The Best Microwave To Make Cooking Simple

Looking for a new microwave? We’ve got some handy advice.

Man using microwave

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

The best microwave combines versatile features with efficient cooking. Reheat, defrost and so much more, at the push of a button. It's an essential appliance if you’re organised and love getting ahead of the week with meal prep. That cheery ping signals that your batch-cooked chilli is ready and piping hot in just minutes. Additionally, discover the latest counter-top microwaves, packed with functionality, that go beyond just heating up meals.

Whether you’re on a tight budget and looking for a microwave under £100 or curious about flatbed appliances that forego the need for a turntable, find out about the newest models here. It’s rare to find a modern kitchen that isn’t kitted out with a microwave that is, quite honestly, the epitome of convenience. Not only that, but a microwave is one of many modern kitchen appliances to save money on bills.

Best Microwave Oven At A Glance

Best budget microwave for ease of use: Salter Marino 800W Microwave – View on Amazon UK
Best microwave with a grill: KENWOOD K25CSS21 Combination Microwave 25L – View on Currys
Best built-in microwave: Bosch Serie 4 BEL523MS0B 20L Built-In Combination Microwave with Grill – View on

It’s a pickle trying to decide whether to go for a premium brand, such as Samsung or Bosch, or indeed trying to work out how many litres capacity to go for. Well, keep it simple. Our advice is to measure your largest dinner plate and look at the turntable diameter or the internal dimensions – if it’s a flatbed microwave – to ensure you can heat up a ready meal on your preferred plate.

There are stylish and colourful microwaves to choose from – because aesthetics are important too. So is usability, and it’s important to go for an appliance that has controls (either digital or dial-operated) that are right for you. Scroll to the frequently asked questions at the end of this article for more information on choosing the right microwave for your needs. Alternatively, read our expert guide on how to choose a microwave.

Best Microwave Oven

Best freestanding standard microwave

The Panasonic NN-ST46KBBPQ is a microwave of great quality. The 1000W Inverter microwave power means you can look forward to tasty meals in no time. Whether reheating last night’s dinner for lunch or getting some rice steamed for a Friday night curry, this appliance is a great option for a larger family who has a busy lifestyle.

Customer review: “This is a really good microwave – though it is loud. But, it’s very easy to use and quick at reheating. Plus, the large capacity is a plus – but it’s not bulky.”


  • Big capacity
  • Quick heating


  • Complicated

Best combi microwave oven

With four cooking methods – steam, oven, grill and microwave power – it enables foodies to prepare a vast range of different recipes and enjoy quick, effortless cooking with time-saving features. So, the Panasonic NN-DS59N Steam Combi Microwave Oven is the perfect pairing for a busy lifestyle. Its sleek, compact and modern design will look great in your kitchen. So, if you are hosting a dinner party for friends or family - or getting ahead of the week with batch cooking, don’t worry. There is a setting and cooking method perfect for you.

Customer review: UK-based food blogger and chef, Niki Webster, experimented with the new appliance: "The most amazing thing for me is to have the multi-functionality in one oven. It is amazing! It reduces the need to have multiple appliances. And the steaming for me was the most extraordinary feature. I have never experienced that in any oven before, and it is brilliant. The steaming was so fast! You can achieve such healthy and tasty food with this oven.”


  • Lots of functions
  • Good capacity


  • Complicated to use

Best microwave with a grill

KENWOOD K25CSS21 Combination Microwave
Price: £159 (was £249)

This large, 25L Kenwood Combination Microwave is perfect for a family on the go. Kenwood has given us a gift with this convenient appliance – and for under £200. We love this model because it has all the functionality of a microwave, with the added bonus of oven and grill cooking. That means with this one handy appliance you can roast potatoes, bake cupcakes, defrost frozen meat and much more. Stylish and easy to use.

Customer review: “I’m very happy with this combi microwave – so much easier to use and saves buying a cooker. I am disabled so anything technical is very confusing and difficult to understand. But this combi is so easy to use. It has very few buttons, and technical stuff to read. I’m very happy with it.”


  • Easy to use and accessible
  • Good auto defrost setting
  • Digital display


  • Inconsistent heat for the convection oven

Best built-in microwave

Bosch Serie 4 BEL523MS0B Built-In Combination Microwave with Grill
Price: £539

Bosch's Serie 4 BEL523MS0B combination microwave has a spacious 20L capacity and will beautifully integrate into a modern kitchen. Equipped with the latest functions to make every single day cooking easy, its sleek, high-quality glass front is impact-resistant and easy to look after. Plus, you can get some grilling done with its 1000W Quartz grill. We love how sleek it looks.

Customer review: “I had been recommended this Microwave Combi Oven by a friend and I am pleased to report, that I was not left disappointed. The oven looks great next to my single/double Bosch ovens in my new kitchen. The combination of microwave and grill with heated air is a revolution in cooking: Pizza in a microwave! Who knew? The best microwave I have ever used. Exceptionally easy to use.”


