After spending hours and hours trawling through consumer reports, gathering the thoughts and reviews of real customers and putting microwaves to the test we have concluded that the Sharp R959SLMAA is the best combination microwave for most people.
If you want to the absolute and can spend a little more on an upgrade we recommend the Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ.
And if you’re looking for budget, entry level model we really like the Russell Hobbs RHM3003B.
What You'll Learn Today
- Best Combination Microwave: Our Top Picks [UK Market]
- What is a Combination Microwave?
- What to Consider When Choosing a Combination Microwave
- The Best Combination Microwave: Our 3 Favourites
- Sharp R959SLMAA Review
- Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ Review
- Russell Hobbs RHM3003B Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Combination Microwave: Our Top Picks [UK Market]
What is a Combination Microwave?
Combination microwaves are an ‘all-in-one’ type of machine.
Besides having the functions of a standard solo microwave, combination microwaves have built a built in grill and convection oven.
The best combination microwave is capable of crisping, browning, baking and roasting, enabling you to cook a much wider variety of foods and more complex dishes than a typical solo model.
If you cook a lot and find yourself always needing some extra oven space, a combination microwave would be perfect for you.
As you might expect, all these features make ‘combi’s’ the most expensive type of microwave. That being said, prices start from around £90 which isn’t earth shatteringly expensive, but if you want more features and better quality, expect to pay more.
Pros and Cons
If you’re in the market for a new microwave you’ll want to think about what features you’ll need.
Combination microwaves are the most versatile kind but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush out and buy one when a solo or microwave grill will work for you. So let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Huge variety of cooking options compared to basic microwaves
- Can be used as a second oven, often cooking food faster
- Starting prices aren’t too expensive
- More expensive than a solo or a microwave grill and they can get very expensive
- Can have too many features for a lot of people
If you just want a microwave for reheating or defrosting and maybe cooking a ready meal, a combination microwave isn’t for you. Save yourself some money and consider a solo microwave or a microwave with grill.
What to Consider When Choosing a Combination Microwave
When it comes to combination microwaves there aren’t as many options on the market when compared to basic models. But that’s not to say there isn’t plenty to choose from.
Combi’s – especially the more advanced ones are feature packed so let’s look at some of the features to consider;
If you’re investing in a combination microwave you’ll want something quite powerful – we’d recommend 900 watts or upwards.
Again, if you’re looking for a combi, we’re assuming you’ll be doing some pretty serious cooking so in this case we’d say bigger is better and recommend you choose at least a 27 litre capacity.
Remember though, a larger capacity microwave will take up a larger the area in your kitchen. So think about;
How you’ll would use it
- – if you’re going be cooking with it regularly and have a large family then a larger capacity might be best. If you’ll only be using it occasionally as a back up then go smaller.
Where you’ll put it – if you’ve got plenty of space in your kitchen to accommodate a larger machine then you might consider one. On the other hand, it you’re tight for space you might be forced into buying a smaller capacity.
Combination microwaves by their nature are pretty feature heavy and will do most jobs. Some however, come with extra features like built in steamers or a rotisserie, if these aren’t feature you want or need, choose a lower spec model and save yourself some money.
While style should come secondary to how well a machine works, it would still be nice if your microwave looks good in your kitchen, so the look if it might be worth considering. Some models come in different colours to help with that.
Brand & Warranty
There are many brands that make microwaves. Russell Hobbs, Panasonic, Daewoo, Samsung – the list goes on.
We would always recommend you buy your kitchen equipment from a brand you know and trust. They usually have a solid 12 month guarantee and sometimes they might even extend them to 3 or 5 years.
Because combination microwaves are the most versatile and full of features, they are the most expensive.
That’s not to say there are overly expensive.
At the time of writing, our budget option is around £120 which considering the versatility you get, isn’t a bad price at all.
The cheapest price isn’t always the best price though. Make sure the model you’re considering does everything you want it to. If it doesn’t, consider upgrading.
And likewise, the most expensive machine is a waste of money if you don’t use it to it’s full potential. If the model you’re looking at has more features on it than you’ll use, why not downgrade and save yourself some money?
Listed below are what we think are the best combination microwaves;
The Best Combination Microwave: Our 3 Favourites
We have spent hours and hours going through all kinds of consumer reports, gathered feedback and spoken to users to find the best solo microwave. Here are our top 3 picks:
Sharp R959SLMAA Review
The Best Combination Microwave For Most People
- Brilliant grill
- Combination oven is very good
- Auto defrost is super
- Cooks evenly
- It’s huge!
