Top microwave brands for 2020
By Rebecca Duff
Find out which microwave brands are worth buying with our guide to the best, most reliable, and most loved microwave brands.
In 2019, we surveyed thousands of Which? members about their microwaves to find out which brands impress when you get them home, and which will last the longest.
We found that some brands are more prone to developing faults, such as not heating food properly or interior parts breaking or rusting, and others stop working altogether.
Our survey also revealed that some brands are far more popular with their customers, with a 20% difference in customer satisfaction rating between the highest and lowest-scoring brands.
Find out which brands make microwaves that do the job well and last for longer.
In this article:
- Best and worst microwave brands
- Which microwave brand is the most reliable?
- Are microwaves generally reliable?
- Most common microwave faults - and how to fix them
Simply want the best model for your budget? Head to our round-up of the best microwaves.
We've brought together our know-how about each microwave brand, including recent test results for individual models and owner's feedback from our Which? member survey, so you can see straight away which brands are the best. For each brand, you can find out:
- Average test score - how good each brand's microwaves are overall, based on all models tested.
- How reliable it is - we ask owners to tell us about any problems they’ve had with their microwave, and use this data to assess how likely or otherwise each brand's microwave is to let you down.
- How owners rate it - how satisfied owners are with their brand of microwave, and whether they would recommend it to a friend.
- Our verdict - we tell you, in a nutshell, what we think of the brand.
All the well-known microwave brands feature in our table, so if you fancy splashing out on one of Panasonic's all-singing all-dancing models – or if a budget microwave from Morphy Richards or Tesco is more up your street – find out first what owners of these brands really think of them. Here's a preview of how the brands stack up against each other:
Best vs worst microwaves
|Preview: microwave brands rated|
|Brand||Average test score||Reliability rating||How owners rate this brand||Overview of our verdict|
Our top pick: This is by far the top-selling brand of microwave among our members and with good reason. It has the highest average test score out of all the brands we've tested, and has picked up an impressive number of Best Buys. It's one of the more reliable brands and owners clearly love its microwaves, with 82% saying they'd recommend the brand to a friend.
This is one of the big names in microwaves and is a reliable brand to choose, with customers reporting one of the lowest number of faults in the first eight years. However, despite producing a few high-scoring models over the years, its overall test score of 65% is slightly below average.
Best cheap brand: Microwaves from this brand tend to be at the budget end of the scale, so their average test score of 70% is impressive. It's also one of the most reliable brands, picking up the lowest proportion of problems over the first eight years, and three quarters of these are just minor faults. So it’s not surprising that this brand has plenty of happy customers, coming in third overall for customer satisfaction and rating highly for value for money.
|49%||90%||77%||This brand only sells built-in microwaves, which usually cost a lot more than freestanding microwaves. But they could be a worthwhile investment as it's one of the most reliable brands we looked at. Customers were pretty happy with the brand, too, giving it an average customer rating. However, the only microwave we’ve tested scored a poor 49%.|
These microwaves are a bit hit and miss. Despite having the odd Best Buy and a few other impressive models, this brand produced several disappointing models and its average test score is only 65% overall. Its microwaves are pretty reliable, though, and customers seemed fairly happy with them overall.
This brand's microwaves vary in performance. It's racked up a few Best Buy models, but others failed to impress us, and the brand only gets a slightly below average reliability score.
Unfortunately, this brand has failed to impress us in our lab tests. Its models tend to do relatively poorly, and they’re also less reliable than most other brands, with 18% encountering problems overall and most of these occurring early on.
|63%||85%||78%||These microwaves tend to be cheap and are rated highly by their owners. but they’re not as reliable as other brands. This brand has produced a couple of impressive Best Buys, as well as a few you should definitely avoid, so make sure you use our reviews to choose a model we recommend.|
Customers spent an average of £60 on a microwave from this budget brand. It isn't the most-loved brand but is rated good value for money. However, it's one of the least reliable brands, so if you want a microwave that’s sure to last longer you might have to spend more.
|n/a*||83%||65%||Microwaves from this brand can be expensive and unfortunately they fail to impress. They’re one of the least reliable and this brand was rated the worst by customers both overall and for value for money.|
|66%||86%||78%||This brand does moderately well in our tests, and currently has one impressive Best Buy to its name. Customers rate it highly, with 78% saying they’re happy with the brand. It's not the most reliable brand, but its microwaves tend to be fairly cheap.|
|66%||87%||69%||Only 69% of customers would recommend this brand, giving it one of the lowest customer ratings. Its microwaves vary massively in performance, but overall it gets an OK average test score.|
This brand doesn’t tend to produce very high-scoring microwaves, but its range currently includes one impressively simple-to-use Best Buy we love. It’s as reliable as you might expect for a cheaper brand. Quite a few developed problems but they tended to be minor things such as rust appearing inside.
