Only the best RV microwave oven can ensure a more convenient RVing lifestyle for the modern family. It offers faster cook times without turning the appliance and the motorhome into a furnace.
RV families can lock in the nutrients in their meals without worrying about space or draining the batteries and generator. Such an appliance is a must-have for today’s adventure-loving camper owners.
Picking a microwave for mobile homes is not different from shopping for a similar appliance for the home. There are features one must look for and factors to consider. Our research showed that many microwave oven buyers deliberate on several things, but the following three parameters prove the most significant.
- Type: Microwaves for motorhomes can be a standard, grill, or convection. These appliances can also fit into an RV cabinet, over the range, or on the countertop.
Most beginner RVers pick a solo microwave they can place on a flat and firm surface. Meanwhile, others often choose a convection microwave for optimum versatility and convenience.
- Power Consumption: RV microwaves rely on either battery power or generator-supplied electricity to operate. Hence, RV owners must pick appliances that will not quickly drain their batteries or draw more power from the generator than necessary. Ideally, the microwave oven must not consume more than 900 watts.
- Capacity: Microwave oven capacity is a function of RV family size and the available motorhome space. A 0.5 to 0.7 cubic foot appliance is enough for an RV family of four, while a 0.9 to 1.1 cubic foot oven is ideal for four to six people.
RV families can also consider other factors, which this article will discuss in the buying guide. Moreover, we will highlight these considerations in the following product reviews.
Table of Contents
- 6 Best Microwave for RV Use Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Microwave
6 Best Microwave for RV Use Reviews
1. Commercial Chef CHM660B Countertop Microwave Oven
RV owners who travel alone or with a partner do not need a bulky microwave oven to cram into their tiny campervan. All they require is a mini RV microwave that delivers delicious meals in a compact size. They need the Commercial Chef CHM660B.
I would get this oven if I were boondocking. It is compact, requiring only a countertop space measuring at least 17.75 inches wide and 12.5 inches deep. Lonesome RVers will never complain about not having enough space for other stuff in the cramped mobile kitchen. It is the smallest RV microwave on this list, making it ideal for a couple or a solo adventurer.
Although tiny, its 0.6 cu ft interior should still make an excellent meal for two. Popcorns are ready in a minute, and heating pizzas for a partner is a cinch. It also has a defrost functionality for thawing frozen entrees, vegetables, and other frozen foods, allowing users to pop ingredients on the grill or the pan within minutes.
Energy consumption is never an issue because the device only uses 600 watts maximum when set to the highest temperature. Of course, its current draw will still be higher than 600 watts because the power rating only reflects the appliance’s heating energy. Nevertheless, the microwave will only require 950W at maximum.
I am a sucker for all-black appliances, and this oven is one of the most stunning products I know. It looks lovely in its shiny shell, adorned with white markings and accents for a seamless look.
I wish this microwave oven had digital controls because I am more comfortable pressing buttons than turning a knob.
2. BLACK+DECKER EM925AB9 Digital Microwave Oven
I love BLACK+DECKER products, especially power tools. Unsurprisingly, I included the EM925AB9 van life microwave in this list because I trust its craftsmanship and performance. Many motorhome owners will agree with me when I say this device is one of the best anyone can ever place in a camper.
I am astonished to learn this 0.9 cubic feet microwave is only 29.8 pounds. The housing is solid, and its finish is stunning. I love the black panels and silvery stainless steel trims, giving this model oven an ultra-modern look. Some say it is lovelier than their Samsung microwaves.
Nine hundred watts are sufficient to give this device the ability to run six pre-programmed cooking settings with dedicated buttons. RV families can enjoy pizza and veggie dishes as they would at home. Making a sumptuous dinner plate is also a cinch.
The Express Cooking mode is a joy to use. It is perfect for preparing midnight snacks, Netflix chow-downs, and other delicacies within seconds.
Cooking is effortless because the microwave has advanced features calling the shots. I am unsure about its architecture, but I am confident in its ability to prepare food with precision.
The user interface is uncluttered, with responsive buttons and a simple LED screen. I am glad there is a child safety lock to complement its push-button door design, ensuring safety while I drive on bumpy roads.
Some people might find its noise level a little louder than other RV microwaves. However, I am glad it is quieter than the GreyStone P90D23AP-X3-FR03.
3. RecPro RPM-1-BLK RV Microwave
RVers who only need conventional microwaves for motorhomes should consider the 0.9 cubic feet RPM-1-BLK. This kitchen appliance does not only have the looks to upgrade an RV’s interior design but also the functionality and performance of dependable home microwaves.
