Microcoil probes enclosing sample volumes of 1.2, 3.3, 7.0, and 81 nanoliters are constructed as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) detectors for operation in a 1 tesla permanent magnet. The probes for the three smallest volumes utilize a novel auxiliary tuning inductor for which the design criteria are given. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and line width of water samples are measured. Based on the measured DC resistance of the microcoils, together with the calculated radio frequency (RF) resistance of the tuning inductor, the SNR is calculated and shown to agree with the measured values. The details of the calculations indicate that the auxiliary inductor does not degrade the NMR probe performance. The diameter of the wire used to construct the microcoils is shown to affect the signal line widths.