Top five best microwaves for 2021
The best microwaves heat and defrost food quickly and evenly, keeping your meal moist and succulent.
We’ve also flagged some poor performers so you know the models to avoid.
Table last updated: November 2020
Best easy-to-use microwaves
Flummoxed by the range of weird symbols and buttons on your microwave? As well as testing how well each model heats your dinner, we also look at how easy it is to use.
We check how easy the controls are to read, use and understand, how easy it is to press the buttons and open or close the door, whether you can see food while it's cooking and if the microwave is easy to clean.
Cheaper manual models with simple rotary dials for cooking time and power can be a good bet, but if you want the whole package, we've picked out some options that are exceptionally easy to use and cook well too:
Microwaves to avoid
These are some of the worst microwaves we've tested. They'll dry out your dinner and have you waiting an age for a hot meal.
Our microwave tests
Our rigorous independent tests separate the great microwaves from the rubbish ones. We only recommend microwaves that are easy to use, heat and defrost your food quickly and evenly, and leave no overdone or cool patches in your food.
We also tell you which microwaves to avoid. Poor microwaves may dry food out, or heat unevenly – leaving you with a half-cooked meal. Others are slow to cook and lose power if used for several meals in a row.
Buying a microwave: what to consider
The cheapest microwaves cost around £40, but prices can top several hundred pounds. You don't need to spend a lot: we’ve found some great cheap microwaves that are easy to use and do a great job of heating and defrosting, but you might have to sacrifice some fancier features and settle for less cooking space.
Pricier models tend to have more room inside to fit bigger dishes and come with more advanced auto-cooking programs. Combi microwaves are like mini ovens, and can grill and bake food, as well as microwaving.
Here are four key features to consider when choosing a microwave:
- 1. Microwave-only or combi – some microwaves can also cook using convection heat, like a traditional oven, offering more cooking flexibility than basic microwave-only models.
- 2. Capacity – internal space varies widely. We check what size dinner plate can fit in each microwave we test and have found this can vary from a snug 27cm to more than 40cm.
- 3. Flatbed or turntable – flatbed microwaves have no turntable, meaning more internal space for bigger plates or awkwardly-shaped dishes.
- 4. Digital or manual controls – digital controls can have handy presets for common cooking jobs, whereas manual controls tend to leave timings more up to you - though they can be simpler to set if you just want to turn a dial.