Best Microwave Reviews of 2017: Compare Microwave Oven Features, Prices & Deals
If you’re looking for the best microwave but aren’t sure which to buy – you’ve come to the right place! We review appliances from all the top brands to help you make an informed decision. If you just want to quickly know the top models, take a look at the table below. Otherwise, keep reading for our in-depth guide!
- 1 Sharp R959SLMAA Combi
- 2 Russell Hobbs RHM2362S
- 3 Russell Hobbs RHM2031
- 4 Which are the Best Microwaves of 2017?
- 5 Which Type of Microwave is Right for You?
- 6 How to Compare Microwaves
- 7 How we Review Models
- 8 Next Steps to Find the Best Microwave Oven
- 9 Recent Reviews
It’s important to note that the question “which is the best microwave?” is almost impossible to answer. The right model for you depends on your requirements, so the best microwave varies greatly – there is no one “best” choice. That’s why we have a top-rated model for each category, so once you know which type of microwave you need you can head straight to the corresponding section to see which we recommend.
There are three main categories – solo, grill and combi. Solo microwaves are the standard models that most people regularly use. Grill models have all the features of a solo, but include a grill for crisping and browning. Combi models typically add a conventional oven to a grill microwave. This allows for baking and roasting.
For a list of all microwaves we’ve reviewed, including sortable columns of power, capacity, colour and brand, please visit this page. If you just want to know which models we recommend, keep reading for our top microwave reviews of 2017.
Which are the Best Microwaves of 2017?
|Russell Hobbs RHM2362S||Solo||23 litres||800W||View Price|
|Sharp R959SLMAA Combi||Combination||40 litres||900W||View Price|
|Russell Hobbs RHFM2363B||Solo/Flatbed||23 litres||800W||View Price|
|Daewoo QT1||Solo||14 litres||600W||View Price|
|Delonghi P90B1B||Solo||25 litres||900W||View Price|
|Russell Hobbs RHM2031||Grill||20 litres||800W||View Price|
1. Russell Hobbs RHM2362S
With its sleek and stylish design and fast cooking speeds, the RHM2362S is one of the best microwaves on the market. It has a relatively large 23 litre capacity, mirrored door finish and a variety of other useful features – all for a very reasonable price.
As a freestanding solo appliance, the Russell Hobbs is designed for everyday heating, reheating and defrosting. It comes with five power levels, automatic and manual defrost settings, and a variety of automatic cooking options (including pizza and popcorn). There’s also a handy feature for multi-stage cooking, so you can cook your meal at a low power to start with before switching to full power later on.
Its 23 litre capacity is perfectly adequate for most tasks, although it isn’t large enough for big meals or the largest dinner plates. It can comfortably fit a 30cm plate though.
Most importantly, the RHM2362S is quick and efficient at heating up food. Meals don’t come out too dry and food is cooked evenly, while the defrost mode is great for defrosting meats and other tricky items.
The only real downside to this model is also a selling point – the mirrored door. As you might imagine, this looks great but also reduces visibility, so it can be difficult to see inside.
Overall, the Russell Hobbs RHM2362S is a great choice for the everyday cooking. While the capacity is probably too small for big families and the mirrored finish can be annoying, it’s great at cooking and has a variety of programmes and options.
2. Sharp R959SLMAA Combi
As we mentioned in our review, the Sharp R959SLMAA is a beast of a microwave. With a huge 40 litre capacity (which is the largest we’ve seen for a domestic model), powerful grill and convection oven, and a variety of automatic cook menus, this is a true oven replacement. But what makes this model worthy of our “best combination microwave” award?
To start with, the grill is fantastic. Unlike smaller appliances, the large capacity means you can grill plenty of food for the same time. It browns food evenly, so you don’t end up with a combination of burnt and uncooked patches. The convection oven is also great and, while not quite as effective as a true convection oven, does a good job of cooking food evenly and quickly.
The Sharp also has a stylish and durable design (we’ve read of customers using it for 10+ years without issue, making it one of the most reliable microwave ovens.) While it’s a large model that probably isn’t suitable for small kitchens, it has a touch control panel made from an easy-to-clean material. There’s also a useful delay feature, so you can tell the model to start cooking at some point in the near future rather than immediately.
There are very few drawbacks to the Sharp aside from its price tag. Our only complaint is that the oven stands only have three legs, which makes them less stable then they should be. This is a minor complaint considering the quality of the appliance though.
In short, the Sharp R959SLMAA is a powerful, versatile model that’s also highly durable. While it’s relatively expensive, it’s proven to be a reliable model that’s perfect as a replacement or complement to your existing convection oven.