- It doesn’t have a clock
- It’s huge!
Overview of the Sharp R959SLMAA
The Sharp R959SLMAA is a combination microwave that has a huge 40 litre capacity – easily big enough to fit a 10lb turkey at Christmas.
It has 900 watt of microwave power, a 1400 watt quartz grill and convection oven. Along with this you get internal shelves so you can cook multiple items at the same time.
Featuring touch controls for all of it functions the Sharp has 5 power settings and 8 auto-cook menus. You also have a dual cooking feature so for example you can use the microwave power with the grill to cook a jacket potato with crispy skin in around 20 minutes.
What it Does Best
Firstly, the Sharp R959SMLAA is has one of the biggest capacities on the market, you can fit so much into it.
The grill is fantastic, you can cook several pieces of toast and browning is even. It roasts really well too with a full chicken coming out brown, juicy and tasty. The microwave cooks evenly, heat is consistent and you won’t get cold spots when cooking microwave meals or reheating last night’s pizza.
It looks really nice and the stylish control panel is well laid out and easy to use so you’ll get used to using it in no time.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
As nice as it is to have a big capacity, all that space has to go somewhere. This is a big machine so if you’re stuck for space you might want to choose a different microwave. Some users have said that it looks quite imposing on their kitchen.
Also there is no clock when the microwave is in standby mode. We’re not sure why Sharp decided to do that but a clock is a handy tool to have in the kitchen and many people rely on having the clock on their microwave. This model doesn’t have one.
Reviews of the Sharp R959SMLAA
The Sharp is loved by Which? who went as far as to say there is absolutely nothing about it and awarded it a Which? Best Buy.
“If top-class grilling and good combination cooking are your priorities, then look no further than this Best Buy Sharp combination microwave.”
At the time of writing it scores well on Amazon.co.uk with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 180 reviews.
Should You Buy it?
Considering the size, features and the quality of cooking and at a cost of less than £200, we believe the Sharp R959SMLA is the best combination microwave for most families.
Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ Review
The Best Combination Microwave Upgrade
- Excellent manual and auto-defrost settings
- The convection oven is brilliant
- Multi-step programming allows you to change power while cooking
- Cooking quality is fantastic
- Loses a bit of power after continuous use
Overview of the Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ
The Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ is a flat bed, 27 litre capacity 1000 watt combination microwave.
The flat bed design means you can fit larger dishes into the machine. Its 1000 watts of microwave power combined with it 1,300 watt grill with 3 settings and excellent convection oven cooks a whole host of foods quickly and evenly, leaving it moist and delicious.
We absolutely love this machine and we for us, the the best combination microwave we teste. Even beating out models twice it’s price.
What it Does Best
This Panasonic’s auto-defrost is incredible and the manual settings are just as good. Both settings defrost food evenly so you won’t cook your mince on the outside and leave it frozen in the middle when you meant to just thaw it.
The microwave itself cooks food quickly while retaining moisture so your lasagna isn’t going to curl up and go hard or brittle around the edges.
It’s convection oven is simply brilliant so you can bake, roast and do everything you can do in a conventional oven with ease.
And the grill is good too. Everything works brilliantly individually and you can also combine the microwave, grill and oven to create the perfect meals.
The programming settings are intuitive and easy to use. The automatic programs are a breeze to select and if you’re feeling adventurous and want to to the multi sequence cooking and combine the three powers, this is simple too.
It features a drop down door too instead of the standard side opening door, this provides the perfect surface on which to place hot dishes as you remove them from the microwave.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
Seriously, this microwave does everything that it’s meant to really well.
The only slight downside is that it does tend to lose a bit of power after continuous use so if you’re cooking multiple dishes one after the other, you may need to allow a little more cooking time.
With that said, this isn’t a problem unique to this machine, it happens on all kinds of microwaves.
Reviews of the Panasonic NN-ST479SBPQ
This machine scores very highly with consumer reports and everyday users.
“This Panasonic combination oven impressed us in microwave and convection mode and is especially good at defrosting.
If, like most people, you mainly use your microwave for reheating and defrosting, you won’t go far wrong with the NN-CF778S as it does both jobs admirably.”
