Top microwave brands for 2018
By Jane Darling
Find out which microwave brands are worth buying with our guide to the best, most reliable, and most loved microwave brands.
In 2017, we surveyed thousands of Which? members about their microwaves to find out which brands impress when you get them home, turning out perfectly cooked food for years to come.
We also heard about microwaves that fail to heat evenly, or start cooking when they should be defrosting. Others simply stop working without warning, or worse still, just go bang. On this page we reveal the brands whose microwaves excel at the jobs they're supposed to, but also stand the test of time.
If you’ve already decided that you want the best cheap and cheerful model we’ve found, or you’re after a particular feature, head straight to our independent microwave reviews to compare models.
Microwave brands rated
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 models tested between May 2013 and May 2017.
- 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 offering from Morphy Richards 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:
Only logged-in Which? members can see which brands came out on top in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.
|Preview: microwave brands rated|
|Brand||Average test score||Reliability rating||How owners rate this brand||Overview of our verdict|
|71%||75%||This microwave brand has the highest proportion of happy customers, who consider its microwaves good value for money. While it doesn't achieve our highest reliability rating - that accolade falls this year to one of its big rivals - this brand on average, does the best in our tests. It has a clutch of Best Buys to its name and none of the models we've tested over recent years has done poorly when it comes to the essentials of cooking well. However, we have temporarily removed Best Buy status from two of its microwaves recently due to negative feedback regarding these models smoking or tripping electrical circuits, so make sure you use our reviews to pick a model that currently has our recommendation.|
|57%||74%||Owners of this brand of microwave are happy with their purchase - nearly three-quarters would recommend one to a friend. This brand only sells built-in microwaves, which makes them more of an investment, but owners still consider them good value for what you get. While this brand's average score at our test lab isn't great, it emerges from our survey as reliable microwave brand.|
|50%||73%||This is a popular brand among Which? members generally - including for microwaves. It's also a reliable brand, and nearly three-quarters of people who own one are happy with their choice and consider it good value for money. But, while it may be a good bet for other appliances, chances are you could do better on the microwave front - we've only tested one of this brand's microwaves recently, but it failed to impress, scoring a disappointing 50%.|
|66%||69%||This brand tends to be at the budget end of the microwave scale, so an average test score of 66% is pretty good going, and we currently have one Best Buy from this brand. Owners are generally satisfied and the brand comes out as reliable in this year's survey.|
|63%||66%||This brand's microwaves don't do badly in our tests, but none have performed well enough to be up there with Best Buys. They are reliable though, and owners consider them good value for money, so they could be a good option if you're on a budget.|
|68%||66%||This brand comes top of our microwave reliability ratings this year - the only brand to earn the full five stars. It is one of the big microwave names out there, and deservedly so, with a creditable 68% average test score and four Best Buys to its name. The brand is reliable and about two-thirds of owners would recommend one of its microwaves to a friend.|
|55%||66%||This brand has an average test score of just 55%. Among the models we've tested is a Don't Buy combi model that fails at its core job of heating food - we recommend you steer well clear of it. Not all models are so bad though, and in our survey, this brand of microwave emerged as reliable.|
|60%||65%||Microwaves from this brand are variable. Some are really good - we've currently got two in our Best Buy listings - but others don't excel. About two-thirds of owners are happy with their microwave, so if you want to join that group, take a look at our reviews before choosing your model.|
|65%||64%||The single model from this brand that we've tested recently did all right considering it cost only £40 at the time. This brand's microwaves don't break down that often, and approaching two-thirds of owners are happy with their microwave and consider it good value for money.|
|65%||62%||This brand is better know for its ovens and cookers, but it makes built-in microwaves too. The one we tested did moderately well in our tests, but isn't good enough to be a Best Buy. Owners aren't unanimous in their recommendation of this brand's microwaves - close to four in ten wouldn't advise a friend to buy one.|
|55%||61%||While this brand's microwaves don't break down very often, we've found that they also don't excel at regular microwaving tasks. Around six in 10 owners would recommend the brand to a friend, but our average test score of just 55% suggests there's good reason why not all owners are happy.|
|59%||54%||This brand's microwaves leave a bit to be desired and don't excel in our tests or survey. Tellingly, little more than half would recommend a microwave from this brand to their friends - which is the lowest customer satisfaction rating in this year's survey. This brand of microwave does still scrape by as reliable (anything less than three stars is considered unreliable) - but with the lowest star rating of all brands this year.|
Reliability scores and owner ratings are based on a May 2017 survey of 2,535 Which? members who own microwaves. The average test score is based on results of all models tested between May 2013 and May 2017.
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.
Choosing the best microwave brand
This year, only one microwave brand achieves the top grade for reliability. Go for this brand and you shouldn’t have to put up with any inconvenient breakdowns, small or large. Some models from this brand excel in our tests, though others are more middle-of-the-road.
Overall, microwaves are generally reliable. Many get a good four-star rating, so you have a decent range of brands to pick from if you want to find one that won't let you down – though one does trail behind so could leave you more vulnerable to tiresome breakdowns.
Once you've narrowed down the brands worth buying, head to our list of the best microwaves for 2017 to pick a model that cooks to perfection.
If you’re just after a simple microwave that will heat the occasional ready meal or defrost some leftovers, a microwave-only model should fit the bill. A combi microwave, on the other hand, has a grill plus the ability to cook with conventional heat like an oven. If you’re unsure which way to turn, use our advice on how to buy the best microwave.
Are microwaves generally reliable?
Generally speaking, when compared with other kitchen appliances, microwaves are reliable. The graph below shows how reliable they are compared with the best and worst kitchen gadgets, and you can see they fall somewhere in between.
Owners are generally hopeful when it comes to the longevity of their microwave: 33% think that it should last at least 10 years fault-free, while a less optimistic, but more realistic, 28% think five years is acceptable.
Our survey found that, after just three years, 29% of owners of the least reliable brand had experienced a fault with their microwave. But when it came to the most reliable brand the figure dropped to a more reassuring 7%.
Most common microwave problems
Overall, microwaves are reliable appliances so, in theory at least, you're unlucky if you end up with one that lets you down.
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 topped the polls:
- 25% - stopped working/complete failure/blew up
- 17% - rust appearing in cavity
- 12% - interior light stopped working
While you might be able to live with the annoyance of a broken interior light - even if it does make it harder to keep track of cooking progress - rust or a total failure are likely to have you heading back to the shops for a replacement.
See which models we recommend, and the ones to avoid, by heading to our microwave reviews.