BrandExpand to view more details.
List of brands we tested in this review.
PriceExpand to view more details.
The manufacturer's recommended retail price.
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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.
Cooking performance score
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.
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Defrosting mince meat score
We defrost mince to assess the microwave's auto-defrost ability. Parts of the food can 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.
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Defrosting a whole chicken score
We defrost chicken to assess the microwave's auto-defrost ability. Parts of the food can 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.
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Cooking vegetables score
We cook broccoli to assess the microwave's ability to cook vegetables.
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Ease of use score
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 gather dirt?
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Delayed start or pre-set cooking
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.
Microwaves with this feature can be programmed to perform a sequence of functions, such as defrost, cook and leave to stand.
Whether the microwave oven is a built-in type rather than freestanding.
Turntable or flatbed
Some microwaves have a removable turntable that rotates as food is heating, others just use a flatbed surface.
Volume (L, measured)
Our own measured volume.
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The higher the wattage, the faster the food will cook – but it doesn't necessarily give a better result.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.
Included in this review
- Overall score
- Noise readings (cooling fan/beep)
- CHOICE buy
- Cooking performance score
- Ease of use score
- Cooking vegetables score
- Defrosting mince meat score
- Defrosting a whole chicken score
- Reheating score
- Grilling score
- Brand reliability score
- Brand satisfaction score
- Adjustable noise level
- Useable cavity dimensions (cm, H x W x D)
- Volume (L, measured)
- Annual standby cost (30c/kWh)
- Running costs ($)
- Good points
- Bad points
- Built-in type
- Turntable or flatbed
- Vent position
- Venting space
- External dimensions (cm, H x W x D)
- Useable shelf (turntable) area (cm)
- Auto cook
- Auto reheat
- Adjust time during cooking
- Number of power levels
- Delayed start or pre-set cooking
- Multi-stage cooking
- Kitchen timer (stand-alone)
- Wattage (W)