Best Microwaves for Dorms

Updated September 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
BLACK+DECKER Digital Microwave
Digital Microwave
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Small & Mighty
Bottom Line

A powerful microwave that will heat what you need while being quiet enough to not disrupt your neighbors.


Quiet and saves space while being roomy inside. Easy to set up. Ten power settings and 30-seconds express button. Built with pre-programmed buttons for potatoes, popcorn, vegetables, dinner plate, and pizza.


Takes longer to heat things up due to a lower wattage.

Best Bang for the Buck
Commercial Chef 0.6 Cubic Foot Countertop Rotary Microwave
Commercial Chef
0.6 Cubic Foot Countertop Rotary Microwave
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Classic Controls
Bottom Line

A bargain if you don’t care about bells and whistles, and don’t need a digital touchpad or much power.


Simple, no-frills design with dial controls. Variety of food cooking and thawing settings. Great for small spaces. Good for small items and snacks. Six power levels. Handle is durable and easy to grip.


A bit underpowered at 600W. Turntable is loud and squeaks.

Galanz Retro Microwave Oven
Retro Microwave Oven
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Retro Style
Bottom Line

A space-saving, cute microwave with a simple setup that adds functionality and style.


Compact size. Quality build and functions well. Only 0.8 cubic feet, but fits plenty of food inside. Includes defrost button and 6 power levels. Autodial for cooking time. Easy to open and use. Interior glass plate rotates smoothly.


Only 700 watts of power, which may take longer to heat foods.

AmazonBasics 0.7 Cubic Foot Microwave
0.7 Cubic Foot Microwave
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No Frills
Bottom Line

A budget option that can hold and heat the small basics and is smart enabled.


Compact, 700-watt unit that's Amazon Alexa compatible. Features 10 power levels, a kitchen timer, turntable, and child lock. Can fit a coffee cup, small plate, bag of popcorn, and other small items.


Not as powerful as some other microwaves.

COMFEE' Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off
Countertop Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

Compact for small spaces but packed with useful features to extend the cooking options in your dorm room.


Sleek black microwave with 0.7 cubic foot capacity. Boasts 700 watts of power and 11 power-level settings to tackle any cooking need. Express buttons for 1-6 minutes and add 30 seconds button. Turn sound on or off to limit disturbance. Bright and easy-to-read digital display.


Some users complained that this microwave was slow to heat up food.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best microwaves for dorms

Heading off to college is an exciting time. You’ll learn new things, make new friends, and enjoy a new kind of independence. Before the hard work in the classroom begins, however, think about your new living space. It’s important to create a room that suits your needs. A microwave for your dorm room can be a big part of that, and it can help ensure that you remain fully fuelled as you embrace new challenges in college.

Without home-cooked meals, you’ll be fending for yourself in the food department. The campus cafeteria may be right around the corner, and pizza is always just a phone call away. However, neither of those options are budget-friendly. Nor are they always the healthiest choices.

When you're living in a dorm, a dorm microwave can help you stave off hunger when you’re in a rush, economize when you need to, and satisfy snack cravings when you’re hanging out with pals watching a movie. 

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Many microwaves offer multiple power settings. However, if you’re a simple microwave cook who doesn’t tend to configure power settings for different foods, you probably wouldn’t find the extra expense to be worth it.

Key considerations

Dorm rules and regulations

Not every dorm allows students to have microwaves in their rooms. Don’t waste money on this type of appliance if it’s not allowed. A peek at your college’s website may also include a list of items already included in your soon-to-be living quarters. Many dorms have communal spaces, which often include things like microwaves and fridges. Also, if you’re rooming with someone else, you may be able to split your purchases, so you’re not doubling up on items.

Microwave size

You could buy any microwave and stick it in your dorm room, of course, but in a small space, you’re better off opting for a compact unit. It’s doubtful you’ll need to whip up microwave dinners for a crowd, so most mini models would probably work out just fine. Thankfully, compact units are typically cheaper and lighter than standard-size options.

When browsing microwaves, pay attention to the internal dimensions, which are usually listed in cubic feet. For tight spaces, opt for a unit with under one cubic foot of interior space. Check the exterior dimensions, too. Some microwaves billed as “compact” are surprisingly big on the outside.

Finding a spot for your microwave

Is your dorm room partially furnished? Is there a dresser where you can set your new microwave? If not, you’ll need to purchase a small table or shelf.

Cooking power

Compact microwaves aren’t necessarily less powerful than standard-size units, but check the wattage before making your final purchase. More wattage translates to faster cook times and a higher price tag, but if speed isn’t a priority, feel free to spend less. Still, if a microwave offers significantly less than 700 watts of power, cooking times will increase greatly.

