Almost all caravans and motorhomes produced over the last decade or so come with a microwave oven included. Over the years I’ve had a couple of discussions with our guests when the microwave in their caravan or motorhome has broken and they need a replacement. So with this post, I wanted to discuss the possible options. However, you also need to consider how much you use your microwave and is it worth the additional weight?
Obviously, if your caravan or motorhome is relatively new the microwave that came with the caravan or motorhome will have a minimum of a 12 months product warranty. In some cases, there may have been the option to extend the warranty to between 2-5 years. If that’s the case get in touch with whoever sold you the caravan or motorhome and try to sort out a new microwave replacement under warranty.
This is quite a long post, so if you want to skip the current choice of microwave ovens for your caravan or motorhome please use the Table of Content below.
Home use Microwave Ovens vs Lower Powered Caravan Microwaves
As you have probably guessed, it’s often not possible or practical to use just any microwave oven in your caravan or motorhome. The type of unit located in your kitchen at home may be unsuitable for a range of reasons. If you have the time I would encourage you to watch the quick video below from Practical Caravan. The presenter John discusses some of the difference between difference microwave ovens which you need to consider.
As John discusses in the video above, many caravan and motorhome manufacturers now include microwave ovens as standard. However, if/when it breaks it does give you the option to consider if you actually need a replacement, or you could put that additional weight allowance to better use. Understanding the weight of your caravan is very important, as you need to keep the total weight of the caravan within its legal limit. The microwave oven featured in the video weighs 13kg. Bear in mind that a typical single axel caravan will have a load capacity of personal belongings of around 150kg. So a microwave oven in this scenario is taking up around 9% of the weight allowance.
Microwave Oven Size Requirements
Before you can choose a replacement oven for your caravan or motorhome you need to measure the space where it will be located. However, again as referenced in the video, it’s not simply a case of measure to fit. Different makes and models have different ventilation requirements as there is a fan located on the back microwave ovens. Typically microwave ovens may state a 25mm gap requirement around the appliance. However, its important you always check the specific requirements for each appliance.
Microwave Oven Power Requirements
In the video above John references the scenario of running a microwave oven from a generator. However, I’ll focus more on the power available on a caravan pitch. Understanding how much power your pitch provides and your appliances consume is important. I’ve previously written about this issue when it comes to caravan kettles. Here at Horton Common, our fully serviced pitches provide a supply of 16A, that’s the equivalent of 3600W. However, some other sites you visit may not provide quite that much power. Some within Europe can go as low as 3A. I’ll just quickly summarise the power out of different pitches below:
- 16A Pitch = 3600W of Available Power
- 10A Pitch = 2400W of Available Power
- 6A Pitch = 1440W of Available Power
- 3A Pitch = 720W of Available Power
As the video above references, while a typical microwave in a caravan or motorhome may have an output power of say 450W, it’s the input power you need to focus on. On a 3A pitch using a microwave oven is obviously not going to be possible. However, even on higher powered pitches with 16A you need to be vigilant.
If the microwave oven is the only appliance in use at the time there is sufficient power from many pitches. But what about if electric space or water heating is in use? Do you also use an electric kettle or toaster? Are your caravan or motorhome lights low power LED or high power halogen lamps? All of these variables need to be considered.
Microwave Replacement Options
Below I’ve just provided a couple of options for you to consider. If any of these options are suitable for you it will depend on measurements within your own caravan or motorhome. Furthermore, as referenced above the maximum amount of power you want the microwave to consume. More power obviously means faster cooking times, but it also means the unit is less practical on low powered pitches.
Zanussi Microwave Ovens
The lowest-powered (branded) microwave oven I can currently find is the Zanussi ZFM15100SA with an output rating of 500W. However, as previously discussed the output rating is not the same as the input power. While being the most compact unit of the selection below, it’s surprisingly roomy at 14L. However, it is notably more expensive than the other options below. Therefore the slightly more powerful Daewoo oven at 600W is probably a better option for most people.
Zanussi ZFM15100SA is one of the lowest powered microwaves you can currently buy at 500W – Image: Amazon
Zanussi ZFM15100SA Features
- Output Power 500W
- Input Power around 900W
- Capacity 14L
- Dimensions H:47.3 x W:35.6 x D:26 cm
- Weight 10.1kg
Daewoo Microwave Ovens
Daewoo offers quite a considerable range of microwave ovens, but obviously, for caravans and motorhomes, we’re interested in their lower-powered offerings. With that in mind, one of their most popular low powered microwaves is the QTR1. I’ve quickly summarised the pertinent features below.
The Daewoo QTR1 microwave oven – Image: Amazon
Daewoo QTR1 Microwave Oven Features
- Output Power 600W
- Input Power around 1000W
- Capacity 14L
- Dimensions H:33.2 x W:42.3 x D:22.9 cm
- Weight 10.2kg
Hotpoint Curve Microwave Oven
Something a little different with this microwave, it’s curved. It obviously looks more like a traditional tube TV than a microwave. However, if you have a corner space within your caravan or motorhome kitchen this curved appliance may suit you the best. However, do note the higher output power, or more importantly, the higher input power requirements compared to the Daewoo. Furthermore, it has a lower capacity and increased weight by 3kg.
