Best combination microwave

Combination microwaves have features beyond that of a regular solo machine. Many combis can be used for grilling, baking and roasting (taking the place of your oven) and some have more specialised functions, such as steaming and even yogurt-making. Saying that, not every combi will have every function. Some only have a grill but not a convection oven, for instance, whereas others will microwave, grill, oven-cook and sometimes even have a steamer. let’s see what the best combination microwave reviews are

Best combination microwave

1. Panasonic NN-DF386

A combi oven that can do everything a microwave can, plus create beautiful crisp food

Panasonic DF386
PANASONIC NN-DF386BBPQ Combination Microwave – Black, Black£234
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£234.99 View at Very

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Pros:

  • Excellent results
  • Lots of programs
  • Crisper pan

Cons:

  • Fairly pricey
  • Not the fastest we’ve tested

If you’re after an attractive, well-featured, do-it-all appliance then you won’t go far wrong with the Panasonic DF386. Sure, it might not be able to steam-cook like its sibling in this roundup, the NN-DS596, but this combination microwave-grill-oven cooks food brilliantly. It’s a little slower than some microwaves, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in precision.

The Panasonic NN-DF386 comes with the Pana-crunch pan and an enamel tray for use with the oven or grill, and has seven auto-weight programmes for popular foods: chilled quiche, frozen potato products, pastry items, chilled pizza, frozen pizza, gratin potato and gratin pasta.

You can even use the Sensor programmes without having to enter the cooking time, weight or power level before you hit start; the NN-DS596 just works it out for itself. Other great features we love include a clock, timer delay and child-safety lock.

Buy Now from Currys for £234
Also available at EBay (£234.85)Very (£234.99), and Argos (£234.99)

2. Sharp R861SLM

A great value combination oven

Sharp R861SLM

Sharp R861SLM Microwave Oven 25 Litre Capacity Black 900 W 1 Year Warranty – (Electricals > Microwaves)£324.99
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Pros:

  • Good value
  • Cooks fairly evenly
  • Good-looking

Cons:

  • Vibrates, can be noisy
  • Flatbed is a little ugly
  • Deep

The most striking thing about the Sharp R861SLM’s design is its unusual pull-down door, which makes the appliance look far pricier than it is. Inside, the flatbed design with no turntable offers greater cooking flexibility, and a supplied wire rack and baking tray make handy vessels for a wide range of food and meals.

The standard features include buttons to select the time in 10-minute, one-minute and 10-second increments; defrost by weight or time; plus the ability to select cooking method by microwave, grill, oven or a combination of the microwave with one of the others.

There are six auto menu functions available with a button’s press: jacket potato, pizza, rice, oven chips, cake, and roast chicken. A further seven functions offer auto reheat, beverages, vegetables, soup, grilled bacon, grilled fish pieces, and roast beef/lamb.

The only fault we found with the Sharp R861SLM is its tendency to vibrate and make noise while it cooks. That can be a little annoying, but if you’re in the market for a decent-sized microwave, grill and convection oven, its features and premium looks far outweigh that negative.

Buy Now from Amazon for £324.99

3. Panasonic NN-DS596

A handy microwave that also handles steam cooking

Panasonic DS596
Panasonic Nn-ds596bbpq 4in1 Steam 27 L Combination Microwave NNDS596BBPQ Black£275
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Pros:

  • Steam oven
  • Large capacity
  • Crisper pan

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • A bit bulky

The Panasonic NN-DS596 is a feature-packed microwave-grill-oven combi that also handles steam cooking. It’s perfect for anyone who frequently finds themselves short of oven space, or simply wants the convenience of a microwave with some bonus foodie features.

With a large capacity of 27 litres, plenty of smart programmes for popular foods, and a rectangular, full-width tray that slides into the appliance like an oven shelf, the NN-DS596 offers more than simply a way to heat your lunch soup. You can cook or defrost by time or weight, steam-cook in combination with the microwave or quartz grill to keep food moist, and heat food from the bottom up with the bundled ribbed cooking pan – or the Pana-crunch pan, as Panasonic calls it.

It isn’t the cheapest combi option on the market, but it’s a contemporary and high-end appliance that you’ll rely on for quick and easy meals for years to come.

