Ah, the microwave. Where would we be without this kitchen superhero? Whether you’re out of ideas, short on time, or simply looking for the easiest option, the microwave is always there to make sure you’re fed. If in doubt, opt for the microwave. It’s that simple.

In the UK, 89% of households own a microwave. It’s one of those appliances that demand a spot because of its convenience and efficiency. With almost every kitchen rocking a microwave, we don’t need to wax lyrical about these little cookers. What we do need to talk about is the buying process, because it isn’t easy.

There is an absolutely massive range of products out there from a long list of recognised brands. It’s always great to have options, but too much choice can become a problem. How are you supposed to know which model is right for you and your kitchen? This is where we can help.

We’ve done the hard work for you and researched everything there is to know about the humble microwave, and tried to answer the most commonly asked questions.

Are there different types of microwaves?

You’re likely to come across a few different types of microwaves when shopping around for the best model. There are three key types of microwaves:

  • Solo microwave — This is the most basic microwave type of microwave. It can defrost and heat your food, and that’s it.

  • Grill microwave — A small step up from the solo microwave, with a grilling element that can, wait for it, grill your food.

  • Combination (combi) microwave — The ultimate in microwave cooking, with the ability to grill, bake, and even roast. So it’s essentially a conventional oven in microwave form.

You’re likely to encounter microwaves with even more advanced cooking features (like the ability to steam), but these are the essential categories. It’s worth thinking about the tasks you need your microwave to complete, and finding the best type to get the job done.

What is the best wattage for a microwave?

What’s all the fuss about wattage? Put very simply, a microwave with a higher wattage should cook your food more quickly and efficiently. It doesn’t always work out that way though, because of inefficiencies that result in a loss of power.



What this means is that whilst you should be aware of a microwave’s wattage, it isn’t the be-all-end-all. There isn’t a microwave that will reach its stated output wattage because there will always be power wasted as excess heat. With this in mind, you’re better off reading reviews and paying attention to comments regarding cooking speed and efficiency.

What are the most important features in a microwave?

There are plenty of things to consider when buying a microwave, and keeping a few features in mind throughout the purchasing process can make things a lot easier. These are the most important features in a microwave:

Wattage — As discussed, wattage affects the speed and efficiency with which the microwave cooks your meal.

Power customisation — Most microwaves give you the choice of a range of power levels, which is useful when you’re switching up your meals. This might be a surprise to some, but you don’t need to blast every item in your microwave at maximum power.

Safety systems — Have you got kids? You may benefit from a microwave with a child lock option. This locks the control panel, giving you some much needed peace of mind. There are already so many dangerous items in the kitchen, so it’s good to know that the microwave isn’t something to worry about.

Cooking programs — This isn’t exactly a common feature, but there are some models that offer programs that automatically adjust the power and cooking time based on what you’ve got in there. This can be listed as a “nice to have” feature rather than an essential.

It’s obviously worth thinking about other things, like style and price, but these features are arguably the most important things to consider when shopping.

What is the best microwave for your kitchen?

The good news for anyone looking to buy a microwave is that there are plenty of options out there. This does make finding the best microwave for you a little tricky, because with so much choice, how do you know which model will suit you best?

We’ve tried to make the purchase process easier by lining up a selection of top microwaves from top brands. There should be something for everyone and every budget. We recommend taking your time and properly considering all the options, and then a favourite should emerge.

These are the best microwaves in 2021.

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