Here, we have test results for nine convection (combination) microwave ovens, priced from $159 to $559.
On this page, you'll find:
Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which convection microwaves:
- have the best performance for a range of different cooking tasks
- have the best range of features
- are the easiest to use.
Most kitchens these days have both a conventional oven and a microwave. But if your home or family is small, it can make sense to have one machine that fills both roles.
While more expensive and sometimes slightly bigger than basic microwave ovens, convection (or combination) models can cook with both convection heat (as in a conventional oven) and with microwaves, and usually include a grill element too. As well as being a useful all-rounder for small homes and households, they’re also a good option for holiday homes and caravans where a full-sized oven isn't feasible or necessary.
Convection ovens can handle most single-shelf cooking tasks that a conventional oven or microwave can, subject to the size of the oven’s interior. Combination cooking (using convection, microwave and/or grill at the same time) can be effective and fast, especially for high-temperature cooking such as pizza.
However, they don’t always do as good a job as conventional ovens. Our tester, Fiona Mair, noted that while several of the ovens on test cook scones well, the scones lacked that melt-in-the-mouth texture she routinely gets when testing full-sized electric ovens. To find out how well each microwave cooked scones, compare them in our interactive table.
Running costs are reasonably low for these ovens. Daily use for typical microwave reheating, together with other occasional cooking plus standby power consumption, would amount to no more than about $20 in electricity costs per year in most cases.
Many convection microwave ovens can be built into kitchen cabinets. Check before buying for installation requirements (in particular for safe clearance distances around the oven) and trim kit options.
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Brands and models tested
- Electrolux EMS3067X
- Euromaid MCG30
- Kogan KAMW030CONA
- Panasonic NN-CF781S
- Samsung CE117PAECX
- Sharp R890NW
- Smeg SA985-2CX
- Smeg SA987CX
- Whirlpool JT369WH
Brands not tested
We didn't receive information about LG models in time to select one for this test, and Omega is replacing its range in February/March 2013.
How we test
Performance Our Home Economist, Fiona Mair, uses the sensor programs - or the auto program or manual mode for models without this feature.
Ease of use
- Defrosting: includes two tests, minced meat and a whole chicken, because in both cases it’s easy for parts of the food to start cooking if the auto-defrost time is too long, the power program is poorly designed or the oven’s microwave distribution is not even.
- Vegetables Fiona cooks broccoli, looking for fully but not overly cooked pieces with a good bright green colour.
- Reheating She reheats a solid, high-fat food (quiche) to measure whether the oven heats evenly throughout and to a high enough temperature.
- Grill She grills toast, looking for an even toasting result across the whole rack.
- Baking To test the oven in convection mode, she bakes scones, looking for even results, properly risen and with good texture.
- Combination To test combination cooking (using convection, microwave and grill) she cooks freshly made pizza.
Fiona checks that controls are intuitive, easy to operate and the instructions easy to follow. She also checks the effectiveness of the light and whether the viewing window is large enough and easy to see through. The interior and exterior are assessed for cleaning - for example, do the surfaces wipe clean easily or are there small holes and seams that can accumulate dirt?
For more information on Microwaves and other benchtop kitchen appliances, see our Kitchen section.
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