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A microwave can be a savvy addition to your kitchen and we're here to make sure you choose the right one. Want to know more? Read about how we test microwaves. Not sure what type you need? Use our expert microwave buying guide.
Our lab test results will tell you which microwaves:
We'll tell you their useable cavity dimensions, what features they come with such as sensor cook/reheat, auto cook and auto reheat; and run the numbers to show you how much each model will cost to run.
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which brands perform best and are the most efficient. Our CHOICE Buys will help you see quickly which models come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price as of December 2015.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 49 and 690
We recommend microwave ovens that score at least 80% overall.
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The overall score is made up of 70% performance (made up of four test scores weighted equally), and 30% ease of use.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0
Running cost per year calculated on the energy used reheating a plated meal every day at 25 cents per kWh.
We test the microwaves using the sensor program (or the auto program or manual mode for models without this feature). We defrost mince meat and chicken, cook broccoli and reheat quiche.
We check that controls are intuitive, easy to operate and the instructions easy to follow. We also check the effectiveness of the light, and whether the viewing window is large enough and easy to see through. We assess the interior and exterior of the microwave for ease of cleaning – do the surfaces wipe clean easily, and are there small holes and seams that can accumulate dirt?
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.
Automatic functions prompt you to enter the weight and type of food for the microwave to calculate the cooking time.
Automatic functions prompt you to enter the weight and type of food for the microwave to calculate the reheating time.
Sensor programs take automatic functions one step further by measuring vapours emitted during cooking or reheating to adjust the cooking time and power.
Microwaves with this feature can be programmed to perform a sequence of functions, such as defrost, cook and leave to stand.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 24 and 35
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