A microwave is the go-to cooking appliance when you need food fast, hot and ready to go. Yes, there’s something to be said for the slow-cooking approach of traditional ovens. However, a microwave is crucial for filling in the gaps when time just isn’t on your side in the kitchen.
The popularity of “mug” recipes and pre-cooked ready meals make it possible to enjoy what seems like a gourmet meal or dessert in minutes, turning even the biggest of kitchen snobs into fans of the microwave. Let’s not forget that an efficient defrost feature on a microwave can be the starting point to an exceptional meal made on time.
On the hunt for the best microwave for your kitchen? You’re likely feeling a tad overwhelmed by all of the options out there. Don’t let “appliance freeze” kick in when picking out your perfect way to heat up food. Take your pick from our list of six great solo microwaves that offer everything from style to performance.
1. Candy CMXW20DW-UK 30 Litre 900W Digital Solo Microwave
This digital microwave from Candy puts a world of convenience on your countertop when all is said and done. The first thing to say about this microwave is that its 30-liter capacity makes it ideal for larger households. It’s still relatively compact while being able to accommodate a full-sized casserole dish. Let’s talk about how this microwave fits into the picture when it comes to things like meal prep. This microwave more than earns its keep as a handy kitchen tool due to a jet defrost program that is designed to hygienically thaw food.
This model powers through heavy usage with an impressive A-class energy efficiency rating. Some of the other features to like include an ultra-simple, clear digital clock and lockable child-safety control panel. You can also take advantage of 40 preset cooking features for specific items. Here’s a rundown of features:
- Dimensions are 43.4 x 52 x 32.6 cm.
- Large 20-liter capacity.
- 230 volts.
- 900 watts
- Weighs 15 kilograms.
- A-class efficiency.
- Child Safety Controls Lock
- Easy-to-use dials.
- Energy Class A
2. Swan SM22036WHTN Nordic Microwave
This is definitely a microwave to put near the top of your list if aesthetics are prioritized. Of course, this microwave is much more than just a pretty face. It offers powerful, adaptable performance with six power levels. You’re likely to appreciate the way this microwave makes it easy to custom cook a variety of different foods based on personal preference. That fact alone makes it a great option for households with multiple “chefs” looking to prepare foods based on their own tastes.
The features keep coming with this Swan microwave. You’re getting a 20-liter capacity that easily accommodates a full-sized plate. A timer function and digital clock add convenience for busy cooks. In addition, there’s no shortage of settings for everything from heating up leftovers quickly to defrosting tonight’s main ingredient.
Of course, this microwave’s Scandinavian-inspired style is the real talking point. Who knew a microwave could make an architectural statement? A wood-effect handle with matching dial against a cotton-white finish creates a sleek, minimalist look. Here’s a features rundown on what is a dependable, ultra-stylish microwave:
- Dimensions are 34.2 x 45.1 x 25.7 cm.
- 20-liter capacity.
- 800 watts.
- Weighs 12.1 kilograms.
3. Tower Digital Microwave (Black and Rose Gold)
The Tower Digital Solo Microwave with six power levels is an ultra-convenient addition to any kitchen that really lets you get down to business when it comes to heating up all the basics. In addition to a defrost setting, you’re getting eight auto-cook options for things like milk, coffee, popcorn, fish and pizza. This 20-liter microwave stands apart with help from built-in vents that are great for reducing condensation. It should also be said that the easy-clean interior of the microwave leads to some really effortless cleaning.
It’s definitely worth giving the stylish look of this microwave some attention. It features a sleek black exterior with rose-gold accents at the handle and knobs. This is an elegant appliance that delivers both the performance and aesthetic needed for a truly stylish modern kitchen. Here’s the rundown on this Tower microwave:
- Dimensions are 51.2 x 39.6 x 30.2 cm.
- 20-liter capacity.
- 800 watts.
- Six power levels.
- Eight auto-cook settings.
- Stunning rose-gold accents.
- Weighs 10.4 kilograms.
