Best Shallow Depth Microwave to Fit Inside Kitchen Cabinets

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Do you need a microwave that fits onto a cabinet shelf without sticking out too much? A 12-inch deep microwave might be just right. A 12-inch depth microwave is designed to fit inside kitchen cabinets, and it also has the right depth for a correct over-the-range installation.

Wondering how to find the best shallow-depth microwave? I spent hours researching and testing some of the most promising microwaves on the market. Keep reading to find the Best Shallow Depth Microwave for you.

Best Microwave for Inside Cabinet Comparisons

Editor’s Pick
  • Installation Type: Countertop
  • Wattage: 700 watts
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Included Components: Magnetron, turntable
  • Capacity: 0.7 Cubic Feet
Easy to clean:
Easy to use:
Commercial CHEF
Commercial CHEF CHCM11100B Microwave
  • Installation Type: Countertop
  • Wattage: 600 watts
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Included Components: Turntable
  • Capacity: 0.6 Cubic Feet
Easy to clean:
Easy to use:
Budget choice
Nostalgia Retro
Nostalgia Retro Compact Microwave
  • Installation Type: Countertop
  • Wattage: 800 watts
  • Material: Glass
  • Included Components: Turntable
  • Capacity: 0.9 Cubic Feet
Easy to clean:
Easy to use:

Why is the depth of your microwave important?

The depth of your microwave is important for two reasons: for installation purposes (either countertop, built-in wall cabinet, or over-the-range) and to know what size dishes you can fit inside the unit.

Most microwaves on the market have a depth between 15 and 16 inches. This depth is perfect for countertop microwaves but also for built-in units designed to install in a tall cabinet over a wall oven. However, they are too deep for a wall kitchen cabinet.

Most kitchen cabinets have a standard depth, which is 24 inches for a base cabinet or a tall unit, such as a pantry cabinet, designed for built-in appliances. Wall cabinets have a standard depth of 12 inches.

A 15- or 16-inch deep cabinet has the perfect size for a built-in installation that allows for some ventilation space behind the appliance. However, these units are too deep to fit an upper cabinet.

Whether you want to place the microwave on an upper shelf or opt for an over the range microwave, investing in a 12-inch depth appliance is essential.

How deep should a microwave cabinet be?

A standard cabinet microwave should be 24 inches deep, which is the standard depth of a base or tall kitchen unit.

A cabinet-depth microwave should have a depth of about 15 to 16 inches. The trim kit makes up for the extra width, ensuring that there is sufficient airflow behind the appliance. If you want a microwave with a 12-inch turntable, you should generally look for this microwave type.

However, if you want a microwave that has a total depth of 12 inches, you have to focus on the so-called shallow-depth microwaves.

These units have a depth between 12 and 13 inches and are generally suitable to install over the range or inside an upper cabinet.

What should you consider when choosing a Best Shallow Depth Microwave?

Finding the best countertop microwave oven or range microwave is often challenging, but you can narrow down your choices by considering the selection criteria below.


Where do you want to place your microwave? Is a 12-inch depth crucial, or can the unit be slightly deeper or shallower? This depth could fit a wall unit or a drawer base cabinet.


Do you want a microwave with multiple pre-programmed settings or a simpler one with just a few functions?


You can select from multiple designs, from vintage to modern. Consider your kitchen interior and pick one to match your cabinets or overall style.

Cleaning ease

Some microwaves feature auto-cleaning functions that make it a cinch to get rid of grime and grease.


How much do you want to spend? Budget microwaves feature fewer functions compared to the more advanced models, but they are still reliable.

Best Shallow Depth Microwave

1. Commercial Chef CHM660W Countertop Small Microwave Oven

If you’re looking for a no-frills microwave that fits on a small counter, the Commercial Chef CHM660W could be the one you need.


This 12-inch deep microwave doesn’t have any pre-programmed cooking settings, but the two intuitive knobs make cooking extremely easy. This microwave is perfect for a small studio apartment, a dorm, or even an RV.

Why I love it

Simple controls

One of the best things about this microwave is the old-fashion control panel that makes it the best compact microwave for not-so-tech-savvy users. Simply choose one of the six power settings and the cooking time to start it.

30-minute timer

This microwave oven is perfect for defrosting, reheating, or cooking simple and elaborate meals alike. The 30-minute timer has 1-minute increments from one to ten minutes and 5-minute increments from ten minutes to half an hour.

Compact size

The unit is compact enough to fit in a very small kitchen or RV. The 12-inch depth makes it easy to install it over an RV range.

What could be better

Slippery turntable

This microwave comes with a removable glass turntable that has almost zero grips. Your bowls, cups, and microwave dishes might slide from side to side.

Plastic feet

Like the turntable, the plastic feet are very slippery, causing the unit to slide across the countertop.

2. Farberware Classic FMO07AHTBKJ Microwave Oven

Slightly larger than Commercial Chef, this stainless steel microwave oven from Farberware Classic is an excellent choice if you’re short on space but want a modern unit with all the bells and whistles.

