilowatt class or retro microwave.
From the makers of the Osterizer Blender comes Oster’s answer to classic or retro microwaves. It’s pretty good, even though there are more popular brands and models out there on this very list.
It is borderline an RV microwave but it has enough wattage and interior capacity space to be viable as a “conventional” retro microwave.
- A hefty 39.2 pounds.
- Easy to use and easy to clean.
- 1 cubic feet of interior capacity.
- 1,000-watt Oster retro microwave.
- It has lots of value for your money.
- It’s made of a combination of metal and plastic.
- It offers weight defrost and express cooking modes.
- The white-colored retro oven can fit into any kitchen or kitchenette.
- A compact microwave with the size of 22 inches by 18 inches by 12 inches.
- Oster is a trusted name brand and the quality of the microwave itself shows.
- It makes a horrible grinding noise.
- Quality control issues regarding product life span.
It’s another cherry-red microwave with an automotive-looking finish. It’s a compact microwave with about 0.7 cubic feet of interior space.
It also works with 700 watts of power, which means it won’t overload your RV battery or solar panel power.
The humble HB Microwave also features 10 power levels. This is perfect for 700-watt microwave recipes for cooking quiche or baking cookies as well as making various mug cakes.
You will sometimes be asked to go half power or full power or quarter power, so having 10 power levels should enable you to figure out how high the wattage should be. It’s an energy-saving old-timey microwave you can use in campers and for camping.
- 10 power levels.
- The capacity of 0.7 cubic feet.
- Small and compact with nice features.
- Red finish on the metal and plastic unit.
- 700-watt red-colored countertop microwave.
- 6 quickset menu buttons for the human interface input.
- The ratings indicate high popularity than even the likes of Oster.
- It has a numeric keypad, digital display, and multiple cooking settings.
- Some units have operating panels that fail to work 85 percent of the time.
- Quality control issues like the microwave running even with the door open.
The Panasonic Retro Microwave uses cyclonic Wave Inverter Technology. This is how and why it has earned its stripes and its 3,467 ratings of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
It has the same positive ratings as the Hamilton Beach Retro Microwave, but the Panasonic one is more popular thanks to more than 3,000 people reviewing it.
Its main claim to fame is its cyclonic wave technology. Unique to Panasonic microwaves, this retro microwave enjoys 21st Century tech that circulates heat in a precise and ultra-efficient way.
The radiowaves can be controlled in a way that zaps your food at every temperature level, to the point that it can make dishes from even the most complex of food textures.
- Child safety lock.
- Easy to clean unit.
- Steel construction and silver design.
- 1,250 watts for energy consumption.
- A versatile appliance that’s easy to use.
- Amazon’s Choice for “Built-in Microwave with Trim Kit”.
- Ergonomic user interface with multiple cooking settings.
- A countertop microwave that can double as a built-in one (comes with its own trim kit).
- It features Panasonic’s propriety cyclonic wave technology, inverter turbo defrost, delay start and timer, quick 30-second button, and popcorn button.
- Rather expensive at $200 to $250.
- With some units, it only works a couple of times then dies.
The only Nostalgia RMO4RR is rated quite highly as a retro microwave or even as a standalone microwave.
Aesthetics-wise, it’s the better retro microwave with an almost steampunk feel.
It also helps that it’s nearly the same in terms of functionality and operation as its higher-rated counterpart.
It’s an 800-watt microwave with more than enough wattage for the average RV microwave but enough to make it usable in such a setting.
It has a handle on the door, a digital display, a dial for the power levels, and four buttons for the cooking presets. This is completed with the inclusion of 12-pre-programmed settings and a digital clock.
- Features a digital clock.
- 800-watt cooking power.
- Easy to clean and use the unit.
- The human interface comes complete with dials and buttons.
- Even cooking is assured with the requisite rotating glass plate or carousel.
- Customizable cooking settings via 12 preprogrammed modes including defrost and a delay timer.
- It gets high points in style, sheerness, and retrospective nostalgia aesthetics (as its maker’s name would suggest).
- An 800-watt countertop microwave oven.
- The poor quality unit can stop working after three months.
What to Expect From Retro Microwaves
The common denominators when it comes to features and benefits of the retro microwave, also known as the classic microwave or what microwaves looked at when they first appeared in shopping aisles or electronic shop shelves, include the following.