Nine hundred watts might seem too much for a microwave oven. However, it is at the higher limit of what seasoned RVers are willing to accept, making this model a worthy cooking gadget for any travel trailer.
I am impressed with its multiple Express Cook options that allow users to prepare popcorn, soups, dinner plates, vegetable dishes, pizzas, potatoes, and beverages by pressing a button.
I can pick ten power levels to make cooking as energy-efficient and quick as possible. It might not be as versatile as the Sharp R1874T, but it can still deliver delightful meals within minutes.
Although I am unsure if it can replace the Advent MW912BWDK built-in microwave oven or a standard Dometic RV microwave convection oven, it is perfect for High Pointe units.
As a replacement appliance, installing this microwave is a breeze. RV owners only need to ensure a slot dimension of 10.63 x 19.06 x 14.5 inches to slide and secure it into place.
I also love this microwave oven’s sleek, all-black design. The white print adds elegance to the appliance, while the green digital readout makes for a pleasant break without hurting the eyes.
This product is pricey for a conventional microwave that cannot outperform a convection microwave combo unit. Regardless, its intelligent features more than justify its hefty price tag.
4. COMFEE EM720CPL-PM Countertop Microwave Oven
Some RVers do not like tedious and complicated installations of anything in their motorhomes. The COMFEE EM720CPL-PM is perfect for such families. This appliance resembles the one we have at home, but in a compact package. It has that classic look of a conventional microwave everyone adores.
I like this small camper microwave more than the Commercial Chef CHM660B because it has a more spacious interior. Moreover, RVers will not have issues placing this 17.3 x 13 x 10.2-inch appliance on limited counter space. I can take this to the dorm or give it to my nephew to use in his apartment since it does not bolt into any structure.
Energy requirements are also impressive. Although it draws 100 more watts than the Commercial Chef CHM660B, it is still pretty economical at 700 watts. My generator will not have issues supplying electricity to this appliance while routing power to other motorhome devices. Adding to its energy efficiency is an ECO MODE that reduces its standby power by half.
This small microwave for campervan is perfect for a family of three. I am impressed with its Express Cook cooking modes for a hassle-free instant meal. RV families with babies onboard the motorhome can also shut off the device alarm to keep the kids sleeping. There’s also a child safety lock mechanism for users with rambunctious kids.
I only wish the microwave featured non-skid feet. This appliance slides a bit when opening and closing the door. However, placing a non-skid rubber mat on the countertop should grip the appliance’s bottom and prevent it from moving during operation.
5. Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
The Sharp R1874T is a sleek and efficient 1.1 cu. ft. over-the-range microwave oven that fits right into a modern motorhome. It combines a microwave’s quick-cooking capabilities and a convection oven’s versatile performance without draining RV generator power.
I love this 1.1 cubic feet device because it marries two iconic cooking appliances into one. RVers can make popcorn, heat pizza, and reheat food for a quick bite. If the family wants a sumptuous dinner, they can turn to the oven’s convection capabilities to bake, broil, and roast for mouthwatering feasts.
Operating this Sharp RV microwave convection oven is as effortless and intuitive as pressing the correct buttons. Its elegant stainless steel exterior with black trims and glass panels hides an intuitive sensor architecture. Cooking nutritious and delicious foods could not be more hassle-free than with this appliance.
Its 1.1 cubic feet capacity is perfect for an RV family of four to six members, allowing them to broil or roast a medium-sized chicken for dinner. Although it is bigger than other convection microwaves, this product only draws 850 watts. It should make convection cooking more energy efficient and RV generator-friendly.
I also like its integrated exhaust system for more efficient heat dissipation, preventing the motorhome from turning into a furnace.
It is challenging to fault this microwave, except for its tricky installation. Its over-the-range design and 72-pound heft mean one must have at least two assistants to hold the appliance while another person secures it above the stovetop.
However, the joys of convection cooking and microwaving can effortlessly melt any installation discomforts.
6. GreyStone P90D23AP-X3-FR03 RV Microwave
The GreyStone P90D23AP-X3-FR03 is almost similar to the RecPro RV convection microwave (RPM-1-BLK), differing only in its mounting options and brand specificity. Although this product is an RV microwave replacement, it is only specific to the GreyStone brand. However, I will not be surprised if RV families put this appliance in their motorhomes without a glitch.
I like this product’s versatile installation. Camper owners can slot it into their existing openings as an in-cabinet microwave or remove the trim and use it as a countertop oven. Regardless of how they set it up, this microwave oven will deliver delicious foods in no time.
Surprisingly, this model is lighter than the Sharp R1874T by about 38 pounds. Installing this in a cabinet or securing it on the countertop should not be a concern.
