Best microwave ovens

·8-min read

When faced with the small dimensions of a typical London home, it’s no surprise that most of us want furniture and appliances that work double duty.

We’re talking sofas that can morph into beds to sleep overnight guests, bed frames with ample storage to hide the worst of our clutter, and clever kitchen appliances that tick more than one box when it comes to cooking functions.

For busy family homes, multifunctional electronics can help get dinner on the table faster - a godsend on weekday nights, we think you’ll agree.

If you’ve been considering getting a new microwave, why not go one better with a microwave oven?

What is a microwave oven?

Simply put, it’s a microwave 2.0. While it can perform all the usual heating and defrosting functions of a regular microwave, it also has modes to switch to oven cooking (widening your menu to small bakes, roasting and crisping) as well as grilling and sometimes air-frying too.

Are microwave ovens huge?

Most are about the same size as a bog standard microwave which means they’ll take up the same amount of space as your current model. However, they’re much easier to use if you’re in a small household or you don’t make big meals often. This makes them more energy efficient to run than a typical oven.

A note on microwave oven cooking

As the machine can perform multiple functions, you must be careful about the cookware that you use on various settings. For example, don’t use metal containers when microwaving and ensure liquid or fatty food is covered (with a small gap) to help it cook more evenly. Keep air vents clear, with nothing on top - blocking these could cause a fault in your microwave oven. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least three inches of space all around the unit.

Ping! Your roundup of the best microwave ovens is ready.

Panasonic DS59 Combi Steam Oven

Panasonic has been making microwave ovens since 1966 so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about what goes into making a fantastic one.

Its latest model is the DS59, which gives good reason to retire (almost) all your other kitchen appliances. Alongside usual microwave and top-bottom oven heat, the Panasonic Combi will steam and grill ingredients too, offering four functions in one.

You can use it to low-fat fry veg to get them crispy without using as much oil (or zapping out the nutrients). The clever Grill Tray features grooves to funnel away excess fat and leave food crispy all the way around without the need to turn or shake it in between cooking times. The machine also features Panasonic’s energy-efficient Inverter Technology, which cuts down cooking times by as much as 40 per cent, getting you to your grub quicker. To make operation even easier, there’s a menu of 28 pre-set auto programmes which you can use on everything from steaming rice to baking bread.

It’s perfect for small kitchens, small and compact with a contemporary design that will suit most modern spaces. The main compartment can hold 27L, so there’s no need to buy special cookware - what you’ve got in your cupboards already should work perfectly well.

Buy now £449.00, Electrical Discount

Sage SMO870 Combi Wave 3-in-1 Microwave

Whether you live in a small home or you just like the idea of your appliances going the extra mile, a multi-functional machine like the Sage Combi Microwave is a worthwhile purchase. This machine combines three functions: a convection oven, inverter microwave, and an air fryer too. You can use them solo or combine certain functions to get meals from frozen to table-ready in next to no time - behold, technology.

Cook healthier fries with a fraction of the oil using the air fryer, and roast chicken right afterwards by switching to oven mode. Tuck into leftovers like soup and lasagne by heating them through with the microwave option.

For first-timers, this microwave oven can appear daunting, but the control panel takes the guesswork out of cooking times and along with prompts from the display, means you won’t need to continually reach for the manual.

Running on 1550W and with a family-size 32L capacity, dishes can be made ready much quicker than by using traditional methods. And, when you buy electrical appliances through John Lewis a guarantee comes as standard - for this purchase, it’s a two year policy.

Buy now £339.95, John Lewis

Sage The Smart Oven Pro BOV820BSS

You may never turn your oven on again with Sage’s Smart Oven Pro in your kitchen - and really, why would you? This baby has it all, from 10 pre-set functions to bake, roast and toast and a ‘Slow Cook’ option that automatically keeps food warm for up to two hours once the timer has counted down, helpful if your cooking has been interrupted unexpectedly by kids/ pets/ life. It doesn’t air fry though, so if that’s a deal-breaker, opt for Sage’s 3-in-1 machine above.

