Whatever your budget, you’ll want to get the best microwave for your money. Prices can vary by hundreds of pounds, so you’ll need to know the difference between an entry level microwave and a top-of-the-range model. This guide will explain what to expect when it comes to types and features by price.
BUDGET: £50 TO £100
There are plenty of microwaves at the lower end of the market. From between £50 and £100, you’ll be able to choose from freestanding designs, with premium brands offering entry-level models at around the £70 mark. Any models under £50 are likely to have very basic functions.
If you only use your microwave for basic cooking tasks, a budget model would be fine. You’ll probably be restricted to solo cooking, although a couple of models do have grill functions. Expect a choice of power levels, some pre-set auto cook options and a defrost setting.
You may need to sacrifice capacity since most are between 17 and 25 litres. Power will probably be on the low side, at 700 W to 800 W. Painted finishes are common, although a silver colour can give the impression of stainless steel.
Any models under £50 are likely to have very basic functions.
MID-RANGE: £100 TO £200
If you’re willing to spend more, you’ll find some great microwaves between £100 and £200. This is a reasonable amount to spend if you want a combi, although solo and grill options are available in this price bracket too. These models may be a little larger inside, up to 30 litres, and you can expect more power, at 900 W to 1000 W. Mid-range microwaves commonly have a more stylish appearance thanks to their stainless-steel finishes.
In terms of features, you can expect more auto options than on a budget model. Plus, sometimes you’ll get intelligent sensors and turbo modes to speed up the cooking processes. You’ll also have a small range of built-in models to choose from.
HIGH-END: £200 TO £1000
With technology developments, microwaves now offer much more than a quick meal-for-one. They’ve become an extension of your oven, a steamer, and a powerful all-in-one appliance. So it’s no surprise that many people invest over £200 in such a versatile appliance. At this price range, you’ll find sleek, built-in combi microwave ovens with drop down doors, often with sensors for improved auto cooking. Inverter technology is common too, which is gentler on your food at lower power settings.
The very best microwaves will set you back between £1,000 and £3,000. These have capacities as high as 65 litres, with ovens reaching temperatures of 300°C. Investing in one of these built-in combination designs will provide you with pretty much all of the features and programmes available, plus some extra state-of-the-art technology.
Expect 4D hot air for even heat across the different shelves, a self-cleaning mode and telescopic shelving to make it easier to remove dishes. If you’re looking for a sleek integrated microwave which you’ll regularly use in a diverse range of ways, a high spec model could be well worth the investment.
Microwaves have become an extension of your oven, a steamer, and a powerful all-in-one appliance.