The latest Which? microwave tests have uncovered two exceptional Best Buys. Both score more than 80% overall, sending them straight to the top of the leaderboard, and one is good value, too, so you won’t need to dig deep to get good cooking results.
We put nine new microwaves to the test, including combi, grill and microwave-only models from brands such as DeLonghi, Panasonic and Russell Hobbs, with prices ranging from £70 to £179.
Our new top-scorers heat, defrost and steam food brilliantly. Food retains moisture and flavour when cooked, and you can heat several meals in a row without losing power or getting patchy results.
If you need to defrost a batch of mince, they will do it quickly and evenly, without part-cooking the food. And if you want to steam your dinner, you’ll have a succulent supper ready in no time. What’s more, one model can grill and bake food, too, as it’s a combi microwave, making it handy for busy or cramped kitchens.
Head straight to our list of the best microwaves to find out which microwaves wowed us in the latest tests. Read on to find out more about some of the models we just tested, and choosing the best model for you.
Microwaves: what to spend
Most microwaves, apart from the most basic budget models, start from around £60. Combination models, which can grill and cook like a conventional oven as well as microwave, tend to cost more – usually £100 plus. The more you pay, the more features and internal space you’ll usually get.
Here are two of the latest models we’ve tested, at either end of the price spectrum:
Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ Combi Microwave, £179
The Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ is the priciest microwave in our latest round of tests. We found it easy to use and it’s super-spacious, too – you’ll be able to fit in a jumbo-sized dinner plate, up to 35cm wide, without having to tilt it. This makes it far roomier than the average microwave.
As well as the convection oven and grill that all combi microwaves have, this one has useful extras, including a delayed-start function, which lets you set it to come on at a specific time. It also has a wealth of auto-programs – no fewer than 25 – so you can get your food cooking quickly without having to pore over the manual.
It could be an invaluable extra cooking space in the kitchen, but does it bake, reheat and defrost effectively? Read the full Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ review to find out.
DeLonghi P80Q7A microwave, £75
This microwave-only model will fit up to a 29cm-wide plate on its turntable, which isn’t too bad for a microwave at this price, and could be more than enough if you mainly heat up the odd plateful of food.
It has a rather busy-looking control pad, but it looks more complicated than it really is. Six auto-programs take the guesswork out of regular jobs such as reheating a meal, but will this microwave cook your food effectively? Read the full DeLonghi P80Q7A review to get our verdict.
Five things to consider when buying a microwave
1. Microwave-only or Combi
If you only need a microwave for heating and defrosting food, then go for a solo (microwave-only) model. If you want more space for baking, roasting or grilling, a combi microwave will give you that extra functionality.
2. Flatbed or turntable
Flatbed microwaves do away with the traditional turntable, giving you more flexibility in the shape and size of dish you can put in your microwave. They should be easier to clean, too.
3. Digital or manual
Manual dials are simple to master, but not as easy to set for an exact time as digital controls. Digital models may have auto-cook settings and multi-step programming, so you can set food to defrost and then cook for example.
Manufacturers often quote capacity in litres, but this doesn’t reflect the actual usable cooking space you will have. We measure the maximum plate size you can fit inside each microwave. This can range from just 27cm to a roomy 35cm, so check the tech specs on our microwave reviews before you buy.
This is one you actually don’t need to worry about. Most microwaves are between 700W and 1,000W, but we find wattage doesn’t have much effect on performance, so there’s no need to go for a high wattage to get good results.
Latest microwave reviews for 2018
To see all the latest reviews and compare models or filter by price, head to our microwave reviews. Alternatively, click on the individual links below to head to the review of your choice:
- DeLonghi P80Q7A – a budget option with numerical keypad (£75)
- Panasonic NN-E28JBMBPQ – touch controls and reheat programs for takeaway meals (£70)
- Beko MOF23110X – smart stainless-steel model with eight auto programs (£80)
- Russell Hobbs RHMDL801G – spacious and available in a range of colours (£100)
- Daewoo KOC9C0TBK – has a steam-clean setting (£102)
- DeLonghi 900W Encavity Combi (803/2836) – has space for large plates (£110)
- Kenwood K25CSE16 – spacious with simple button controls (£130)
- Panasonic NN-CT56JBBPQ – pricey, but packed with features (£179)
Microwaves with grill only
- Panasonic NN-K18JMMBPQ – good price for a microwave that has a grill (£89)
Prices correct as of 6 August 2018.