The Microwave, or the microwave oven remains a useful cooking appliance to have in your kitchen. As you may already know it can be used to quickly defrost food, heat food up or cook a meal from start to finish. Whatever you decide to use them for, they are certainly very useful to have in the kitchen.
There are quite a few different types of microwaves available on the UK market. You can get microwaves that can be used as built-in kitchen appliances, those that simply sit on the counter, microwaves with grills, and even microwaves with steam. I would highly recommend taking just a little time to understand what those different types are, and why it is important to understand the differences in them.
I have explained the types and the advantages just below so as you can have a full understanding of the microwave products that are currently available on the UK market.
Solo Microwaves Explained
- The "Solo Microwave" is by far the most popular type of microwave on the UK market and is the one you will find in most homes up and down the UK
- These are what I would term the basic microwave that is easy to operate, easy to clean and affordable for most home owners (Typical prices vary from £50-100 depending on the brand, the model and the features of the model)
- With one of these you can cook, reheat and defrost food
- You can buy them in a range of colours, the most popular being black, white and silver
- Most of them will have a number of power levels, and most of them will have some form of a timer, with auto-cook menus
- A typical solo microwave will have around 800-900 watts of power and a 23-25 litre capacity, and that is ideal for a standard size dinner plate
- Other features include things like a child lock, count down timer and a clock
Best Solo Microwave
- The current best selling Russell Hobbs
- It is available in black, cream, red or silver
- This one is an 700 watt microwave with a 17 litre capacity
- It has 11 different power levels and 8 auto cook/defrost functions
- It can be programmed in 10 second intervals
- It also has a child lock ad kitchen timer
- This microwave has basic touch control operation and you push a button to open the door
- Buyers like the stylish compact design and they also believe they are getting good value for money
Flatbed Microwaves (No Turntable) Explained
- Many buyers will be familiar with the microwave oven that uses a turntable to slowly rotate the food container inside the oven. There is however an option known as a Flatbed Microwave, that does not use a turntable at all
- This "Flatbed technology" simply removes the need for a turntable and as such creates a lot more space inside the oven
- That makes this a very good choice for square plates and rectangular shaped casserole dishes that would not fit in a conventional turntable microwave
- Other than that one key difference, they pretty much look the same as the Solo microwave shown above
- They are however priced slightly higher and typical prices are around £80-£100 depending on the brand, model and features
- Thanks to the flatbed, these types of microwave are also much easier to clean, and let's face it you can't break the glass turntable
Best Flatbed Microwave
- The current best selling Flatbed Microwave is the Russell Hobbs RHFM2363S 23L Flatbed Digital 800w Solo Microwave
- It is available in black or silver with a mirror finish door
- This one is an 800 watt microwave with a 23 litre capacity
- It uses a diamond cavity structure which reduces cooking time
- This one has 5 power levels and 8 auto cook menus
- It has a 95 minute timer
- It also has the important defrost function
- Home owners buy this style as they can fit different shaped dishes inside the oven without having to worry about the edges getting stuck when the turntable moves
Combination Microwave Ovens Explained
- So far I have covered off the Solo and the Flatbed style of microwave ovens. There is also a style known as a combination microwave oven. These are a very popular choice, but it is worth pointing out, that they are also the most expensive option
- At the lower end these cost around £120, and then depending on the size and features get all the way up to £350+
- That is because they combine the microwave features and they also have grill features. Having both cooking features then lends the name of "Combi" or combination oven
- The power is delivered more uniformly compared to conventional microwaves, like the solo and flatbeds.
- Meals can be thawed more consistently and about 30% faster.
- The benefits of what is called inverter technology are shown best when cooking. Dishes are prepared faster, and more gently. In this way, flavour, important nutrients, and healthy vitamins are better retained.
Best Combination Microwave Oven
- The current best selling Combination Microwave oven is the Panasonic NN-CT54JWBPQ Family Size Combination Microwave Oven
- It is available in stainless steel
- It combines a Flat bed 1000 W combination microwave oven with 27 L interior capacity along with a 1,300 watt quartz grill
- It has a self cleaning back lining which ir really good
- It also comes with a recipe book, a square enamel shelf, a square wire shelf, a square glass tray and an anti spark ring
- This combination style is good for home use, but really useful for a holiday home, a caravan or even in a camper van
- Personally I believe that if you have any situation, where there is limited space, then this is a useful appliance to own.
