These days microwaves can grill and even steam alongside the conventional heating and defrosting. They're a handy bit of machinery to have in your kitchen, whether you're warming up some delicious leftovers, fixing yourself a nutritious baked potato, or grilling some bacon for a morning sarnie.
Performance is key and microwaves have a bad rep historically for producing frazzled, dry food. So we tested a range of machines, trusting them with our dinners to see which came out on top. There are all-singing and all-dancing versions from the top of the market like Miele’s sleek Generation 6000 Contourline down to Swan’s great value, more basic machine.
Curry's Logik microwave does a great job for the price whereas, if you have more money to spare, Whirlpool JetChef 369 is difficult to beat in terms of performance and is particularly good for those with many mouths to feed. If we're going on looks without breaking the bank (and a good performance, obviously), we liked Next's funky machine.
Click on the gallery to see the IndyBest buys
10 best microwaves
10 best microwaves
1/10 Whirlpool Max 35, £160
There’s no danger of the shrivelled up food that many microwaves seem to produce with this machine. There’s an excellent defrost function, and it has an additional steaming facility. It’s easy to clean and the memory function is good for recalling the most-used settings.
2/10 Panasonic NN-CT552W Slimline Combi, £139.99
This large machine heats food quickly and evenly. Even jacket potatoes taste good. The defrost programme is also effective, although grilling is a little disappointing – you might prefer to use a combination of heat sources such as grill and microwave function together.
3/10 Next 800W, £65
This excels at the fundamentals – heating and defrosting – without breaking the bank. Even after it’s been heating for a while, the performance remains consistent. Good looking, too, and it comes in a range of colours.
4/10 Currys Logik L25MDM13,£69.99
The best bit about this microwave is the multi-step programming, which means you can defrost and then cook your dinner while you get on with other things. Don’t expect to be able to see the food while it’s cooking because of the mirrored door, but do expect a meal that’s moist and tasty.
5/10 De’Longhi Easi-Tronic Combi, £99.99
This microwave has a sleek design and does a very effective heating, defrosting and baking. Even frozen mince, which is notorious for creating cooked spots when defrosted, comes out really well. The grill is a bit poor though.
6/10 Whirlpool JetC hef 369, £319.99
If you want an all-singing, all-dancing machine, this is a good all-rounder with a range of impressive features and accessories, including a kitchen timer that you can use without activating the microwave. It cooks quickly and evenly and there’s no power drop even when you cook several meals in succession.
7/10 Ikea Hushalla, £250
This chic-looking and spacious inbuilt microwave comes with an impressive five-year guarantee, although you probably won’t need it as it’s brilliant, heating food quickly and easily, while retaining the moisture. It’s got a good steaming function, too, although it doesn’t grill or bake.
8/10 Swan SM2090R, £45
Don’t expect all the bells and whistles, or even any automatic settings, with this no-nonsense microwave. But it’s a great budget buy that does all the microwave basics well. It’s also simple to use, as well as retaining cooking performance.
9/10 Samsung MG23F301TAK, £117
Samsung is a name to count on in the world of microwaves and this one has an impressive range of automatic cooking options, as well as a really good grill that is genuinely hard to beat, allowing you to make toast and brown meat. All this without costing the earth.
10/10 Miele Generation 6000 Contourline M6012, £579
This sleek stainless steel freestanding Miele microwave is expensive, but it’s very spacious, unbelievably powerful and really easy to operate, making it a great option if you’re always in a hurry. It reheats, defrosts and grills and has plenty of automatic programmes for your favourite meals.