The 5 Best Microwave Ovens

Best Microwaves Main Image

Microwave ovens offer convenient heating and cooking for a broad range of foods. Whether you want it to reheat single items or help you prepare entire meals, they’ve become an essential part any modern kitchen.

With increasing capability and a growing number of features and programs, microwaves are more impressive than ever. Unfortunately, this can also mean that they can be more complicated and, in some cases, more expensive. 

I’ve looked through the best currently on the market and selected those that I think perfectly balance their functionality with value for money.

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Choosing a Microwave

When choosing your microwave, it’s worth considering the features, your budget and the level of functionality required. The below will help to guide you making these sometimes-difficult decisions.

First up you will need to choose the microwave type.

Microwave Types


A solo microwave is a simple model that includes only the essential features. It can reheat, defrost and cook food.


  • Best for small budgets
  • Smaller size options
  • Lots of choice
  • Easy to use


  • Cannot brown food
  • Limited functionality


A grill microwave includes the same features as a solo but has an added grill function. This function enables you to brown and sear foods which expands the number of meals you can cook. The grill can also be used in combination with the microwave.


  • Can brown food
  • Small size options available
  • Quicker to cook


  • More expensive than solos
  • Grill limits the capacity


A combination microwave works in the same way as a solo, but also includes an array of additional features. Available features include baking, grilling and roasting. This means a combi works like a standard oven too.


  • Can brown food
  • Most versatile
  • Can be used instead of an oven
  • Quicker than a standard oven


  • Larger size
  • Most expensive


These can either be solo, combi or grill microwaves. An inverter microwave offers a consistent stream of power rather than pulsing like a regular microwave. This gives increased control when cooking.


  • More efficient heating
  • Uses less electricity
  • Even cooking
  • Better flavour
  • More nutritious food
  • Better defrosting


  • The cost

How Much to Budget?

I consider a cheap microwave to be one costing under £50. If this is your budget then I suggest checking out our best cheap microwaves review. Those I cover here will all cost a little more. Depending on the type you choose, here is how much you should budget.

I consider a cheap microwave to be one costing under £50. If this is your budget then I suggest checking out our best cheap microwaves review. Those I cover here will all cost a little more. Depending on the type you choose, here is how much you should budget.

Solo – I have tried to find the best solo microwaves for between £50-100, which is about what you should expect to spend on a good quality oven. I have also included one slightly more expensive model that I think represents great value and has a sleek design.

Grill – If you are looking to buy a microwave with a grill you should budget £100-200. These do sometimes cost under £100 but are generally smaller and lack in power.

Combi – For a freestanding combination microwave you will require a budget of £150-300. Combis can cost much more, especially if you want a built-in version. For a built-in combi microwave, your budget will need to start at £300, but this will only get you a low-end model. Ideally you need to be spending £500+.

Inverter – These start at around £100-150 for a solo and go up in price if you are looking for a grill or combi-based inverter microwave.

 Budget VersionsMid-RangeHigh End
Solo MicrowaveUnder £50£50-100£100+
Grill MicrowaveUnder £100£100-200£200+
Combi MicrowaveUnder £150£150-300£300+
Built in CombiUnder £300£300-500£500+
Inverter Microwave£100-£150£150 – £300£300+

Understanding Microwave Features and Functions

When you buy a microwave there will be an array of numbers, features and functions that make it difficult to decide which one you should choose. These are the main terms you will encounter, what they mean and some info so you can decide how important it is to you.


This is the overall power output of the microwave. Generally, a higher wattage will mean quicker cooking times. However, this isn’t always the case, some models will utilise their power more effectively and have different capacities. Here in the UK, there is a rating system to help show how effective a microwave is. It is rated from A – E, with A being the least effective and E being the most efficient.

So, you can buy a 700w category C or 700w category E. In this case the E would be more efficient and offer better cooking times than the C, even though they offer the same 700 watts of power.

You could also buy a 700w cat E and a 1000w cat E. In this case, the 1000w will be more powerful, they both use their power efficiently, but this has more to offer.

Some things to remember:

  • Some microwave meals may require a higher wattage to cook.
  • If you only plan on reheating small meals a high wattage is not required.
  • Standard power output is between 700-1000w.
  • 600w models are available but the lack of power means they offer poor value.
  • 1100w and 1200w are also available. These will cost more and are aimed at professional kitchens.


There are two control types on a microwave.

Knob based controls – The most basic form of microwave controls, usually consisting of two knobs. One to select the power and one to select the time. These are easy to use and helpful if you have restricted mobility.

Touch control panel – These will sometimes have additional functions not found on the knob-based controls. However, they do come with a downside, cheaper control panels can be a little fiddly and are not always intuitive.


As a minimum you need to have these functions to make a microwave worth purchasing:

  • The ability to adjust the power output
  • An accurate timer
  • Defrost function

Anything above and beyond these 3 functions is because you have a personal need that requires it. Other programmes/ functions can include:

  • Auto reheat and Auto defrost – here you enter the weight of the food and the microwave calculates the time required.
  • Pizza function – commonly found but best on combi microwaves or those with a crisper. Still functional in a solo microwave but your pizza will be floppy.
  • Popcorn function – great for film night but limited reasons to seek it out.


