Best Microwave Oven 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

The speed of modern life means that sometimes you just want to get a meal on the table as fast as possible – that’s where microwaves and combination-ovens step in.

Whether you want a cheap and cheerful countertop oven, or want to upgrade to a fancy integrated option with all the latest mod cons – we’ve reviewed some of the top kitchen appliances on the market to help you make tasty, healthy and convenient food fast.

Embrace the modern cooking revolution with these energy-efficient appliances.

Our team have spent hours testing and reviewing these microwaves, putting the various models through their paces so you can decide for yourself which one suits you best.

The Best Microwaves and Combination Ovens – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Russell Hobbs RHM3003 900W Combi Microwave
  • Dimensions: 48.9 x 27.5 x 37.4cm
  • Microwave Power: 900W
  • Capacity: 30L
  • Features: Enamel coating, 8 cooking programs
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Samsung MS23F301TAS/EU
  • Dimensions: 48.9 x 27.5 x 37.4 cm
  • Power: 800W
  • Capacity: 23L
  • Features: Enamel coating, LED display
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Neff C17MR02N0B Built-in Combi Microwave
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 59.6 x 54.8 cm
  • Microwave Power: 900W
  • Capacity: 45L
  • Features: Innowave Technology, Plate Warming Function
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Best Combination Microwaves

Panasonic NN-CS894S Combi Steam

Steam cooking is great for conserving food quality, vitamins and minerals, while keeping things as fat-free as possible. But this microwave doesn’t just stop there, as you get another three functions all in one little machine.

This 4-in-1 combi-oven is great value for money (steam, convection, microwave and grill). A wide range of meals can be prepared with the host of settings, and it is a family-friendly size so you don’t have to serve everyone one by one.

Steaming is great for vegetables, and the convection oven setting reaches 240 degrees so you can prepare anything in here which you’d usually only leave up to your normal oven. It will circulate heat for an even cook. A 13000W grill will deal with foods fast and efficiently. Last but not least, the actual 1000W microwave is not only incredibly powerful but will properly heat up foods from the inside out.

The blue backlit screen guides and prompts you throughout the process. Also, the microwave’s unusual flatbed design makes it ideal for cooking larger dishes. Accessories include a glass dish, steaming trivet, wire shelf, enamel shelf and drip tray. Plus, touch control is simple to navigate.

As you may have seen, we love a good easy-cleaning product here at Appliance Reviewer, and the catalytic technology and fluoric coating on the walls and roof of the cavity keeps it simple and easy. Basically, this is destined to become a firm family favourite.

We like

  • Steam and turbo steam options
  • Easy to use by the whole family
  • Large flatbed cooking cavity
  • Comes with loads of extra features like a drip tray and a steaming trivet
  • Swipe and touch LCD display

We dislike

  • If not used to using steam ovens, this option may seem a bit odd at first
  • Flatbed style design takes some getting used to

Final Verdict

Cooking with steam is fantastically healthy and this Panasonic countertop option is jam packed with loads of great cooking features. Behind its slightly bulky and non-descript exterior is a powerful, quality cooking machine that’s certainly worth a try. More than just a microwave.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 39 x 49.4 x 43.8 cm
  • Functions: 1300 W quartz grill, 1000 W microwave, 240C convection oven with steam options
  • Capacity: 32 L

+ Downloads

Panasonic NN-CS894S Combi Steam product manual

Download

Russell Hobbs RHM3003 900W Combi Microwave

This kitchen appliance is for people who are looking for efficiency and style when it comes to their microwave.

Combining a convection oven, grill and microwave, this powerful Russell Hobbs appliance works hard for its modest price tag. Whether you want to cook some sausages, defrost last week’s leftovers or prepare your jacket potato, the 30L capacity will make everything a comfortable task.

With the microwave, there is a maximum of 900W and 5 power levels. Reheating large portions of food can be done quickly and efficiently. The oven will reach 220°C, which is plenty for most of the cooking you’ll need to undertake.

It comes with a grill rack, baking tray and a 315 mm glass turntable, so you have everything you need to get started. These are easy to clean, and the stainless steel interior of the microwave chamber allows you to wipe away splashes with ease when finished.

Child lock will keep little fingers away so the risk of accidents is greatly reduced. We’d like other colours to be available, and a longer power lead. But overall, it is a great style for a reasonable price and it is roomy inside. This Russell Hobbs model delivers on functionality and flexibility.

