Whether you’re a fisherman or just like boating in your free time, spending days on end on the water comes with a challenge: meal prepping. A boat kitchen is rarely large enough to accommodate a full-size oven – and you don’t go on the boat to cook anyway. That’s where the best microwave for boat steps in.
This small appliance is a helpful ally for preparing breakfast, heating up meals for lunch, and even cooking a quick dinner.
While there are no specific boat microwaves out there, you can find many options suitable for RVs and boats. To help you out, I have even spent days on end researching and selecting the best models. Here are some of the most trustworthy small marine microwaves to pick from.
Microwaves for Boats: Why do you Need One?
The reason most people – and perhaps even you – need a microwave for the boat is the same reason they need a microwave in the RV or truck or even in their homes – this appliance makes cooking a breeze and comes with a variety of additional benefits.
For one, you don’t have to worry about long cooking times. A microwave speeds up cooking, which means that you can have a meal ready in ten rather than 20 or 30 minutes.
Another huge advantage is that it can thaw frozen foods fast without spoiling them. Whether you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer or want to cook a frozen meal without defrosting it first, the microwave is the way to go.
Microwaves are also practical appliances for breakfast prepping, making hot drinks, and reheating or keeping your food warm. When you’re on a boat, being able to do as much as possible with a single appliance can help you save space.
What Type of Microwave is Right for Your Boat?
The best microwave for the boat is one with a compact footprint that doesn’t require too many watts of surge or running power.
There are essentially two choices:
These aren’t microwave ovens in the true sense of the word, but rather electric lunch boxes. The hot plates included in these ovens can reach temperatures up to 300°F, which is hot enough to cook food from raw ingredients.
However, due to the low heat, the cooking process can take up to three hours. They are more suitable for day trips if you want to keep your food warm or reheat it rather than cook it from scratch.
Full-size Mini Microwaves
A standard microwave is a better choice if you want fast heating and cooking. These small microwave ovens have most of the bells and whistles a standard microwave has, including pre-programmed cooking functions and several power levels.
They require more watts compared to a portable microwave – and a standard wall outlet – but are much more versatile.
What should I look for When Picking a Microwave for the Boat?
Picking a marine microwave isn’t that different from picking a microwave for your kitchen. However, there are a few things to consider before buying.
One of the most important things to check before buying a marine microwave is the power input. Almost all microwaves need a higher watt input compared to the output, and not overloading a boat circuit is crucial.
Luckily, a few brands manufacture microwaves that require the same power input as the output. These microwaves are more effective and they will unlikely overload the circuit (as long as you avoid using more appliances at the same time).
One example is Faberware. The brand manufactures a 700-watt microwave that requires a similar input.
Another thing to check is the overall quality of the materials. The humid environment and high salinity levels can corrode the microwave. Stainless steel and aluminum are slightly more resistant to rust and corrosion compared to other materials and are your best choice.
There are two options: a standard plug or a 12-volt plug. Most full-size microwaves come with a standard plug and work with regular wall outlets. If your boat is too small for a fully electric system, you can use a standard microwave with a power generator.
Portable power generators, including solar-powered ones, can generally produce more than 2,000 watts of surge power and over 1,500 watts of continuous power, which is enough to power a small microwave oven and recharge your electronics.
Electric lunch boxes rarely consume more than 90 watts, but the heat level they reach is low. That said, these microwaves come with car plug adapters which also work in boats.
Beyond the power input/power output consideration, you should check how much power the microwave can produce.
The more wattage a microwave can output, the faster and better it will cook.
Some of the best microwaves for boats can output at least 600 to 700 watts. Larger units could work in larger boats, especially if you can fit a more powerful power generator. However, I wouldn’t recommend a microwave oven that outputs over 900 watts for your boat to avoid surcharging the electric system.
There are four types of microwave ovens you could have in your boat:
Portable: The smallest microwave ovens have a very small capacity and can barely fit more than a lunch for two. However, you can take this oven with you anywhere, and the oven is small enough to store away in a cabinet or under a bench.
Countertop: Ideal for boats without incorporated cabinets. You can keep this oven stored away under a bench and only place it on a table when you have to use it.
Built-in: If your boat is large enough to fit a small kitchenette, a built-in microwave can save you counter space if you don’t mind sacrificing some storage space. It can give your boat kitchen a streamlined appearance.
Over the counter: This type of microwave is similar to the built-in, but you can also install it under a shelf on the wall. It can save you floor space and storage space, although it might be impractical for smaller boats.
Another thing to check before buying is the number of pre-programmed cooking functions. How many you need depends on what you plan to cook.
However, considering that you need a microwave for your boat, it should at least have specific functions for cooking meat and fish, vegetables, and popcorn, alongside the defrost and reheat options.
The noise level might be unimportant if you’re boating alone but could become troublesome if you plan a higher trip with friends or family – especially if you wake up hungry in the middle of the night and don’t want to wake up your boat mates.
Next Read: Quiet Countertop Microwave: Best Picks & Reviews for your home
Last but not least, safety is paramount when you need an oven for the boat. The microwave should have an overload safety switch; an overheat safety switch, and a child lock option.
