This post might contain affiliate links, read more here.
A portable mini microwave can be a great solution to food-heating concerns of people who are constantly on the go. If you value the luxury of having warm food at hand or take frequent road trips in your car, a mini microwave can come in handy.
One problem with mini microwaves for cars is availability. A few models have been introduced in the past, but have failed to generate sales. Therefore, a good alternative to a mini microwave is a portable stove or oven that works well in cars too.
Here are reviews of some of the best mini portable microwaves for cars. While these products may not exactly be ‘microwaves’, they serve the same purpose since microwaves are made more for kitchen and home use. Just plug in to your car’s cigarette lighter and enjoy your meal as soon as it’s warm!
Our Top 7 Car Microwaves
|WaveBox Original Portable AC/DC Microwave||10 x 15 x 11 inches||20 pounds||660-Watt Microwave, Three Preset Quick-Cook Options, Three Power Options, Luggage-Standard Carrying Case Included||view here|
|Hot Logic Mini 12V Version||9.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches||1.15 pounds||Oven, Microwave, and Slow Cooker in One, Mini 12V Version, Heat-Reflective Interior, Double-Zipper, Reinforced Seams,For Desk or Travel Use||view here|
|RoadPro 12V Portable Stove||10.5 x 7 x 7.8 inches||3.2 pounds||12V Stove, Heats/Cooks up to 300 Degrees F, Uses 8 x 3.75 x 2.5 inch Aluminum Pans||view here|
|Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer||8 x 8 x 6.8 inches||1.6 pounds||Single-serving 20-Ounce Capacity, Convenient Tote-Style Handle, Travel-Friendly Spill-Proof Lid, Integrated Cord Storage, Separate Car Adapter Not Included||view here|
|Koolatron 12V Lunch Box Stove||11 x 8 x 8 inches||2.5 pounds||Cooking/Warming Function up to 300F, 12V Stove, Max 10 Amp Draw, Easy-to-Clean Metal Interior||view here|
|Corotc Electric Lunchbox||8.7 x 6.8 x 4.8 inches||1.8 pounds||Car and Home use, comes with a 304 stainless steel tray, includes a 1x 12V 24V Car/truck and 1x 110V Home/office plug||view here|
|Wavebox Portable microwave by Power Hunt||11 x 15 x 10 inches||14 pounds||660 Watts of power, dual power AC/DC circuitry, comes with a Coolbag||view here|
WaveBox Original Portable AC/DC Microwave
If you’re adamant on specifically getting a ‘microwave’ for your car for some reason rather than a food heater that could be of better quality, you could try this one. The first problem you’ll encounter with the WaveBox, however, is availability. This 2009 model isn’t available everywhere so you’ll need to hunt it down first!
This is overall a rugged-looking portable microwave meant for practical use on the go, so steer clear if you need something sleek. It has three power options: AC, DC direct to your car battery, or DC direct to your car’s power outlet.
The microwave operates through one of three quick-cooking modes through preset buttons. You may place reheatable containers, mugs, or popcorn inside it.
While the 660-watt microwave doesn’t have a rotating dish for even heating, you can stir your food between intervals to make up for it. It comes with a weather-resistant ABS plastic casing that has a luggage-standard handle for added convenience.
Despite its few shortcomings, it can last you long if you’re careful with the instructions and know what to expect. Don’t make the mistake of plugging it with your car’s cigarette lighter – use HD alligator clips with the battery!
- Lightweight and portable
- Three quick-cook modes
- Slow and uneven heating function
- Not compatible with car cigarette lighter
The Hot Logic Mini Portable Oven is exactly what it sounds like – hot in the market, and a logical solution to your food heating concerns on the go. Available in six colors (Black, blue, green, pink, orange, and purple) this is a top-rated food heater for traveling.
The Hot Logic Mini is marketed as combining an oven, a microwave, and a slow cooker in itself. This 12V version of the original Hot Logic portable oven was introduced in 2017 as a convenient accessory that can connect to your car’s cigarette lighter so that you can enjoy hearty meals wherever you go.
