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The 10 best microwaves for your kitchen

When you or your children are hungry, preparing food quickly makes everyone much happier. Microwaves are practically miracle workers given their ability to deliver food hot in a matter of minutes.

By Anna Cook | Last updated Nov 22, 2021

Microwave in the kitchen

Many people can get by without a microwave, but lots of families who have them would never go back.

Whether it’s heating up baby food while weaning, defrosting bread or butter, reheating a whole meal like pasta or cooking a jacket potato, microwaves can save you valuable minutes and reduce those hangry arguments.

Combination microwaves go even further, allowing you to grill or cook as well as heat and defrost. They’re ideal for shift workers, families with teens/adults who get ravenous late at night, or small households that don’t always want to put on the main oven – and they use less electricity too. They’re also great when you’re able to have the whole family over as they give you extra room for cooking up a fantastic feast.

Here are the best microwave ovens as recommended by parents.

1. Best overall microwave: Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Microwave

Russell Hobbs microwave

Price: £69.38 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought this Russell Hobbs microwave and it's ideal for our family. It's really easy to use, looks very modern and heats things up really well.”

If you’re looking for a reliable all-rounder for a busy family, the Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Microwave is a great choice.

The mirror-door finish means this microwave is as sleek as it is functional. There are five power levels and special programmes for pizza, fish and popcorn. Yum!

With a 20-litre cavity capacity, a standard dinner plate can easily fit on the removable, dishwasher-safe turntable, while the child safety lock feature means that curious little hands can’t open the microwave door. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some, but when you consider the price, it’s great value for money.

Key specs

  • Type: Standard microwave
  • Capacity: 20 litres
  • Wattage: 800W
  • Number of programmes: 8 auto cooking and 2 auto defrost
  • Size: 25.8cm x 44.0cm x 35.9cm

2. Best budget microwave: Cookworks 700W P70B Microwave

Cookworks microwave

Price: £49.99 | Buy now from Argos

“My silver Cookworks microwave from Argos is really nice. Cheap and cheerful.”

This 700-watt Argos microwave more than does the job and, at under £55, won’t break the bank either.

With a 17-litre capacity, it’s compact enough to fit into a smaller kitchen but can still comfortably accommodate a dinner plate for heating foods effectively.

As well as a child safety lock, this microwave has five power levels and a defrost option. Mumsnet users love how simple and straightforward it is to use.

Key specs

  • Type: Standard microwave
  • Capacity: 17 litres
  • Wattage: 700W
  • Number of programmes: 9
  • Size: 26.2cm x 45.2cm x 33cm

3. Best combination microwave: Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ Slimline Combination Microwave

Panasonic microwave

Price: £184 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“I've got one and it's brilliant, just brilliant. It does a roast chicken in 32 minutes.”

“I'm not much of a cook and often make or heat things just for myself. So I use the oven function of the microwave a lot. Being smaller than my main oven, it's more economical and it cooks things a bit faster. You can also use the combi function to oven cook from frozen."

Whether it’s used as a conventional oven, grill or microwave, this Panasonic combination microwave covers all of your cooking needs.

The 27-litre capacity means that it can easily accommodate the most sizable of meals, yet the slim design ensures it can still fit snugly into your kitchen.

With a large touch control panel, six power levels and 29 automatic programme settings, you can easily heat your morning porridge, grill a toastie and defrost tonight’s chicken (though not all at the same time). Plus, this clever microwave determines the exact heat level and timing so you don’t have to.

Key specs

  • Type: Combination microwave
  • Capacity: 27 litres
  • Wattage: 1000W
  • Number of programmes: 29
  • Size: 31cm x 52cm x 39.5cm

4. Best compact microwave: Hotpoint MWH 1331 B Curve Solo Microwave

Hotpoint microwave

Price: £102.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love mine. Small and simple, and I love that it looks like an old 1950s TV set.”

Mumsnetters love this retro-style corner microwave. Its rounded back means it can fit easily into the corner of even the smallest of kitchens without compromising on functionality.