Power supply

Don’t forget to check whether there’s a nearby outlet! Your microwave needs electricity to run.


Design and construction

Microwave designs vary considerably. Choose a sleek stainless steel model to accent a modern dorm room, or select a colorful retro-style unit to add a bit of whimsy to your living space.

Cook settings

Take a quick peek at the buttons on the appliance you’re considering. Do you want specialized cook settings like “Defrost” or “Keep Warm”? Fancier microwaves have built-in sensors that take the guesswork out of cooking food and automatically decide on the optimal time and power level required to heat your meals. The style of controls varies from model to model, as well. Do you prefer a simple knob interface or big, easy-to-read buttons?

Pre-programmed functions

You can avoid allocating brainpower to cooking microwave foods and leave the thinking up to the appliance. Simply choose a unit with preset cooking functions that heat certain foods for a pre-programmed amount of time. If popcorn is your favorite snack, a popcorn button is a must-have!

"Expect your microwave to outlast your college years. Most units will last at least a decade. "

Minute button

A “Minute” function allows for quick and efficient heating with the touch of a button. Need to cook your food a little longer than expected? A simple press of the minute button is all that’s required.

Sound muting

Loud beeping is sure to wake your roommate when you’re zapping a quesadilla in the middle of the night. Choose a microwave with a mute setting to avoid bothering anyone else, whether they’re studying or snoozing.


Many microwaves have turntables that rotate slowly during the cooking process to help evenly heat your food. If you choose a microwave with this feature, make sure that the turntable is removable so you can wash it as needed.

LED display

Cook in the dark of night with the help of an LED display and backlit buttons, but know that this minor light pollution may affect your sleep. Can the lights be disabled? If not, you may want to opt for a different model, especially if you’re a light sleeper.


Here are a few accessories you may want to pack, along with your new dorm microwave:

  • Microwave cleaner: If microwave grime and splatters hardens over time, it’s hard to clean up with a simple wipe. When that happens, simply fill your microwave cleaning tool with water and lemon juice and zap for seven minutes to steam loose those stubborn bits of food. We love the Angry Mama microwave cleaner from TOPIST, and we think your favorite college student will, too.
  • Microwave-safe dishes: Buy a set of inexpensive dishes for your dorm room that won’t overheat and are safe to use in the microwave. These colorful plastic bowls from Youngever may be just perfect for popcorn and other snacks.
  • Microwave pasta maker: You don’t need a fully equipped stovetop to enjoy a satisfying bowl of pasta. Fill one of these with water - like Fasta Pasta’s Microwave Pasta Cooker. Add your favorite pasta, microwave, then open up a jar of your favorite sauce. Hello, Dorm Gourmet.

Microwaves for dorms prices

Compact microwaves are usually less expensive than regular-size units, so don’t worry about breaking the bank to outfit your room. Expect to pay under $100 for a compact microwave for your dorm with an internal capacity of under one cubic foot.

The closer the interior space is to one cubic foot, the higher the price tag will be. You’ll also pay more for a microwave with higher wattage. Microwaves with sensors and pre-programmed settings also tend to cost more than pared-down units with simple interfaces.


  • On a budget? Ramen noodles are the king of microwave meals. Unfortunately, these instant soups are not particularly nutritious. Try bumping them up a notch nutritionally by adding fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • Use your microwave to steam veggies. Steam them as a side dish with dinner — or for an anytime snack.
  • If your food heats unevenly, try cooking it in short increments. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds, remove, stir, and heat again as needed.
  • Did you know that you can enjoy breakfast straight from your microwave? Buy English muffins, microwave bacon, and a microwave egg cooker to whip up a hearty morning meal.
  • Enjoy quick desserts with your microwave. You can find recipes for many different flavors of microwave mug cakes.
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Buy a container of popcorn kernels instead of packaged microwave popcorn and use a microwave popper to prep your snack. It’s healthier and cheaper.


Q. Is there anything I shouldn’t put in my microwave?

A. Avoid putting anything made of paper in your microwave. It may catch fire. Also, be careful when heating anything in a plastic container. Check that it’s microwave-safe first. And, of course, anything made of metal or wrapped in aluminum foil should stay out of your microwave.

Q. How can I prevent food from splattering the interior of my microwave?

A. Use a plate to cover your bowl or a bowl to cover your plate before starting up your microwave. Alternatively, you could buy a special microwave food cover to prevent nasty messes inside your unit.

Q. Can I put my microwave anywhere in my dorm?

A. Avoid putting it on the floor. You’ll only be wasting space. Don’t store it up too high, either. Accidents and spills are more likely to occur if you’re always struggling to reach inside your microwave.

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