The 5 Best Dorm Microwaves of 2024

best dorm microwaves
Credit: Home Depot

If you have a teen who’s about to fly the coop to college, it’s time to start shopping! There’s a long list of things you don’t want to forget, including one of the best dorm microwaves — it’s a handy appliance that can warm up a cup of coffee, make popcorn, or reheat leftovers for late-night fuel. But it can be tough to find a good option for a space you’ve never seen, right?

That’s why we compiled a list of the best dorm microwaves. These are the best countertop microwaves that are small enough to tuck into a dorm room without taking up too much space without sacrificing efficiency or features. 

To find the best picks, I researched popular, trusted brands to see what microwaves dorm dwellers love. From there, I checked out specs like dimensions and price and narrowed it down to five of the best mini microwaves for dorms. 

Below, you’ll find more details on the best small microwaves that are suitable for small spaces, including their first apartment in a few years.

Our Top Picks

  1. Best Overall: Toshiba Countertop Microwave – $100.97 at Amazon
  2. Best Smart Microwave: GE Smart Countertop Microwave – $138.16 at Amazon
  3. Best Microwave Air Fryer Combo: Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven $189.95 at Amazon
  4. Most Stylish: Comfee Retro Microwave – $119.98 at Amazon
  5. Best Splurge: Galanz 4-in-1 ToastWave with TotalFry 360 $342.99 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Dorm Microwaves

1. Best Overall: Toshiba Countertop Microwave

Toshiba Countertop Microwave
Credit: Amazon

The Toshiba Countertop Microwave Oven is Amazon’s choice because it’s a compact powerhouse that checks all the boxes. This Toshiba model does not disappoint: It boasts 900 watts of power and a lengthy list of features, like easy defrosting by weight and time, six auto menus, and 10 power levels for cooking. There are also buttons for express cooking and a convenient memory function so you can reheat your cup of coffee to a perfect temperature every time.

Meanwhile, the LED digital display is bright and easy to read even at night without being too bothersome to sleeping roommates. 

The Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.1 x 19.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Turntable Size: 10.6 inches
  • Weight: 27.3 pounds

The Pros

  • Compact footprint 
  • Large capacity
  • Powerful
  • Easy-to-read digital display
  • Sleek design

The Cons

  • Door can be hard to open
  • Door shuts loudly

What Others are Saying

The Toshiba Countertop Microwave has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon from more than 28,400 reviews. 

Buy the Toshiba Countertop Microwave

2. Best Smart Microwave: GE Smart Countertop Microwave

GE Smart Countertop Microwave
Credit: Home Depot

If you’ve got a tech fan headed to college, this is the smart microwave for them! The GE Smart Countertop Microwave is WiFi-friendly and even voice control compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

As if that wasn’t enough to make it the coolest microwave on the dorm floor, another jaw-dropping feature is its scan-to-cook technology. Using the accompanying app, it scans the barcode on a package, and the microwave oven will automatically cook it to the recommended settings. This machine is so smart that it will even alert your absent-minded student if they push start before they’ve placed your food inside.

The Specs

  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 19 x 11.5 inches 
  • Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Turntable Size: 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 27.8 pounds

The Pros

  • Smart connectivity
  • Voice control
  • Scan-to-cook technology
  • Easy to use

The Cons

  • Must download the app
  • Heavy

What Others are Saying

CNN editors named the GE Smart Countertop Microwave the best compact microwave they tested. Additionally, it has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon from more than 600 reviews. 

Buy the GE Smart Countertop Microwave

3. Best Microwave Air Fryer Combo: Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven

Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven
Credit: Amazon

If your college student is a foodie, the  Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven is a great pick. It is the Swiss army knife of microwaves, thanks to the eight different cooking settings bundled into one space-efficient appliance. The list includes air fryer, grill, convection, broil, bake, toast, and pro defrost. Not to mention its “combi” cook setting, which combines some of the cooking options. 

Beyond the versatility of this model, it also boasts a “sensor cook” feature that uses a smart sensor to gauge the humidity and automatically adjust the power level and cooking time. This means that your teen’s food will never be under or overcooked. 

The Specs:

  • Dimensions: 20 x 20.5 x 12.8 inches
  • Capacity: 1 cubic foot
  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Turntable Size: 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 40.8 pounds

The Pros:

  • Doubles as an air fryer
  • Fits a whole casserole dish
  • Versatile
  • Heats evenly
  • Includes baking rack and tray

The Cons:

  • Presets are listed inside the unit
  • Heavy

What Others are Saying:

The Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven was named the most versatile microwave air fryer by Good Housekeeping. Additionally, it has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon from more than 51,000 reviews. 

Buy the Toshiba Air Fryer Combo 8-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven:

4. Most Stylish: Comfee Retro Microwave

Comfee Retro Microwave
Credit: Amazon

If you have a fashionista headed to college or someone who appreciates good design, this model by Comfee is different from all the rest. Its cute retro design is available in gorgeous hues of apricot, green, and red — or neutral white and black if that’s the preference to match their dorm room decor.

With its 0.7 cubic-foot capacity and 700 watts of power, this microwave is perfect for heating up quick meals, snacks, and beverages. The best thing about it is the mute function, which allows them to operate the microwave in silence, perfect for late-night snacking without disturbing their roommates. 

The Specs:

  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 19 x 11.5 inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Turntable Size: 10.6 inches
  • Weight: 26.8 pounds

The Pros:

  • Great design
  • Powerful
  • Compact
  • Silence function
  • Fun colors

The Cons:

  • Less power than some of our other top picks

What Others are Saying:

The Comfee Retro Microwave has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon from more than 22,000 reviews. 

