Are RV Microwaves Different Than Domestic Ones? All You Need to Know

Are RV Microwaves Different Than Domestic Ones

You probably have a microwave in your brick and mortar house, right? They have become a part of everyday life over the years.

They’re quick and wonderfully convenient. So, having one in your RV can be a real help.

Are RV microwaves different than domestic one? Yes. Unfortunately, you can’t just pop out to the nearest supermarket and pick the cheapest one. However, at the base level, domestic and RV microwaves are the same, only some models are actually suitable for life inside your campervan.

It does get a little complicated but we’re going to help you out by showing you exactly what you need to consider. Oh, and we’ll give you some specific models at the end to make life a little easier for you!

Let’s jump straight into the details then, shall we?

Power Consumption

This is the main factor you need to think about when deciding on which microwave to choose.

The ones with the largest wattage (800 or 900) are always more alluring but that isn’t the smartest choice for life in your RV.

Remember, the power rating is just the cooking power and is typically only half of what the microwave needs to run.

On top of this, a microwave needs more power to start up so you can’t just use a 5-amp campground supply. For some models, a 10-amp supply still might not be enough!

Even if it is the only thing hooked up to the power (very unlikely), you will probably struggle with large microwaves here.

Related reading: Can I Plug My 50 Amp RV into 110V or 220V? ( All You Need To Know)

Go For A 230v Microwave

Opting for a domestic 230v microwave that you can set to different powers and has a relatively low wattage output is the way to go.

Why? Because if it does trip, you can decrease the power setting and try again.

Why Not A 12v Microwave?

The main reason is that these microwaves draw tons of power from your battery.

If you use it pretty often then you are guaranteed to drain your battery very quickly. Plus, they need industrial cabling to ensure that safety standards are met.

Not to mention that they are so much harder to install in your RV than the standard 230v models. So, in our opinion, it isn’t worth the hassle!

Read also: How Many Batteries Do I Need for My Inverter? [Incl. 8 Examples]

The Weight and Size

There isn’t a lot of kitchen space in most RVs which means the weight and size of your microwave matter.

Whether you are going to be installing it as a permanent fixture or simply placing it on the counter, it needs to blend in and not take over.

Otherwise, you’ll end up bumping into it and/or not having enough space to chop your veg or make your coffee in the morning.

For those of you who are wanting it to be a permanent installation, measure the gap in your cupboards perfectly (accounting for any trim, of course).

This way, you won’t have to go through the rigmarole of returning it, getting a refund, and finding the right one.

Read also: How Many Watts Does a Crock Pot Use? (Instant Pot® vs. Crock-Pot®)

Manual or Digital?

To tell you the truth, this doesn’t really make a difference. It comes down to your preferences! However, we will say that digital ones can be harder to use and cost you more money.

Installation and Positioning

Microwaves need enough air circulation and stability, as well as heat resistant surfaces, to be able to function.

Therefore, you need to speak with both your RV’s and microwave’s manufacturer to check whether the unit can cope.

As far as positioning your microwave goes, consider the height of everyone in your campervan.

Whoever uses the microwave needs to be able to safely put in and take out food without struggle or standing on a stool.

Our Favorite RV Microwaves

Now you know everything you need to look out for when buying a microwave for your RV (power consumption being the most important of them all). 

So, it’s about time we look at some specific models that will work wonders in the limited space your RV kitchen has to offer.

Advent MW912BWDK Microwave Oven

Remember when we said that RV microwaves should be small enough? Well, Advent has done just that with its built-in black model.

The high-quality construction ensures a seamless look for your campervan, while still being durable and able to handle those bumpy roads.

Even though it is a digital model, it’s incredibly easy to use. The microwave features 10 power settings with 6 pre-programmed cooking settings that will get you started with a single push of the button.

No more faffing with all the controls!

Inside, you will notice that the turntable is glass. While you might think that this is a disaster waiting to happen, it’s held very securely so you don’t need to worry about it shattering.

We should also note that this microwave comes with a wide trim kit. What is this, we hear you ask? Well, it just ensures that you can install it into your RV’s kitchen without much hassle!

This was a huge plus point. 

Contoure Built-In Microwave

You may have heard of the brand as it has been around for a little while now.

It has built a pretty robust reputation for itself! Everything this company makes tends to be of very high quality and ultra-reliable.

The Contoure microwave is another sleek, elegant, black design that is sure to add a touch of sophistication to your RV.

Aside from aesthetics, this microwave has a lot to offer. It provides 10 power levels that you can play around with, which is helpful if the campsite you’re at doesn’t have a big amp supply.

Furthermore, you can utilize the plentiful pre-set cooking systems that make the whole experience quicker.

However, the thing we like the most is that it is an easy cleaning microwave.

Trust us, it will save you so much time. Fewer minutes cleaning, more minutes having fun. What more could you want?

Dometic DCMC11B.F Convection Microwave

Yep, this is another elegant looking black model (sensing a theme here yet?).

We know that the appearance of your RV means the world to you so you won’t want something that offers all substance know style!

You need microwaves that have both.

Thankfully, the Dometic DCMC11B.F has it all!

You can cook pretty much everything in it thanks to the plethora of settings available.

If you have a load of people to cook for, this can be a real blessing. But don’t worry, little hands won’t be able to hurt themselves as Dometic has installed a nifty child lock feature!

There won’t be any unfortunate microwave incidents with this one.

The display is easy to read and the buttons are clearly labeled so you won’t accidentally press defrost when you meant to simply add 30 seconds to the timer. 

We should mention though that it is on the bulkier side. If you have a particularly small RV, you might want to opt for the others on our list.

This one has been known to be a little tight in super tiny spaces.

The Bottom Line

While microwaves suitable for RVs and campervans won’t necessarily be marketed this way, there are slight differences when it comes to power consumption and trim kits.

You are about to become the envy of all your RV friends when you rock up with a super sleek microwave that doesn’t drain your battery!


Jessica Gilmour

Jessica is co-founder of RV and Playa and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the Beach- and RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since December 2017, Jessica playful writing style helps make learning about RV a bit more interesting. Nothing is as freeing as being on the beach (Playa), lacing your feet with the sand, having the water lap your legs and becoming one with nature.

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