With five power levels and a defrost option (as well as that all-important child lock function), this compact microwave fits the bill if you’re looking for a smaller yet highly effective model that looks stylish too.

Key specs

  • Type: Compact microwave
  • Capacity: 13 litres
  • Wattage: 700W
  • Number of programmes: 2 (time or weight) and 2 defrost programmes
  • Size: 35.3cm x 39.2cm x 36 cm

5. Best eco-friendly microwave: Daewoo KOR6M5RR 800W 20L Touch Control Microwave

Daewoo microwave

Price: £91.67 | Buy now from Amazon

“Simple, modern and does the job.”

This touch-control Daewoo microwave offers impressive 800-watt power and a 20-litre capacity.

With 11 temperature settings including a defrost function, a wide range of foods can be heated quickly and easily. What’s more, the clever Concave Reflex System ensures that, due to its unique shape, food is cooked evenly throughout – so no more hot outsides and icy middles!

This eco-friendly model also has a Zero Standby Eco Button, meaning that less energy is used during standby mode.

The only downside is that there is no digital clock display.

Key specs

  • Type: Standard microwave
  • Capacity: 20 litres
  • Wattage: 800W
  • Number of programmes: 5
  • Size: 31.8cm x 44.9cm x 25.9 cm

6. Best microwave for big families: Russell Hobbs RHM3002 900W 30L Digital Combination Microwave with Grill and Convection

Russell Hobbs microwave with grill

Price: £137.98 | Buy now from Amazon

“Another vote for Russell Hobbs! We bought a combination microwave and it's really nice – very powerful and a good-quality product.”

If you're looking for a combination microwave, this Russell Hobbs model is a great option. With a whopping 30-litre capacity, a 900-watt microwave, 1100-watt grill and a 2500-watt fan-assisted oven, it’s an ideal choice for a busy family with different tastes.

This multifunctional, brushed steel microwave means you can whip up a range of meals using just one appliance. It has a child lock safety function, 10 power levels and a defrost setting too.

Key specs

  • Type: Combination
  • Capacity: 30 litres
  • Wattage: 900W
  • Number of programmes: 10
  • Size: 51.3cm x 49.8cm x 30.5 cm

7. Best microwave with dial controls: Bosch Series 2 HMT84M421B White Freestanding Microwave

Bosch microwave

Price: £139 | Buy now from Amazon

“It is huge inside and easy to use. The 900 watts was something I was looking for as our old microwave was about 20 years old and took forever to heat things.”

Very few microwaves these days have a retractable dial so, if that’s a feature you like, then the Bosch Series 2 is one for you. The dial starts at one minute, and goes down by one-second units. If you want to add time you can increase it by 10 second intervals. It’s a clever design that avoids use of a keypad, and there’s even a memory button for a single setting – time and power – that you can choose.

It’s a powerful microwave at 900 watts, has a large 25-litre capacity and seven preset programmes to make using it even quicker.

Key specs

  • Type: Standard microwave
  • Capacity: 25 litres
  • Wattage: 900W
  • Number of programmes: 7
  • Size: 35.1cm x 46.1cm x 29 cm

8. Best retro-style microwave: Swan Retro Digital Microwave

Swan microwave

Price from £78.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I've got a matching Swan fridge freezer, microwave and dishwasher!”

Swan’s Retro Microwave combines style and substance. There are 11 pretty colours to choose from including orange, blue and lime green, and the curved silver handle is a nice touch too.

But it doesn’t just look great. It has five power levels and a 20-litre capacity, which is great a size for families. The turntable also fits a standard-sized dinner plate, making it a great option for busy families.

If you like your appliances to match, there’s a retro kettle and a toaster too, both for under £30.

Key specs

  • Type: Standard
  • Capacity: 20 litres
  • Wattage: 800W
  • Number of programmes: 5
  • Size: 45cm x 25.6cm x 29.7 cm

9. Best microwave without a turntable: Panasonic NN-CF87LBBPQ 3-in-1 Combination Microwave

Panasonic combination microwave

Price: £469 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a flatbed Panasonic combi microwave/oven with a drop-down door and it’s great. Easier to clean, heats stuff evenly and bakes cakes better than my electric oven. I love mine.”