You only need to consider two things when it comes to microwave capacity. The first is how much space is there in your kitchen. Measure up and ensure you find a model that fits. If like me you have a galley kitchen, space is limited and getting the correct size is crucial, I wouldn’t want to lose valuable surface space when it is already at a premium.

The second factor is the dishes you cook. If you intend to use it to reheat meals or occasional side dishes, a smaller capacity microwave will be suitable. If you have limited space but need to heat larger dishes then you should consider a flatbed microwave.

Flatbed or Turntable Base?

Turntable Base

This is the traditional microwave many of us already know. It has base in the middle where you place your food and when you start the microwave it begins to turn.


  • Cheaper to purchase


  • Limits cooking space
Flatbed Base

As the technology has improved, some models have been able to remove the turntable and you can now place your items directly on the bottom of the microwave.


  • Even heating
  • Larger cooking capacity
  • Easier to clean


  • More expensive

Other Things to Consider

Child safety – If you have a young child that likes to explore, look for an option with a child lock. This prevents the microwave being operated until unlocked.

The door – Look for a door you can see through. You want to be able to monitor your food without stopping and opening the door each time. It’s surprising how many doors make it difficult to see inside the cooking chamber.

Sensors – Some higher end models include sensors that adjust temperature and cooking times. There are usually two and they detect overall temperature and humidity inside to make small adjustments accordingly.

Cleaning Function – If you do not enjoy cleaning and have some extra budget, look for a model with a cleaning function. This will usually involve filling the microwave with steam to loosen any dirt and spilled food for one wipe cleaning.

Microwave Accessories

There are some interesting accessories available for microwaves and I consider the following three to be some of the most useful.

Crisper plate – A crisper plate is at the cutting edge of microwave technology. This is a heated metal plate that can be used for cooking pizza with a crisp bottom, an oil-less form of frying and to brown meats.

Sandwich press – I love a toasty and this sandwich crisper allows me to cook mine in the microwave. Simple to use but be careful where you touch it!

Vegetable steamers – These simple tubs are useful for steaming vegetables in your microwave. Steaming will keep in more of the nutrients and unless you leave them to long will ensure your veg has a much better texture.

Best Microwave Ovens

Best Overall – SAMSUNG MS28J5215AS

MS28J5215AS Best Microwave Ovens

The SAMSUNG MS28J5215AS is one of the most popular microwave ovens on the market and I firmly believe that, even with its premium price, offers the best value for your money. Featuring a brilliant 28 litre capacity and an incredible 1000W of power, this microwave beats out most of the competition on both counts.

However, there’s more to this microwave than its brawn. The SAMSUNG MS28J5215AS also comes with helpful cooking features and easy operation. For example, there is a +30-seconds button alongside functions like melt/soften butter and plate warming. Never serve dinner on cold plates again! This large microwave accommodates even the most generous dinner plates and gently warms whole stacks in seconds.

This model is also easy to maintain with an enamel interior that wipes clean. Ever had stubborn food smells get “stuck” in your microwave? There’s a deodoriser function for that. Samsung truly built this microwave with a real-life family in mind and included the best features for everyday use.

Fitting best in modern kitchens with its shiny glass and chrome design, this microwave looks like a premium product too. Unfortunately, the door’s tinted glass is difficult to see through. This issue is compounded by the weak, dim interior light. Sometimes you can’t quite see what’s cooking, which isn’t ideal. Barring this issue, the SAMSUNG MS28J5215AS is still one of the best microwave ovens available today.


  • Maximum microwave power: 1000W
  • 28 litre capacity
  • Plate warming function
  • 25 auto cooking programs
  • 4 auto-defrost programs
  • 7 power levels
  • Push button and dial control
  • Countdown timer
  • Child lock
  • Deodoriser and eco modes
  • LED display


  • Weak interior light makes it hard to see inside.


K25MMS14 Best Microwave Ovens

The KENWOOD K25MMS14 is a high-quality microwave that will completely change any preconceptions you have about microwave cooking. Starting with its design, it features a sharp, clean aesthetic with a large glass door and attractive touch-button/turn-wheel interface. Cheaper microwaves tend to look, well, cheap. The KENWOOD K25MMS14, has a premium look that matches well with other modern appliances.

Like the other Kenwood microwave on this list, this model comes with a 25 litre capacity and reaches a maximum of 900W. This is a great size for most families, as it fits large dishes without taking up too much counter space. Choose from five different power settings and eight auto-cook settings for better control over your meals.

While other microwaves come with more power levels or additional functions, I like that the KENWOOD K25MMS14 simplifies things. This way, it’s easier to use and the power levels make more intuitive sense. Of course, Kenwood includes the most popular features, including a kitchen timer and a +30-seconds button. Longer cook times can be set using the metal turn-wheel.