Farberware Classic

From more power to six sensor cooking programs, you can rest assured this oven won’t disappoint. Its depth is slightly larger than 12 inches but still compact enough to fit on an upper shelf or a shallow countertop.

Why I love it

Versatile cooking options

Despite its compact size, this microwave boasts all the functions seen on the larger units from the brand. You can choose from ten power levels and six pre-programmed cooking settings for easy, effortless cooking.

Defrost options

While defrosting by weight is undeniably the right way to thaw foods, we all know that you might sometimes forget to write the weight on the freezer bag. That’s where time defrosts steps in, allowing you to adjust the defrosting time as needed.

One-touch start

The one-touch 30-second start button makes it a breeze to reheat leftovers or increase the cooking time.

Next Read; Best Microwave with Steam Function [Reviews – 2023 Edition]

What could be better

Interior light

The interior light is very dim; combined with the dark glass door, you may struggle to see the food as it’s cooking.

Quality control

While the oven has an optimal performance for its capacity and power, the finishes are not the best. Better quality control wouldn’t hurt.

3. Commercial Chef CHCM11100B Microwave Oven

If you like Commercial Chef but need a larger capacity microwave, this one could suit your needs. It has a capacity of 1.1 cubic feet and features ten power levels and six pre-programmed microwave cooking settings. The shallower depth of only 11.5 inches makes it perfect to fit in a wall kitchen unit.


Why I love it

Intuitive operation

A digital control panel and intuitive keypad allow for easy operation. Each pre-programmed setting has a large and clearly labeled button.

Shallow depth

While this compact microwave is designed for a countertop installation, the shallow depth makes it perfect for placing it on a kitchen shelf.


Commercial Chef has managed to cram a lot of capacity into such a small frame. The oven can fit an 11-inch plate and is ideal for small families.

What could be better


Functionality aside, this microwave looks cheap. Its plastic components don’t match the unit’s performance and versatility.

Sound alerts

The oven’s sound alerts at the end of the cooking cycle are annoyingly loud. Perhaps not the best microwave oven if you have young children.

4. Winia WOR07R3ZEC Retro Microwave

Winia WOR07R3ZEC is a modern microwave with a retro heart. You can expect pre-programmed cooking settings, five cooking power levels, and a digital display that shows you the cooking time. The control panel is shaped like a knob but allows for digital selections. Another nice thing is the one-touch 30-second button and the child lock.


Why I love it

Cooking performance

This microwave might have a vintage design, but it incorporates innovative technologies that speed up cooking time.

12 inch depth of microwave

Unlike most microwaves that draw energy even when they’re not running, the Winia only consumes electricity when it is on. It is an ideal choice for RVs, tiny homes, or emergency situations.

Recessed turntable

This turntable design makes it easier to accommodate larger size plates and bowls, allowing you to use the unit at full capacity.

What could be better

The carousel isn’t adapted to the recessed design of the turntable, causing friction between the turntable and the bottom of the unit. This causes the turntable to wear out faster compared to other microwaves.

Build quality

This microwave looks stunning, but some parts feel flimsy. A higher quality would be expected for the price.

12-Inch Deep Microwave Comparison Table

 Commercial Chef CHM660WFarberware Classic FMO07AHTBKJCommercial Chef CHCM11100BWinia WOR07R3ZEC
Capacity0.6 cu. ft.0.7 cu. ft.1.1 cu. ft0.7 cu. ft.
Max power600 watts700 watts1,000 watts700 watts
Power levels610105
Cooking programs665

How do I install a 12-inch-deep microwave?

Most 12-inch-deep microwaves have a countertop design that requires no installation. If the unit is compatible with a built-in or over-the-range installation, follow the instructions in the unit’s booklet to install it.

Will a 12-inch cabinet in the corner look weird?

A corner cabinet would work better in corners, but you can design your kitchen in any way you like. Regardless of the cabinet type, remember that all upper units can accommodate 12-inch-deep microwave ovens.

What is the minimum space between the microwave and the range?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, you should allow for about 18 inches of clearance between the top of the range and the bottom of the microwave.

How far should the microwave stick out from the cabinets?

A built-in microwave shouldn’t stick out from cabinets. If it is a countertop microwave that you decide to place on a shelf, a microwave that sticks out an inch or two could be easier to open and operate.

Final Thoughts

A 12-inch-deep microwave is an excellent choice for small kitchens and RVs. It fits perfectly into an upper unit, saving counter space, or installed over the range.

While most units have a smaller capacity, you can still find models suitable for families. I hope this guide can help you find the best small microwave for you.



Justin Schwartz is an experienced editor and food blogger based in New York. He focuses on healthy eating and living. When he’s not acquiring and publishing cookbooks, you can find Justin sampling food in New York’s restaurants or trying new recipes in his kitchen.

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