Which? verdict on steam and combination microwavesWhich? has tested the latest microwave models

24 July 2010

combi cookworks image

Bake on convection in combination microwaves

Our latest microwave tests show that the steam cooking function of the new LG MP9289NSD microwave is something of a damp squib.

Our microwave review includes 37 combination microwaves - models which can grill and cook like a normal oven as well as microwave food - from leading brands including Panasonic, John Lewis, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool. We have 19 combination microwave Best Buys, and 40 Best Buys in total.

To find out how to buy the best microwave, including the differences between solo, combination and grill microwaves, check out our microwaves video buying guide. 

LG steam microwave

As well as heating with microwave energy, a grill and convection heat (like a normal oven), the LG MP9289NSD comes with a built-in steamer. But we found that steaming takes too long and the food we steamed was left wet and unappetising.

Which? microwaves expert Matt Stevens says: 'The LG MP9289NSD is innovative, looks great and won’t let you down in microwave, grill or convection mode. But for £400 we expected more of the steamer - a £10 microwave steamer and a solo microwave will be a better steaming option.'

Best Buy microwaves

Best Buy combination microwaves will heat up quickly in microwave mode and heat food evenly throughout, plus the food won’t end up dry. And when they defrost, they won't leave any parts of the food still frozen. In grill mode, the heat from the grill will spread right across the turntable and heat will be distributed evenly in convection mode - ideal for baking cakes.

For re-heating microwave meals or home-cooked food, or for defrosting, a Best Buy solo microwave will do a great job. Grill models are better for meat as they’ll add some colour to the food. If you like baking, go for a combination microwave because they come with convection cooking as an option.

How we test microwaves

During our rigorous lab tests, we test how well solo microwaves heat food and how well they defrost. For grill microwaves we also toast white bread and cook a chicken, and for combination microwaves we bake cakes as well using convection.

New combination microwaves tested

The full list of new combination microwaves we've tested is: Breville VMW141, Cookworks EC821AZH, Samsung CE137NTM-B, Swan SM3040, Panasonic NN-CT579S, Panasonic NN-CT559W and the LG MP9289NSD.

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