We Compared 20 Retro Microwaves to Find the Dozen Worth Buying
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In 1945, a self-taught engineer from Maine named Percy Spencer accidentally discovered the heating effect of high-power microwave beams. The first food Spencer deliberately “cooked” in the microwave was popcorn, and American kitchens have never been the same since the birth of this retro microwave.
The first commercial models were introduced in the 1950s, and by 1975, the appliances were on the road to becoming ubiquitous. Technology has become more advanced, but despite the endless settings and cooking times you can choose from these days, the basic process hasn’t changed. These days, however, the style of microwaves has transformed — with many consumers opting for the charming look of a vintage-inspired machine equipped with modern-day tech.
The Best Retro Microwaves
What to Consider
Finding a dependable, stylish microwave is no easy task. Keep the following in mind and you’ll be on your way to finding the best option for you and your space:
Most of these retro microwaves are on the smaller side, so measure your counter or cabinet carefully and decide how much space you can devote to a microwave before clicking “buy.” Take into account what you all plan to cook inside the microwave. If you're planning on reheating large dinner plates, we recommend opting for something with at least a 1.0 cubic foot capacity. But, for those who just want to toss in the occasional bag of popcorn or a slice of pizza, you can shop for something smaller!
Our microwave picks range in power from 700 to 1,000 watts. If you go for the lower end, you may end up needing to tack on an extra minute or so here and there to completely cook your meal.
If you just need to nuke a glass of water for your tea, you’re not going to need a complicated microwave. But if you plan on doing multi-sequence cooking, seek out one of our picks specifically designed for that purpose. Other microwaves offer other extras like customizable cooking times and child-safety locks for safety and convenience.
If you prefer the Mad Men era of microwaves to the current crop, you’re in luck. There are many stylish vintage options to choose from, and you’ll still be able to nuke that cup of Joe in a jiffy.
Retro Microwave With Multi-Stage Cooking
This fun retro microwave comes in eight colors and offers a preset menu for cooking popcorn, beverages, pizza, soup, and more. The multistage cooking function allows you to defrost and cook — at the same time! The express buttons will increase or decrease cooking time in 30-second increments.
With 900 watts of power, an LED digital display, a removable glass turntable, and a child safety lock, you get modern convenience and vintage style.
Amazon reviewers say this microwave heats well and looks great. Many appreciate it for its simplicity, but some warn that it’s not as easy and intuitive to use as contemporary push-button microwaves. It’s also the only retro microwave we’ve come across that has a mute button.
More: Our Tech Editor Tried the Balmuda Toaster Oven to See If It's Worth the Hype
HERITAGE 75030 Vintage Retro 0.7 Cubic Foot Microwave
HADEN is one of the United Kingdom's leading small appliance brands and we're obsessed with the numerous finishes of its microwaves that will add a delightful pop of color to any kitchen. From a lovely turquoise to a sharp black and copper model, stone blue, or these Crate & Barrel exclusive finishes, there's a model that's sure to suit any kitchen.
The microwave offers a 0.7 cubic foot capacity, 700 watts of power, five power levels, and convenient defrost and express functions. It also features eight auto-preset cooking settings for items like popcorn, pizza, hot beverages, and potatoes. Best of all HADEN backs its microwaves with an extremely generous 5-year warranty (1 year is industry standard).
For those who are very particular about matching, it's worth a quick mention that the “putty” finish is a dark gray, and the white is more of a cream color. Amazon reviewer Griffin has some comparison photos that might be worth a quick look!
1.1 Cubic-Foot 1,000-Watt Sensor Microwave Oven
Actress, entrepreneur, magazine owner, and talk show host Drew Barrymore has expanded her retailer empire once again but this time to the home appliances and furnishings space. Barrymore's appliance line was curated to stand out in your kitchen and this microwave does just that.
The chic microwave comes in dreamy pastel colors like sage green, cornflower blue, or white, black, and oyster gray for folks who want something a tad more subtle.
Besides looking great, its performs fantastically as well. Its sensor cook and reheat functions will definitely come in handy for people who never know how long to cook things. It works by automatically measuring the humidity in your food and then adjusting the time and power level needed to perfectly cook it.
Rounding out the microwave's features are a power level adjustment setting, a defrost mode, and a nifty mute button for those who hate the sound of a beeping microwave.
0.9-Cubic-Foot 800-Watt Black Retro Microwave Oven With Grill
This microwave from Emerson sports the retro flare we love, but its sleek black design adds a twist of sophistication that will complement any modern kitchen decor.
Its 0.9-cubic-foot capacity is perfect for small to medium-sized meals, making it an ideal choice for individuals or small families. And with 800 watts of power, you can be confident it'll heat up any meal in mere minutes.
If you're willing to sacrifice capacity in the name of color, Emerson also sells a white and thunderbird blue variant of the microwave — but they are only available in 0.7 cubic foot sizes with a slightly less powerful wattage.
Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
This microwave looks like it was pulled straight out of a ’50s diner. It features an oval viewing window, chrome accents, and a large pull handle. To bring it more to the present, it offers users a LED display, a delay timer, and 12 pre-set settings.
“This microwave is not only the best-looking microwave I’ve ever had, but it’s also the easiest I’ve ever used,” said an Amazon reviewer. “Hit the big round button and it turns on for one minute, then rotate the button to scale your time up or down quickly.”
Nostalgia's microwave is available in nine different colors and it's backed by a 1-year warranty.
RMW953 0.9-Cubic-Foot Microwave Oven
Most retro microwaves feature knobs to select the power level and cooking time, but for those who prefer a more modern approach to microwaving meals, we recommend this option from RCA. It’s one of the few retro microwaves with a standard push-button numbered keypad. That way you can precisely input the exact amount of time you want to cook your food.
One small fault of this microwave is that it lacks a button to add 30-second or minute increments. On the plus side, it has preset buttons to perfectly cook pizza, popcorn, and baked potatoes. And since it has 900 watts of power, it heats up food faster than the competition.
RCA's microwave comes in blue, black, or white finishes.
700-Watt Retro Microwave
For those in search of an incredibly easy-to-use microwave that gets the job done, look no further than the Magic Chef. It flaunts a gorgeous fire truck red color that'll immediately pop in your kitchen and is backed by a 1-year warranty. It's also available in mint, black, and white finishes, as well.
The Magic Chef is a good option for folks who prefer knobs to number pads since it features two that control time and power.
“The simple controls are a delight compared to the over-engineered digital buttons you can’t get away from nowadays,” wrote Jamie, a reviewer at Home Depot. “We all have other clocks that update their own time now, so who needs a clock that has to be reset every time there’s a power outage?”
And for those who look the look of the Magic Chef but need hot keys, consider this similar option from Insignia.
Retro Countertop Microwave
This retro microwave from Costway offers users a compact footprint and a minimalistic design. It's the perfect option for shoppers looking for an analog microwave without any bells and whistles. Rather than having a display and a cluttered control panel with cooking presets, the Costway has two knobs to control time and power — and that's it!
“I got this one because I was tired of having to hunt for my reading glasses to use my old microwave,” wrote Walmart reviewer Tracy. “With this one, it is a simple turn of the handle and no hunting for the right button to push. It doesn’t take up much space but so far I have not run into anything that doesn’t fit inside.”
Costway's microwave comes in white or blue color configurations.
Retro 700-Watt Countertop Microwave
This Galanz 700-watt microwave oven reheats and cooks food with 11 power levels to choose from, an LED display clearly showing cooking time, and a 9.7-inch removable glass turntable.
The microwave, which comes in blue, red, green or black, earned 4.8 out of 5 stars across Amazon and Lowes, and reviewers rave about how “stylish,” “easy to use,” and “amazing” it is. This microwave reheats and cooks food quickly and efficiently thanks to its higher-than-average 1,000 watt power output.
And while the microwave is by no means cheap, it’s a much more wallet-friendly option than other comparable-sized ones.
Classic Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
This retro microwave offers a lot of modern, convenient touches. The 700-watt, 0.7-cubic foot microwave features eight pre-programmed, customizable cooking settings, plus a delay timer for ultimate control.
The multi-sequence cooking function allows you to combine up to four cooking sequences for each program. The digital clock and easy-to-read LED display light are bonuses, as is the simple programming and cooking dial.
Reviewers, especially those with precious little counter space love this “cute” microwave, adding that it’s “perfect for my small kitchen,” “very user-friendly,” and “does exactly what it needs to do.”
The Classic Retro microwave comes in 10 different color configurations to perfectly match your setup.
Microwave Oven with Pull-Handle Design
This 700-watt Galanz microwave oven includes six variable power levels and is super easy and intuitive to use. The microwave features options to cook and defrost by time or weight level, and the 360-degree rotating glass turntable cooks and reheats food evenly.
The microwave features an interior light so you can check your food without opening the door, as well as includes a child lock so young kids can’t accidentally access it.
This microwave comes in black, blue, green, or red colors. It's small enough to suit teeny kitchens, offices, and dorm rooms. Reviewers dig the beautiful colors and say it is “super great,” especially considering “the price.”
Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
This compact 700-watt retro microwave features a user-friendly, multifunctional design, along with stylish vintage accents. This microwave offers five microwave power levels, adjusting to your reheating and cooking needs as needed. The glass turntable rotates 360 degrees, ensuring even cooking.
The machine has six mechanical buttons on the multifunctional control panel, with an easy-to-read LED display. There is a default cooking menu for popular items like popcorn, pizza, and potatoes, but you can also customize it, and there’s an energy-efficient setting.
Reviewers say the microwave adds a much-needed dash of style to the kitchen. Others appreciate how it has a small footprint that doesn't take up too much room on countertops, but can still accommodate large dinner plates
And for those looking for a slightly larger microwave with more power, COSTWAY sells a similar microwave which is 28% larger that may be worth considering!
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