At the time of writing, the Panasonic is one of the highest scoring machines we have seen when it comes to customer reviews. It scores 4.3 out of 5 stars from more than 400 reviews;
Google shopping also score is 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 600 reviews;
Should You Buy it?
Having read this review back, it looks like we’re actively trying to sell this microwave and that is not our intention. All reviews we write are as balanced as possible.
But sometimes, you come across a product that is simply brilliant and the Panasonic NN-CF778S is brilliant.
At around £250 it is more than twice the price of the Russell Hobbs but for us, it’s by far the best combination microwave if you’re looking for an upgrade.
Russell Hobbs RHM3003B Review
The Best Combination Microwave if You’ve Got a Budget
- Fan assisted oven acts exactly the same as a conventional oven
- Combination cooking feature enables you to combine microwave energy with the grill and fan assisted oven.
- Big 30 litre capacity
- It’s a little hard to see through the reflective door
- The combination cooking instructions are a bit vague
Overview of the Russell Hobbs RHM3003B
This is another very good looking combination microwave from Russell Hobbs.
It’s a 900 watt machine and has a 30 litre capacity so it’s plenty powerful and big enough to cook a variety of different dishes making it suitable for most families.
The convection (fan assisted) oven works in exactly the same way as a conventional oven so you’ll never run out of oven space.
Another handy feature is the microwaves’ combination cooking ability. This allows you combine the microwave energy with the grill and convection oven so you can cook, crisp and brown, roast and bake. Perfect for cooking more complex dishes in one appliance.
The 31.5cm turntable is big enough to accommodate a large dinner plate. Plus, the turntable is removable and the stainless steel interior makes it easy to clean.
What it Does Best
The size is a big benefit of this Russell Hobbs RHM3003B. It’s 30 litre capacity and 31.cm turntable makes it big enough to cook a whole host of foods with one user saying she ‘can easily feed her family of five with it’.
It reheats, defrosts and cooks food quickly thanks to its 900 watts of power and once you get used to it, it’s pretty simple to use.
Many users say the fan assisted oven is fantastic. It heats up quicker than a conventional oven and cooks food quicker too, making it a more energy efficient alternative.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
As with other Russell Hobbs models, the stylish reflective door is a bit hard to see through when cooking which means you’ll have to keep opening the door when you want to check on your food.
Also, the combination cooking instructions aren’t very detailed but with that said, many users have stated that the menus are very intuitive and once you get used to them, it’s a very easy machine to use.
Some users have also complained about the build up of condensation inside the machine after use. While it’s not a lot, it still has to be dried up.
Reviews of the Russell Hobbs RHM3003B
The Good House Keeping Institute reviewed this microwave and they only scored it 57/100, saying;
“A practical microwave with some useful features such as the 30 second burst button for adding extra cooking time, but it struggles to heat chilled and frozen ready meals and it unevenly browns when roasting a whole chicken.”
The funny thing is though that their readers – people who actually use this microwave every single day, rate it much more highly. Scoring it 8.9 out of 10 from 51 reviews.
It scores highly on other shopping sites too.
On Amazon.com (at the time of writing) it scores 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 230 reviews;And Google Shopping scores it 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 240 reviews gathered across all of the major shopping sites.
Should You Buy it?
When you consider the cost (around £120 at the time of writing), we think the Russell Hobbs is a feature packed combination microwave that delivers excellent value for money.
Despite not being rated very highly by some consumer reports and websites, everyday users of this machine really like it.
In our opinion it’s the best combination microwave if you’re on a budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a combination microwave worth it?
If all you need your microwave to do is reheat and defrost food, a cheaper solo microwave will do. But if you want more from your microwave oven than just thawing and warming food, a combi microwave is worth it.
You get to enjoy the functionality of an oven and a microwave in one compact package that fits perfectly on your countertop.
2. What can you cook in a combination microwave?
In addition to reheating and defrosting food, a combination microwave can also bake, grill and roast whatever you want including cakes, bread, pizza, chicken, potatoes, and vegetables.
3. Can you use metal utensils in a combination microwave?
Yes, but only when you are using the grill or convection functions. Never use any metal or non-microwave safe utensils in microwave mode or combined microwave and grill/oven mode.
On the same note, while plastic utensils are microwave safe, they can melt or get damaged in grill or oven (convection) mode.
The best all-round dishes for a combination microwave are those made from oven-safe glass like Pyrex or ceramic.