We like

  • Can use grill and microwave at the same time
  • Simple white exterior
  • 5 power levels (and 10 auto cook menu/defrost functions)
  • Ceramic interior (anti-bacterial and easy to clean)

We dislike

  • Might take you awhile to figure out how to use all the different functions and features

Final Verdict

We actually love the unusual white finish and mirror door on this Russell Hobbs microwave – makes a difference from the usual metallic styles. Compact and classy, with combination-oven has an attractive price tag too!

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 48.9 x 27.5 x 37.4cm
  • Microwave Power: 900W
  • Capacity: 30L
  • Features: Enamel coating, 8 cooking programs

+ Downloads

Russell Hobbs RHM3003 900-watt product manual

Download

Panasonic NN-CT55JWBPQ Combi Microwave

The Panasonic NN-CT55JWBPQ is a great compact addition to any home. It’s sleek design compliments any kitchen and works well for families, couples or those living by themselves.

This is a 1300W microwave, which offers the same power for the grill. The oven can reach 220°C and comes with 19 different auto-cook programmes. Plus, a large 27L capacity is suitable to cook a range of different meals, from mug cakes to defrosting meat.

You have very flexible cooking including a microwave, grill and convection oven. It offers a range of different settings so you can enjoy specific programmes like vegetables, fish and chips and porridge. Multiple options for reheating and defrosting all kinds of different food mean your meals are cooked evenly and taste great.

A clear touch screen control panel allows you to select programmes and settings easily, and the LCD display keeps you in control. The Panasonic NN-CT55JWBPQ comes with inverter technology so you have superior cooking and efficient defrost results.

This model is modern and sleek and is a valuable addition to any kitchen.

We like

  • Fast and effective cooking
  • Easy to use
  • 27 litre capacity
  • Inverter technology

We dislike

  • Much noisier than previous models
  • Slides across work surface when opening

Final Verdict

The Panasonic NN-CT55JWBPQ offers quality without the price tag and is well suited to families, couples and those living alone.

+ Specifications

  • External Dimensions: 310 x 520 x 395 mm (H x W x D)
  • 27 L capacity
  • 1300 W cooking power

+ Downloads

Panasonic NN-CT55JWBPQ user manual

Download

ElectriQ Built-in 34L Combi Steam Oven

The electriQ Built-in 34L Combi Steam offers a sleek and compact design for your whole family to enjoy. With steam cooking functions, you can all eat healthier every night while cooking some of your favourite meals.

It works very differently from the usual microwave because it uses moist air to seal in the flavour, ensuring you enjoy every bite. Steam cooking works to lock in vitamins and minerals and ensure it retains its bright and natural colours when cooked. There is no need to add any oils and butter as the steam perfectly cooks without any extra help.

This model offers four different functions so you can cook exactly the way you want to. With an inbuilt oven, grill steamer and microwave, you have full control. It is unbranded and sleek to suit any kitchen without ghastly logos on show. It is integrated, ensuring your kitchen is uncluttered and spacious, yet not suitable for all layouts. A clear LED display sits at the top of the microwave and the touch control panel makes using this microwave simple and easy.

It’s incredibly easy to keep clean thanks to the steam settings which ensure your microwave stays sparkling every day – just wipe with a cloth. A maximum temperature of 230 degrees increases safety while giving you plenty of freedom to get everything done.

We like

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Effective steam function
  • Clear LCD display
  • Large capacity
  • Easy to clean

We dislike

  • No timer
  • Complicated on first use

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a healthy alternative for your home then the electriQ 4 in 1 is the perfect option for you. It is much more than your bog-standard microwave, and costs a lot more too, but sometimes it is a price worth paying.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 45.4 x 59.5 x 52.5 cm
  • Power: 900 W
  • Capacity: 34 L
  • Functions: 4 in 1 with oven, grill and steam capabilities

+ Downloads

electriQ Built-in 34 litre Combi Steam user manual

Download

Best Solo Microwaves

Samsung MS23F301TAS/EU

Fancy, multifunction microwaves are brilliant. They pack a lot in. But sometimes, you just want a bogstandard machine which will reheat food, make your packet of rice or get your jacket potato going.

This microwave’s price tag is surprising given its modern, stylish exterior. A great budget buy, the roomy 23L capacity offers families and singles alike plenty of room to fit any meal. Triple distribution heating gives fast yet reliable results, which is vital as cooking your food properly is essential.