Whatever your choice, we have listed below the top 10 rated microwaves, that are currently available on the UK market. The good news is there are plenty to pick from. The top 10 table below, we have placed in order of buyer satisfaction rating, with the highest rated first. (Scored out of 100% buyer satisfaction rating) We have also included the average price and some other basic information, such as power and size.
We have also included an image in the reviews underneath, as people like to see what the microwave looks like. Underneath the table, along with the image, we have reviewed each microwave oven, in much more detail.
Top 10 Rated Microwave Ovens in the UK Market
Please note, many of the microwaves listed below, come in a variety of colours. You can find those out by looking at the more detailed review, underneath the table.
49.4 x 38.2 x 29.1 cm
Russell Hobbs RHMM701C
51 x 39 x 30.6 cm
44 x 25.8 x 35.9 cm
Russell Hobbs RHM2362S
48.5 x 29.3 x 41 cm
Daewoo KOR7LBKC Retro Style
31.6 x 42.4 x 22.5 cm
Daewoo QT1 Compact
44.6 x 32.3 x 27 cm
33.2 x 44.6 x 27 cm
Russell Hobbs RHM2064C
44 x 25.8 x 34 cm
Russell Hobbs RHM3003B
50.1 x 52 x 33.5 cm
Daewoo Digital Microwave
46.5 x 28 x 36.2 cm
Russell Hobbs RHMM701C Solo Manual Microwave
92% buyer satisfaction based on 4,500 online buyer reviews
This model is available in black, red or cream. The cream colour is shown to the left.
this one has a 17 Litre capacity.
This model uses 700 watts, so is not as powerful as the larger wattage microwaves. It is still however ideal for re-heating and for cooking and uses less electric.
It has 5 different power levels and also has a defrost function
The majority of buyers liked the design of this model a lot.
Many buyers loved the mirror finished door and it does look really good. Now although many buyers loved the door style, some others did not like that, as it is difficult to keep clean
Like most of these types of oven, there is an interior light, though a few buyers said that it was too dim.
VIDEO REVIEW OF THE RUSSELL HOBBS RHMM701C R B
Russell Hobbs RHM2076B Solo Microwave
94% buyer satisfaction based on 8,000 online buyer reviews
It has 800 watts of power and a 20 litre capacity
It also has a glass mirrored style of door.
This model is slightly more expensive and that is because there are a couple of useful extra functions: There are some pre programs which allow you to have settings for cooking fish, popcorn, pizza etc. In addition there is also a child safety lock to ensure your kids can not open the microwave door.
The glass plate can be removed for cleaning and can also be cleaned in a dishwasher
This model also has a digital clock, a useful thing to have in your kitchen
It has 5 different power settings
The cable is about 1 metre long (3 feet)
Available ONLY in the black colour
No 4 Microwave Choice - Russell Hobbs RHM2362S
- This model came out as number 4 on our top 10 list - It is also one of the biggest sellers on Amazon as well, with many hundreds of buyer reviews
- It has 800 watts of power and a large 23 litre capacity - the extra capacity can make quite a big difference
- AT around an RRP of £70, this is at the higher end of the price scale, but the reason for that, is the additional features.
- Pre-programmed menus
- Automatic defrost settings where you input the weight of the food and the oven picks the correct defrost settings for you
- It also has a digital clock, child safety lock, and a countdown timer
- Please note this is a sliver design obly
VIDEO REVIEW OF THE Russell Hobbs RHM2362S
No 5 Microwave Choice - Daewoo KOR7LBKC Retro Style
It is worth noting that the huge majority of buyers pick this one when they want a Retro looking microwave, and are also keen on the energy saving element.
- This model came out as number 5 on our top 10 list
- It has 800 watts of power and a 20 litre capacity
- Many people buy this model based on the "Retor style" which you will either really love or just not like at all
- It is available in cream, black, white, red and mint - please note prices vary slightly depending on which colour you prefer.
