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Which? Best Buy microwaves

by Jane Darling

Which? Best Buy microwaves will give you hot, tasty food – and  defrost evenly, too. Read on to learn how our independent tests separate the good from the bad. 

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When you buy a microwave oven, you'll want to be sure that you get one that really shines at the basic tasks of heating and defrosting – and if it's a combi microwave, be good at grilling and baking, too. If you go for a Which? Best Buy, you'll be guaranteed that your new microwave won't leave you with unwanted cold spots when heating your food, or start cooking when you just want it to defrost. The best models will also be nice and easy to use.

Our tests include real food, such as minced beef and fairy cakes, and we carry out nine ease-of-use assessments on each model including how easy they are to set, how clear the instructions are to follow and how easy it is to open and close the door.

  • We record how evenly each microwave heats up your food. This means you can choose a model that will reach the right temperature throughout, and also leave your food moist and succulent.
  • We check how good a microwave is at defrosting: leaving no bits left unfrozen or parts that start cooking in your dinner.
  • We also record flexibility and convenience of the microwaves we've tested – we give up to 20% of the total test score to ease of use, so you can be confident that the microwaves that are given Which? Best Buy status are easy for you to use.

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How we uncover the best microwave ovens

We test all types of microwave ovens at the Which? test lab, including combi, grill and microwave-only models, plus built-in versions. As well as defrosting mince, baking fairy cakes and grilling bread, we also assess how easy it is to use the manual and auto-programs, the clarity of the displays and how well-marked and straightforward to use the controls are.

  • Heating: we use a special substance, similar in consistency to lasagne, to measure exactly how evenly a microwave is able to heat up food. We use probes to check temperatures throughout and record if all parts have reached a safe temperature.
  • Defrosting: slabs of frozen minced beef are used for these tests. We assess how good both manual and auto-defrost is on each microwave by checking for hot and cold spots throughout the meat.
  • Ease of use: not all microwaves are intuitive to use and some are fiddly, too. Those that are easiest to use get full marks from our three independent assessors.
  • Grilling: we cover the grill pan of grill and combi microwaves with white crustless bread and measure how evenly it gets toasted.
  • Baking: we bake a tray of fairy cakes in each combi microwave and record how evenly risen and browned they become.

Microwave oven reviews you can trust

Models from the biggest microwave brands are tested at the Which? test lab – including Bosch, LG, Samsung, Siemens and Panasonic. We also test microwaves from cheaper brands and from supermarkets. We've discovered that it's not always the best-known brands that give the best results.

Which? is independent – we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We're not influenced by third parties and we don't accept freebies from product manufacturers or retailers. We buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

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