Buy the Comfee Retro Microwave: 

5. Best Splurge: Galanz 4-in-1 ToastWave with TotalFry 360

Galanz 4-in-1 ToastWave with TotalFry 360
Credit: Home Depot

While on the pricier side,  this model is an incredible buy because of how versatile it is. It’s not just a microwave — it has all the capabilities of an air fryer, toaster oven, and convection oven. It comes with a 10.6-inch air fry kit, silicone cooking mats to contain splatters, and a non-stick turntable for baking, roasting, and toasting.

The ToastWave has sensor cook and reheat modes in addition to popcorn and defrost, while the oven side can bake, broil, toast, and air fry. Plus, it’s something they’ll want to keep long after their first year in the dorms.

The Specs:

  • Dimensions: 21 x 21 x 12 inches
  • Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Turntable Size: Not stated 
  • Weight: 40.2 pounds

The Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Sophisticated design
  • Powerful
  • Comes with accessories
  • Four functions

The Cons:

  • Expensive

Buy the Galanz 4-in-1 ToastWave with TotalFry 360:

Other Dorm Microwaves to Consider

Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave

The Galanz is a beauty thanks to the retro look that’s available in an array of colors, along with its cool-looking knobs and buttons. The enamel exterior also conceals fingerprints, which keeps it looking nice and clean. That said, the vintage design might not be a fit for every dorm room style-wise. The Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave is available at Amazon for $80.56.

Insignia Compact Microwave

This model by Insignia has an eye-catching design, and it comes in a few colors, which makes it a fun addition to a dorm room. But reviewers said the controls are a bit too complicated to understand and since it only has 700 watts, you can get a better bang for your buck elsewhere. The Insignia Compact Microwave is available at Best Buy for $74.99.

Farberware Countertop Microwave

The metallic color (especially the red) is really pretty! You can also get it in stainless steel, black stainless steel, and white, so it can grow with your student as their decor changes. It has ten power levels with multi-stage cooking, so you can fully customize your cooking. However,  the buzzer on it is super loud according to many, many reviewers, which can be problematic in shared rooms. The Farberware Countertop Microwave is available at Amazon for $129.49.

Why You Can Trust Us

best dorm microwaves
Credit: Amazon

Hi! I’m Belle DuChene, an award-winning digital content producer and professor of communications who has a passion for all things lifestyle, including fashion, food, and French culture. Over 20 years, I’ve held almost every position imaginable in various restaurants, and my writing and on-camera work can be seen on the Better Homes & Gardens website. 

For this roundup, I relied on previous recommendations for microwaves from Grown &  Flown and researched trusted review publications. I scrolled through hundreds of reviews to narrow down the best dorm microwaves specifically for college living, performance, and overall value. We also made sure the microwaves weren’t too big for the average dorm room. 

Everything to Know Before Buying a Dorm Microwave

best dorm microwaves
Credit: Amazon

What to Consider Before Buying a Dorm Microwave

When in the market for a dorm microwave, it’s essential to weigh various factors to ensure you select a model that aligns with your teen’s reference — and will fit easily in a space as small as a dorm room. Here are some features I suggest  keeping in mind:

Size: A dorm room fills up pretty quickly. Before deciding on the right microwave, consider how much space it’ll take up. All of the microwaves on this list are small enough to not be in the way but big enough to function as an appliance that can heat up full meals. 

Capacity: Microwaves are measured in cubic feet. For a dorm room, you’ll most likely want to opt for a compact model like the ones shown here. All of the microwaves on this list are one cubic foot or less. 

Power: Microwave wattage determines how quickly the appliance can cook or heat food. Higher wattage generally means faster cooking times. Compact microwaves typically range from 600 to 1,000 watts of power. 

Cooking modes: Look for microwaves with essential cooking features such as preset programs for common foods (popcorn, pizza, etc.), and defrosting options. 

Features: Fancier countertop microwaves come with a long list of features, like smart connectivity, customizable presets, voice control, smart sensors, and child safety locks. It’s up to you and your teen to choose the best model for their dorm based on how they want to use it and what you want to spend.

Can You Have a Microwave in a Dorm?

It’s always best to check the specific rules and regulations of their dorm or university housing, but in most cases, they are allowed. It’s worth noting that some schools may have restrictions on the size or wattage of microwaves allowed in dorm rooms for safety reasons. 

What Size Should a Microwave for a Dorm Room Be? 

Unless your student wants to put their microwave on a built-in shelf that will have unchangeable size constraints, a microwave that is .9 cubic feet or less should fit fine on any desk, microwave, or shelf easily. 

Remember that both the interior and exterior size of a small countertop microwave can vary. The interior generally falls within the range of 0.5 to 1.0 cubic feet. The exterior typically measures around 12 inches tall, 18 to 20 inches wide, and 13 to 15 inches deep. Make sure to double-check these dimensions before you buy. 

How Do You Clean a Microwave?

Cleaning a microwave is a simple task that, when done regularly, helps maintain its appearance and performance for the long haul. 

To clean the interior of a microwave, fill a microwave-safe bowl or container with equal parts water and white vinegar. Heat it for 3 to 5 minutes until it starts to boil. The steam will loosen any grime, so you can wipe it away with a cloth.

To prevent future buildup, avoid letting food particles dry out inside the microwave. Wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Aim to do a deep cleaning once a month or as needed.

What Can You Cook in a Microwave?

A microwave can do much more than just reheat leftovers or pop popcorn. You can actually cook lots of dishes! Once you choose the best dorm microwave, they can start thinking about what they can prepare. A few ideas include:

  • Steamed vegetables
  • Rice, grains, and pasta in sauce
  • Reheat or heat soups and stews 
  • Scrambled or poached eggs
  • Baked potatoes
  • Potatoes: Bake or steam potatoes for a quick side dish.
  • Instant foods like macaroni and cheese
  • Frozen meals

Prices were accurate at time of publication. 

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