- It is also very economical, with a unique zero standby function - in simple terms it is switched off automatically when not in use
- It is worth noting that because of the design, this is a smaller than usual microwave and measures 44.6 x 32.3 x 27 cm
- The colours do look really good but it is limited on functionality as it has no clock, or any fancy features
- That said it is an ideal choice if you are pushed for space and have limited counter top room
- It uses 10 second increments by turning a dial knob time controller and has basic settings that do include defrost
- Some buyers say it will not take a standard dinner plate size but many say it does. The video below shows that it does.
VIDEO REVIEW OF THE Daewoo KOR7LBKC
No 6 Microwave Choice - Daewoo QT3 Compact
- This model came out as number 6 on our top 10 list
- It has 600 watts of power and a 14 litre capacity
- This is one of the most compact microwave ovens that is currently available on the UK market place.
- It is available in cream, or a very unusual pink/white colour
- Either model has a 10" glass turntable
- They also have 7 power levels
- Complete with a power saving mode
No 7 Microwave Choice - Daewoo KOR6L77 - Most Affordable
Average RRP = £45
- This model came out as number 7 on our top 10 list
- It has a 20 litre capacity and 700 watts of power
- This is the cheapest on our list with an average RRP of around £45
- It has 5 power levels and a 35 minute timer
- This one opens with a push button to open the door so not a pull handle.
- The internal glass plate has a diameter of 10"
- The electrical lead is 104 cm long which is about 41"
- This is a good basic microwave that will suit most homes
- Really simple to use and is ideal for someone who wants something with little or no technology - the sort of person who likes things really simple
VIDEO REVIEW OF THE Daewoo KOR7LBKC
No 8 Microwave Choice - Russell Hobbs RHM2064C
Average RRP = £60
- This model came out as number 8 on our top 10 list and is one of the top selling microwaves in the UK
- It has a 20 litre capacity and 800 watts of power
- It is available in black, cream, red and grey
- This one has a nice contemporary style and an unusual choice of colours
- Has a dishwasher safe glass plate, pre programs for easy cooking, 5 power levels, defrost, digital clock and child safety lock.
No 9 Microwave Choice - Russell Hobbs RHM3003B Microwave & Grill & Convection Oven
Average RRP = £128
- This model came out as number 9 on our top 10 list and it is a top selling microwave, oven and grill combined.
- It has a huge 30 litre capacity and 900 watts of power
- It is available in black only.
- As you may have noticed this one is about double the price of the others on this list. That is because it is a fan assisted oven, grill and of course a miicrowave
- As you can see, you are getting a lot for your money. So although at number 9 on our list, this is the highest rated combination style oven and microwave
- That means you can heat, roast, crisp and brown. which of course makes it capable of cooking food such as lasagne, pizzas, baked potatoes and cottage pies.
- The glass turntable is 31.5cm
- In addition the interior is made from stainless steel
- Other features include defrost settings a child safety lock and a simple, clock and digital timer. It comes complete with a grill rack and baking tray
VIDEO REVIEW of THE Russell Hobbs RHM3003B
No 10 Microwave Choice - Daewoo Digital Microwave - Best Seller
Average RRP = £59
- This model came out as number 10 on our top 10 list and it is actually the best selling microwave on Amazon UK at the moment. It is however placed here on this list because it has the 4.2 rating. That of course is still a very good rating, but lower than the others on this list.
- It has a big 26 litre capacity and 800 watts of power
- It is available in black only.
- It has a lot of features such as defrost, auto-cook menus, a clock and ten different levels of power.
- The glass turntable measures 28.5 cm
- The 26 litres does make a significant difference as it can hold bigger containers
- This one is also a bit dated now, compared to others on the market
How Do Microwaves Work?
Many buyers ask the question as to how microwaves actually work. I thought I would add a little detail, as I think it is always useful information to understand. Microwave ovens actually do not generate any heat. Instead the cause water molecules inside the food to vibrate. It is this vibrating motion that generates and produces heat that really cooks the food.
As a result, you will often find that food cooked in a microwave, will be piping hot. At the same time any plates or utensils used will stay much cooler. The food has water inside, whereas the utensils don't. These ovens use small waves, known as microwaves (hence the name). They can not penetrate metal, so the inside of your microwave oven is actually lined with metal. In addition to that the microwave door is lined with a fine metal mesh which stops microwaves getting through.
