Best 9 Microwave Ovens for Home in 2021

From simple reheating to full-blown cooking, a microwave oven is a must in any home kitchen. We help you find the best microwave for your needs while understanding the different options in the market.

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Once considered a luxury item, these days microwaves can almost be considered an essential kitchen appliance. This is doubly true for time poor families and those who meal prep or yield a lot of leftovers. 

Modern microwaves now do so much more than simply reheating food - they can cook and prepare it too, in a range of different and useful styles - think steaming veggies, defrosting meat hygienically, melting butter, even grilling meats or air frying, complete with a nice crust.

With microwaves capable of performing so many functions, it’s no wonder there are almost endless products to choose from suiting a whole range of different needs and aesthetics, and with prices to match!

As they can be such personal items, with every family using theirs differently, you’ll want to find the one just right for your needs. There’s no point in having the fanciest microwave available if you’re only going to be using it for reheating leftovers; on the other hand, a low powered compact model won’t serve you very well if you need it to cook up a storm for the family.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best microwave ovens that we’ve found in Australia, covering a wide range of different uses and budgets. We’ve also included a handy section that goes through with you some of the common features and considerations you might want to be looking out for.

Breville the Combi Wave 3 in 1

1. Breville the Combi Wave 3 in 1

This impressive convection inverter microwave offers the very best in versatility and features

What we like
  • Versatile, replaces several kitchen appliances
  • Smart, intuitive cooking
  • Whisper quiet operation
What could be better
  • Large size may not suit smaller kitchens
  • Complex to learn to use
  • Pricey

One of the very best convection microwaves you can buy, the Breville the Combi Wave 3 in 1 is an ultra versatile model from a trusted brand and is the best microwave oven on the market today for those who want it all - it’s a microwave, convection oven and air fryer all in one. 

With quality stainless steel construction and an attractive appearance, it will surely be one of your most used kitchen appliances for quick and easy cooking, reheating and defrosting.

Featuring Breville’s own Element IQ system, it cleverly directs the power to where it’s needed and when, to create the ideal cooking environment for your particular dish. The large LCD display tells you everything you need to know with loads of inbuilt shortcuts for popular uses and dishes and the control dials offer flexibility in that you can adjust the heat level or time while something is already cooking, a feature not often seen in even high end microwaves.

The convection mode is effective and provides a finish with a lovely crust, particularly if you use the provided crisper pan or another container that fits the turntable. We found that pans that don’t fit properly tend to cook unevenly. Its air fryer function also gets the thumbs up and is perfect for those who want to air fry occasionally but aren’t prepared to invest in a dedicated air fryer.

The Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a quality product with oodles of different uses and operations. If we had one complaint it would be that it can be mind boggling trying to learn and remember how to use all the different functions without continuously referring to the instruction manual. However, we find that most users (including ourselves) will use the same few functions over and over again and once you’ve got those downpat it won’t really matter. 

Breville the Quick Touch Microwave

2. Breville the Quick Touch Microwave

The best all rounder with intuitive automatic cooking

What we like
  • Advanced one touch settings
  • Very even cooking pattern
  • Compact size
What could be better
  • Defrost function not as accurate as other models
  • Fairly loud operation

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Breville’s the Quick Touch is the best home microwave for Aussie families who don’t need super fancy add ons. It does everything you would expect a modern microwave to do (and even a bit more!) and does it well with no fuss.

The intuitive menu allows you to cook, reheat, defrost, melt and soften all with a single press of a button. Automatically sensing the humidity within the microwave, it cleverly calculates the optimal cook time and power so your food remains evenly cooked and moist - not dried out or unevenly cooked and with very minimal hot spots.

We love the shortcuts panel, located on the inside door, with one touch buttons so you can access your favourite and most popular settings quickly. There’s also the wonderful “a bit more” button for when you need just a bit more cooking time but not a whole cycle. 

Boasting a generous 34L capacity, it’s still compact enough to fit neatly on small kitchen benches and it’s easy to wipe clean both inside and out. As the microwave door opens by pulling the handle rather than pressing a button, a handy child lock is included to keep inquisitive little hands out.

With such advanced options for a microwave at this price point you really can’t go wrong, making this Breville our top pick for the best all round microwave in Australia.

