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RV Microwave Vs Regular Microwave: Contrast and Similarities

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

rv microwave vs regular microwave

So, you are planning to revamp your old RV kitchen, and the space for the microwave left me thinking about whether you can use any type of microwave. RV microwaves are multifunctional, but we are usually tempted to use a regular microwave. Are there any differences between these two?

Generally, RV microwaves are smaller and more compact than regular microwave models. However, they’re more difficult to install than home microwaves.

Let’s dig into more details on the RV microwave vs regular microwave comparison below.

Table of Contents

About RV Microwaves

An RV microwave is a perfect way to still enjoy your favorite meal in the woods. Mine is a compact RV microwave Convection oven to fit limited counter spaces. In fact, a 19x11x13 microwave is ideal for even smaller RVs.

Usually, the RV microwave size ranges from 0.7-1.5 cubic feet and 700 watts to 1,200 watts of power. Many RV owners use 1000-watts or less to prevent draining the RV resources.

Although these RV-specific models use less power, they still offer various functionalities to upgrade your meals. You can select from a convection model or combo microwave to enjoy faster and more even cooking.

About Regular Microwaves

A regular microwave is what you see at home. These units use high-frequency electromagnetic radiation for cooking food via magnetron, a microwave-producing metal built inside the appliance. When you hear a buzzing sound, this means that the magnetron is near its demise.

The capacity of these home microwaves can go above two cubic feet, while power may reach more than 1,200 watts. A higher wattage usually indicates more power.

A Comparison of RV Microwave Vs Home Microwave


Now that you get an overview of each type of microwave, let’s compare whether there’s much difference between these two.

1. Features

The RV microwave and regular microwave work the same- plug and play. Both of these models have rotating turntables to prevent cold spots on the food. However, you need to wrap or remove the RV turntable while driving to prevent damage.

There’s also not much difference in cooking settings. Still, the regular microwave might offer more advanced options, like turbo frosting and inverter technology. Regardless of the number of features, both units reheat food quickly.

2. Size

A standard RV microwave takes up less room than a home microwave. These units are naturally smaller to fit the tight areas in your RV kitchen. While an RV microwave can be as big as 1.5 cubic feet, a regular or small RV microwave offers a capacity of a little more than two cubic feet.

3. Power

Both the RV microwave and regular types run on 120-volt AC, which simply means regular shore power. The advantage of the RV microwave is you can run it without shore power using an inverter or generator. This means you can cut down the cost of your electricity bills.

RV microwaves need less power than regular models to function. These units can manage about 50 amps, while regular models can handle up to 200 amps.

4. Heating Technology

A traditional microwave uses electromagnetic radiation to heat or cook something. Meanwhile, the microwave for RV might also use convection heating technology to cook more despite its compact size. These units tend to bake food faster at a lower temperature, making them slightly more efficient.

5. Installation

The biggest problem with RV microwaves is that you need to find a model that fits your current venting and mounts.

You might need to vent the RV microwaves to the outside or front, especially if there’s no space at the back. To do this, you’ll need some HVAC- type duct plumbing.

Measure the ventilated trim piece openings carefully to get a perfect fit. Modifications might be needed, like adjusting the shim under the feet or re-bending the attaching straps for the trim.

Also, you need some brackets or adhesive to anchor the RV microwave on the countertop, adding up the cost.

Regular microwaves are easier to install since they don’t need any special vent kits and mounting brackets. These models simply need to be placed on the countertop.

Can You Put a Regular Microwave in a Camper?


Yes, you definitely can as long as you choose the same or lower wattage requirement of your previous RV microwave. A microwave between 500-1,000 watts won’t blow a fuse. However, it will take too long to cook food.

If your RV kitchen has no space on the back, find a microwave model that vents to the front. Since these models are rare to find, you can improvise and hang the microwave with ample space at the back or sides for proper ventilation. Never place a regular microwave in an enclosed cabinet because it will overheat.

Also, make sure to choose a small.


In the RV microwave vs regular microwave comparison, there’s not much difference in features. RV microwaves tend to be smaller and need less power than regular models to prevent tripping the breaker. The only caveat for RV microwave models is that they need more installation work, which means more cost.

If you plan to replace your RV microwave with a regular unit, find a model with the same wattage or go lower to prevent consuming your RV resources.

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