Its 0.9 cubic foot capacity is perfect for a small family with no more than five members. It has six auto-cooking settings, enabling RV families to make popcorn, potato dishes, and other microwave-friendly meals. The glass turntable can accommodate a dinner plate, perfect for serving a mouthwatering menu.
I like this GreyStone convection microwave because of its ten-level power settings. It allows RV families to optimize the appliance’s 900-watt cooking power.
The touch screen panel is more responsive than my home microwave, and its control lock is perfect for preventing accidental operation. The LED display has all the essential information for ensuring more efficient microwave cooking.
Sadly, the noise is a bit louder than other RV microwaves.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Microwave
Buying RV microwaves is not different from shopping for a household or commercial oven. Although these products have competitive advantages, they have similar defining parameters that consumers must know and recognize. The following attributes are crucial when buying a microwave for motorhomes.
People can classify RV microwaves in two ways: by installation methods and functionality.
First, microwaves for campers can be like an ordinary kitchen appliance that sits on a countertop. It requires no installation, allowing users to place the gadget anywhere with a nearby electric outlet. This microwave is suitable for RVs with limited wall space and motorhome owners who dislike tedious installations.
Some RVs have built-in cabinets to accommodate a microwave. People with this fixture in their vehicles should buy an in-cabinet microwave.
On the other hand, the space above a stovetop or gas range often remains unused. RVers can utilize this space by installing an over-the-range microwave unit.
Second, a standard RV microwave is an appliance that uses non-ionizing radiation to cook food by heating fat and water molecules, reducing meal prep time. These products have simple features and are perfect for RVers on a tight budget.
A more advanced microwave for RVs is one that’s also a convection oven. Countertop microwave convection ovens are versatile cooking appliances, combining two gadgets into one and delivering more functions. Unfortunately, these devices are expensive.
On the other hand, a grill microwave is almost similar to a microwave convection oven. However, it has limited features compared to the latter. On the plus side, grill microwaves are the best for cooking food with distinct char and smoky characteristics. These have a reversible grill rack complementing the microwave’s sensor cooking.
Choosing a microwave type for the motorhome depends on the RV family’s needs and preferences.
- Power Consumption
Another factor that buyers must consider when shopping for a motorhome microwave is its power rating. Unfortunately, this aspect can be confusing for some buyers.
The wattage rating they see is the microwave’s output current or the electricity it generates to cook food. For example, a 900-watt microwave delivers that much current to its principal elements.
Most brands do not publish their input current or the electricity required to run the microwave. However, buyers can estimate this number by calculating 150% of the output wattage rating. Hence, a 900-watt appliance might draw 1,350 watts from the RV battery or generator (900 watts x 50% = 450; 900 watts + 450 watts = 1,350 watts).
RV experts recommend microwaves with a maximum wattage rating of 900 watts.
Motorhome microwaves have a smaller cooking capacity than residential units due to space limitations. The ideal microwave capacity depends on the number of people in the motorhome. For example, a 0.5 to 0.7 cubic feet microwave is sufficient for two to four people, while a 0.9 to 1.1 cubic feet unit is enough for an RV family of four to six.
- Automatic Settings
Most microwaves have at least six auto cook settings for preparing popcorn, vegetables, potatoes, dinner plates, pizza, and beverages. Higher-end units might have nine Express cook options. These settings have pre-programmed buttons that users must press to heat food, eliminating guesswork and improving convenience.
Buyers must study the automatic settings and decide whether they’re sufficient for them or not.
- Special Functions
Although optional, most microwaves offer specialty functions that RVers might find essential. For example, some products have a grill function to give food a nice char and a characteristic smoky flavor and aroma.
More advanced units allow users to air fry, turning the microwave into a convenient air fryer. Other noteworthy functions include defrosting and water reheating.
RVers must decide which of these functions they need before buying a microwave.
- User Controls
Most RVers prefer cooking their meals using customizable settings. Although microwaves have quick cook options, most people still desire control over their food preparation. Hence, a product with varying power levels and timer functions is best.
Although a microwave with multiple power levels ensures precise cooking, it can impact energy consumption. Setting the appliance to the highest level will draw more electricity from the RV generator or battery. That said, most RVers prefer this technique because food cooks quicker. Timer settings have a similar effect.
Space is a limiting factor in RV appliances. Although people can use an ordinary household microwave, its dimensions might not fit in the RV. Prospective buyers must measure the microwave’s preferred location and use the measurements to check size compatibility with their chosen unit.
RV microwave ovens do not produce as much heat as other oven types. However, these appliances still require adequate ventilation to dissipate heat safely into the environment.
Buyers must determine the product’s ventilation clearance requirements and factor this into the appliance’s mounting location. A microwave with a built-in mechanism to vent exhaust would be nice to have.