If I could change anything about this microwave, I’d update the rather large, dim digital display. Not only does this display take up a large portion of the microwave’s front panel, the red light is also too small and dim. A smaller, brighter display would have better served this gorgeous microwave.


  • Maximum microwave power: 900 W
  • 25 litre capacity
  • 8 auto cooking programs
  • Turntable diameter: 315 mm
  • Bright internal LED light
  • Attractive silver appearance
  • Easy to use
  • Includes a quick start feature


  • The large digital display is quite dim


K25MSS11 Best Microwave Ovens

You may think that you can get similar functionality from cheaper microwaves but the Kenwood K25MSS11 is a perfect example of why some premium designs are well worth the extra cash. This stunning glass and stainless-steel microwave is fast, precise and offers a versatile cooking experience. You’ll never consider another cheap microwave again after experiencing its superior craftsmanship and technology.

Featuring a 25 litre capacity and 900W of potential power, it offers a large enough space to fit most dishes yet is compact enough to fit into almost any kitchen. Also, 900W of power is just enough for fast, high-temperature cooking while still remaining energy efficient. You can also expect to be able to make the absolute most out of its 900W with fast, thorough cooking at using one of the eleven power levels.

Both the interior and exterior of this microwave are easy to maintain. The enamel-lined interior wipes clean, as does the front of the microwave. I’m also a fan of the pull-handle door in lieu of the more common push-button door latch. The door opens easily yet closes securely.

So, what’s the catch? The KENWOOD K25MSS11 can’t be perfect. In fact, this microwave is quite loud compared to some of the other models here. While that’s understandable considering how powerful it is, it’s still important to note. It’s also worth mentioning that the stainless steel on this model is only on the front, and does not extend to the sides or top of this microwave. 


  • Maximum microwave power: 900 W
  • 25 litre capacity
  • 11 power levels
  • Includes defrost and auto-cook features
  • Touch controls
  • Clock timer
  • LED display
  • Turntable diameter: 315 mm
  • Attractive stainless steel front
  • Easy clean enamel lining
  • Includes a quick start feature


  • The stainless steel is only on the front
  • It can be quite loud when working at full power

For Small Spaces – RUSSELL HOBBS RHM2064C

RHM2064C Best Microwave Ovens

This compact microwave features 20 litres of internal space and a top power of 800W, making it suitable for most dishes, including dense items like potatoes. This smaller external size makes it suitable for small families and anyone looking to save room on their limited countertops. Available in Black, Silver, or Cream, the RUSSELL HOBBS RHM2064C will suit any kitchen decor.

This model’s minimalist interface is smart and easy to use once you get the hang of it. Five total buttons control basic functions, while the turn wheel sets time, changes menu options and sets defrosting weight. This sleek design looks much more sophisticated than other microwaves and has eight auto cook settings along with two defrost options.

This is an easy to use microwave with more than enough features to accommodate most cooks. The sleek mirrored door looks attractive on whichever colour you choose. The only issue I found was that the labels for the controls are written in a very faint silver and can be very difficult to see. 


  • Maximum microwave power: 800 W
  • 20 litre capacity
  • Smart, compact design
  • 8 auto-cook programs
  • 2 auto-defrost programs
  • 5 power levels
  • Button and dial controls
  • Child-lock


  • Button labels can be hard to read

Best Budget Microwave – Sharp R220WM 

R220WM Best Microwave Oven

You don’t need always need the best microwave ever invented; sometimes your budget is more important. If that’s the case, I’ve got the perfect microwave for you. The affordably priced Sharp R220WM is modest and without pretension, proving that simple is sometimes better.

Offering a 20 litre capacity matched with 800W of power, it is a bit smaller than the average microwave. It’s best suited for singles and couples and maybe not the best choice for large families who need to microwave large items. In fact, my biggest complaint is that some large dinner plates and other dishes don’t quite fit.

Other than that, it’s difficult to find flaws with this budget model. The design is attractive and intuitive – most of us have used microwaves with a similar layout. There are six total automatic cooking settings, but the Defrost and Kitchen Timer buttons will be more commonly used and add versatility to the machine. You also have eleven individual power levels, to give you ultimate control over cooking temperature. Overall, the Sharp R220WM is reliable, easy to use, and has precision heat control. You won’t find a better microwave at this price.


  • Maximum microwave power: 800 W
  • 20 litre capacity
  • 6 auto cooking programs
  • 11 power levels
  • Touch controls
  • Electronic clock timer


  • Too small for some larger dishes.


All of these microwave ovens provide impressive functionality combined with high-power and additional features. Whatever you need yours for, you will find a model here that will do the job well. Despite the wide range of prices, I believe that each of these offers some of the best value you’re likely to find in the UK.

Hopefully, you’ve found this list useful and it’s given you a place to start on your hunt for a new microwave. If you have had any experience with any of those mentioned, we would love to hear about them – so drop me a comment and I will get back to you ASAP.

Brenden & Tim

The Cooker Base team, Brenden and Tim. Together we research, debate and write up articles listing the highest rated cookers and kitchen appliances available in the UK.