The Hotpoint curve microwave may be suitable for sitting in a corner in your caravan or motorhome – Image: Amazon
Hotpoint Curve Features
- Output power 700W
- Input Power around 1200W
- Capacity 13L
- Dimensions H:360mm X W:392mm X D:353mm
- Weight 13.26kg
Russell Hobbs Microwave Ovens
A very common brand of kitchen appliances is Russell Hobbs. They offer a range of higher-powered microwaves, but their lowest powered product is the RHMM701B at 700W. As referenced above this does mean a higher input power requirement compared to the Daewoo, so that’s worth noting. If aesthetics is a consideration for you however, the Russell Hobbs range of 700W microwave ovens does come in a range of colours. What is notable is the significantly larger capacity of 17L and a reasonable weight of 10.4kg.
The RHMM701B microwave oven from Russell Hobbs has a large 17L capacity and low weight of 10.4kg – Image: Amazon
Russell Hobbs RHMM701B Features
- Output power 700W
- Input Power around 1200W
- Capacity 17L
- Dimensions H:32.6 x W:45.1 x D:25.6 cm
- Weight 10.4kg
Consider the Location of the Microwave in your Caravan or Motorhome
As referenced in the video at the start of this post, typically microwaves in caravans and motorhomes are located quite high up. This is not an especially great idea for the two reasons of weight distribution and safety. So you get good predictable towing characteristics with a caravan, best practice is to keep heavy items low down. Well, placing a microwave oven which weighs between 10-15kg at head height is not therefore ideal.
Furthermore, when it comes to safely removing hot food or drinks from a microwave keeping the unit lower down reduces the risk of personal injury upon spillages. If you do need to replace the microwave in your caravan or motorhome, you may be able to consider a more stable and safer location. You could consider placing the appliance in a cupboard low down against the chassis while towing. Then when you arrive on-site and you are setting up your caravan or motorhome you could place and use the microwave on the kitchen counter.
Conclusions on Replacement Microwaves for Caravans and Motorhomes
When I’ve been discussing the options to replace a broken microwave with our guests there is another important point to make which I’ve not discussed above. That is the build quality of microwaves today. You obviously want a lightweight microwave for your caravan or motorhome, however, that also commonly comes with the lower build quality. And as I’m sure you can appreciate with Britains roads today, potholes are not your microwaves friend. I wouldn’t be surprised if most the broken microwaves in caravans and motorhomes occurred after driving into a pothole. While we all do our best to avoid them, we all get caught out sometimes.
Therefore when looking to purchase a replacement microwave get a unit with a good warranty keep that receipt safe. Anyway, I hope you found the above post useful. I also hope you consider coming to visit us at Horton Common at some point in the future.
Can you get a 12V Microwave for a Caravan or Motorhome?
So if you are into wild camping and going off-grid you may be wondering if you can purchase 12V microwave ovens for your caravan or motorhome. Well, several years ago there was a 12V microwave oven which was sold around the world call the WaveBox.
WaveBox 12V Microwave Oven
The WaveBox was a very compact microwave oven with a 20-litre capacity. The power rating of the 12V WaveBox was a 660W input with and a 425W cooking output. However, while there are some reviews around the web about what a great little 12V microwave it was, there were also some detractors.
The WaveBox was a dedicated 12V microwave oven which could be used in caravans and motorhomes – Image: Amazon
Some people noted that it was expensive for the cooking power and capacity. While others noted it would struggle to heat up a pot noodle. Why anyone would want to each pot noodles is beyond me. Anyway, it appears the 12V WaveBox microwave oven is now a discontinued product.
230V Microwave with a 12V-230V Inverter
There doesn’t appear to be any dedicated 12V microwave ovens on the market today, probably due to the issues noted above. However, if you were really set on a 12V microwave for your caravan or motorhome, the other option is to use an inverter. However, if you are going down this route I would recommend that you contact a properly qualified electrician to fit the inverter.
For a 240V microwave oven with an output of around 700W, you are going to need a 12V to 240V inverter with an output of around 1500W – Image: Amazon
Secondly, you need to evaluate whether your leisure battery could cope with the significant drain a microwave would place on the battery. Standard lead-acid leisure batteries can become damaged with a discharge below 50%. Therefore I would also recommend you also consider purchasing a decent leisure battery charger.
What do you do if your Microwave trips the Pitch Hookup supply to your Caravan or Motorhome?
As our pitches provide a 16A supply I rarely have to come and explain to guests how to reset their pitch electrical supply. However, as discussed above on other sites pitches with less power available this may be an issue. First, you want to turn off the appliance that you think may have caused the trip. Then turn off the breaker in your caravan or motorhome. At your pitch hook up point there should be an RCD breaker. If the supply has tripped this will be in the down/off position. You need to lift the switch into the upper on position.
Now in some cases, it may drop down instantly and not hold in the on position. There may be a second breaker which is also in the off position. If you cannot get this RCD to stay in the on position there may be a tester button you need to press to reset it. You can then go back into your van and turn on the supply.