The ceramic interior is not only easy to clean but also incredibly hardy. You won’t be able to scratch it or damage it, and it is also anti-bacterial. An 800W power ability is pretty average but also perfect as it fits in with most food cooking instructions nowadays. No working out adjustments before you’re set to go.

Designed by one of the nation’s favourite appliance brands, this Samsung Solo frequently scores 5 stars in user tests and is trusted by scores and scores of Britons up and down the country. It is basic. It is budget friendly. You should definitely consider it.

We like

  • Generous 2 year Samsung parts and labour warranty
  • Looks a lot more expensive than its price tag
  • Blue LED display completes sleek design
  • Ceramic interior (anti-bacterial and easy to clean)

We dislike

  • No exciting colours (we’d love to see this model in a classy red)

Final Verdict

Cheap and cheerful, this Samsung model is a kitchen appliance gem. It always gets rave reviews – and we are no exception. Try it out for yourself and see why it’s the nation’s favourite budget kitchen buy.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 48.9 x 27.5 x 37.4 cm
  • Power: 800W
  • Capacity: 23L
  • Features: Enamel coating, LED display

+ Downloads

Samsung MS23F301TAS/EU user manual

Download

Panasonic NN-ST479S Sensor

One of the best original Panasonic models on the market, packed with features and usability aids, and you don’t have to pay a premium for the privilege.

With a good spread of auto functions and programmes, most of the magic is in the sensor technology. There is no need to enter the weight of your food, and built-in inverter technology provides more even and constant cooking. We love an appliance that requires no guesswork and this one ticks all the boxes.

Price-wise, it is a steal. It shows it is a quality appliance, but without all of those complicated extras. Let’s face it, the majority of people probably do just fine without a steaming microwave. There is a defrost programme, and 27L capacity. Child lock and an internal light add safety. 7 power levels will let you warm any food just right.

In all, it has all the basics plus some great little extra quirks which well justify the money. If you want your microwave to be just a microwave, you can’t go wrong with Panasonic.

We like

  • 15 programmes (including automatic weight sensing cooking programmes)
  • Timer and large turntable (34 cm) for accurate cooking
  • Nice and basic operation to take away complications

We dislike

  • Panel doesn’t light up well – hard to read
  • Open door button pushes the microwave back (it’s a good idea to have it near the back wall, but you need at least a 10 cm clearance zone)

Final Verdict

This Panasonic countertop microwave offers all the basics you need and has some great defrost and cooking functions. Great to see some automatic weight sensor technology; it is a nice and roomy option for its price-point – perfect for families.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 31 x 52 x 39.5 cm
  • Capacity: 27 L
  • Power: 900W

+ Downloads

Panasonic NN-ST479S Sensor product manual

Download

Kenwood K25MMS14 Solo

The Kenwood K25MMS14 is a sleek and stylish model that complements any kitchen. With 900 watts of power, it’s powerful and effective to re-heat, cook and defrost food easily. This microwave has an inbuilt LED light inside so you can see your food as it’s cooking.

The LED display is clear and lets you monitor cooking times, check and change settings and keep you in control of your cooking. When not in use, the display conveniently turns into a clock. The Kenwood K25MMS14 is spacious and boasts 25 litres of space inside so you can use it with multiple types of food from reheating drinks, a plate of food or defrosting meat.

This option offers five different power settings giving you more control over your cooking. Move through the different power functions on the buttons on the front of the appliance, and use the silver dial to change the duration to suit your cooking. This model also offers eight different cooking functions depending on the type of food you are cooking. Choose from pasta, popcorn, potatoes, vegetables and more to get the perfect cooking settings for your meal.

The Kenwood K25MMS14 comes equipped with child lock making it safe for the family home. It’s silver, stainless steel finish makes it sleek and suits any kitchen perfectly. It is well built and durable while offering unbeatable power that cooks any food evenly.

We like

  • 8 cooking programmes
  • Powerful and easy to use
  • Stylish design
  • Large capacity

We dislike

  • Controls are small and hard to read
  • Noisy

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a stylish, powerful yet simple countertop appliance, the Kenwood solo is a great choice.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 306.2 x 513 x 430 mm (H x W x D)
  • 25 litre capacity
  • 900 W cooking power
  • 8 auto programmes

+ Downloads

Kenwood K25MMS14 user manual

Download

Panasonic NN-SF464MBPQ Solo Microwave

The Panasonic NN-SF464MBPQ is a powerful machine featuring a kitchen-friendly design. The stainless steel and black finish make it blend well with other appliances, If you want to use it as a counter top microwave.

