Looking for a new microwave oven? Verum has compared specifications, listened to experts and consumed views to evaluate hundreds of models. While it’s easy to spend big, choose one of the recommendations below and you will get the right microwave for your budget.
A good microwave oven brings convenience to any kitchen. As you’re probably aware, in addition to dedicated microwaves, there are combination ovens and models with built-in grills. Combination ovens combine normal oven heating with microwave technology. These are usually, much more expensive. As are microwaves with a grill.
Which microwave is best for 2020?
Wanting to compare apples with apples, the best microwaves listed below are all dedicated (or solo) microwave ovens. They don’t grill food or attempt to double-up as a conventional oven. Each model here is a top-rated microwave with no compromises. Size is a good place to start when choosing a microwave…
How do you know which size microwave to buy?
Size is important. Manufacturers make comparisons in terms of litres. However, it’s better to know the external dimensions in order to make sure it will fit in your kitchen. And then check the turntable size for a gauge on the internal measurement. A microwave that’s too small for your dinner plate is more than annoying!
Easy to use microwave controls & settings
A good microwave must be easy to use. Essentially, you have two adjustments, time and power. There are machines out there, that make this incredibly complicated. Avoiding these models is especially important for an elderly person, who may prefer simplicity over innovative design (take a look at the Sharp recommendation below)
Power ratings range from 800w to 1000w. The higher the power, the faster your food will cook.
Choosing the right solo microwave
Having benchmarked the models below with numerous pricier options, it’s clear that by choosing carefully, you can get a top-notch microwave for less than £100. Spend a little more for a higher power rating, greater capacity, additional controls and superior build quality.
To summarise, there are five primary considerations when choosing the right solo microwave oven.
- External Dimensions – Will the oven fit on your worktop?
- Turntable Diameter – Is it big enough for your favourite plate?
- Power – The higher the watts, the quicker it will cook
- Features – Eg: Inverter technology (more on this later)
- Ease of Use – Perhaps the most important
All the models below are excellent value. They all do the basics well but offer differences in terms of size, power, controls & features. Which model is right for you?
Easy to Use Microwave – Sharp YC-MS31U-S
This Sharp microwave is easy to use, good value and highly rated by owners. It stands out for the simple controls. Rather than an array of buttons, there are two large dials. One for power and one for time. It’s ideal for an elderly person or anyone not interested in programming!
For heating your dinner, warming a coffee or defrosting food from the freezer – this simple to use microwave is perfect.
The two dials are large enough for arthritic fingers and the graphics are clear & concise. The door simply pulls open & pushes shut – there’s no hard to push button. Alternatively, there’s a smaller version (20l) of the same device with a door button, should you prefer (click the same link below).
This oven won’t take too much space on the worktop. However, the capacious interior allows for a 270mm turntable – which is big enough for most plates. At 900w it’s powerful enough to cook quickly, should you desire.
This microwave from Sharp does everything it should, plus it’s super easy to use.
SPECIFICATION | Sharp YC-MS31U-S | POWER 900w | SIZE: H293 x W485 x D410 | TURNTABLE DIAMETER 270 | CAPACITY 23l | CHILD LOCK No | WARRANTY 1 year
Sharp | Verdict price £74 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Microwave under £100 – Samsung MS23K3513AK
There’s a lot to like about this medium-sized Samsung microwave. Internally, it has a 23-litre capacity (matching the Sharp). Plus, the all-important turntable diameter is 288mm. This compares well to most models in its class – It’s certainly big enough for most dinner plates.
The controls, although more complicated than the Sharp, are relatively easy to use. However, the instructions (although clear) are certainly required to operate the microwave correctly.
Other features of this Samsung microwave, include an easy to clean ceramic enamel interior. This smooth surface is easily cleaned without scrubbing and is coated to be scratch-resistant & rust free – it will last. Most people keep their microwave door closed, which can result in a stale internal smell.
How to avoid a smelly microwave
Samsung has devised a deodorisation feature which forces air out and therefore dissipates any unwanted odours. This means your new microwave should never smell!
This 800w model comes with the backing of numerous owner recommendations, a two-year guarantee from Samsung and Best Buy recommendation from Verum.
