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Microwave reviews

Taking the time to read your microwave’s manual can unlock its true power and make you king or queen of the kitchen.
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sensor microwave

We review 20 microwaves priced between $190 and $690. 

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:

Are you only reheating the forgotten coffee, last night’s meal, or defrosting chicken for the last-minute dinner idea? If so, you’re under using your appliance. Most microwaves these days offer many auto cook and sensor cook/reheat functions that can make cooking a breeze. We highly recommend you make time to read your new microwave’s manual to get the most out of it and avoid a partially cooked chook while defrosting, an overflow of reheated coffee or an exploding egg.

If you need to cook more than the basics and have limited space, then a combination microwave oven that can bake and crisp may be a better choice.

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What's inverter technology?

A typical microwave’s magnetron (the gizmo that creates the microwaves) at, say, 50% power will cycle between being on at full power and completely off for 50% of the cooking time. Inverter technology continuously uses 50% power for the whole cooking time – so no on/off power cycling and (at least in theory) more even heating of your food. But while inverter technology may sound impressive, in practice we’ve found it doesn’t always guarantee top performance.


The brands in our What to Buy list ranked highly in our 2013 reliability survey. 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.

Brands tested

  • Breville BMO100
  • Breville BMO300
  • Breville BMO634 
  • LG MS3840SR
  • LG MS3840SRSK
  • Omega OM30X
  • Panasonic NN-ST641W
  • Panasonic NN-SD691SQPQ
  • Panasonic NNSF550W
  • Panasonic NN-ST663WQPQ
  • Panasonic NN-ST671S
  • Samsung ME1113TST/XSA
  • Samsung ME6104ST
  • Samsung MS34F606MAT
  • Samsung ME6124ST
  • Sharp R350YS
  • Sharp R395YS
  • Smeg SA35MX
  • Smeg SA37X
  • Westinghouse WMG281SF
  • # Breville Ikon BMO200
  • # LG MS2346S
  • # LG MS2548GR
  • # Midea EM925ESA
  • # Omega OA138X
  • # Omega OM250XA
  • # Panasonic NN-ST557W 
  • # Panasonic NN-ST680S
  • # Samsung MW83Z
  • # Sanyo EMS156AW
  • # Sanyo EMS5597B
  • # Sanyo EMS8588V
  • # Sharp R230LS
  • # Sharp R350RW
  • # Sharp R200YW
  • # Smeg SA31-1MX
  • # Whirlpool VT266SL

# Discontinued

How we test

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?

Want to know more about microwaves, brand reliability or other kitchen appliances? See our Kitchen section. 

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