Buy Now from EBay for £275
Also available at Amazon (£379.00)

4. Sage Quick Touch Crisp

A very easy-to-use microwave with tonnes of features

Sage Quick Touch Crisp
Sage BMO700BSS the Quick Touch Crisp Microwave with Smart Cook Menu – Silver£699.00
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Pros:

  • Foodie options
  • Intuitive controls
  • Crisper pan

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • No oven

The Sage Quick Touch Crisp is every bit the smart, sophisticated kitchen appliance we’ve come to expect from Sage. The feature-rich microwave-grill combi comes with a slew of settings to precisely cook everything from pasta and grilled cheese to vegetables and roasted nuts. In short, it’s foodie heaven – if you’re able to fork out £349.95 for the privilege.

The Quick Touch Crisp’s main settings are for straightforward cooking: a Smart Cook/Grill, and Smart Reheat or Defrost. Selecting one these from the microwaves screen leads you to written menus to select the food type, and the possibilities are almost endless. To make life a little less complicated, there are ten hidden shortcut buttons inside the door for your favourite programmes, grilling and more.

You also get a clever 290mm Crisper Pan on legs that folds down for grilling and folds away when you want the pan down low for general microwaving tasks. Plus, there’s Sage’s popular ‘A Bit More’ button, which does exactly what you’d expect.

While this is clearly an appliance designed for the keen cook, kitchen novices shouldn’t be put off. The Quick Touch Crisp is bustling with features, but it’s simple and intuitive to use, and could well be the making of nervous and inexperienced chefs.

Buy Now from Amazon for £699.00

5. Panasonic NN-CT585SBPQ

A well-featured, full-size microwave combi oven

Panasonic NN-CT585SBPQ

Pros:

  • Compact yet large capacity
  • Doubles as an oven and grill
  • Fast combination cooking

Cons:

  • Short power cable
  • Food needs turning very regularly when grilling

If you’re after a full-sized, well-featured combination microwave, oven and grill that doesn’t swamp your workspace, the Panasonic NN-CT585SBPQ will prove the perfect fit. With a brushed stainless steel finish, solid design and responsive buttons, this unusually compact microwave makes light work of the full range of cooking tasks.

Its six power levels can be controlled precisely, rather than just switched on and off, thanks to its built-in inverter – and its powerful grill does a stellar job of crisping up food. It’s so powerful, in fact, that you’ll need to turn food frequently, but we have no complaints about its efficiency. Defrosting, too, is much better than with most other microwaves at this price point.

Other notable perks include a scrolling text “operation guide” that reminds you how to use the microwave. This is useful, but once you’ve got the hang of the controls, you can turn it off. Add to that a wire rack for grilling and an enamel tray for grilling and baking, and you have one of the best packages around for £200.

How to buy a microwave

Your Pizza Rolls deserve a good microwave. This countertop wonder, whose origins date back to the 1940s, is probably one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen thanks to its ability to reheat food fast (and cook a mug cake or two). There are a variety of options when it’s time to select a microwave, so we’ve broken down the options you have when you’re ready for a new microwave.

Location

The first decision you need to make about a new microwave is where in your kitchen you want to put it. The location affects the price, features, size and installation of the appliance. You have three main options:

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Countertop

This is the most common type of microwave. They generally cost less and are significantly easier to install than other models. Just find a spot on the counter for it to sit, plug it into an outlet and you can use it right away.

The biggest issue with the countertop microwave is how much space it needs. If you have limited room on your countertop, you may either want to look at the smaller countertop models available, look into placing your microwave on a small cart, or consider another style of microwave.

Price: $40 to $700

External dimensions: From roughly 10 by 18 by 14 inches for compact models to roughly 14 by 24 by 20 inches for larger models

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

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Some of GE’s stoves and over-the-range microwaves are connected via Bluetooth.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Over-the-range

You install this style of microwave above your range, which will save you some counter space. These models have vent systems that take the place of the oven hood and lights to illuminate your cooktop.

Price: $190 to $1,300

External dimensions: Usually wider than countertop models, about 16 by 30 by 15 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Sharp_builtin_microwave.jpg
Sharp

Built-in

Built-in models that you place among custom cabinets or paired with built-in, full-sized wall ovens are the most high-end (aka expensive) types of microwaves. Some microwaves in this category are even designed specifically as drawers with a compartment you pull out for your food.