Panasonic NN-CD58JS

3. Panasonic NN-CD58JS

Affordable and effective convection inverter with smaller than expected footprint

What we like
  • Compact at 20% smaller than comparable microwaves
  • Spacious interior
  • Junior Menu Program for fussy kids
  • Value for money 3 in 1 microwave
What could be better
  • Basic reheating takes longer than expected

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The Panasonic NN-CD58JS is a powerful 3 in 1 combination microwave offering convection oven, grill and combination cooking for time poor families who really want to simplify their cooking. Super compact and slimline, this model boasts an approximately 20% smaller footprint than other combination ovens while still maintaining a roomy interior for family sized dishes.

We really love the special Junior Menu Programs, an auto menu designed specifically with fussy kids in mind with eight healthy options that kids will love, from purees for babies to yummy pasta dishes and veggie chips that are deliciously crispy. 

This Panasonic model boasts the best microwave grill, doing a solid job at it, with meats juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, just as they should be. While conventional microwaves continuously turn the maximum power on and off, the smart inverter microwave technology maintains the same optimal power level for what you are cooking - simply enter the food type and weight and your microwave will do the rest while you attend to other things!

The same inverter technology is also responsible for ensuring even, gentle reheating, melting and defrosting which just about eliminates the dreaded hot or cold spots. This also gives the bonus of no more splatters all through the microwave needing to be cleaned immediately. 

As for maintenance cleaning, it’s simple to clean inside and out as this microwave has no annoying corners or grooves. It’s also not too tricky to learn the different presets and menus and features tactile, responsive buttons and dials rather than a touch screen, which is favourable to many.

Panasonic NN-ST776S

4. Panasonic NN-ST776S

Family sized inverter microwave powered to handle your biggest jobs

What we like
  • User friendly
  • Precise melt and soften feature
  • Excels at thawing
What could be better
  • Control panel can be hard to read

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This updated model from one of the best microwave brands, the Panasonic NN-ST776S is generous in size and boasts advanced thawing, melting and softening, making it the ideal choice for families who do a lot of defrosting after meal prep, or for keen bakers who need their butter melted perfectly. The powerful 1100W means everything will be heated in good time and the huge 44L capacity is large enough to tackle almost any sized dish on its generously sized glass turntable.

It comes preset with 18 convenient auto menus to suit just about everything you can think of, from proteins to desserts to beverages. The smart Inverter Turbo defrost lets you defrost faster than ever yet still evenly and safely for those nights you forgot to take dinner out of the freezer in the morning, or need a quick fix. Impressively, this microwave reliably melts and softens foods like butter and chocolate gently and precisely using Panasonic’s updated technology to ensure no bubbling or burning. 

The main issue that we’ve found is that the control panel can be tricky to read with a relatively dim backlight and not enough contrast between that and the display. Depending on your eyesight and light quality in the kitchen, this can be annoying if you regularly use the presets, especially if you are not yet familiar with how the microwave works.

Despite this, the Panasonic NN-CD58JS is a solid family sized inverter microwave that delivers where it’s needed. It’s a looker too, with a sleek stainless steel body that sits flush in its hutch or on your benchtop, and easy to use buttons with good response.

LG NeoChef Smart Inverter

5. LG NeoChef Smart Inverter

Sleek and modern smart inverter microwave oven complete with unique features for convenience

What we like
  • Anti-bacterial interior coating
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Upgraded, no spill turntable
  • Sleek, sophisticated aesthetic
What could be better
  • Short interior height
  • Very lightweight and moves around the bench easily

The LG NeoChef Smart Inverter is a sophisticated looking all black microwave with a minimalist aesthetic that will please those who care about style in the kitchen. Not just a looker, it’s packed with useful extra features.

Firstly, the interior has an anti-bacterial coating that claims to eliminate 99.9% of harmful bacteria. While we haven’t put this to the test, we do know it wipes clean super easily with just a few wipes, even for older stains and spills.

It features modern touch controls and a tempered glass door that opens by hand, which, be warned, does show fingerprints easily. It’s also very lightweight which is handy for installation and moving around, but be careful when opening the door that the microwave doesn’t fly off the counter! A rubber mat underneath for grip would be ideal if you’re known to be heavy handed. 

The unique turntable design means there’s less spills for any off-centre items, with a six-point, rather than a three-point, support, which is excellent news for clumsy cooks and children alike.

Its 1200W of power means cooking and reheating is faster than ever and while the interior space is roomy overall at 42L, it’s a little on the short side and may not accommodate tall items such as bottles. We really appreciated the energy efficient, ultra-bright lighting - you can really see what’s going on inside at all times unlike many other models.

