Best Retro Microwaves of 2018 – Which Vintage Models in the UK are Worth the Money?

Akai A24006C

Less powerful but bold design.

  • 20 Litres
  • 700W
  • Defrost setting

Swan SM22030CN

Our #1 retro microwave

  • 800W
  • Stylish design
  • 20 litre capacity


Fast cooking and eco-friendly.

  • 800W
  • 20 litre capacity
  • Zero-standby function

If you’re looking for a retro microwave, you’ve come to the right place! Vintage-style models have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more people aim for a retro appeal in their kitchens. And it’s easy to see why – retro models have a homely attractiveness that can’t be matched by the square and bulky designs of most models.

This increased choice is great for consumers, but it’s also important to avoid low-quality manufacturers and models that try to sell based on appearance alone. As we always say: appearance is secondary when it comes to choosing a microwave  – make sure you get strong and reliable performance above all else.

Our List of the Best Retro-Style Microwaves

Fortunately, there are retro-style microwaves that provide both excellent performance and an attractive design. If you’re looking for a quick summary, here’s a short list of what we think are the best retro microwaves of 2018. For more information on each, please scroll down.

 Note: All the models on this list are retro countertop microwaves. We haven’t included any built-in models.

1. Swan SM22030CN

Swan Retro Microwave

The Swan retro model is our favourite when it comes to style.

Our top rated retro microwave oven is the Swan SM22030CN. Released back in 2014, it has become one of the most popular retro models on the market – and it’s easy to see why. With its attractive design, 800W power output and 20 litre capacity, it is perfect as a family solo microwave. The Swan SM22030CN is also available in a generous eight colours, including cream, blue, pink, green and black, so there’s an option for every taste.

Aside from the vintage-style microwave design, the Swan SM22030CN is a solid if unspectacular model. The 800W power output means it cooks food relatively quickly compared to less powerful models, and it also comes with a defrost setting amongst five power levels. Additionally, Swan provide a 2-year guarantee.

If you’re looking for an attractive retro model that cooks quickly and without fuss, then the Swan SM22030CN is our top recommendation. It’s certainly a model that catches the eye, but backs up its style with reliable cooking performance. Click here for the latest price.

Swan also manufactures toasters, kettles and other kitchen goods to match the microwave’s style, so you can kit out your kitchen with a full retro theme.

2. Akai A24006C

Akai A24006C

The Akai provides an “American 60s Diner” style that we enjoy – although it’s the least powerful on this list (700W).

The Akai A24006C is another excellent retro microwave. Unlike the other two models on this list, which have a more lighthearted style, the Akai has a bold appearance that reminds us of an American diner.

Features of the model include five power levels and a vent panel to reduce condensation. It also has a 20 litre capacity and defrost setting.

One thing to note is that it only provides 700W cooking power. This is less than the other two models, and means food won’t cook as quickly. On the upside, the controls are simple to use, and there is a quick-start option for extra convenience.

If you’re looking for a straightforward microwave and like the appearance of the Akai A24006C, then its definitely an option to consider. While we don’t think it performs as well as the Swan or Daewoo on this list, it does the job and provides a unique style. Click here to see its latest price.

3. Daewoo KOR7LBKM

Daewoo Retro Microwave

The Daewo KOR7LBKM is a stylish model that’s available in several colours.

The next model on our list is the excellent Daewoo KOR7LBKM. It features a bright and fun design, with lots of curves and a beautiful silver door handle, along with a 20 litre capacity and 800W power output. It’s also available in five colours, including black, white, red, cream and mint (as shown in the picture to the right).

Inside, this vintage microwave is also a strong performer. It’s built with a concave reflex system, which distributes microwaves more evenly inside the cavity. This prevents cold spots within food. It also comes with several automatic cook programs, automatic defrost function and five power levels.

One of the great things about the KOR7LBKM is the “zero standby” function. You can use this to switch off all power to the microwave without needing to unplug it.

Overall, this Daewoo retro microwave is an excellent model. It has a much softer and inviting design than most modern microwaves, and the eco-saving function is a great feature for such a reasonable priced model. Click here to see its latest price.

We’ve seen two reviews on a major shopping site complaining that the door of the KOR7LBKM either caught fire or melted. While these seem to be isolated reports, it’s important to be aware of this potential fire hazard. It also means we can’t wholeheartedly recommend this model anymore, despite its excellent performance, until there is an update from Daewoo.

Wildcard: Efbe-Schott SCMW2500DGR (Retro Grill Microwave)

Efbe Schott

The Efbe-Schott is our wildcard entry due to its current lack of buyer reviews – but on paper is a powerful grill model with a unique design.

The final entry on this list is a real wildcard, as this model is relatively new, pricey and hasn’t received many reviews on shopping sites (at the time of writing). Even so, we felt we needed to include it as it’s one of the most unique vintage microwaves we’ve ever seen. While the other models on this list are relatively understated, this is a bold, brash machine that instantly stands out.

It’s the most powerful model on this list, with 900W microwave output, and has a large 25 litre capacity. This makes it better suited for large families than the 20 litre models. The 900W grill is also useful for browning and crisping. Other features include 5 power levels, 12 cook menus and a 60 minute timer.

It’s difficult to recommend the Efbe-Schott SCMW2500DGR without reservations, as it’s such a new model without many reviews. The high RRP of £230 is also going to put many people off. Even so, if you need a powerful retro grill microwave, or are desperate for a large retro microwave and are willing to take a punt, there aren’t many models that can match its appeal. Click here to see its latest price.