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Top five best microwaves

By Anna Studman

We recommend five Which? Best Buy microwaves that are quick and easy to use and won't let you down at mealtimes.

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The best microwaves will heat and defrost food evenly, and keep cooking consistently for meal after meal. When browsing in the shop, you can pick a model with the features and style you want, but it's impossible to know how quickly and evenly it will heat food.

To help you choose the best and avoid a dud, we've rounded up our pick of the top five Best Buy microwaves that won't let you down with a poorly cooked meal, or have you hanging around for ages reheating your dinner.

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Top five best microwaves
  Why we love it Heating - single use Manual defrost Score

Best microwave


This is a great all-rounder which makes short work of microwave staples, including soups, jacket potatoes and fresh or frozen veg, with its range of automatic cooking programs. It gets five stars for speed of heating and won't dry out your food in the process. There's also plenty of space inside for big dinner plates, so you can easily load up on leftovers.

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Best combi microwave


This is a combi model that excels at microwave heating, defrosting and convection cooking. It heats food quickly and evenly without drying anything out, setting a standard that other microwaves struggle to follow. Defrosting with this microwave is also a breeze and it produced excellent cakes on the combi cooking setting. 

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Best microwave for large plates


This is a spacious and powerful microwave which heats quickly and evenly whether you've gone for a large plate of food or a simple ready meal. The automatic defrost setting took care of a slab of frozen mince perfectly. It also maintains its power even after prolonged use, so you can heat several things in a row without the temperature dropping off.

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Best cheap microwave


A great-value Best Buy that won't break the bank, it will heat your food evenly and quickly without drying it out, and it's a good one to go for if you defrost a lot. It's also really easy to use and keep clean inside, and is fairly quiet compared to other microwaves. It that wasn't enough, it's also energy-efficient too.

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Cheapest Best Buy combi microwave


We found that this modestly priced combination microwave did a great job of baking our fairy cakes and the grill was good at browning toast. It's also decent at the basics - heating up your food on microwave mode and defrosting evenly on the manual setting. The only only downside is some inconsistency in the auto-defrost function.

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Why Which? microwave reviews are better

Whether you regularly dig out the ready meals, need to defrost a lot of frozen food, or just want to reheat last night's dinner, having a good microwave on hand for quick heating and defrosting is a must. 

Our rigorous lab tests separate the good from the bad - we only recommend microwaves that are easy to use, heat and defrost your food quickly and evenly, and leave no overdone or cool parts. If the microwave also has a grill or conventional oven, we'll test these functions too.

We test how well each microwave cooks, using a specially made substance which has a similar consistency to lasagne when heated in a microwave. We heat the test food on full power and record how evenly it heats up, whether all parts reach a safe temperature and whether it dries out. 

We also check how well microwaves maintain power. Many microwaves lose power when reheating several things in a row, which means that with a bad model you'll end up needing to cook your food for longer.

We also use slabs of lean minced beef that have been frozen for 12 hours, and set the microwave oven to defrost according to the manufacturer's instructions. We record the highest and lowest temperatures and check for hot or cold spots in the meat.

Find the right microwave for your budget, whether you're after a standard, grill or combi microwave, by heading to our independent microwave reviews


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