We all like a bargain, yet some of us are reluctant to pluck a cheap microwave from a supermarket shelf when the time comes to buy a new one.
Perhaps you feel there’s a minimum amount you should spend to guarantee a good microwave, or maybe you’re worried that unbranded appliances won’t last.
We’ve tested cheap Asda microwaves, as well as models from Argos, Ikea and Wilko that cost less than £50, to find out whether low-cost microwaves are worth considering.
Keep reading to get our verdict on budget microwaves – and to discover what extra features you can get if you’re willing to spend more.
Our list of Best Buy microwaves will help you find the best microwave for your budget
Four reasons to buy an Asda microwave
Asda might not be the first place you think of when your microwave packs it in, but you could save yourself a trip by getting your groceries and a new microwave at the same time.
And convenience isn’t the only reason to consider an Asda microwave:
1. Asda microwaves are cheap
Asda microwaves typically cost less than £50, with some models available for just £30.
To put that into perspective, the average price of a solo microwave is around £90 – think of what else you could afford to put in your shopping trolley with the money saved.
2. Asda microwaves look good
Cheap microwaves don’t need to be drab, as the Asda GMM101WB-20 (above) proves.
With a glossy black finish and a wooden handle and dials, it wouldn’t look out of place in a modern kitchen, which is more than can be said for some much pricier models.
3. Spending more doesn’t guarantee a good microwave
You don’t have to break the bank to get a good microwave – and paying more doesn’t always mean you’ll get a better product.
In fact, there are as many Best Buy solo microwaves that cost less than £60 as there are Best Buy solo microwaves costing more than £60.
Check out our list of the cheapest Best Buy microwaves for the top bargains.
4. Some cheap Asda microwaves are twice as good as branded ones
According to our tests, some cheap Asda microwaves are almost twice as good as branded ones – although not all Asda models get top scores.
Head over to our Asda microwave reviews to see which models come out on top.
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Buying a cheap microwave: what are the compromises?
Most cheap models are solo microwaves, which means they don’t have a convection oven or grill function – if you want a microwave that does more, you usually have to spend more.
Even within the field of solo microwaves, there can be some big differences between low-cost and pricier models. More expensive models often have digital controls, which means the timer is more accurate, and a better range of automatic programmes.
Some models also have multi-stage functions, which means you can queue up settings in advance (for example, if you want to defrost then heat a dish), and pre-set options which store your preferred settings.
You should decide whether you’ll get enough use out of them to justify the extra cost.
Asda and Swan microwaves compared
|Tech specs||Asda GMM101GMB-20||Swan SM22045BLKN Gatsby|
|Type||Solo microwave||Solo microwave|
|Turntable or flatbed||Turntable||Turntable|
|Controls||Dial||Buttons and dial|
|Max plate size||27cm||33cm|
|Guarantee||2 years||2 years|
For more buying advice, see our guide on how to buy the best microwave.
How long do cheap microwaves last?
Each year, we ask thousands of Which? members to tell us whether they’re pleased with their microwave, or if they’ve experienced problems. The results let us know which brands are worth recommending, and which ones you should avoid.
We include several cheaper brands in our survey, such as Argos Cookworks, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, so we can tell you how long you can expect a cheap microwave to last – and how budget brands compare with more expensive rivals.
Check out our top microwave brands for 2021 to get this year’s results.
See our list of the Top five best microwaves for 2021 for our favourite models.
Our latest microwave reviews
We test harder so you buy smarter. Head to our latest reviews to get our verdict on each model:
- Asda GDM101SMB-20, £52
- Asda GMM101GMB-20, £40
- Asda GMM101RC-20, £35
- Asda GMM101WB-20, £50
- Sage SMO650 Compact Wave, £199
- Sage SMO870 Combi Wave 3-in-1, £399
- Sharp RBS232TM, £119
- Swan SM22045BLKN Gatsby, £99
- Toshiba MM2-MM20PF(WH), £57
- Tower T24021, £119
For our verdict on more than 100 more models, see our microwave reviews.
Prices correct as of 11 October 2021.