With inverter technology, the Panasonic cooks evenly and delivers more heat performance to ensure fast cooking times. This microwave offers a range of different programmes depending on the type of food you are cooking.

The flatbed design inside this appliance makes for 30% more cooking space compared to the traditional turntable design. This way you can cook and reheat more food at once and save you waiting around. With five different auto cooking programmes you can cook anything, from soup and fish to desserts and cakes.

The digital touch screen display lets you keep an eye on your food and is easy to read. Change settings and set a programme with the touch controls located underneath the display. This option offers plenty of functional settings including comprehensive defrost, reheat and warm settings to ensure your food tastes great every meal. It is great value for money and is suited to those living in shared homes.

We like

  • Durable and stylish design
  • Easy to use
  • Spacious

We dislike

  • A little noisy

Final Verdict

This is a stylish and durable microwave that works well in busy environments where a lot of food needs cooked at once. Perfect for families.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 32.6 x 52.9 x 43cm
  • Capacity: 27 L
  • Power: 900 W

+ Downloads

Panasonic NN-SF464MBPQ Solo Microwave user manual

Download

Best Built-In Microwaves

Siemens IQ-700 CF634AGS1B Built In Microwave

Leaving little to be desired, this Siemens is the very best when it comes to traditional microwaves. Far from being the box on your worktop that you use to reheat last night’s pizza, this microwave sports features that could change your perception of microwave cooking forever.

Our favourite feature by far is the auto cook feature, which allows the microwave to steam or even crisp your food at the touch of a button. Not only that, but the set cooking programmes allow you to make use of pre-set temperatures and cooking times to create the perfect meat or fish dish.

With a beautifully sleek and modern design, this microwave is sure to add that special something to your kitchen.

We like

  • 36 litre capacity
  • Auto cook
  • 7 Cooking programmes
  • Child lock

We dislike

  • No grill
  • More expensive than other options

Final Verdict

A beautiful sleek design paired with plenty of useful features make this microwave the perfect addition to any modern kitchen.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 59.5 x 54.8 cm (H x W x D)
  • Capacity: 36 litres
  • Cleaning: Easy-clean enamel interior
  • Best Feature: Automatic cooking programmes

+ Downloads

Siemens IQ-700 CF634AGS1B user manual

Download

Neff C17MR02N0B Built-in Combi Microwave

If you are looking for a convenient built-in combination microwave then the Neff C17MR02N0B is the perfect choice for you. Operating as a high-powered microwave with oven and grill functions, you can prepare a range of meals all in one place.

The 1000W power offers hassle-free cooking to your home. There’s 14 different cooking features and settings to ensure your food is cooked to perfection. The Neff C17MR02N0B also has a range of different defrost settings depending on the type of food you are cooking.

It’s clever and allows you to get cooking fast. Simply key in the weight of your food or choose the type of food you want to cook from the pre-programmed menu. Innowave technology ensures your meals cook fast and evenly. This technology reduces your energy consumption by up to 15% and cooks food 10% faster than microwaves without.

The Neff C17MR02N0B has an innovative ShiftControl panel keeping you in full control of settings and cooking functions. The 2.5 inch TFT display is crisp and clear so you can see information clearly, and a drop down door is convenient to use.

It has a whopping 45 litre capacity and so can cook a range of food, from heating up meals to defrosting a chicken. The flatbed design ensures you have even more space for cooking your favourite meals comfortably. The Neff C17MR02N0B comes equipped with a plate warming function which is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

We like

  • Good capacity
  • Easy to use once you have got to grips with it
  • Lots of features and programmes
  • Drop down door
  • Sleek design

We dislike

  • Complicated controls

Final Verdict

This is an impressive microwave that offers flexibility and versatility to your home. A few usability niggles, but once it gets going you'll wonder how you ever did without it.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 59.6 x 54.8 cm
  • Microwave Power: 900W
  • Capacity: 45L
  • Features: Innowave Technology, Plate Warming Function

+ Downloads

Neff C17MR02N0B user manual

Download

Microwave Buying Guide

Microwaves are super convenient, energy efficient, and they make meal times faster (and more fun). But it’s not just about the humble countertop models anymore –  combi-ovens are hitting the market: giving people the option to opt for a kitchen microwave that offers them much more than just a simple microwave for heating up food.

These appliances can include a convection oven, an electric grill, a steam oven, and a microwave all in one!

