With so many amazing microwaves out there, it can be tough to work out which one is best for you. Which one will look and work the way you want it to? That’s where we can lend a hand. Our useful buying guide will walk you through all the different types of microwaves, their sizes and their features to make sure you know exactly which one you need.
If you want a microwave that just works, then a solo microwave will be perfect for you. These are the standard microwaves you expect to find in every home. They’re ideal for reheating food and hot drinks, along with making popcorn, rice and noodles.
Wish you could do more with your microwave? Then you might like one with a grill. They can do everything a standard microwave can do along with the ability to grill foods. Not only this, they’re great at sorting meats such as kebabs and tandoori chicken.
When you want your microwave to do as much as possible, you can only go with a combination model. They’re easily able to do what the other models can do but because of the way they circulate air and heat, they’re also great at baking brownies, cakes and bread. Impressive, right?
If you have an open and flexible kitchen, a freestanding microwave will be right up your street. They’re easy to move if you’re moving homes or changing your kitchen. Plus, you can get all types of microwaves as freestanding, so you don’t lose out on anything just because they’re mobile.
Built-in microwaves are perfect for people that have fitted kitchens, as they work with the integrated look to create a sleek finish. You can get standard, grill and combination microwaves built-in, so you’ve still got a full range to pick from. Fit is a lot more important for built-in microwaves, as you’ll want them to fit snuggly into the oven housing or wall cabinet you have for them.
To make sure you get the perfect fit for your type of microwave, be sure you refer to our measurement guide.
If you're short on space in the kitchen, a compact microwave will give you amazing results without taking up loads of room.
Now that you’ve got an idea of fit and type, it’s important you understand capacity to make sure the microwave you go is best suited to your home.
There are several capacity ranges that are suited to different sized families. The bigger the family and the more you want to do, the more capacity you’ll need.
This is the standard microwave capacity, so naturally you’ll find plenty of solo microwaves in this range. If there’s between two and four people in your home, this range will be fine if you only really use the microwave for the basics. You’ll also find plenty of compact microwaves in this capacity range if you’re short on space.
A step up from the standard microwave capacity, you’ll be able to find grill and combination microwaves in this range. The added capacity makes them ideal for more complex uses and larger foods. Most microwaves in this range and below will be turntable and will easily keep a two to four-person household covered.
At this range, you’ll have enough capacity to cover four to six people under one roof. You’ll mostly find solo microwaves at this capacity, but you’ll now have plenty of room to reheat large portions or several drinks at once. There’ll also be more flatbed microwaves at this range and above, because they give you more room to work with – therefore increasing the capacity.
These microwaves have the largest capacity around. Got a big family that loves complex cooking? No problem. You’ll find a range of grill and combination microwaves at this capacity, and they’ll all easily handle the demands of a four to six-person household. So, family sized portions in the microwave are easy to sort out.
Please remember to check the dimensions of the microwave you pick to ensure it fits in the space you have. This is especially important for built-in and large capacity microwaves.
The power of microwaves is measured in Watts. Usually, microwaves range from 800W to 1100W, but you will occasionally find a 750W model. Generally, the higher the wattage, the quicker your food will cook. It’s as simple as that.
It’s important to find a microwave that fits in with the look and style of your kitchen. Whether you want an ultra-modern look or some retro style, there’s a microwave for every kitchen. You’ll find them in a range of colours along with standout finishes like stainless steel and brass.
We all know how easy it is to make a mess in the microwave; that’s why easy-cleaning linings are essential. Microwaves are typically much easier to clean than ovens and many of them have interior walls with catalytic or pyrolytic liners. These liners are self-cleaning and absorb dirt and grease from food to keep the microwave looking fresh.
If you always end up overdoing it in the microwave, sensor cooking is for you. It automatically detects moisture in food along with the microwave’s humidity. It then adjusts the power levels and cooking time to make sure your food won’t dry out. Not bad at all.
One of the most useful features on modern microwaves is defrosting. When you can’t wait for food to thaw out, this setting makes sure you can get cooking sooner rather than later. Some microwaves even let you put in weight and type of food to make sure everything is defrosted to perfection.
If you’re not 100% on timings, pre-set programmes are useful for getting rid of guesswork. The programmes usually consist of timings for popular foods along with reheating and defrosting. They’re just there to make life easier.
A microwave oven will produce microwaves which then reflect off the metal interior before being absorbed by the food. The microwaves make the water molecules in food vibrate, producing heat that then cooks the food.
There are several things to look out for in a microwave. Make sure it has enough capacity for your household and that it’s the right type of microwave for you – whether it be standard, grill, or combination. You’ll also need to decide if you want a freestanding or integrated microwave, while making sure you have enough space for the size of model you’re looking at.
A convection microwave uses a fan to force air movement and heat up the full interior of the microwave. That’s why you’re able to use them to bake and roast things that would otherwise be cooked too quickly. They’re the most versatile microwaves you can get. They do everything that standard and grill microwaves do and more.
While most microwaves are good for reheating and defrosting foods, a combination microwave is also great at grilling and baking. So, whether it’s rice, kebabs, tandoori chicken, brownies, bread, or pizza you’re after, a combination microwave will cook and bake it all to perfection.
If a microwave is built-in, that means it is integrated into either your oven housing or a wall cabinet and designed to do so. The other type of microwaves are freestanding. Freestanding microwaves are placed on worktops and can easily be moved from place to place.
An inverter microwave oven is a type of microwave that gets its power through an inverter circuit, unlike a regular microwave which is powered through the transformer. All this means is that inverter microwaves can give you optimised heat and constant cooking even when you power level drops.