Microwave ovens are essential bits of kitchen equipment for most of us and it’s no different when we travel in our home from home. If you’re looking to retro-fit or carry a microwave in your motorhome or campervan, we’ve got all the information you need to make the right choice.
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Do I Need a Microwave in My Motorhome?
Microwaves are convenient and quick. They heat up food like baked beans and soup in moments, defrost whatever you’ve forgotten to take out of the freezer and make awesome scrambled eggs!
Many convenience foods are now designed to be cooked in pouches in microwaves and when you’re on holiday, you probably won’t want to ‘cook’ every night. A microwave will give you options and make life on the road just that little bit easier.
What About Power Output?
This is a good question to ask as microwaves generally use a lot of power and motorhomes often don’t have much to spare.
An average domestic microwave uses around 1200 watts, similar to a hairdryer, kettle or toaster. They are not suitable for motorhomes due to needing a 16amp electrical hook up, which many sites, particularly abroad, do not supply.
Microwaves will also draw a huge amount of power in the first few milliseconds after being switched on, often enough to trip the campsite’s hook up.
Can I Use a 12v Microwave Oven?
You can buy a 12v microwave in the UK but they are expensive and will deplete your leisure batteries really quickly, just like using any other large appliance.
So, What Are the Options?
Forget about motorhome microwave convection ovens, choose a small low wattage microwave that uses between 500 and 700 watts. This means you are likely to be able to use it with most campsites with electricity of 10 watts or more without tripping the RCD. If you’re abroad, many sites will let you pay extra for additional amps.
The downside of a small microwave is that it will take longer to heat your food and the food may be heated patchily, so make sure you stir regularly through the microwaving process or buy a microwave with in-built technology to assist with this.
If you like a full roast or are partial to banana bread, whatever your motorhome cooking style you’ll find all the information you need on motorhome and campervan cooking options here.
Are you confused about motorhome electrics? How do motorhomes work? What is the difference between mains electricity and batteries? What does a solar panel and inverter do and do I need a generator? And how do I get power without EHU? Don’t be confused, this easy guide to your motorhome electrical systems explains it all.
What About Microwaves & Wild Camping?
A camper microwave is not the best option if you’re a wild camper at heart and spend limited amounts of time on campsites. But, if you really want a microwave, the best option here is to buy a low wattage model and fit an inverter to your motorhome. You would still need to be mindful of how much power even a low wattage model will use and you will need to ensure you have enough battery capacity to manage such a large device, you can find out more about motorhome electrics here.
What About Size?
Microwaves come in a variety of sizes, but to achieve the low wattage criteria you will need to buy a compact and lightweight microwave, happily the size you’ll be thinking about anyway! Don’t forget about weight either, make sure you have the payload to carry an extra 10kg or so.
Should I Buy Digital or Manual?
Although digital microwaves are more accurate in terms of timing and often have pre-set options, they don’t really offer any other must-haves for motorhomers. In fact, you’ll have to re-set the clock every time you unplug the microwave!
What About Variable Power Settings?
This can be a really helpful feature in a microwave for a campervan, especially if you’re constantly tripping the electric. Set the microwave to half power; it will take longer but use half the electricity.
What About Storage?
If you decide to retro-fit your microwave permanently into your motorhome, you’ll probably need some sort of cradle to help protect it from vibration and shocks. You will also need to ensure it has ventilation on all sides and at the back. If you’re removing an campervan oven and replacing it with a microwave, this should be fairly easy to achieve, as long as it’s not sited too high. Otherwise, you may struggle to find the space in an already fitted motorhome kitchen.
A compact microwave for a motorhome could be stored under a bench seat or in an under-bed storage area, or even in your garage. Our’s fits neatly in the bottom of our wardrobe cupboard. Just make sure to protect it well and remove the glass plate before setting off!
Motorhome Microwave Recommendations
Daewoo QT1R Compact Manual Control 600W Microwave Oven
Our top choice is the Daewoo QT1R Compact Manual Control 600W Microwave Oven. With a host of features, this best-selling microwave performs brilliantly. It will take a standard size plate and has technology to improve consistency of cooking, which seems to work well. An added bonus is that this microwave will work with a 10amp hook up and very possibly 6amps depending on how many other people on the campsite are accessing power; if you’re cooking during the busiest time, just adjust the power setting
- 14 litre
- 42.3cm wide x 33.2cm deep x 22.9cm high
- seven power levels
Iginex 500W Low Power Caravan Microwave
This Iginex 500W Low Power Caravan Microwave is designed specially for motorhomes, campervans and caravans. Slightly larger than the Daewoo compact model, it packs a real punch in terms of watts, which are reduced in the Iginex workshop to ensure compatibility with a 6amp supply.
- 20 litres
- 44.7cm wide x 34.5 deep x 25.8 cm high
- five power levels
Hotpoint Curve 700W Microwave
This Hotpoint Curve 700W Digital Microwave is a quirky little number, but might work well if you’ve got an awkward corner or space to fit it into to. It will easily take a standard plate and offers digital controls with pre-set options. At 700W, you will almost certainly need 10amps of power or more to use this microwave.
- 13 litres
- 39.2cm wide x 35.3 deep x 36 cm high
- five power levels
Which Is The Best Motorhome Microwave?
Our pick is the Daewoo QT1R Compact Manual Control 600W Microwave Oven for the follows ten reasons;
- reliability from a recognised brand
- smallest compact microwave unit on the market meaning easier storage
- fits a standard plate so no messing with special containers
- seven power levels giving lots of cooking options
- reasonable build quality
- functions exactly as expected so dinner will always be on time
- value for money in comparison to other models
- great price point
- easy to keep clean with a quick wipe down
- works with 10amps and often 6amp so suitable for many overseas sites
To summarise, this is the best low wattage microwave because it does exactly what we need and expect it to do, every time it is used and we would buy the same model again.
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