How To Cook Safely in a Microwave Oven
Cooking food in a microwave oven is a safe method of cooking. However it is worth remembering that they cook by heating up the water inside food. As such foods like cereals, bagels, dried pasta, and chocolate have a very low water content. Therefore they should always be cooked on a low power level, for a very short length of time.
Also be highly aware of high sugar foods. These are foods like syrup or jams. When cooked in a microwave these become extremely hot and can easily burn your mouth. Always allow any food of this nature to cool down and never be tempted to taste this straight out of your microwave oven.
Microwave Buying Tips
If you are considering buying a microwave, then you will find these tips pretty useful. There are essentially four different types of microwaves available. These are:
- Microwave only, often known as a solo microwave - the most common where you can heat up, defrost, steam and reheat food. This makes it a good choice for the basic functions of heating ready meals, soups or vegetables.
- Microwave with Grill - A good choice for people with limited space. Having a grill allows you to grill fish or meat. You can also use the grill to crisp or brown your food. So along with the microwave functions, a useful choice.
- Combi Style Microwave - This is like number 9 on our list. What you are in effect buying is a mini oven So you can microwave, grill, and also have a fan assisted or convection oven. A good solution for smaller kitchens.
- Integrated Microwave - You may also here these referred to as built-in microwaves. They have been designed to fit seamlessly into your kitchen. Typically they will sport a designer look and free up work top space. They vary from compact to regular sized and often have a pull-down handle for easy and efficient access.
What Sizes of Microwaves Can You Buy?
As you can see from our list, the sizes vary from 17-23 litres. There are also compact 14 litre options and larger options such as 26 and 30 litre microwaves. If you are buying one for a family always get a bigger one.
Again you will have noticed from the list, that these vary from around 600 watts to 1,100 watts. The higher the wattage, the quicker your food will cook. However, the higher the wattage, the more it will cost to run.
How Much Does A Microwave Cost to Run?
A typical unite of electricity in the UK costs on average about 14 pence a unit. A unit is measured as 1 Kilowatt of power being used for 1 hour. The table below works out the average price per hour, based on the wattage.
Microwave Wattage Used
Average Cost Per Hour
9.8 pence pence
Just be aware that electric prices can vary a lot. It depends on what your power provider charges. I have used the average of 14 pence an hour
Understanding Microwave Features
- Defrost Function - This is important if you make a lot of meals from frozen. All microwaves will normally have some type of defrost function
- Automatic Defrost & Cooking - Many microwaves can be programmed to both defrost and cook. To do this you program into the microwave, the weight of the food. The microwave then calculates the defrost and cooking times automatically
- Child Lock - The last thing you may want is a small child inadvertently switching on or putting their fingers inside a microwave. Some models come with a child lock. Some do not, so of this is important make sure to check the exact model when buying.
- Controls - Some people love using digital controls, and like to have lots of setting and programs. Others simply want a more basic setup. For example if you like to use exact settings, you would be better with digital displays, and electronic buttons.
- Door Types - There are different types. Many are simply pull handles. Some open by pushing a button and the door pops open. A lot of the built-in ones have drop down doors.
- Power - As I have mentioned above there are different power settings available. In simple terms the bigger the power, the quicker you can reheat and cook food.
- Preset Programs - These can be very useful for cooking food. It takes a lot of the guess work out of cooking.
Microwave Cooking Tips & Safety
It is a really good idea to use microwave safe containers in your microwave. NEVER USE ANYTHING MADE OF METAL, EVEN WITH A METAL TRIM.
Anything containing metal is dangerous to use in a microwave. Even small amounts are dangerous. Simple things like twist ties should also never be used.
Never fully cover or cook food in anything that is sealed. With microwave cooking, the steam from the food must be allowed to escape. If it doesn't it can explode and make one heck of a mess.
Always keep your microwave oven clean at all times. Usually a soft cloth and a wipe is all that is required. Never use anything like a scouring pad, brillo pad or anything abrasive as it will ruin the interior of the oven