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Best microwaves: top combination, grill and solo ovens for your kitchen

For quick midweek meals, speedy defrosting and instant lunches, a microwave is hard to beat. Keep hungry (and impatient) kids happy by investing in a quality microwave oven for your kitchen. We've rounded up the best products that are particularly good for families, as tried and tested by Mumsnetters. 

By Anna Cook | Last updated Apr 27, 2023

Best microwaves UK

Prices and availability checked and updated by MNHQ on 27 April, 2023.

A microwave is an essential piece of kit for many families. From quickly heating up baby food when weaning to defrosting, reheating, and even cooking whole meals in an instant, a good quality microwave can save you valuable time and simplify mealtimes for busy parents. And they can cook a decent jacket potato in around 10 minutes to boot.

The best combination microwaves offer even more versatility in the kitchen thanks to their ability to cook, heat AND grill -  brilliant for shift workers, late-night snackers and small households that don’t always want to put the main oven on. And, with their energy-efficient design, they not only save you time, but could also reduce your electricity bill.

To help you find the best microwave oven for your family's needs and budget, we've compiled a list of the top models, as tested and recommended by fellow parents. We’ve also put together a handy buying guide (at the bottom of this page) to run through the differences between solo, grill and combination microwave ovens to help you find the perfect product. 

Mumsnetters really know their stuff when it comes to kitchen appliances. We've got roundups of the best toasters, the best kettles, the best rice cookers, the best blenders, the best food steamers and the best soup makers, all featuring buying advice and recommendations from parents who like to save time, money and faff in the kitchen. 

Read next: The best things to cook in a microwave, according to Mumsnetters 

Best microwaves at a glance

  • Best overall: Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Microwave | Buy now
  • Best budget: Cookworks 700W P70B Microwave | Buy now
  • Best compact: Swan Retro Digital Solo Microwave | Buy now
  • Best combination: Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ Microwave | Buy now
  • Best large: Russell Hobbs RHM3002 900W 30L | Buy now
  • Best with dial controls: Bosch FEL020MS2B Serie 2 | Buy now
  • Best flatbed: Panasonic NN-CF87LBBPQ 3-in-1 | Buy now
  • Best integrated: Cookology TCM25BGL | Buy now
  • Easiest to clean: Samsung MS23F301TFK/EU | Buy now

1. Best overall microwave: Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Microwave

Russell Hobbs microwave

Price on writing: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

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

What we like

  • Sleek and compact design
  • Mirrored finish
  • Easy-to-use dial control

What we don't like

  • Child lock safety feature
  • Door needs to be cleaned frequently but surface is easy to wipe

What Mumsnetters say 

“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” - recommended by Mumsnet user, mrbenz

Our verdict 

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 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.

Read next: The best kettles, as tried and tested by Mumsnetters

2. Best budget microwave: Cookworks 700W P70B Microwave

Cookworks silver microwave

Price on writing: £65 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

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

What we like

  • Very simple to use
  • Great quality for the price 
  • Compact design

What we don't like

  • 700 watt max power
  • Limited cooking functions/features 

What Mumsnetters say

"A basic easy microwave is the Argos Cookworks range. Cheap and works perfectly. We had one and it lasted and lasted and was simple to use" - recommended by Mumsnet user, BlueMerchant

Our verdict

This 700-watt Argos microwave more than does the job and, at under £70, it won’t break the bank either.

With a 17-litre capacity, it’s compact enough to fit into small kitchens 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.

Read next: The best toasters, according to Mumsnet users

3. Best compact microwave: Swan Retro Digital Solo Microwave

Swan microwave

Price on writing: £75 | Buy now from Dunelm

Key specs

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

What we like

  • Fun, stylish design 
  • Different colour options to suit your kitchen
  • Very simple to use 

What we don't like

  • Child lock safety feature
  • Two year guarantee 

What Mumsnet users say

"I've got a cream Swan fridge freezer, and microwave and dishwasher! All totally fab!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, LuckyKitty13

"I have this one. So far so good! Fits Uncle Ben's rice, but the best is that it beeps every minute after ending so I never forget my coffee that I’ve heated up!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, LeftieLucy

Our verdict

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 a great 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 reasonably priced.

Read next: Best blenders, as recommended by Mumsnetters

4. Best combination microwave: Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ Freestanding Microwave

Panasonic NN ST48KSBPQ microwave

Price on writing: £200 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Type: Combination microwave | Capacity: 32 litres | Wattage: 1000W | Number of programmes: 25 | Size: 31cm x 52cm x 39.5cm

What we like

  • Huge 32-litre capacity - ideal for families
  • Brilliant for oven-like jacket potatoes 
  • 25 automatic settings 

What we don't like

  • Easy-to-use raised touch controls 
  • Two year guarantee

What Mumsnet users say

"I have the Panasonic combi microwave oven. It's very good and does a very good oven-like baked potato" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Toomanysleepycats

"We have the Panasonic combo oven. It allows you to bake a lasagne in a far far shorter time and tastes exactly the same" - recommended by Mumsnet user, notonthishighstreet

Our verdict

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

The 32-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 with raised buttons, seven power levels and 25 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.