  • Great for integrated kitchens
  • A large variety of cooking options


  • Difficult instructions

Best budget microwave

Tower Digital 20L 800W Countertop Microwave
Price: £124.99

This budget option from Tower is a hit on Wayfair, clocking in a respectable average score of 4.7/5. Operating at a powerful 800W and boasting a generous 20L capacity, and a large dish, this Tower Digital 20L 800W Countertop Microwave is the perfect solution for re-heating quick and tasty meals. Plus, the finish is stylish.

Customer review: “It’s a lovely-looking microwave. It's not the most straightforward microwave to use but once you get the hang of the dial, it is very quick and effective in reheating food. It also manages to hold a large dinner plate whilst not being too mammoth.”


  • Great value
  • Looks expensive
  • Compact


  • Basic functions

Best microwave air fryer

Samsung MC32J7055CT 32L 3200W Freestanding Microwave
Price: £249

Judging by the reviews, this Samsung MC32J7055CT 32L 3200W Freestanding Microwave is pretty decent, boasting an air fryer and a grill. So handy when you haven’t got time for the oven. Samsung guarantees healthy cooking with its slim fry programme. With a drop-down door and glass turntable, you can’t go wrong. This microwave is impressive. It's also anti-bacterial, helping to reduce odours inside the microwave.

Customer review: “I always purchase combination microwaves, and this is the best one ever. The drop-front door design is so handy when removing dishes from the oven. The design is brilliant. Looks really smart and high-tech in my kitchen. Easy, user-friendly controls and instructions are very clear to understand. Extremely easy to clean and great value with the additional tray and metal stands in various heights. Grilling bacon was even and crispy, just how I love it.”


  • Large capacity
  • Drop front door opening


  • Complicated to use

Best flatbed microwave

The Russell Hobbs Silver Digital Flatbed Solo Microwave offers fast and versatile cooking with a range of pre-set functions to cook your favourite foods at the touch of a button. The key benefit of a flatbed microwave is that there is more usable space without the need for a turntable. So, you can fit larger plates, crockery and square casserole dishes in the appliance – perfect if you've got lasagne leftovers to reheat or defrost. The diamond cavity interior provides better microwave distribution by reflecting the waves, resulting in reduced cooking times.

Customer review: "In my opinion, this is a far superior machine to most on the market. It is reliable, easy to clean, modern looking and hard wearing. The flat base is hard to fault for ease of use and I'm surprised more manufacturers don’t use this technology."


  • Cooks fast, saving time and energy
  • Easier to cleaner than a turntable microwave
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Diamond cavity


  • Fingerprints on the mirror-finish door

Best microwave for individuals

Sometimes what's needed is a simple to use and compact microwave for heating porridge and baked beans – that's where the ESSENTIALS CMW21 Compact Solo Microwave comes in. There are two dials, one for power level and one for time, and a large push button to open the door. It's ideal for individuals – be that a student or an elderly person. This versatile microwave has six power levels for various dishes, a 15-litre capacity and a handy defrost function for last-minute cooking.

Customer review: "Plain and simple and easy to use for everyone. Bright white and easy to keep clean. No fiddly buttons just two easy to turn dials."


  • Easy to operate dial controls
  • Compact
  • Perfect for one person


  • Cannot fit large dinnerplates

Best combination microwave

Sage the Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a versatile kitchen appliance, integrating an Air Fryer, Convection Oven, and Inverter Microwave. With 19 smart pre-sets, including Smart Cook, Smart Reheat, and Smart Defrost it ensures precise and efficient cooking. The Element IQ™ System and Fast Combi Function further enhance cooking speed and quality, making it ideal for busy families seeking healthier, quick meals. The Convection Oven feature makes roasts efficient and easy, while the AirFry function enables guilt-free crispy dishes – you can even make pop corn in this multifunctional countertop appliance.

Customer review: "Bought one month ago, replaced my microwave, air fryer and toaster. Still have my oven, only because it will cook the turkey. The 3 in 1 performance is great. I have baked tarts in the oven, air fried chicken and microwaved eggs. Counter-top is no longer cluttered with appliances. Thank you Sage."


  • Multipurpose cooking
  • Powerful and versatile
  • Quiet Mark
  • 19 pre-sets


  • Takes a bit of time to get the hang of the different cooking functions

Best budget microwave for ease of use


Price: £94.99

Salter's latest range of Marino kitchenware and appliances are a brand-new colourway of steely dark blue with stunning champagne highlights. This Salter Marino 800W Microwave offers all the everyday functionality you'd expect from a budget microwave, plus a quality, design-led build that brings contemporary style to any modern kitchen. It features a 35 minute timer, defrost setting, five power levels and easy to use dial controls. The 27cm diameter glass turntable can accommodate an average size dinner plate. Coordinate with Salter's Marino kettle, toaster, bread bin and storage cannisters – "Give your countertop a makeover with modern neutral appliances and accessories from housewares expert, Salter."


  • Stylish
  • Easy to use
  • Matching kitchenware available


  • Short power cable

OUR VERDICT: What Is The Best Microwave?

A Modern Kitchen has chosen the Salter Marino 800W Microwave. True to Salter's tagline on the box: "Making life just that little bit easier" this appliance is simple to operate for fast and convenient hot food. In addition, this elegant blue and gold microwave is part of the Salter Marino Collection – a range of modern neutral kitchenware and appliances. In short, the Salter Marino microwave offers style and functionality at an affordable price.