The last thing you want to leave to chance is the possibility of a fire when you’re out on the sea.
Small Marine Microwaves
1. Farberware Classic FMO07AHTBKJ Microwave Oven
While not a marine microwave convection oven, the Farberware Classic FMO07AHTBKJ is powerful enough and has sufficient cooking functions to eliminate the need for a convection oven.
You can use it to defrost and reheat foods, but also to cook meat, fish, rice, vegetables, potatoes, and even popcorn. The 0.7 cubic feet of capacity makes it perfect for boating trips with your friends.
Why I love it
Ease of use
This microwave oven features an intuitive control panel. You can select the desired cooking function at a glance – no more complicated codes that you have to remember.
The brushed stainless steel exterior is smudge-proof and very easy to clean. The interior is easy to wipe clean, too, not to mention that the stainless steel resists rust and corrosion.
The handle door could seem unsafe as far as kids are involved – the unit is easy to open without pressing on a button. However, the child safety lock can prevent tiny fingers from operating the appliance.
What could be better
While this oven is large enough for a boat, the turntable is rather small. A 10-inch plate only fits in if you tilt it, which means that you’ll have to cook each dish separately.
The light isn’t bright enough to monitor the progress without opening the door.
2. Hot Logic Mini 16801045-BLK Portable Microwave
If you’re looking for a 12-volt marine microwave oven, the Hot Logic Mini could be perfect for you. This portable microwave oven has a capacity of 1.5 quarts and is ideal for shorter trips or a day out sailing.
It can keep your food warm or cook it raw, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a full-size microwave oven.
Why I love it
This electric lunch box is highly portable. You can use it on the boat, in the car, or at work or dorm. It comes with a 12-volt plug, but you can also find it in a variant with a 120-volt plug.
This small tote bag is downright fashionable. Our favorite model comes in solid black, but you can also choose from fun patterns or bright colors.
Safe to use with Tupperware
While this oven gets hot enough to slow-cook raw foods at low temperatures, it doesn’t get hot enough to melt Tupperware. You can also use it with glass, ceramic, aluminum foil, or other heat-resistant containers.
What could be better
One of the biggest downsides is the total lack of options. Once you plug in the oven, it will heat up to max temperature to heat and cook or reheat your meal. Then, it will modulate the temperature to prevent overcooking. However, you can’t select the power or heat level.
You can choose from 12-volt and 120-volt plugs, but the cable is not removable and interchangeable. Other brands offer this option.
3. Black+Decker EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven
Similar to the Faberware, the Black+Decker digital microwave oven is an excellent choice for larger boats. It reaches 700 watts of power output and has a capacity of 0.7 cubic feet. One of the best highlights is the 10-inch turntable, which is large enough to fit two small plates at a time.
Why I love it
Do you want to give your meal a final heat boost or warm some water for tea or instant coffee? The express cooking button turns on the oven at full power for 30 seconds (or you can use it to add an additional 30 seconds to your cooking program).
The six pre-programmed cooking settings make the operation a cinch. You can use the quick buttons for cooking potatoes, frozen vegetables, pizza, or a dinner plate. The unit also has a dedicated popcorn function.
In addition to all its benefits, this microwave oven incorporates a kitchen timer.
Black lettering on a black background makes reading the buttons challenging.
While the oven is made of stainless steel, the door hinges are made of cheaper plastic and are not the most resistant.
4. Commercial Chef CHM660B Countertop Microwave Oven
Last on our list of marine microwaves, the Commercial Chef CHM660B is a good choice for smaller vessels. It has a max power output of 600 watts and six power levels, but that’s enough for cooking most foods or warming up your meals.
Why I love it
Super-easy to use, this microwave oven comes with rotary controls. It doesn’t have any fancy functions, but they resist longer in a salty and humid environment.
Despite its lack of bells and whistles, the unit has weight or time defrost options. This makes it easy to thaw your foods without spoiling them.
Easy to grip handle
Opening and closing the door is as easy as it gets, thanks to the large, easy-to-grip handle.
What could be better
This microwave oven doesn’t have a child safety lock, and the knobs are very easy to turn. Not the best option if you’re concerned about kids operating it.
Like the other microwave ovens on this list, this one is made of stainless steel. However, it also has plastic parts, which are rather flimsy. Given the price, I still consider it a solid option.
Small marine microwave comparison table
|Farberware FMO07AHTBKJ||Hot Logic 16801045-BLK||Black+Decker EM720CB7||Commercial Chef CHM660B|
|Capacity||0.7 cu. ft.||1.5 quarts||0.7 cu. ft.||0.6 cu. ft.|
|Max power||700 watts||45 watts||700 watts||600 watts|
How to install a new microwave on the boat?
You generally don’t install a microwave on a boat but rather use a countertop or portable microwave that is easy to plug into a wall or 12-volt socket.
For a built-in unit, you should call an electrician to make sure all cables are connected correctly to the circuit.
Finding the best microwave for a boat requires some consideration, but there are a few solid options out there. I hope this guide can help you find the best one for you.