This simple-looking yet high-tech device has a heat-reflecting interior to insulate your food while heating and keep its warmth within. Reinforced seams prevent unnecessary tearing and give it the strength and durability required on rough road trips. Double zippers avoid spillage due to clumsy accidents so you have one less thing to worry about.
The device is compatible with most glass, plastic, and metal containers. Just plug it in your car’s cigarette lighter for power and it will start heating your meal. There is no hassle of buttons on this one, but it may take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours to get your meal ready. The timing depends on whether your meal is raw or already cooked, and whether it was warm or cold in the first place.
Another good thing about the Hot Logic Mini, according to its seller, is that your food won’t burn or dry out even when you forget to turn it off for hours at a time. The maximum temperature it reaches is around 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
With the overwhelmingly positive reviews it continues to receive, the Hot Logic Mini is surely something you should try out for yourself.
- Lightweight, portable, and handy
- Easy compatibility with cars and trucks
- Convenient cooking system without time constraints
- Reflective interiors for extra insulation
- Reinforced seams and double zippers for extra security
- Few complaints of breaking down within a few months of purchase
- Takes much longer than a regular microwave to heat up food
RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove, Black
If you’re looking for a product that will last you long and serve you well, the RoadPro Portable Stove is something you can count on. This one is a powerful food warmer/cooker that reaches temperatures up to 300F to provide you a comfortable meal on the road.
The 12-volt stove is made especially for warming up meals, and even cooking them. It comes with a 15 Amp fused 5.5-foot power cord and has a 12-Amp power draw, compatible with your car’s cigarette lighter.
The RoadPro is tailored to accommodate disposable aluminum pans measuring 8 x 3.75 x 2.5 inches. You can cook rice meals, beans, stew, goulash, and a plethora of other foods inside it. It only takes the RoadPro 20 to 40 minutes to make a piping hot meal ready for you.
This one is a highly recommended option with a large number of satisfied customers to its credit. It is one of the best mini microwave alternatives available in the market, especially for use in cars and trucks, and you can expect it to last for years with good handling.
- Effective heating function for food warming/cooking
- Compatible with cars/trucks
- Enough space for larger meals
- Easy to clean
- Slower than a microwave
- Heats up while working
Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer
If you’re looking for only an insulating and warming function from your mini microwave alternative rather than a cooking one too, the Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer could be just the thing you need. Before we go into details, however, you should know that it isn’t readily usable in cars, and will require a separate car adapter to function.
The Crock-Pot food warmer features a convenient carrying handle and enough space to accommodate a 20-ounce single-serving meal comfortably. Unlike most other food warmers, the exterior doesn’t heat up while the warmer heats up your food.
Then food container inside and the lid above are dishwasher-safe and removable for easy cleaning and transportation. The base of the crockpot has a convenient integrated space for cord storage when not in use. Once you’re done with warming your meal, unplug and simply wrap the cord around the base.
With the large number of people who can vouch for it, this food warmer is another great choice if you don’t mind getting a car adapter separately.
- Convenient travel-friendly features like a carry handle and integrated cord storage
- The exterior doesn’t heat up when in use
- Sealed lid that avoids spillage while traveling
- Enough space for a 20-ounce meal
- Safe heating that doesn’t need you to stay alert constantly
- Not designed for use with uncooked food – simply heats, doesn’t cook
- Not as quick as a microwave
- Car adapter not included, separate purchase is required
Koolatron LBS-01 Black 12 Volt Lunch Box Stove
The Koolatron has a somewhat similar style to the RoadPro, and resembles it in function as well. This lunch box-stove combo can give you comforting warm meals on the road with added convenience.
From warming up baby bottles to pizza to cooking uncomplicated meals, the Koolatron lunch box seems like a handy device on the go. However, the heating process may take longer than usual. One customer recommends adding a bit of water at the bottom of the pan to speed up heating.
