We review 27 microwaves - 11 of which are newly tested.
Our rigorous testing reveals which microwaves:
- Perform the best at defrosting, reheating, and cooking.
- Are the easiest to use.
On this page, you'll find information about:
For more information about Microwaves, see Kitchen.
You don't have to spend big for a good microwave - two of our recommended models cost under $200.
All the newly tested microwaves perform well for cooking fresh vegetables and defrosting a chicken, and most perform well for defrosting mince. However, many struggled to reheat solid (non-stirrable) foods. All areas of the food should be above 70°C after reheating, but because solid foods can’t be stirred, it’s difficult for microwaves to obtain an even and consistent result, leaving some areas much cooler than others.
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If you're sick of always having to remove and clean your microwave’s turntable, the answer to your prayers may just have arrived. The Panasonic NNSF550W is a flatbed microwave, meaning it does not have a rotating plate inside. It also has more space for fitting rectangular or larger dishes, and it’s easier to clean too.
Most microwaves cycle between periods of power and no heat. By contrast, this Panasonic uses inverter technology, which means it can run continuously at half power to cook even more evenly, in theory at least. Panasonic is the only manufacturer offering flatbed microwaves, however in this test we found the flatbed model to be the weakest-performing Panasonic despite being a good overall performer.
The brands in our What to Buy list ranked highly in our 2011 reliability survey (see CHOICE, March 2011). Sharp doesn’t rate as well for reliability as LG, Panasonic and Samsung, but loyalty to the brand is high, with 91% of owners saying they’d be likely to buy a Sharp again.
|PERCENTAGE WITH NO PROBLEMS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS *
|All microwaves (6709)
* These figures have been adjusted for the age of the appliances. Differences of 4% or more are significant.
For more results from our survey go to CHOICE reliability survey.
Breville Ikon Microwave Oven BMO200
# Breville BMO300
# LG MS3840SR
# LG MS3840SRSK
# Midea EM925ESA
# Omega OA138X
# Panasonic NN-ST671S
# Panasonic NNSF550W
# Samsung ME6124ST
# Sanyo EMS8588V
# Sharp R395YS
# Sharp R200YW
# Newly tested models.
Performance our Home Economist, Fiona Mair, uses the sensor program - or the auto program or manual mode for models without this feature. She defrosts 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. Fiona cooks broccoli to assess the oven's ability to cook vegetables. She reheats a solid, high-fat food (quiche) to measure whether the oven heats evenly throughout and to a high enough temperature.
Ease of use 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 - do the surfaces wipe clean easily and are there small holes and seams that can accumulate dirt?
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