Sharp has launched the Steamwave steam oven with microwave and grill – which claims to combine the convenience of a traditional microwave with grill, with the additional bonus of steaming.
You can use the Steamwave as a microwave, set it up to grill or make use of the built-in steamer to steam food. It comes with 15 pre-set steam programmes to help users get to grips with steam cooking.
Steaming food is a healthy way to cook and standalone steamers are becoming more popular – but steam microwaves are still a novelty.
You can find out more about grill, combination and solo microwave features in our microwave buying guide video.
Steamwave microwave and steamer
Which? microwave expert Matt Stevens says: ‘Sharp says that this is the perfect, versatile kitchen must-have – I’m not so sure. So far, steaming has been a step too far for microwaves. We’ve tested a steam microwave earlier this year and were left under-whelmed with it’s steaming performance.
‘We tested the LG MP9289NSD which offers cooking with microwave energy, grilling, convection as well as steaming. The microwave and cooking functions of the LG were reasonable, but we weren’t at all impressed with its steaming. But the Sharp Steamwave has only just been launched, so we haven’t yet sent it for lab for testing.
‘We’ll test it in 2011 and will publish the results in our microwaves review.’
Flatbed rather than a turntable
The Steamwave has a claimed 27 litre capacity and is about the same size on a counter-top as a large combination microwave. But rather than the traditional microwave turntable, it comes with a flat, square oven floor. This isn’t very common in microwave design, but we’ve seen it before on Panasonic and LG microwaves.
Having a squarer space inside the oven means that you can make more use of the space. So, cooking with something like a lasagna dish will be possible.
Microwave, grill and steamer in one
The Steamwave is made up of a 900W microwave with a grill and a built-in steamer with removable drip tray. It comes with two perforated steam trays, a grill rack and a glass tray for microwave cooking. It’s available for £299 and comes in black and red and black and silver.
Steaming is a proven way of retaining vitamins in food, and along with the LG steam microwave, we’ve also tested we’ve tested 18 steamers and recommend three as Best Buys. See how the different steamers are rated in our steamers review.