Read next: The best rice cookers for perfect rice, as tested by families

5. Best large microwave: Russell Hobbs RHM3002 900W 30L Digital Combination Microwave with Grill and Convection

Russell Hobbs RHM3002 microwave

Price on writing: £195 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

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

What we like

  • Huge 30-litre capacity
  • Fast convection preheat function
  • Effective at cooking via all modes (convection/grill/microwave)

What we don't like

  • Steams up quickly when used as a microwave 
  • Lightweight grill rack
  • Mains cable is pretty short 

What Mumsnet users say

“Another vote for Russell Hobbs! We bought a combination microwave and it's really nice – very powerful and a good-quality product” - recommended by Mumsnet user, wildestdreams22

Our verdict

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 and dining times. 

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.

Read next: Best juicers to buy, as tried and tested by Mumsnet users

6. Best microwave with dial controls: Bosch FEL020MS2B Serie 2 800W 20L Freestanding Microwave And Grill

Bosch FEL020MS2B Serie 2

Price on writing: £149 | Buy now from B&Q

Key specs

Type: Microwave and grill | Capacity: 20 litres | Wattage: 800W | Number of programmes: 7 | Size: 26cm x 44cm x 34cm

What we like

  • Simple dial controls
  • Handy preset programmes
  • Features a grill for toasting and browning

What we don't like 

  • Compact capacity so may not be great for larger families 

What Mumsnet users say

"I bought a basic Bosch. It has two dials, one for wattage, one for time" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Fluffycloudland77 

Our verdict

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 800 watts, has a 20-litre capacity and preset programmes to make using it even quicker. The 1000-watt grill function is handy for toasting and crisping dishes. 

Read next: How to make cooking fun for kids at home - top tips from parents

7. Best flatbed microwave: Panasonic NN-CF87LBBPQ 3-in-1 Combination Microwave

Panasonic combination microwave

Price on writing: £499 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

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

What we like

  • Huge capacity - 31 litres 
  • Very easy to clean
  • Effective at baking cakes

What we don't like 

  • Bulky 
  • Cool down fan is pretty noisy

What Mumsnet users say

"I have a flatbed Panasonic combi microwave/oven with the drop down door and it is great. Easier to clean, heats stuff evenly and bakes cakes better than my electric oven" - recommended by Mumsnet user, TheFutureMrsB

"I've also got the combi Panasonic flatbed with drop down door - bought about 4 years ago. Love it - easy to bake dishes in rectangular containers, and it's very powerful, so microwaving is much quicker" - recommended by Mumsnet user, NanTheWiser 

Our verdict

If you thought a turntable was an essential feature of a microwave then think again. This Panasonic model has a flatbed which 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 - perfect if you're cooking separate dishes for fussy family members. 

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!

8. Best integrated combination microwave: Cookology TCM25BGL Built-in Microwave with Grill

Cookology TCM25BGL microwave

Price on writing: £240 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

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

What we like

  • Sleek and neat design
  • Very powerful - 1000W
  • Touch button door control

What we don't like

  • Touch controls can be difficult to read

What Mumsnet users say

"I have an integrated combi microwave. I really like the slick look and fact that my worktop is uncluttered" - recommended by Mumsnet user, opinionatedfreak

"If you’re short of work space and cupboard space, I’d have a built in one. In a small kitchen, it looks neater if it’s streamlined" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Bluevelvetsofa

Our verdict

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

The Cookology TCM25BGL microwave features 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.

9. Best easy-to-clean microwave: Samsung MS23F301TFK/EU Solo Microwave

SAMSUNG MS23F301TFK Solo Microwave

Price on writing: £159 | Buy now from Currys

Key specs

Type: Standard microwave | Capacity: 23 litres | Wattage: 800W | Number of programmes: 20 | Size: 27cm x 48cm x 37cm

What we like

  • 20 auto programmes
  • Comes with a power steam accessory for healthy food steaming
  • Integrated deodoriser eliminates smells

What we don't like

  • Features an antibacterial ceramic lining
  • Eco mode lowers standby power consumption

What Mumsnet users say

"My Samsung one has a ceramic enamel interior and no issues in three years, never bother leaving the door open either. Really easy to clean too and wasn't overly expensive" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Kimblebee19 

"I’ve got this one which is great and I use it a lot. I can’t see the point in paying the extra for your needs" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Comefromaway

Our verdict

As great as microwaves are, they can be pretty annoying to clean, especially when it comes to tackling bean juice splatters, lumps of porridge and tomato sauce stains. Anything that makes cleaning the inside of a microwave and the fiddly glass turntable easier is welcome in our kitchen. Which is why we're big fans of the Samsung MS23F301TFK model - it features an easy-to-wipe antibacterial ceramic lining and comes with an integrated deodoriser, designed to eliminate odours and food smells. Another handy feature is the eco mode setting which decreases the amount of power used when on standby. Clean and energy-efficient: a win-win for us. 

Best microwaves: Editor's picks

Russell Hobbs microwave
Best overall

Russell Hobbs RHM2076B

Buy now
Cookworks silver microwave

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.