Here’s why you should trust our list of the best microwaves:

Since launching in 2003, Trusted Reviews has become the premier online resource for buying advice. Every year our team of experts reviews thousands of products, letting us bring you definitive buying guides, such as this list of the best microwaves.

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We’ve reviewed microwaves and combi ovens from all of the biggest manufacturers, and we’re happy to recommend five of them. Out of the models that we’ve reviewed, two stand out. If you want the best cooking experience, mixing microwaving with grilling, the Panasonic NN-DF386 is the best model. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Sharp R861SLM is exceptional value for a combi oven.

How we pick the best microwaves

Microwaves fall into two main categories: standard microwaves, which use a form of electromagnetic radiation to rapidly heat foot, and combi ovens that also add in alternative cooking methods, including conventional ovens and grills. The former is useful for quickly heating foods and defrosting; the latter gives you a wider choice of cooking options, suitable for all types of food.

To test each type, we select a variety of food to cook, taking in baked potatoes, frozen pizza, defrosting bread and the like. We also test any special programmes or features that each model has: some Panasonic microwaves, for example, have a Pana-crunch pan, which is designed to give you a crispy finish to your cooked food.

Usability is also exceptionally important, with many microwaves having indecipherably controls. We thoroughly test each microwave, rating it for the quality of its controls, and the options available.

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Panasonic DF386

Panasonic NN-DF386

Pros:

  • Excellent results
  • Lots of programs
  • Crisper pan

Cons:

  • Fairly pricey
  • Not the fastest we’ve tested

If you’re after an attractive, well-featured, do-it-all appliance then you won’t go far wrong with the Panasonic DF386. Sure, it might not be able to steam-cook like its sibling in this roundup, the NN-DS596, but this combination microwave-grill-oven cooks food brilliantly. It’s a little slower than some microwaves, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in precision.

The Panasonic NN-DF386 comes with the Pana-crunch pan and an enamel tray for use with the oven or grill, and has seven auto-weight programmes for popular foods: chilled quiche, frozen potato products, pastry items, chilled pizza, frozen pizza, gratin potato and gratin pasta.

You can even use the Sensor programmes without having to enter the cooking time, weight or power level before you hit start; the NN-DS596 just works it out for itself. Other great features we love include a clock, timer delay and child-safety lock.