Another safety feature worth looking for in a microwave for RVs is the child lock setting. Although parents can tell their young children to avoid the motorhome’s cooking environment, they can never be complacent. Kids are curious, and they love opening anything with a handle. A child lock feature can be handy.
Microwaves for travel trailers vary in price depending on their type, capacity, wattage rating, advanced features, construction, and more. Buyers must determine their microwave-cooking needs to earmark a budget for the appliance.
For example, budget-conscious RVers might opt for a 600-watt, 0.6-cubic foot microwave with only the bare essentials.
Do you need a special microwave for an RV?
No, you do not need a special microwave for RV because an ordinary household microwave oven will do just fine. However, there are a few considerations and precautions you might want to observe.
First, you must consider the motorhome countertop space requirements. Household microwaves are slightly bulkier and heftier than their RV counterparts. Measure the location where you want to place the microwave.
Second, motorhome owners must secure the microwave oven to prevent it from falling from the countertop when the driving gets rough.
Most RV microwaves ovens do not have this issue because they feature a bracket or frame for bolting onto a platform. A regular microwave oven might not have mounting holes to secure it on a surface. In such cases, a sticky putty should do the trick.
Third, the microwave oven must have a wattage rating compatible with the RV. It must also have sufficient room (about an inch or two on all sides) to facilitate more effective heat dissipation.
Lastly, experts say RV-specific microwaves have more robust construction, allowing them to withstand road vibrations and occasional shocks. Some regular microwaves might be less sturdy.
How many watts does an RV microwave use?
Microwaves for RVs have a rating of 600 to 900 watts. However, RVers must understand this value reflects the appliance’s heat production and not its electrical draw.
Experts say microwaves have a 50% efficiency rating, putting a 600-watt travel trailer microwave oven’s power draw at 900 watts (600 watt x 50% = 300 watts; 300 watts + 600 watts = 900 watts).
Unfortunately, the power draw doesn’t stop there. Many ovens today have inverters to improve energy efficiency. Sadly, losses from these technologies can also add to the microwave’s overall electrical consumption.
The latest generation of inverters has an efficiency rating of 85 to 90 percent, while older models only top out at 75%. Hence, energy losses can be as high as 25%.
Can you use microwave on RV battery?
Yes, it is possible to run a microwave on an RV battery. However, one must use a 12V microwave oven and ensure that the deep-cycle battery capacity is at least 250 amp-hours.
Alternatively, RVers can hook up at least three 100Ah deep-cycle batteries in parallel to increase the amperage rating to 300 amp-hours while retaining the voltage at 12 volts.
Users must realize that microwaves are power-hungry appliances. A 12-volt 800-watt oven can draw 66.67 amps, draining a 100Ah deep-cycle battery in less than one and a half hours. Moreover, 800 watts can spike to 1,500 in the highest setting and with low-efficiency inverters.
RV families can determine the correct RV battery size to run their microwaves by dividing the appliance’s wattage rating by the battery’s voltage. For example, a 900-watt microwave draws 75 amps from a 12V battery (900 watts ÷ 12 volts = 75 amps).
Although a 100Ah battery might be sufficient, RVers must consider other appliances and gadgets connected to the power source. Hence, a 200Ah or 250Ah battery would be ideal.
Is a microwave the same as a convection oven?
No, a microwave is different from a convection oven. Although a microwave and convection oven might look similar, these appliances differ in cooking methods.
Microwave ovens cook food by heating water and fat molecules present in food through non-ionizing radiation. Food items with unevenly distributed water and fat can produce an odd-looking dish. The only way to rectify this is by frequent stirring and correct food placement.
On the other hand, a convection oven has elements that heat the space and a fan to circulate hot air around the food. This action enhances the Maillard Effect, giving food its golden brown appearance, crispy texture, superb flavors, and mouth-watering aromas.
You do not need two different ovens for your motorhome. You can buy an RV convection microwave oven, allowing you to heat food quickly (microwave) and deliver Michelin Star-worthy dishes (convection oven).
Unsurprisingly, RV microwave convection ovens are fast becoming the trend. Unfortunately, the best RV convection microwave often has a steep price.
The best RV microwave oven makes life more convenient for modern RV families, allowing them to cook fast without losing the nutrients in their meals.
This RV appliance has sufficient power to perform its functions without depriving other motorhome gadgets of electricity. It has enough cooking functions and other noteworthy applications for the mobile family.
I am Stephen Ryan, content director for RV Web. After seven years of working as an interior decorator, I am confident in turning my clients’ dream houses into reality. I find it rewarding to help others make the best of their space and resources.