4. Samsung MS23F301TAK/EU Solo Microwave
The Samsung MS23F301TAK/EU Solo Microwave is hard to beat if you’re looking for innovation. It features a triple-distribution system to create a consistently even, thorough cooking process regardless of what you’re cooking. In fact, you’ll really appreciate what this microwave brings to the table if you’ve ever struggled with microwaves that didn’t cook food all the way through. The microwave’s three distribution points end the problem of “cold spots.”
Another thing to like about this microwave is its ceramic enamel interior. This translates to a smooth surface that is so much easier to clean than the designs most of us are used to living with. Much less scraping is needed! What’s more, you’re getting what feels like unprecedented scratch-resistance and stain-resistance levels.
This microwave also impresses with some simple features that go a long way in terms of convenience. It takes the guesswork out of properly heating certain foods with help from a number of presets. There’s also a power defrost setting that’s a real rescuer when you need to get dinner prepped in a pinch. Lastly, this microwave has an eco-mode feature that allows you to tap into your standby power to reduce energy bills. Here’s a full glance at this microwave’s features:
- Dimensions are 55.7 x 42.6 x 33.8 cm.
- 23-liter capacity.
- 800 watts.
- Eco-mode for saving on energy costs.
- Ceramic Enamel Interior: Easy to clean, Anti-Bacterial, Scratch Resistant.
- Power defrosting.
- Presets for common foods.
- Weighs 13.5 kilograms.
5. Best Built in Microwave: Russell Hobbs 800W RHBM2001 20L Stainless Steel Microwave
This is what an ultra-reliable, exquisitely practical microwave looks like. This built-in model features a really attractive stainless-steel finish with a stately mirrored door. Its 20-liter capacity is ideal for fitting in everything from dinner plates to smaller casserole dishes. You’re getting five power levels to create custom, adjustable heating options for various foods and dishes.
This is an attractive, modern microwave that creates a clean look in any kitchen. It should not be overlooked if you’re seeking a microwave for a built-in unit that is highly functional and versatile. Here’s a look at the specs:
- Dimensions are 32 x 60 x 39 cm.
- 20-liter capacity.
- 800 watts.
- Child-safety lock.
- Five power levels.
- Defrost setting.
- Digital timer.
- Weighs 14.00 kilograms.
6. Best Microwave With Grill: Russell Hobbs Stainless Steel 20L Digital 800w Microwave
Make room on your countertop for a sleek, professional design that elevates the concept of a microwavable meal to gourmet status. This is a top choice to consider when shopping for a grill-option microwave. This design has a 20-liter capacity that easily accommodates a dinner plate or smaller casserole dish.
You’re getting a number of preset auto-cook options for popular foods like fish, pizza and popcorn. In addition, this microwave features an auto-defrost setting that allows you to get precise defrosting action simply by entering the weight of your food. This is a big feature for saving time and energy because you’re getting a tailored defrosting experience based on the specific amount of food you need to prepare.
This also helps you to save energy. Of course, the grill attachment means that you can cook meats and vegetables with an artisan touch using just your microwave!
This stylish microwave also has five power levels, a clear digital clock and a countdown timer. A special childproof lock adds extra peace of mind. Overall, you’ll find this microwave very easy to use and clean! It comes with both a grill rack and cooking tray. Here’s a rundown of the specs on this Russel Hobbs model:
- Dimensions are 39.5 x 45.2 x 26.2 cm.
- 20-liter capacity.
- Child safety lock.
- 1,100 watts.
- Grill attachment.
- Weighs 12.5 kilograms.
Some Things to Know Before You Choose Your Perfect Microwave
There’s a good chance that you’re envisioning just how good any of the attractive microwaves covered in our review roundup are going to look in your kitchen. Obviously, the layout and space availability within your kitchen will help to determine what you can and can’t get away with. You’ll need to focus solely on built-in designs if you’re looking for a replacement that needs to slide into your cabinetry. Don’t let that cause you to feel limited. Most built-in designs offer the same stack of features that you’ll get with traditional microwaves.
Type of Microwave: Solo, With Grill, Combination
When shopping for a microwave, you will find three different types:
- Standard Microwave (Also called Solo Microwave): Standard microwave ovens work by generating intermolecular friction, vibrating water molecules inside food that generates intense heat. This style of microwave is ideall for cooking frozen and fresh ready meals, defrosting, baked potatoes and many other foods, but has some limitations.
