Difference Between Solo, Combination And Grill Microwave Oven

When shopping for a new microwave, you may have noticed that there are different types. There are those with grills, others labelled solo microwaves and others called combination microwave ovens.

So what’s the difference between solo and grill microwave oven and combination oven? A grill microwave is of course one with a grill. But what about solo and combination microwaves? Here is a quick explainer on the difference between a solo microwave and combination microwave.

Solo Microwave Oven

This is the standard microwave oven. It’s the most common type of microwave. You can use it to defrost, heat or reheat food. But beyond that it cannot do much. You cannot use it for baking or roasting.

A solo microwave is called so because it only uses microwaves to heat food. The waves penetrate plastic to heat food from the inside out.

This type of microwave is ideal if you just need it for basic functions of defrosting and reheating. Note that in a solo microwave oven, you can only use microwave-safe plastic containers. Microwaves cannot penetrate metallic containers.

Advantages of a Solo Microwave Oven

  • It’s cheaper.
  • Easy to use.

Disadvantages of a Solo Microwave Oven

  • It has limited functions.

Combination Microwave Oven

You’ll find some more expensive microwave ovens labelled as combination ovens. They tend to be larger and have many more functions and settings. For instance, you may notice that the timer runs for over an hour. This is because you can grill, roast or bake in a combination oven, processes that typically require more time than simply defrosting a chicken.

You may also notice that they have pre-set buttons for various functions such as baking or grilling.

A combination oven gets its name from its two methods of cooking. Like the standard microwave oven, it emits microwaves to heat your food evenly. It also produces heated air that heats food more quickly and allows for added functions such as baking and roasting. This is called convection cooking.

A combination microwave oven is essentially a cross between a standard microwave oven and your usual full size convection oven that you use for baking.

Combination ovens usually include a grill function.

Using pre-set buttons, you can select the right setting for what you need. A baking button will focus more on convection cooking (heated air) and less on microwave cooking. A defrost button may activate both microwave and convection settings for faster heating and defrosting.

Note that in a combination oven, you can use non-microwave containers for certain types of cooking such as baking.

Advantages of a Combination Microwave Oven

  • Provides extra cooking functions compared to those offered by a standard solo microwave oven.
  • Cooks food quicker and more evenly.
  • Easy to use thanks to pre-set buttons and auto functions.

Disadvantages of a Combination Microwave Oven

  • Pricier compared to solo or convection-only ovens.
  • The extra functions may be unnecessary if you already have an oven.

Should You Buy a Solo or Combination Microwave Oven?

There isn’t one type of oven that is better than the other. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Most importantly, each is ideal for different occasions and situations.

So when you are shopping around and comparing between the two types of microwave ovens, consider your needs. Which oven would serve you better?

If you already have an oven at home and you are just looking for a microwave to quickly heat food and for defrosting, get a solo microwave oven. It does basic functions well and you can get a quality one for a low price.

If you are looking for a microwave oven that does more than just reheat and defrost, you should consider investing in a combination microwave. It’s especially beneficial if you don’t have a full size oven, maybe because you don’t have the space or you are not ready to buy one.

Anything you can do in a full size oven you can also do in a combination microwave oven. This includes grilling, baking and roasting. The only difference is that you’ll have a smaller space to do your cooking.


Don’t focus so much on the price when deciding which type of oven to buy. If your situation calls for a combination oven, you will be thankful you spent the extra money. And anyway microwave ovens, regardless of the type, are generally inexpensive.

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