12V Microwave

It’s all about the little things that make somewhere feel like home. If you’ve ever had a microwave at home then you will already know that they can make life a little easier. But can you buy a microwave for a canal boat? Well, the answer is yes you can, but it takes a little thought. In this article, we are going to look at some great ideas and offer a little guidance on the humble 12V microwave.

Microwaves suitable for boats

Hotpoint MWH 1331 B Curve Solo Microwave with Touch Control

Hotpoint MWH 1331 B Curve Solo Microwave with Touch Control, five power levels, rapid defrost, 13L, 700W, Black, 13 liters
  • Sleek and stylish corner microwave
  • Fast microwave defrost
  • Capacity: 13 litres
  • Microwave power: 700 W
  • 10 Year Parts Warranty

Key Features

  • Brand: Hotpoint
  • Colour: Black
  • 13 Litre Capacity
  • 36 x 40 x 36cm

As you’ll undoubtedly already know, space is at a premium when living on a narrowboat, So why not choose a microwave that sits snug in the corner? This compact microwave has a curved back, designed to save space.

You can cook your way with 5 adjustable power levels, this is also useful if you are trying to preserve battery life.

The touch control is easy to use and is also wipe clean. The 28cm turntable is just big enough to fit a full-sized plate, and will easily accommodate a moderately sized bowl.

Russell Hobbs RHM1401S 14 L 600 W

Russell Hobbs RHM1401S 14 L 600 W Silver Small and Compact Manual Microwave with 6 Power Levels, Automatic Defrost, Dial Control and Easy Clean, for Caravan and Home
  • Ultra compact: With an ultra compact 14L design (H22.4 x W42.7 x D31.3 cms) this product is ideal for home cooks with big ambitions but a small kitchen. This XS microwave saves on vital space yet offers plenty of functionality
  • Easy to use: With two simple control dials, simply set one's desired power level and time, and the microwave will cook one's food to perfection. This product is also easy to clean, simply wipe with a damp cloth to maintain ideal performance
  • Power levels: With 6 microwave power levels plus defrost setting, the COMPACT XS microwave can be tailored to one's cooking needs. From defrosting one's frozen meat to helping steam one's vegetables, this microwave doesn’t let one down on functionality
  • Diamond cavity: The diamond cavity structure provides improved microwave distribution by enhancing the reflection of the microwaves inside the cavity result in improved cooking performance. This helps to cook one's food more effectively, saving time and energy.

Key Features

  • Brand: Russell Hobbs
  • Colour: Silver
  • 14 Litre Capacity
  • 22 x 43 x 32cm

With a maximum output of 500 watts this dinky microwave will be good for warming, and battery friendly. Its internal capacity is just 14 litres, it might take you a while to cook a full Sunday dinner, but for heating a bowl of soup or porridge in the morning, it should work well.

As with our previous suggestion, the microwave has variable power settings meaning you can cook in the most optimum way.

The silver finish looks rather modern and the mirrored door should make cleaning easy.

Scandi Compact White Manual Microwave

Russell Hobbs RHMM713 17 L 700 W Scandi Compact White Manual Microwave with 5 Power Levels, Wood Effect Handle & Dials, Timer, Defrost Setting, Easy Clean
  • SCANDI STYLE - Wooden effect handle and dial for a Scandinavian inspired finish
  • COMPACT DESIGN - Ideal for kitchens with limited space
  • EASY CLEAN – With a wipeable painted interior and removable glass turntable which is dishwasher safe, it’s super easy to keep clean.
  • EASY TO USE DIALS - Simply select the power and time
  • 5 POWER LEVELS - 5 microwave power levels plus a defrost setting to tailor your cooking experience

Key Features

  • Brand: Russell Hobbs
  • Colour: White/Wood
  • 17 Litre Capacity
  • 26 x 45 x 35cm

As looks go, this is one of our favourites. It looks classy (which for a microwave is saying something). The wood handle and control knobs will fit beautifully with the surroundings of a canal boat.

This microwave is very compact, making it ideal for space-saving in your galley. It gives an output of up to 700 Watts, making it powerful to cook dishes of pretty much any size. It is very simple to use. Just select one of five power settings, select the time, and leave it to do its thing.

Using a Microwave on a Narrowboat

As we said in our introduction, there are a few things to consider when deciding on a microwave for a canal boat, let’s take a quick look: –


You have to be smart with your space on a canal boat. On the one hand, by purchasing a microwave you might be saving space, as you will need fewer pans and other paraphernalia to heat things. However, A large microwave will take up a fair amount of space, so it pays to go small.

Also when we talk about size, consider capacity too. A great size for a narrowboat microwave is around the 17 litre mark. If you go too small, you won’t be able to fit dishes into the microwave.

Power Usage

Now herein lies a small problem. The more powerful your microwave, the quicker it cooks your food. Why is that a problem? We hear you ask… Well, The more power a microwave uses, the higher a demand it puts on your battery. If the demand is too great, then it will drain your battery in no time.

There are two answers to this. The first is to fit an inverter that converts the DC current (provided by batteries) into AC current (exactly what comes out of your plug at home). An inverter can be expensive, however.

The second and much easier option is to pick a low power microwave. As a maximum pick one that has an output of 700 watts. Provided you aren’t using it all the time, that should be strong enough to cook relatively quickly, without giving the batteries a hard time.

Variable Power

A useful feature to have in your narrowboat microwave is a variable power function. If you are low on battery power, or you are just looking to simply defrost something small, instead of cooking it, then you may want the option of being able to ‘turn it down’ a notch or two? You’ll see that all of our suggestions above feature a variable power setting for exactly this reason.


When living on a canal boat, anything that makes life a little easier can only be a good thing. A microwave can do that provided that you make the right choice. It’s no good having piping hot food, but being unable to see it because you have depleted your batteries!

Try and choose the most compact microwave available, the more space you can save on board, the better.  This twinned with an easy to fit shape will make your life easier in the long run. 12V microwaves can be hard to come by, however, unless you want to pay to have an inverter fitted, they will be the cheapest option. Feel free to check out our other articles on kitchen appliances for canal boat

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