FAQs: Best Microwave

What is a microwave – and how do they work?

A microwave oven is a handy gadget for your kitchen that heats food with high-frequency electromagnetic waves called microwaves. That’s why it’s called a microwave oven. If you’re concerned about radiation, you shouldn’t be. Luckily for us, microwaves are non-ionizing. This means that microwave ovens are safe to use and won’t cause any health problems. Which? has debunked some microwave "myths" which makes an interesting read.

What features should I consider when buying a microwave?

Generally, you'll need to consider cost, size, style, and function. Also, go for trusted brands that offer a lengthy guarantee. Look at the customer reviews, too, as these give an indication of longevity. You’ll want your new microwave to last a fair amount of time before replacing it.


If you have a small kitchen consider a sleek or small microwave to sit on your countertop – or if you have the space then a larger shape will provide you with more room for bigger plates. Or, there are flatbed microwaves, which have rotating antennae placed below the food to heat the food - and do away with the turntable altogether.

Features and Programmes

Think about your lifestyle and how often you use this appliance. If you’re reheating a wide variety of foods for multiple people, we recommend something sturdy with a variety of pre-functioned programmes to heat up meat, vegetables, fish and even baked goods. Combination microwaves are twinned with another appliance, such as a grill or air fryer.

Energy Rating

Recently, brands are producing appliances which are better for the environment and more cost-friendly to run. The energy rating scale runs from A+++ through to G, so the running cost will - generally - be low. Cutting your energy bill in any way you can isn't a bad idea. However, energy-class A-grade microwaves tend to be more expensive to buy.


To be informed about your buying decision, check sites like TrustPilot where the merchant is reviewed. We’ve only included reputable ones here – as well as customer reviews of the microwave itself. This will help you understand if the appliance is any good and worth its money. Again, a microwave of greater quality will most likely cost more to buy.

How do microwave ovens without turntables work?

Known as flatbed microwaves, these counter-top appliances have a smooth cooking surface without a turntable. Instead of relying on a rotating plate, these microwaves use various technologies like inverter systems and rotating antennae to ensure even cooking. The interior cavity has more flexibility to accommodate different dish shapes and sizes, such as rectangular casserole dishes.

Which microwave is best for a family of four?

For a family of four, consider a microwave with a large capacity of 40 litres upwards. For a standard microwave with a turntable, the diameter of the turntable will be 32cm or more. Look for additional features, sensor cooking, multiple power levels and an easy-to-clean interior. Brands such as Panasonic, Samsung and LG offer large microwaves with extra features for around £200. Check out our round up of the best Panasonic microwaves. Or if you're a Samsung completist, read our guide on the best Samsung microwaves. Finally, ensure the microwave fits your kitchen space and meets your family's cooking requirements.

How important is a microwave turntable?

A microwave turntable is important for preventing hotspots and ensuring that food receives uniform exposure to microwaves for even cooking. While some newer flatbed models use alternative technologies to achieve even cooking without a turntable, it remains a common and effective design feature amongst budget and mid-range microwave ovens.

What should I not put in the microwave?

A microwave is not indestructible – and wasn’t built to withstand everything. Here are a few things that you definitely shouldn’t be putting in your new appliance.

Travel Mugs – Keep metal far away from the microwave - cutlery included.

Lidless Containers – To avoid any mess, cover your containers.

Hot Peppers – This may sound like a joke – but they will set on fire.

Styrofoam – Unfortunately, this will melt and release nasty chemicals into your food.

Aluminium Foil – Again – please don't put this inside your microwave. To clarify, the shiny surface is reflective – therefore, the microwaves will bounce around and then ignite. This is very dangerous.

Paper Bags – Aside from a microwave-safe bag of microwave popcorn, avoid paper bags.

Hard-Boiled Eggs – Say no to an egg-splosion.

Nothing - Without anything to heat up, the microwaves will only have one another to bounce off. In turn, they are absorbed by the appliance, causing it to combust. Avoid.

How much do microwaves cost to run?

If you’re keeping on top of the news, you already know about the tough times ahead. We can help you take back control of your bills and understand where your money is going. Though squeezing an extra £100 into your microwave budget isn’t realistic for everyone, we recommend this – as it will likely have a higher rating on the energy scale.

With a higher energy rating, comes fewer running costs. So, it’s worth thinking about.

Now – it’s time for some maths.

The cost of energy is around 28p per kWh for electricity, but this will be different for everyone. The power it takes to run a microwave differs between models – but they can range from 700 to 1000W.

You can calculate the price per use with this equation:

Microwave Power (W) x Amount of Time Used (p/h) x GBP per Kwh (0.28) / 100 = Price Per Use

For “Amount of Time”, use decimal points (e.g. 0.5 is 30 mins, 1.5 is 90 mins).

For example, if you’re running a 800W microwave for 10 minutes:

800(W) x 0.1 x 0.28 / 100 = 0.22 = 22p

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Gardens and Wellness Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in cookware. When she’s not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Piper is re-watching a TV show or listening to a podcast.

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