Ping! Dinner’s served with the best microwaves available

It might not be the most glamorous of kitchen appliances, but a decent microwave is an essential item for most households. Whether you want to defrost, reheat, or nuke entire ready meals, a microwave will earn its place on your countertop. While design-wise, it’s hard to get excited about microwaves, our overall pick, the Russell Hobbs Heritage model, offers an attractive mirror finish and sleek, clean lines.

Best Overall: Russell Hobbs RHM2064B Heritage Digital Solo Microwave

With a contemporary design, the RHM2064B from Russell Hobbs is an 800 watt, 20-litre capacity microwave with a dishwasher-safe, 25.5cm glass turntable, which is adequate for the average-sized dinner plate.

The clever bits come in with the pre-programmed auto cook menus for specific food types, and the automatic defrost settings where you tell the microwave how much something weighs, and it works out the ideal defrost time.

Pros:

  • Pre-programmed auto cook menus
  • Automatic defrost settings
  • Five microwave power levels

Cons:

  • Not flatbed tech

Best Overall

Russell Hobbs RHM2064B Heritage Digital Solo Microwave

Reflective

Sleek looks and competent capabilities make this an excellent all-round choice.

Best Capacity: Hotpoint Extra Space Solo Flatbed Microwave

This futuristic appliance is at the top end of the microwave market. It boasts a fantastic, next-gen touch control panel complete with digital clock and can be programmed with ten different power levels.

With a generous 26 litres of space, this can handle kitchenware as wide as 40cm. The MWH2621MB has flatbed technology which cooks food evenly without the need for a turntable, while the door turns transparent during operation so you can see your food cook.

Pros:

  • Larger 26-litre capacity
  • Flatbed technology
  • Touch control panel

Cons:

  • High cost

Best Capacity

Hotpoint Extra Space Solo Flatbed Microwave

Hot stuff

High tech, high spec: Hotpoint’s flatbed microwave is cutting-edge.

Best Value: Vytronix VY-HMO800 Digital Microwave Oven

This budget option might not have the swagger of rival models, but it offers reliable functionality thanks to its 800-watt output, 20-litre capacity and easy to use controls. There’s auto defrost if you enter the weight of food, and auto cook settings with a menu that includes milk/coffee, rice, spaghetti, potatoes, fish, pizza or popcorn.

Other functionality includes three-stage cooking that will cover you from a speed defrost to a switch to microwave cooking at the appropriate time for the appropriate time.

Pros:

  • Automatic defrost settings
  • Multi-stage cooking function
  • Intelligent auto cook function

Cons:

  • Basic button controls

Best Value

Vytronix VY-HMO800 Digital Microwave Oven

Budget-friendly

Vytronix’s microwave delivers decent functionality at an affordable price.

Best Personalized Settings: Toshiba MM-EM20P(WH) Microwave Oven

Another 800 watt/20 litre option, Toshiba’s clean white microwave has pre-programmed one-touch cook menus, 11 power levels, defrost by weight settings, a large easy to read digital display and comprehensive timer abilities.

Unusually, the MM-EM20P(WH) can be programmed for two-stage cooking. So, you can cook with 80% power for 10 minutes, then 50% power for five minutes. Also, you can save three cooking procedures into the microwave’s memory.

Pros:

  • 11 power levels
  • Up to 100 min cooking timer
  • Personalisable programmes

Cons:

  • Not great looking

Best Personalized Settings

Toshiba MM-EM20P(WH) Microwave Oven

Superb settings

If you’re a frequent microwaver, Toshiba’s personalizable oven is great for advanced users.

Best for Reheating: Panasonic NN-E28JMMBPQ Microwave

Panasonic’s 800 watt NN-E28JMMBPQ has five power settings that you can select to use in 30-second increments, or you can make use of the nine auto programmes including auto defrost and auto reheat for everyday food items such as curry and Chinese food.

If you use a microwave for an odd blast of heat now and again, this offers effortless operation starting from a one-button option to just nuke something, such as a cold cup of coffee, for 30 seconds.

Pros:

  • Nine auto programmes
  • Five power settings
  • Touch control panel

Cons:

  • Not flatbed tech

Best for Reheating

Panasonic NN-E28JMMBPQ Microwave

Automagic

Perfect for occasional use, this has a quick 30-second blast and auto reheat options.

Best Looking: Swan SM22036GRYN Nordic Digital Microwave

We’re all about this microwave’s stunning Scandinavia-inspired looks with the matt, slate grey finish and soft-touch wood effect handle.

There are six power levels to select, a 30-minute timer, digital controls and the 20-litre capacity oven has a slightly larger 270mm glass turntable, so will be able to handle most dinner plates.

Pros:

  • Amazing Scandi looks
  • Larger 270mm turntable
  • Six power levels

Cons:

  • High cost

Best Looking

Swan SM22036GRYN Nordic Digital Microwave

Nordic chic

If design matters to you, consider Swan’s stunning Scandi microwave that you’ll be happy to show off.

Dielectric dilemma

If you’re part of a household that uses a microwave to cook often, you need to consider splashing out on a model that offers advanced functionality, like the larger capacity Hotpoint Extra Space Solo Flatbed Microwave. With its touch panel controls and flatbed technology, it’s recommended at the higher end of the microwave marketplace.

Our overall pick, the Russell Hobbs RHM2064B Heritage Digital Solo Microwave, is a more affordable option for home cooks that use a microwave less frequently. While it still has decent pre-programmed capabilities, it can also just nuke a slice of pizza in seconds. Thanks to its mirror-finish door and sleek contemporary design, it will also look good on your countertop.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Amy-Mae Turner Although an amazing home cook, Amy-Mae is not unfamiliar with the good old “pierce-film-lid” school of cookery.

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