Micro-Total Analysis Systems (µTAS) for use in on-site rapid detection of DNA or RNA are increasingly being developed. Here, amplification of the target sequence is key to increasing sensitivity, enabling single-cell and few-copy nucleic acid detection. The several advantages to miniaturizing amplification reactions and coupling them with sample preparation and detection on the same chip are well known and include fewer manual steps, preventing contamination, and significantly reducing the volume of expensive reagents. To-date, the majority of miniaturized systems for nucleic acid analysis have used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for amplification and those systems are covered in previous reviews. This review provides a thorough overview of miniaturized analysis systems using alternatives to PCR, specifically isothermal amplification reactions. With no need for thermal cycling, isothermal microsystems can be designed to be simple and low-energy consuming and therefore may outperform PCR in portable, battery-operated detection systems in the future. The main isothermal methods as miniaturized systems reviewed here include nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA), loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), helicase-dependent amplification (HDA), rolling circle amplification (RCA), and strand displacement amplification (SDA). Also, important design criteria for the miniaturized devices are discussed. Finally, the potential of miniaturization of some new isothermal methods such as the exponential amplification reaction (EXPAR), isothermal and chimeric primer-initiated amplification of nucleic acids (ICANs), signal-mediated amplification of RNA technology (SMART) and others is presented.