3. Russell Hobbs RHFM2363B Flatbed
The Russell Hobbs RHM2031 is one of the best flatbed microwaves on the market. Unlike traditional models, flatbeds don’t have a turntable, so you can use all the interior for cooking. The RHM2031 has a stylish black design, 800W cooking power and a diamond cavity to reduce the chance of cold spots.
It has an attractive appearance, with a mirrored door finish. As we mentioned earlier on this page, this can reduce visibility when cooking, but makes the machine an undeniably stylish appliance.
With its 23 litre capacity, this probably isn’t an appliance that’s designed for large families. Instead, it’s a versatile option for everyday cooking and reheating. Other features include a child lock, redesigned cavity to cook food more evenly and a touch control panel.
But the stand out feature is the flatbed design. If you regularly cook large casserole dishes or square plates, a flatbed can accommodate items that a traditional microwave wouldn’t be able to handle. The lack of a turntable also makes it easier to clean.
There are a few drawbacks to the RHM2031 though. The mirrored finish shows fingerprints easily, so it needs regularly cleaning. It must also be placed 20cm away from a wall, so you’ll need check your work surface before you buy. There have also been reports of the LED screen failing, although most buyers have been happy with their purchase.
Overall, the Russell Hobbs RHM2031 is a great choice if you’re looking for a flatbed. It cooks relatively quickly, has a stylish design and can handle dishes a similar size turntable model would struggle to accommodate.
4. Daewoo QT1
The Daewoo QT1 is one of the smallest microwaves available at the moment. With a 14 litre capacity and 600W cooking power, it’s not designed for serious cooking or large families. It is, however, a great choice if you need a compact appliance that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
As you can see from the picture, the QT1 is a simple model with a sleek white design. While it doesn’t include advanced options like automatic cooking menus, it has a generous seven power levels and a timer that goes up to 35 minutes. Both of these are accessed via the two dials to the right of the door. It also has a push button door opener, which is important for such a lightweight model.
Despite the small size, it can still take a 25cm plate. In fact, Daewoo claims it has the effective capacity of a 20 litre model. Other features include a diamond cavity to ensure even cooking and a relatively low price.
If you’re looking for a small microwave for caravans, mobile homes or just a tiny kitchen, the Daewoo QT1 is a great choice. It’s never going to cook food as quickly as more expensive models, but can cook surprisingly evenly for a 600W model.
5. Delonghi P90B1B
Delonghi are one of the top manufacturers of microwaves in the UK, and one of their best models is the Delonghi P90B1B. It’s a versatile model with a powerful 900W output, variety of programmes and a large 25 litre capacity – making it one of our top recommendations for a family solo model.
Like all Delonghi models, the P90B1B has a professional appearance. The stainless steel exterior will look great in any kitchen, while the anti-bac interior helps keep it hygienic and clean. We like the control panel, as the LED screen is clear and the buttons intuitive – although the quantity of settings and programmes may take some getting used to.
The model really shines when it comes to cooking though. With 900W power output, it’s able to cook food quickly and evenly. The 25 litre capacity makes it suitable for families and the child safety lock provides extra peace of mind. It also comes with 8 cooking programmes to help you get perfect results.
If we had any complaints, it would be that it’s a little complicated to use, so you need to spend time reading the manual. Like all stainless steel appliances, you also need to clean it regularly to avoid fingerprints.
Despite these minor problems, the Delonghi P90B1B is an excellent model that’s a great choice for large families. It can cook food quickly, has a variety of features and a stylish design – all for a very reasonable price.
6. Russell Hobbs RHM2031 Grill Microwave
The Russell Hobbs RHM2031 is a grill microwave that’s proven to be a popular choice for people who want the option to brown and crisp food. While its 20 litre capacity is far from the largest, it has a relatively compact design and 800W power. It’s also available for a very reasonable price.
Like all Russell Hobbs models, the RHM2031 has a stylish design. Its control panel is straightforward to use with several buttons, a simple LED screen and a dial for adjusting cooking time. The stainless steel exterior provides a quality feel, although it can show finger prints more noticeably than other materials.
The 1000W grill isn’t as powerful as models such as the Sharp R959SLMAA, but it still does a good job of browning food evenly. There are a variety of automatic programmes, including menus for fish, popcorn and pizza. The RHM2031 also has an automatic defrost mode and five power levels.
The biggest drawback to this model is the 20 litre capacity. While this is fine for basic cooking, it’s not enough for large meals. For this reason, we don’t recommend this microwave for large families. It’s also a noisy machine, so it probably isn’t a good choice if you like listening to your radio while cooking.