While the pre-set functions are a godsend when you want to get dinner ready quickly, it’s also simple to use manually with the large dial controls and clear LED display, letting you use Sage’s 21L device like a regular oven - just minus the bigger footprint.

Cleaning is well considered too, with a pull out drip tray that comes out to allow you catch every splash, stain and crumb.

Accessories-wise, you can use most of your existing cookware in this device, but it also comes with a 30cm non-stick pizza pan and a 28 x 33.5cm enamel tin complete with a grilling and wire roasting rack to help you cook your meals.

Buy now £249.99, Lakeland

KitchenAid 33L Freestanding Combination Microwave Oven - Stainless Steel

With the ability to grill, steam, bake, air fry, oven cook and microwave food, KitchenAid’s machine more than earns a place on your kitchen countertop. This freestanding model comes in a chic chrome finish and offers a 33L capacity - perfect for busy households.

As well as a multitude of functions and modes, it comes armed to the teeth with accessories to help you get the most out of your food. The crisp plate, for instance, will help you get that deeply satisfying crunch on everything from fries and samosas to chicken wings.

As a brand, KitchenAid is best known for its baking equipment, and even its combi microwave has the best features we’ve seen specifically for baking: think a Dough Rising Function to maintain a stable 38-degrees for dough preparations; a Soft Melting Function to turn chocolate bars into workable puddles (it works a treat on butter too); and a Forced Air convection with five-degree precision temperature setting so that you get thoroughly and evenly baked dishes, minus hot or cold spots.

Buy now £329.00, Appliances Direct

De’Longhi 900W Enamel Cavity Combination Microwave - Black

All-singing, all-dancing, De’Longhi’s combi microwave oven offers a host of useful cooking methods, from standard microwaving to grilling and using as a conventional convection oven. It’s a powerful thing, with the microwave function running on 900W, the grill on 1100W and the oven on 2100W, with the ability to reach a maximum temperature of 220-degrees.

The interior is made of hard-wearing enamel which makes clean-up a dream. While it will fit in perfectly well in small kitchens, it’s roomy enough to cook a whole chicken in, so perfect for using when you’re making Sunday lunch for friends and family.

Two things to note: the brand asks customers to keep 30cm of clear space above the microwave from a safety aspect, and you should be careful to keep metal trays out of the machine when it’s on microwave mode for obvious reasons.

Buy now £125.00, Argos

SHARP YC-GC52FU-B Combination Microwave - Black

Whatever you fancy for dinner tonight, this multi-cooking microwave can manage it thanks to its roster of cooking functions, 14 pre-sets, and 10 power levels to make sure everything is piping hot and cooked through. There’s plenty of space inside the 25L capacity, exaggerated further thanks to the fixed flatbed design and omission of turntable (which also means less things to clean).

The auto-defrost option means you can simply enter the weight of your food into the panel and it will work out how long to heat it for, all displayed clearly on the large LED display. The child lock feature will also be helpful to homes with curious little ones, ensuring that it won’t be used accidentally.

Buy now £179.00, Currys

Hotpoint Chefplus 25L Microwave Oven & Grill with Crisp Function - Black

Thought Hotpoint only made washing machines? Think again. The brand has this combi-microwave on its books, and it’s a little kitchen star with functions that include an oven, grilling and dynamic crisp to bring some crunch to your meat and veggies.

The sleek black design features a spacious 25L capacity (accessed through two entry points) and simple controls with six power levels to heat your food to perfection. It even has a self-cleaning function for the Quartz grill to keep things spotless for longer and there is a glass turntable that’s simple enough to keep clean too. It’s no space-hogger either, measuring 31 x 52 x 39cm, it’s about the size of a standard microwave.

Buy now £129.97, Appliances Direct

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