SPECIFICATION | Samsung MS23K3513AK | POWER 800w | SIZE: H275 x W489 x D375 | TURNTABLE DIAMETER 288 | CAPACITY 23l | CHILD LOCK Yes | WARRANTY 2 year
Best Microwave – Panasonic NN-SD25HBBPQ
Similar dimensions to the Samsung above, externally and internally, this model from Panasonic is rated at 1000w. Your food will cook even quicker!
Small externally but big on the inside
Rated by Panasonic as 23-litres, this microwave is an excellent mid-sized machine with huge 285mm diameter turntable. Your dinner plate & maybe even a small serving dish will fit!
What’s microwave inverter technology?
Panasonic shouts about their microwaves having ‘Inverter Technology’. The benefit of this technology is faster and more even cooking (no hot spots). It works by applying even power, at the right level, for the duration of cooking. This compares to a traditional machine that turns the power on and off, effectively pulsing your food with microwaves. So rather than shifting between full power and no power, this Panasonic microwave heats your food quickly and evenly by consistently emitting the right power level.
This Panasonic microwave ticks all the boxes. It’s easy to use, robust and powerful. Owners rave about it and if you’re happy to spend the extra few quid you won’t be disappointed. Available in black or stainless steel (silver).
SPECIFICATION | Panasonic NN-SD25HBBPQ | POWER 1000w | SIZE: H279 x W488 x D395 | TURNTABLE DIAMETER 285 | CAPACITY 23l | CHILD LOCK Yes | WARRANTY 1 year
Panasonic | Verdict price £130 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Large Microwave – Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ
If you’re looking for a large capacity, high power microwave – this is it. Significantly larger than the majority of microwaves designed for the home, this model is a 32-litre capacity. It will take up more room on your worktop – but not excessively so. What’s important is that the turntable is 340mm. Easily accommodating any dinner plate and perhaps more significantly, most serving dishes.
What is the largest capacity microwave?
Rated at 1000w it’s capacious & powerful. And with Inverter technology food cooks quickly and evenly. This works by applying consistent power rather than conventional pulsing on/off microwaves. Plus, an auto setting allows you to simply select what you are cooking and press start. The internal sensors will adjust the power and time according to the steam levels within.
There are numerous microwaves on the market to avoid. Some with bigger external dimensions and smaller internal space! However, if you want a big turntable for big dishes, choose the Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ.
SPECIFICATION | Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ | POWER 1000w | SIZE: H310 x W525 x D388 | TURNTABLE DIAMETER 340 | CAPACITY 32l | CHILD LOCK Yes | WARRANTY 1 year
Panasonic | Verdict price £165 | Check best price on Amazon
What’s the best microwave for an elderly person?
For many elderly people, a microwave oven makes preparing food much easier. Cooking something straight from the freezer, warming leftovers or just reheating a cup of coffee – an easy to use microwave is a big help. It offers convenience and in some cases, makes cooking doable.
Easy to use controls are good for everyone
Microwaves often come with a baffling number of buttons & controls. However, most of us have a few favourite settings or simply follow the recommendations on the packet. With this in mind, a microwave should be easy to use. However, this is especially important for anyone who finds technology intimidating.
There are numerous factors to consider. Early dementia means easy-to-use and familiar controls. Arthritic fingers need controls of a reasonable size. The burden of poor eyesight can be eased by clear numbers and graphics. Plus, time-limited duration along with an audible beep adds a genuine safety benefit.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use microwave, the Sharp machine ticks more boxes than anything else we could find. It has two good-sized dials, one for power & one for time. Plus, the door simply pulls open and pushes shut (there’s no hard to press button). Nothing is over-designed and everything just works – The Sharp microwave is super easy to use – it’s also great value for money.
Easy to use
Sharp | Verdict price £74
See price on Amazon
High power & even cooking
Panasonic NN-SD25HBBPQ | Verdict price £130
See price on Amazon
Huge on the inside
Panasonic NN-ST48KSBPQ | Verdict price £165
See price on Amazon
Why spend more?
The Sharp microwave does the basics, well. It won’t take up too much room on your worktop, it’s super easy to use and best of all, it’s amazing value for money. That said, spend a little more to get greater capacity, additional features and more power. The Samsung microwave is perfect for most kitchens or if you need maximum speed & capacity opt for one of the Panasonic models.