This microwave features a warm and proof setting which will be welcome news to bakers, but aside from that doesn’t offer any other common features such as presets. Regardless, it performs the main function of a microwave - heating food - well, and in good style too.

Panasonic NN-SF574S

6. Panasonic NN-SF574S

The best flatbed microwave in Australia truly maximises interior space

What we like
  • Flatbed design for greater interior space
  • Easy cleaning
  • User friendly programs
What could be better
  • Noisy in operation
  • Display can be hard to read

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The Panasonic NN-SF574S is a 27L flatbed inverter microwave that is incredibly user friendly in all aspects and a great choice if low maintenance is high up on your must-have list. Finished in timeless stainless steel and with clean lines, it will look stylish in any kitchen and is not enormous in size and will not overwhelm smaller spaces.

The main drawcard is the flatbed design, which means no more turntable. This makes the entire interior space usable so it’s able to accommodate larger dishes without increasing the overall dimensions and adding bulk. This is especially ideal for large rectangular dishes that wouldn’t fit on round turntables, or for fitting multiple dishes in at once. And not to mention that the flatbed design also makes the microwave so much easier to clean. No more removing turntables or annoying nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in, simply open the door and give the inside a quick wipe down as needed - easy peasy!

In terms of performance, precise power control and inverter technology give a customised and even heat every time no matter the dish, resulting in very minimal cold or hot spots. Softening and melting is also no problem with a dedicated preset for this, along with sixteen pre-programmed menu options so you don’t have to do the thinking - simply load the ingredients and forget.

When in operation, we did find that this microwave was noisier than expected and probably not ideal if your bedroom is right next door to the kitchen. The display screen can also be a little hard to read if not viewed at the right angle, and perhaps the interior light could be brighter, however we can happily forgive these small complaints given the rest of the package is so functional and user friendly.

Samsung 32L Microwave MS32J5133BM

7. Samsung 32L Microwave MS32J5133BM

Eco friendly and with an antibacterial interior coating

What we like
  • Antibacterial ceramic enamel interior
  • Keep warm preset
  • Can turn off beeping sound
  • Quiet operation
What could be better
  • Dim interior light
  • Touch screen buttons stiff

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A solid performer on our list and one of our favourite conventional microwaves, the Samsung 32L Microwave has some nice features at a fair price point for a sturdily made, attractive and modern model. It doesn’t go overboard with presets you’re unlikely to use, instead making sure the functions it does include are the ones you want.

The Keep Warm feature is handy for when you’re not quite ready for what’s inside but don’t want it to go cold. Sixteen preset cooking modes are easy and convenient to use, as is the soften/melt feature, and all round we found food heated fairly evenly, but even with 1000W of power it did take a little longer than some other models. 

With a ceramic interior coating that’s scratch resistant, it makes for a really easy and hygienic clean. This coating also helps to prevent unsightly discoloration and even provides antibacterial properties to keep your microwave clean and hygienic with minimal effort. 

Very lightweight, be careful not to push the touch controls with too much pressure as this can force the whole microwave backwards. As it turns out, the buttons are a little stiff and not as responsive as we’d prefer, however it should be easy enough to avoid excess pressure. 

For the eco conscious, the economy mode button saves power where it can and turns out the light without affecting performance too much.

It’s much quieter than average when in use which is welcomed, and even comes with the very handy feature of being able to turn off that annoying beeping sound when your dish has finished, as well as the beeping from pushing the buttons. This makes it an excellent choice if you have babies or light sleepers around, or if you live in a small apartment and the kitchen is the centre of it all.

Sharp 750W Compact Microwave

8. Sharp 750W Compact Microwave

Excellent entry level microwave that doesn’t skimp on functionality

What we like
  • Compact size for small spaces
  • Bright LED display
  • Advanced defrost function
  • Budget friendly
What could be better
  • Not high powered
  • Too small for larger families

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All in all, we think the Sharp 750W is the best value microwave for those looking for a modestly priced model without skimping on useful features. Small in size, it will fit into the tiniest of kitchens and although on the lower end of the market, it still includes many of the features and functionality you’d expect in a more expensive model.

Its 750W isn’t going to match the power of some of the other microwaves on our list, but it certainly gets the job done in reasonable time, especially for smaller dishes intended for one or two people. There are five power levels to suit all of your heating needs, and it can even take care of your cooking for you with six preset menus.