It’s Designed to Appeal to Style
The manufacturers of the retro microwave have designed their wares to look nostalgic. One of them even has “Nostalgia” as their company name.
They’re like the Star Wars, Full House, Karate Kid, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of modern kitchen electronics. These retro microwaves don’t only harken back to simpler times with their aesthetics.
They’re also functionally simple to operate, which serve as a huge selling point for the baby boomer generation all the way to the yuppies of the 1980s.
The 21st Century and Its Nostalgia Obsession
Every decade has a seeming yearning for 30 years ago. When it was the 1980s, people yearned for the simpler time or golden age of the 1950s with series like Happy Days or movies like Back to the Future.
When it was the 2010s instead, people yearned for the 1980s in turn, feeling nostalgic for Star Wars or the decade in general with series like Stranger Things.
The aesthetic of the retro microwave can fit into many a modern kitchen because 1980s or even 1950s design have made a retro comeback.
Simple is Best
The drab colors and “boring” look of the microwave might seem outdated to the younger generation but to the older ones, they have a familiar feel to them that they love.
Users both young and old could make use of these old-timey ovens with dials and timers. They don’t look new-fangled.
They’re more straightforward and doesn’t require too much finagling to work. You don’t need to read through every page of the user manual to deal with it.
It’s almost like an Easy Bake Oven in its simplicity rather than like a VHS player or VCR.
A Particular Style of Microwave Oven
The retro design of the microwave oven is a callback to what it originally looked like when it was first patented then sold in the Fifties from last century ago.
These microwaves tended to be on the small side too.
The 1950s aesthetic of dials, rounded corners, and simple mechanisms is present in retro microwaves since it was based on what conventional electronic ovens of the day looked like, except this appliance had a magnetron and could zap your food with radio waves in order to heat it up or cook it.
The things that make these microwaves appeal are equal parts form and function.
Smaller and More Compact
Miniaturization is more of a modern feature, right? Not so with microwaves. As microwaves became more powerful and gained more wattage, they started becoming bigger and more accommodating to huge dishes and food like whole turkeys or chicken.
Therefore, in order to go retro, the retro microwave tends to be on the small side.
The good news is that there’s a market for these smaller and more compact microwaves for RVs and campers as well as any home that’s off the power grid (i.e., they depend on solar power or a generator to work their electronics).
Simpler Interface that Lacks Inverter Tech
A retro microwave is built to be more primitive except for that magnetron technology that consistently remains the same for all microwave types out there.
It lacks sensor-based cooking and inverter technology, you have to forgo size and power with it, and at most it has a turntable diameter of 10 inches or less, which is about the size of a small-sized pizza.
Its capacity is about 0.7 cubic feet to 0.9 cubic feet. Some can be as small as 0.6 cubic feet but that’s really stretching compactness to the point of inconvenience.
Low Power or Wattage
Speaking of function, microwaves of yore were known to be lower power compared to current-day countertops.
You’d think this makes such microwaves terrible to use since more wattage and power means faster cooking times.
However, the lowered wattage of the retro microwave, therefore, makes it the perfect solar power or RV microwave as well.
Why? It’s because an RV that uses its own battery or power derived from a solar panel could only handle so much electronic load, like about 1,000 watts and below.
You rarely see a retro-type oven have 1,000 watts and above. They’re more like in the 700-900 watt range, to be honest.
The Pitfalls of Retro
It’s the 21st Century. To be more specific, it’s the New Roaring Twenties or the 21st Century version of the Twenties.
A repeat of a worldwide pandemic aside, these New Twenties offer many modern conveniences that trump the old, like instantaneous gratification through smart appliances and whatnot.
A retro microwave is usually not a smart-type microwave that works with apps. It has many limitations, in fact. The low power it has means it takes longer for your food to cook inside of it as well.
What’s the appeal of retro microwaves over more modern ones like the voice-activated AmazonBasics Countertop Microwave Oven? Might be because of retro kitsch.
Perhaps it’s the familiarity that appeals to buyers. Sure, most people prefer modern microwaves over retro ones like the AmazonBasics Countertop Microwave.
However, like with the CRT TV or the wired earphone, familiarity might make the older generation prefer “outdated” models over their successors.
The retro microwave has dials, timers, and start buttons that work more like their 1950s and 1960s counterparts than something like a Sharp or Commercial Chef microwave.