While the Russell Hobbs RHM2031 isn’t the most powerful or feature-packed grill microwave on the market, it’s one of our top picks because of the value it provides. If you’re looking for a relatively compact grill model that doesn’t cost much money, the RHM2031 is a great choice. Just don’t expect it to cook as quickly as more powerful and expensive models.
Which Type of Microwave is Right for You?
Solo microwaves are perfect if you just want an easy to use, functional machine. For defrosting, basic cooking and reheating, a solo digital microwave oven is the best choice.
If you need more functionality, or if you’d like a model to replace a conventional oven, you’ll need to look at the combi section instead.
Grill microwaves are often more expensive, but come with a grill for browning and crisping. They can be used for all the same tasks as a regular model, but are more versatile. Grill appliances are also usually more expensive.
While grill models excel at cooking crispier foods, they can’t bake or roast like a combi microwave.
Combi microwaves combine a regular microwave, grill and conventional oven into one handy package. They are the ultimate kitchen appliance, although the price often reflects this. Unlike grill and solo models, combination models can roast and bake food.
If you only plan on using your microwave for reheating, grilling, basic cooking or defrosting, then a combi probably isn’t required.
How to Compare Microwaves
Buying a microwave can be a daunting process. There are literally hundreds of models on the market, each with its own specifications, appearance and user reviews. How do you select the one that’s right for you? Which are the top microwaves and which are a waste of money? There are four basic features you need to consider – capacity, power, type and appearance. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can then look at the extras such as child locks, flatbed or turntable, auto cook programs and other features and settings.
As a general rule, the more people in your household the greater capacity you’ll need. Capacity is measured in litres, and ranges from tiny 14L microwaves right up to 40L models. Large microwaves usually have a bigger capacity, although some models use space saving designs so this isn’t always the case. 20L microwaves are probably the standard for solo models, but for families or serious cooking you’ll probably want to look at larger models.
The power of a microwave is measured in Watts, and determines how quickly and effectively food is cooked. 800W microwaves are the standard, although modern appliances range between 600-1000W. 800W is enough power for most people, but anything less than this is likely to cook noticeably slower. Be aware that grill and combi models often have different power levels for the grill and oven components.
The appearance of an appliance probably isn’t as important as the capacity, power or type, but is still something to consider. Microwaves are usually a central appliance in a kitchen, so you want your model to match the rest of your kitchen’s décor. Models are available in a range of colours, from stainless steel to luminous green, so there is something for everyone. There are also retro microwaves for those who want a vintage appeal.
The three types of microwave are solo, grill and combi. We explained the differences in the section above, but the right microwave cooker depends on your requirements. Do you need a fully-fledged oven replacement? Get a combi. Just want to reheat last night’s food? A solo model will probably suffice. It’s also worth mentioning that if you want a built-in model, we have a list of the best built-in microwave ovens here.
It’s also important to consider the manufacturer. There is no such thing as the best microwave brand, but popular options include Panasonic, Russell Hobbs, Samsung and Daewoo. While there are smaller brands available, some of which manufacture excellent appliances, the bigger brands with a stronger reputation are usually safer buys.
Price is another vital consideration. The best value microwave may not be the cheapest. Instead, look for models that provide the greatest value in comparison to their closest competitors. It’s also worth looking out for deals. The best price microwave ovens vary throughout the year depending on offers and discounts provided by retailers.
How we Review Models
There are literally hundreds of models on the market at any time, and it’s not always easy to separate the best microwave ovens from the weaker appliances. As we are a small site with a limited budget, we simply can’t buy each model and review it – and we don’t think this is the best way to get a sense for a model’s performance. Instead, we look at buyer reviews – often hundreds of people who have bought and used the model on a daily basis – to judge performance, reliability and value for money.
Once we have researched a model, we write a review based on its features and feedback from buyers. To make it as easy as possible for you to find the right model, we then categorise each model depending on its features. Examples include mini microwaves and combination models. Most of these section either list the top 3 models in the relevant category or our top recommendation. We rarely make lists such as the “top 10 microwaves,” as we don’t think this is very helpful when it comes to narrowing down your options! Instead, we try to pick the best option from each category – or you can view the top of this page for our recommended microwaves in the main categories.
Next Steps to Find the Best Microwave Oven
Once you’ve decided on the type of microwave you need, the next step is to start looking at individual models. Here’s what we recommend:
- For standard microwaves, visit our solo microwave page.
- If you’re looking for the best microwave in a specific category, check out the models at the top of this page or use the links on the right hand side.
- If you’re looking at a specific model, use the search bar to see if we’ve written an in-depth review.
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