Update for 14 June 2018: to get straight to the latest reviews, visit our flatbed microwave reviews. Read on for advice about flatbed vs turntable models.
If you often find that a dish gets dislodged as it rotates on your microwave’s turntable, or you’re pushed for cooking space, now might be the time to trade up to a flatbed model.
Flatbed microwaves do away with the inner turntable found in a standard microwave, giving you extra cooking space. This means that, as well as fitting in your normal dinner plates, large or awkwardly shaped dishes can be zapped in one go without getting caught as they rotate.
Traditionally flatbeds have been more expensive than standard microwaves, and, perhaps because of this, less common. That seems to be changing though. We’ve just put five recently launched models to the test, including one from Asda that costs just £59.
Find out how the Asda microwave, plus flatbed models from Panasonic, Russell Hobbs and more, fared in our expert, independent tests by heading to our flatbed microwave reviews.
Flatbed microwaves explained
Turntables used to be an essential feature of any microwave. Their purpose is to help distribute the heat-generating microwaves more evenly across your food. If this doesn’t happen, you risk ending up with a mix of piping hot and lukewarm mouthfuls.
Flatbed microwaves use advances in technology to allow for a more even spread of microwaves through your food without the need for a turntable. As well as giving you a larger cooking volume and scope for different-shaped dishes, they can also be easier to clean, as there are fewer crevices for cooking spills to collect in.
Flatbed technology doesn’t guarantee perfect cooking results, though. We’ve found some excellent models, but others have proved erratic at cooking in our tests. Find out which models we recommend in our round-up of the best microwaves.
Big microwaves for larger plates
If you want extra space in your microwave, you’ll have to trade up from the very cheapest models around, as these tend to offer the smallest cooking capacity. A regular-sized microwave will usually squeeze in a standard 27cm-wide dinner plate, but pricier models can fit plates up to 47cm.
Which? microwaves expert, Jane Darling, says: ‘Microwaves are more versatile than they’re generally given credit for, and some offer loads of cooking space.
‘Combination microwaves, which cook and grill as well as microwave, tend to have the largest capacities. But they can be substantially bigger externally too, taking up valuable worktop space. If you want a more modestly sized – and modestly priced – microwave, there are plenty of good-value options available. More than a third of the 150+ microwaves we’ve tested will fit in a plate size of 32cm or more.’
To find the best-value options that will take larger plates, head to our microwave reviews and use the plate size filter to narrow down your choices.
Latest microwave reviews
Below is the full list of microwaves that have just gone through our tough lab tests. Click on the individual links to see the full review:
Flatbed (no turntable)
- Asda GFM301B-16 – microwave only – £59
- Bosch CMG633BS1B – built-in combination microwave oven- £689
- Russell Hobbs RHEM2301B – microwave only – £120
- Panasonic NN-SF464MBPQ – microwave only – £170
- Panasonic NN-DF386BBP – combination microwave – £120
Traditional (with turntable)
- DeLonghi P90D25EL-B1B – microwave only – £62
- Hotpoint MWH 2011 MW0 – microwave only – £60
- Hotpoint MWH2524B – combination microwave – £100
- Samsung ME731K – microwave only – £70
- Samsung MC32K7055CK – combination microwave – £350
- Smeg FMI120 – built-in grill microwave – £430
- Swan SM40010BLKN – microwave only – £75
Prices correct as of 22 February 2017.