Price: $500 to $5,000 and up

External dimensions: This varies widely depending on type, and drawers tend to have more depth than countertop or over-the-range models, hitting about 15 by 30 by 26 inches

Internal capacity: Less than 1 cubic foot to more than 2 cubic feet

Wattage: Typically 600 to 1,200 watts

Size

It’s important to find the right-sized microwave that will meet your food needs and fit in the space you have for it. First, you want to measure the counter or other space where you plan to put your microwave. Then, measure the height, width and depth of any model you’re considering to find out if it will fit on your counter top, over your range or in a custom spot. The external dimensions can vary a lot, from 10 by 18 by 14 inches on the smaller side to 14 by 24 by 20 inches on the larger side.

Then there’s also the internal capacity, which can range from less than 1 cubic foot to 2 cubic feet or more. There doesn’t seem to be any set rule for how internal capacity correlates to size (like 1 cubic foot = small, 1.5 cubic feet = medium, etc.), but here’s an attempt to break it down:

Compact: Under 1 cubic foot

Midsize: 1 to 1.5 cubic feet

Full-size: 1.6 to 2 cubic feet

Extra-large: More than 2 cubic feet

Most microwaves are somewhere around 1.4 to 1.8 cubic feet. Still not sure which size you need? If you’re out shopping, bring in a plate or bowl from home that you plan to use often to make sure that it fits inside the microwave.

Still in doubt? Measure everything, take notes and check with your appliance retailer for help deciding what would work best. For over-the-range and other built-in models, you most likely won’t be the one installing your new microwave, so you can always avail yourself of their expertise.

Wattage

Microwave wattage equals power. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Most microwaves sit somewhere between 600 to 1,200 watts. Larger, more expensive microwaves tend to have a higher wattage, so this is a price and size consideration that can strongly influence microwave cooking performance.

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This GE microwave has scan-to-cook tech via a related app.Chris Monroe/CNET

Features

Many microwaves share common functions. Here are some microwave cooking essentials: cook time, defrost, power level and timer. Each one requires your direct input, but they are usually very easy to set. Most microwaves have touch panel controls and a rotating carousel to spin your food for more even cooking.

Default settings

Many microwaves come with preset cooking modes so you only have to press one button to automatically cook a dish. For example, many microwaves have a “popcorn” button that will cook your bag based on factory settings. This can be handy for common dishes you heat in the microwave, but you’ll have to figure out if the microwave’s default cook times work for your own food. Other common presets include: baked potato, pizza, beverage, frozen dinner and reheat.

Broil

Manufacturers are increasingly including features in microwaves that mimic what we see in full-size ovens, such as a broiler. This is a good addition for finishing off a dish or cooking something for which you’d prefer more direct heat.

Convection

A convection fan that’s built into the back of a microwave oven circulates the heat around the food to cook things more quickly and evenly. (Many new full-size ovens come with at least one convection fan.) However, microwaves with convection fans are generally more expensive than those without.

Inverter technology

Inverter heating is another option available on some high-end models. If you want to heat something at a 50 percent power level, most microwaves actually switch between 100 percent power and 0 percent power to average in at 50 percent power. This doesn’t yield great results if you want to heat something on a lower heat and achieve an even result. So, some models now use inverter technology, which maintains a consistent 50 percent power. That way, you can poach salmon, make a fluffy omelet, etc.

Other advanced features

In addition to new heating technologies, higher-end models usually have more presets than just the basic pizza, popcorn and baked potato standard. Some use moisture sensors to detect food doneness. And we’ve started to see models include LED lighting on the interior.

“Smart” technology, i.e. options that connect microwaves to the internet and other products, aren’t as widespread in microwaves as we’ve seen in other kitchen appliances. However, we’ve seen GE Appliances include Bluetooth technology in some of its over-the-range microwaves. This connection, which GE calls “Chef Connect,” pairs the microwave with compatible GE ranges so the light and fan beneath the microwave automatically turns on when you turn on a burner.

More options

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Will the June Intelligent Oven become the next microwave?Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Other small appliances have started to make a case for forgoing the microwave, such as steam ovens that use water to cook for more moist heating or the basic toaster oven that mimics a full-size stove. These options promise to cook more effectively than a microwave, but it might take longer to reheat your food.

Smart countertop ovens have also started to become an option. The June Intelligent Oven uses facial recognition technology to identify food and cook it automatically, and the Tovala Smart Oven will scan packaged meals for automatic cooking, including frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. These options are promising, but the technology is too new to determine whether or not these will become kitchen staples.

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