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Combination microwaves: how to buy the best

By Jane Darling

Combination microwave ovens can grill and bake like a conventional oven, as well as heat and defrost. Find out if a combi microwave is for you.

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Budding micro-chefs can create a whole host of meals in a combination microwave, even a full roast dinner. The best combi microwaves can cook as well as a conventional oven, but much more quickly. 

But if you buy a dud combi microwave, you'll have wasted money on those extra features.

Below, we tell you all you need to know about combination microwave, from how much a decent one costs, to the pros and cons.

If you just want to know which combination model to choose, head straight our combination microwave reviews.

How much should I pay for a combi microwave?

Combination microwaves are generally more expensive than solo microwaves – you're paying for the extra cooking functions they offer. 

But they're not all as expensive as you might think. One of the cheapest Best Buy combination microwave we've tested is around £140. In fact, all the combination microwaves we've made Best Buys cost less than £200. 

But bear in mind that costs can go beyond £500 for a large-capacity combination microwave oven. If you're paying more, it's usually because, as well as being big, it's a built-in model or has a lot of extra features, such as lots of power levels or programs.

How do combination microwaves work?

A combination microwave offers more cooking flexibility than a basic solo microwave. This is because combination microwaves – as the name suggests – combine microwave energy, a grill and convection heating (fanned hot air) so they can heat, roast, crisp and brown in the same way as a large conventional oven.

If you’re looking to stretch the boundaries of microwave cooking, and want to do more than just heating soup and defrosting, a combination microwave would be a good choice. You can bake cakes in a combi, and you’ll be able to cook with the heat sources independently or together.

Pre-set programs can come in really handy when cooking certain meals in a combi microwave, as they automatically cook food for the correct time and with the correct combination of microwave, convection and grill, without you having to set this yourself. Consult your microwave instruction handbook for guidelines on cooking different items.

Accessories, such as vegetable and rice steamers and browning shelves, can help you achieve the right finish, and create healthy and appetising meals.

Combi microwave pros and cons

Pros

  • Offer extra cooking options over and above basic microwaving
  • Can cook in the same way as a standard conventional oven – but more quickly
  • Usually have lots of extra auto functions and features

Cons

  • More expensive than other types of microwaves
  • A more basic microwave may suffice if you simply want to heat and defrost food

Compare combination microwaves with all other types of microwaves by visiting our microwave reviews. If you're not a member, you can gain access to all our reviews by signing up for a £1 Which? trial.

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