While it doesn’t currently have any Best Buys, this brand produces some impressive budget microwaves, gaining one of the highest test scores overall. Its models don’t break down too easily, and the brand is well-liked by customers, who also gave it four out of five stars for value for money.
|n/a*||85%||71%||This brand has one of the lowest customer satisfaction scores and also scores below average for reliability. 8% of products had developed a fault in the first year, more than any other brand, with 18% having developed an issue by the eight-year mark.|
|n/a*||92%||76%||This brand tends to produce cheap and simple microwaves, and they are far less likely to break down than other brands. None of this brand's microwaves developed any faults in the first year, and it was the most reliable brand overall. We haven’t currently tested any of its microwaves, but customers gave the brand an average customer satisfaction rating.|
Customers gave this brand a poor customer score of just 66%, despite encountering fewer serious problems than with most other brands.
|66%||90%||86%||These microwaves are expensive but could be worth paying the extra for. They are by far the customer favourite and are clearly built to last. We gave them one of the highest reliability ratings, as just 10% developed problems in the first eight years. However, we’ve only currently tested one model, which scored a pretty average 66%.|
Reliability scores are based on an April 2019 survey of 3,470 Which? members who own microwaves, and customer scores are based on 3,497 members. The average test score is based on results of all models tested. *N/A means we haven't tested any models from this brand recently, due to models being old or not widely available to buy. **Score based on one tested model, as no more currently on test.
Can't see the brand you're interested in? We couldn't report on all brands, as we didn't get enough survey responses for some. Head to our microwave reviews to see reviews of popular models.
There wasn’t a huge difference in reliability between many of the microwave brands we looked at, but some brands stood out as being much better or worse than the rest.
The most reliable brands had faults reported in as few as 5% of their products and were likely to experience only minor issues. The worst brands, however, had up to 20% faulty products at the end of eight years, with a high proportion of those reported being serious issues or even total breakdowns.
Microwave design doesn’t tend to change much over the years, so it’s worth going for a model from a reliable brand that won’t need replacing in a few years' time.
Average test scores also vary massively, from 53% to 73%, with many brands we looked at having a real mix of high and low-scoring models. As well as choosing from a popular, reliable brand, make sure you also check our microwave reviews to find the best models.
If you’re not sure which type of microwave you need, use our advice on how to buy the best microwave.
While some brands are built to last, generally speaking microwaves are one of the less reliable small appliances so it’s worth doing your research before you buy.
Overall, 12% encountered a problem in the first eight years, compared with just 5% for the most reliable small appliance, the stand mixer. However, they’re slightly more reliable than appliances such as traditional coffee machines and kettles.
In our survey, we asked Which? members about any problems they'd had with their microwave. Of those that reported a fault, these are the problems that were most common:
- 16% - interior light stopped working
- 10% - stopped working / complete failure
- 9% - rust in inner cavity
- 9% - faulty door
Other common issues included having problems with the turntable, the microwave not heating contents correctly, the inside surface peeling or bubbling, and the display or clock not working.
Looking after your microwave
Substances such as salt can cause rust to form inside the microwave if it's not cleaned properly. Always cover food while cooking and regularly clean the inside of your microwave, following the guidelines in the user manual.
Using the wrong type of container can also cause damage to your microwave.
For more tips on how to best look after and use your microwave, including how to tell whether a container is microwave safe, read our 12 essential microwave tips that will save you from mealtime disasters.
Fixing common microwave problems
Many common microwave problems, such as the light inside not working, can be fixed by the manufacturer under your warranty if it's still in date. Warranties usually only cover you for one or two years, but it's worth checking whether you can register newly bought products with your manufacturer, as this will often give you an extended warranty period.
Don't try to replace the light bulb yourself, as it often involves removing some of the casing and there is a risk of electric shock even if it’s not plugged in.
If your microwave is beyond its warranty, you’re likely to be heading back to the shops for a replacement. See the very best models we recommend, and the ones to avoid, by heading to our pick of the top five best microwaves for 2020.