- Microwave With Grill: This type has all the functionality found in a standard microwave, but also has a grilling function. This additional grill allows you to crisp and brown foods. For example, you could microwave some macaroni cheese, then use the grill function to brown the cheese. The grill will cook fish, sausages, bacon, or anything you could with a typical oven grill.
- Combination Microwave (Also called Combi Microwave): This type of microwave works like a standard microwave. But combination microwaves double as a mini convection oven that is capable of baking, roasting, and oven cooking all types of foods, including whole raw meats.
Pay Attention to Features
The reality is that most microwaves offer very similar size and performance if you’re not looking at specialty models. That means that what you’re really going to want to put your focus on is the list of features available with any model. It’s actually those “little” features that are going to shape your daily experience with your microwave. What are the big features to focus on? Here’s a rundown:
- Decide if you prefer a clear viewing window that enables you to check on your food as it heats up. Reflective door finishes that look attractive may not provide the visibility you need.
- Weigh the pros and cons of preset options. Do you like the idea of letting your microwave figure out what’s best? Presets are ideal in this case. However, some people prefer to create their own timers based on experience or taste preference.
- Displays and controls are also important. Will your microwave be used by multiple people? Having very obvious, clearly marked controls can be important. Study each microwave you’re considering to gauge just how intuitive the controls and settings really are.
Microwave Wattage Rating
Wattage is another consideration to keep in mind. Do you typically run multiple appliances when preparing your meals? Even something like a fan that’s running simultaneously in your home could overload your system with a high-wattage microwave. A microwave with a higher wattage level could be a problem if you experience capacity issues at your home. However, for most modern homes, this is not an issue.
You’ll find microwaves in watts ranging from 700w up to 1000w. The higher the Watt rating, the quicker the microwave will heat food. More power equals a more intense heat. If you look at the cooking directions on a food label, you will find that higher wattage microwaves require less cooking time.
Higher power microwaves are not necessarily better than lower power microwaves. There are many lower power solo microwaves that offer better features, performance, and reliability than higher powered microwaves. More wattage only provides slightly quicker cooking, so do not think that the best microwaves are high powered.
Programs: Auto Cooking, Defrosting, Sensors
Some microwaves come with one touch cooking programs that are pre-set with the optimal cooking times and heat level for a specific food type. For example, some microwaves might come with an “Auto Cook” program for pizza. In which case, you would place your pizza in the microwave and press the auto cook function for pizza, which will cook your pizza for the optimal duration.
Microwaves with auto cooking programs save time and ensures you’re cooking foods to perfection. Some feature rich microwaves offer programs for cooking vegetables, pasta, fish, meat, popcorn, and more.
You can also find microwaves with moisture and weight sensors. Simply place your food inside the microwave and let the appliance know which food you would like to cook. The microwave then reads the weight and automatically sets the perfect cooking time. No more guesswork.
Flatbed microwaves have been getting popular in recent years. The advantage of a flatbed design over a turntable is that you’re actually getting a little extra cooking room because you don’t have to account for the rotation of the turntable.
You’ll probably also find that the streamlined interior leaves fewer spots where grease and food debris can accumulate. That means easier cleaning! Of course, one of the flatbed microwave cons is that you’ll generally pay a premium for this style. Is a flatbed turntable microwave better? A flatbed will make your microwave slightly roomier and easier to clean.
However, the cost difference isn’t always worth it for some buyers due to the fact that modern turntable microwaves are already pretty roomy and easy to clean. Do a cost analysis based on convenience versus budget to get your answer once you lock into a few models that you’re considering.
The Right Size Is Everything
Lastly, you cannot focus on the aesthetic appeal of a microwave without drilling down to really consider its dimensions. It’s important to measure the space where you’ll be placing your microwave before you even begin to shop for a new appliance. Don’t forget to account for the clearance needed to fully open the door when taking dishes in and out!
The bottom line is that a perfect microwave is one that fits both your kitchen space and your lifestyle! You must really consider what your daily “heating” habits look like when choosing the perfect microwave. In addition, you’ll need to make sure the microwave you select is versatile enough to fit the cooking preferences of everyone in your household.