If you thought a turntable was an essential feature of a microwave then think again. This Panasonic has a flatbed, unlike the other model from the brand on this list. It makes it far less fiddly to clean and much easier to heat up rectangular dishes as they won’t get caught on the sides. It also has two levels so you can cook more food at once if you need to.

There are 12 pre-set combinations – the microwave heats and cooks as you’d expect while the oven and grill roast and brown. All this happens simultaneously, which significantly reduces cooking (and waiting) time.

There’s even an advanced sensor, which detects the amount of moisture released from your food and automatically calculates the perfect cooking time and power it needs. Almost as good as having a personal chef.

Key specs

  • Type: Combination
  • Capacity: 31 litres
  • Wattage: 1000W
  • Number of programmes: 12
  • Size: 43.7cm x 50cm x 39.1cm

10. Best integrated combination microwave: Cookology BIM25LWO Built-in Microwave with Grill

Cookology microwave

Price: From £189.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have an integrated combi microwave. I really like the slick look and fact that my worktop is uncluttered.”

Integrated combination microwave ovens are gaining in popularity. They provide all the benefits of a combination microwave, but don’t clutter up your kitchen worktop or look like an afterthought.

There are 10 auto functions to cook foods like pizza, fish and cake (our kind of microwave). You can also use it solely as a microwave, a grill or both so that food heats up quickly but still remains crispy.

Just bear in mind that it needs to fit the space in your kitchen and, when it comes to replacing it, size will be the first factor to consider.

Key specs

  • Type: Combination
  • Capacity: 25 litres
  • Wattage: 1000W
  • Number of programmes: 10
  • Size: 59.5cm x 46cm x 40cm

What should I look for when choosing a microwave?

  • Size: Whether you have a fancy kitchen where you can hide your microwave away or whether it lives on the unit, it will need to be the right dimensions for the space you have available. Check the door opens easily (some open top to bottom).
  • Type: If you just need to defrost and heat food then a standard microwave oven will do those jobs for you. But if you’re after something that can roast and grill then a combination microwave may be a better choice.
  • Cost: Combination ovens are more expensive than standard microwaves as they do more jobs. The right microwave for you will depend on your budget.
  • Style: Looks aren’t everything, but if every appliance in your kitchen is silver you might not want a white or black microwave. Many manufacturers offer a variety of colour options.
  • Power: A 1200-watt microwave will be more powerful and cook quicker than a 700-watt version.
  • Programmes: Some cheaper models just heat up food – and, if you’re lucky, have a defrost feature. Others have programmes for different food types, which change the way the microwaves work, either slowing it down or speeding it up depending on the food type – including pizza and fish settings.
  • Extra features: Not all microwaves have features like digital clocks and 30-second buttons. If these are important to you, make sure your new microwave does.

What's the difference between standard, grill and combination microwaves?

While a normal oven uses a heating element which heats the air inside of the oven, a traditional microwave uses radiation to heat or cook your food. Don’t worry, the World Health Organisation says that, when used correctly, a microwave’s radiation won’t harm you.

A combination microwave brings together the different cooking methods in one unit so you can do more than just heat or defrost. You can crisp up food, brown it and roast it as well.

Grill microwaves are part way between the two. They don’t have all the features of a combination microwave, but they do use the microwave’s power to heat up an element so you can grill food rather than just heat it.

How long should a microwave last?

Microwaves tend to last around seven years. If you have a big family or if you use the microwave a lot then it won’t tend to last that long. If you look after it then you may get as many as 10 years’ use out of your microwave

What is the best microwave to buy?

The best microwave overall is the Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Microwave. It’s affordable, reliable and a great size for families.

The best combination microwave is the Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ Slimline Combination Microwave. It’s slimline and can heat up food as well as cook a tasty roast chicken in record time.

How we chose our recommendations

When it came to recommendations for the best microwave ovens, we searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which combination ovens and traditional microwaves Mumsnetters raved about. We also looked at other reviews to see which microwaves performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.