Though still convenient and fast, modern microwaves are getting a lot more sophisticated than cheap and ready-made meals. Microwaves have become part of the healthy convenience food revolution; they offer busy people the chance to make excellent home cooked meals from scratch with less hassle and stress.

Microwaves come in gorgeous and stylish designs, including built-in wall options that don’t look out of place in luxury kitchens.

How do microwaves work?

Microwaves heat food through radio waves that are absorbed into food through water and fat molecules and converted into heat. Microwaves only heat up the molecules inside food, not the actual microwaves themselves so they are efficient and deliver a very even cooking result.

Power & size

Microwaves’ power is always measured in watts, with most models ranging from about 700 W to 1100 W. It’s generally better to favour microwaves with a higher wattage as they are going to cook food more efficiently.

Just like ovens, microwaves’ internal capacity is always measured in litres. Microwaves come in all different shapes and sizes, from 17 L up to 32 L. For a family, around 27 L is ideal.

Functions

It’s a good idea to take advantage of your microwave’s pre-programmed functions and settings. You will usually find a few basic ones like defrost and reheat on all models – but more sophisticated microwaves have dozens of pre-programmed ones (and you can even programme your own). The functions are there to help you get the most out of cooking with your microwave.

Safety guidelines

  • You must never ever put any metal utensils or items in the microwave – including traces of aluminium foil.
  • Most countertop microwaves need space around them in order to be able to regulate their heat and cool down.
  • Some plastics, ceramics and glassware are not microwave safe – always check for any markings if you are not sure.
  • You can get child lock features – good idea if you have kids running about.
  • When heating food – always leave it to stand for a few minutes after you take it out, as the food will be burning hot when it first comes out. Always vent food when you are heating it up so that steam can escape.
  • Microwaves aren’t suitable for sterilising baby bottles or utensils.

Different types

There any many different styles and types – from a simple countertop one to an integrated combination-oven with loads of complex functions.

Microwave only

This is the classic one –it won’t have any fancy extras like a grill or a convection oven. A simple microwave can still do a lot of things though – it can defrost, reheat, cook, and even steam food. These microwaves tend to come in countertop models.

Microwave + Grill

Adding a grill to your appliance is a great idea because it helps you save kitchen space and is great for when you just want to crisp something up fast. Sometimes you can use the microwave and grill functions simultaneously.

Combination-oven

Combination-ovens can be simple countertop affairs, or they can include a plethora of complex oven functions like steam, convection, grill, and microwave all rolled into one. It is a very energy-efficient and cost-effective option, and it’s becoming an increasingly common kitchen solution. Especially in small kitchen spaces, these can be a lifesaver.

Built-in / Integrated microwave

These super stylish microwaves sit in kitchen walls and can be mounted at eye-level – making for a sleek and contemporary kitchen look. They are more pricey than the countertop models though.

Are microwaves bad for you / Dangerous?

Not at all. Modern microwaves are very safe and secure. There have been some historic claims that microwaves are dangerous and that they cause cancer – but these claims are unsubstantiated. If properly stored, installed and used, you should have no issues with your appliance whatsoever.

What’s the difference between a microwave and a combination-oven?

A combination-oven offers many different cooking functions (including a microwave), whereas a microwave only offers one. They vary greatly in price, size and functions, but generally they are cost-effective and cheap to run. If you are used to a more traditional oven, it may take you awhile to get to grips with how to use one – but it’s worth it!

What are the benefits of a built-in combination-oven?

Built-in options are more durable, flexible, and stylish than more traditional countertop microwaves. They allow you to install your microwave within your overall kitchen design, and help keep your kitchen worktops clean from appliances.

How to get a good deal

The first thing to do is to shop around and decide on what type of appliance you need. Go for trusted brands or appliances that have received favourable reviews in user tests. Try to pack as many functionalities and features as you can into one appliance – that’s often the most effective way to save money in the long run. Buy kitchen appliances during sales whenever you can to get a good deal, but beware of sales items that you can’t return, or that have shorter warranty periods.

Cleaning and care

  • Be careful with water around your microwave and remove any extra parts like turntables carefully before cleaning.
  • It’s a good idea to regularly clean the inside of your appliance as it can get splattered and dirty when you heat food up fast.
  • Make sure that your appliance has sufficient breathing room around it so that is stays well-ventilated and NEVER store things on top of it.

Now you’ve got your fast-cooking microwave sorted, shall we check out our slow cooker reviews next?