While the functions of the Koolatron and RoadPro seem similar to some extent, the RoadPro is much faster (about 30 minutes to get your food piping hot) as compared to the Koolatron (anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to reach the same temperature).
The RoadPro often gets complaints of blowing up car fuses, while the Koolatron may drain your car battery if it’s plugged in for too long. It’s up to you to compare the benefits vs the risks!
- Convenient for traveling with lock and handle
- Safe to use in cars
- May reach temperatures up to 300F (although slowly)
- Easy-to-clean metal interior
- Not comparable to a microwave in terms of warming time
- The cooking feature may not be practical since just warming takes a long time
Corotc Electric Lunchbox
Powered by your car’s 12V outlet or a standard 110V household plug, you can keep your food warm and enjoy a hot meal wherever you are. This makes it very handy for trips away, making sure you can eat properly rather than making do with what is available at gas stations.
The well-thought-out features of this electric lunch box make it a safe and convenient way to carry hot food. It is designed to heat up very quickly, saving you time while its tight-sealing ring prevents spillage when on the move.
The removable food grade PP plastic compartment and high-quality stainless steel tray are dishwasher safe, so they are easy to clean. It also features a spoon with its own storage space to make this product even more convenient.
Wavebox Portable microwave by Power Hunt
You can power the Wavebox by connecting it directly to a battery with the included alligator clamp cable. Alternatively, you can run it directly from a 12V car power outlet, so you can cook your food anywhere. With its sturdy construction and durable handle, the Wavebox is built for convenience and portability.
It runs at a maximum of 660W, using microwave scanning technology to evenly cook your food, eliminating cold spots or overcooking the edges. This ensures that you don’t have to compromise on a quality meal when it would typically be inconvenient or impossible.
The Wavebox includes a cool bag that allows you to store and transport cold food and drinks inside it before use. Along with its ease of cleaning, these features make the Wavebox an extremely convenient way of cooking tasty meals anywhere.
Tips for Heating Food in Your Car
Whichever product you decide to purchase in the end, it is necessary to be careful when using it. Here are a few tips that will avoid you unnecessary hassle and spillage:
- If you have a soupy meal, take care to have your food warming device upright. Better not risk spillage as it rolls around in your car!
- Some mini microwaves may not be compatible with your car’s cigarette lighter. That’s okay, and usually there’s an adapter you can purchase for it to work.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid accidents or burns.
- If your appliance doesn’t already come with a food container, make sure the one you use is compatible with your heating device.
A Buying Guide for the Best Portable Mini Microwave for Cars (and the Best Alternatives)
When choosing a portable food heating device for your vehicle, you especially need to be careful about certain features. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase:
First and foremost, you need to check whether the appliance you are about to purchase will work with your car. Most good portable food warmers already come with 12V adapters to connect with your car’s cigarette lighter. With others, you may have to purchase an adapter separately.
Just make sure the option to connect with your car is available since not all mini food heaters are meant for car use.
If you’re going to be constantly on the go, you’re going to appreciate a mini microwave or stove that is lightweight and doesn’t occupy much space. Some appliances have a convenient carrying case that can make things easier for you on the road.
Features of Convenience
A stable device that doesn’t roll around in your car is what you need to keep your food intact. It’s better if it has extra sturdiness, like reinforced seams and double zippers for security.
Not all food heaters offer options of heating/cooking food in different modes. If you need an appliance that can cook as well, check the maximum temperature it can reach since some are only meant for reheating food to lukewarm temperatures.
Don’t get fooled by a ’high-end’ microwave that costs extra bucks. You can get a reasonably priced one, like the RoadPro, to work nicely in your car without burning a hole in your pocket!
Enjoy Hearty Meals Right in Your Car
Once you get the best mini microwave for cars that suits your needs, you’re free to have comfy meals anywhere. It’s a luxury not many people have!