Also featuring two-stage sequence cooking capability, you can now defrost your food and then go automatically to cooking it without doing a thing in between. While we’re on the topic, it’s also pretty nifty at defrosting, with Sharp having conducted their own tests to determine the correct power and time to defrost popular cuts of meat so you don’t have to - simply press a button and this little microwave will do the rest.

We liked that the LED display is bright and easy to read even from a distance, and the child lock feature so curious little hands can’t find themselves in danger is a thoughtful touch.

Whilst not the most sophisticated looking microwave out there, it is easy to maintain with clean, modern lines, touch buttons and no annoying corners for food to get stuck in.

Russell Hobbs RHMO10 Compact Microwave

9. Russell Hobbs RHMO10 Compact Microwave

No frills, no fuss, maximum convenience

What we like
  • High powered compared to size
  • Stylish with mirror door
  • Child lock
What could be better
  • Limited functions
  • Small size

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The Russell Hobbs RHMO10 Compact Microwave could well be the choice for you if you’re after a simple, no fuss microwave that does the basic job of heating effectively and you have no need for extras. And as a bonus, this is one good looking microwave, finished in a smart gloss black with a stylish mirror door.

Boasting 800W of power which is rarely seen in compact microwaves, it’s ideal for quickly reheating leftovers as well as simple home cooking with the help of the eight auto-cook presets. Its 20L capacity may be small, but the interior is roomy and the turntable is generous enough to fit a large dinner plate. We found the heating to be even and consistent no matter the dish, with five power levels to choose from depending on your dish or ingredients.

The handle used to push/pull the door open and closed doesn’t feel cheap or tinny and the whole microwave has a nice sturdy feel to it and not like it’s about to fly off your counter at any moment. We also like the large control dial, which is intuitive to use, and the tactile buttons are easy to operate even without looking. There’s also a child safety lock so you won’t need to worry about young kids opening the door.

Be aware that this is a small microwave best for occasional use and won’t suit large families, nor will you be able to use it for much beyond basic reheating and simple cooking, but if this is all you need a microwave for then it’s certainly a solid choice in terms of performance, value for money and style.

How to choose the best microwave for you

While we all probably want the same basics in a microwave - heats food evenly and quickly, is easy to use and clean, and suits our decor - there are some features and considerations you might be forgetting. Read on for a quick rundown.

Cooking features. Aside from basic reheating, there are loads of extra cooking features available on modern microwaves. Ones to look out for include preset auto menus and cooking modes, convection cooking, grilling and airfrying, advanced defrosting or melting, warming or even proofing.

Other features. Other convenient features you might be interested in include multi-stage or sequence cooking, where you can command your microwave to say, defrost and then cook, all with the one button, and inverter technology which means your food is heated at a constant power level, rather than changing throughout the cook, resulting in a juicier result. Also don’t overlook a child safety lock feature if your microwave is going to be mounted at below waist height!

Size/capacity. This should suit your cooking habits. It goes without saying that singles can get away with a smaller microwave than families, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that generally speaking, the larger the microwave, the more powerful it will be, resulting in shorter cooking times. Also think about the size of the microwave in terms of exterior dimensions - will it fit comfortably on your bench top, or in the dedicated microwave hutch?

Controls. You might have a preference as to how you use the controls, whether it be touch screen or tactile buttons or a control dial. Regardless, they should be easy to use with any wording easily readable, and you certainly shouldn't have to pull out the instruction manual every time you want to use your microwave.

Visibility/lighting. Some microwaves have a much brighter internal lightbulb than others, making it easier to see the food cooking inside. Similarly, as control panels are digital, the quality of the display and backlight can make all the difference if you need to read the display at a distance, or at an angle. If you’re somebody who needs the visual confirmation, you may be annoyed with microwaves with poor visibility and lighting. 

Noise. Microwaves can be noisy when in use, and the noise can be annoying. Particularly for smaller spaces or open plan living and kitchen areas, the less noise the better. Some models even let you turn off the beeping noise that sounds when the dish is finished.

Cleaning. Microwaves with straight, clean lines and no little gaps, nooks or crannies for food to get stuck in will result in easy cleaning. Touch pads and flatbed microwaves, as well as ceramic or antibacterial interior coating, will also help to keep cleaning time to a minimum.