microwave oven
Today's microwave ovens are versatile appliances, and many have the ability to grill and bake, too. Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you had to give away the rest of your small kitchen appliances, and could only keep one, which would it be? We’re guessing it’s the humble, irreplaceable microwave oven.

Likely one of the most used appliances in your home, the microwave oven is where you can cook, reheat, and - in some high-tech models - even grill and airfry. Fazal Imam, founder of servicing and repair company, Dubai Repairs, said: “Microwave ovens have become an integral part of most households due to their convenience and versatility. They offer quick and efficient reheating, defrosting, and cooking options, which can save valuable time in our fast-paced lives.”

What features should I look for, when buying a microwave oven?

While many rely on such appliances for practically all their daily cooking needs, others tend to use it in conjunction with stovetop cooking. Depending on your needs and personal preferences, there are several factors to consider before purchasing, according to Imam.

He said: “It's advisable to avoid overly complex models if you prefer simplicity, and ensure that the microwave you choose aligns with your specific cooking habits and requirements.”

Our expert outlined a few key areas of consideration when purchasing a microwave oven:

  • Capacity: Choose a size that suits your cooking requirements and fits well in your kitchen.
  • Power levels: Look for a microwave with variable power levels, to adjust the cooking intensity as needed.
  • Cooking pre-sets: Consider models with pre-programmed settings for commonly cooked foods, which provide convenience and consistent results.
  • Sensor cooking: This feature detects moisture levels and adjusts cooking time accordingly, ensuring optimal results.
  • Easy-to-use controls: Select a model with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive controls for a hassle-free experience.
  • Safety features: Look for child lock options and safety mechanisms to prevent accidental operation.

Once you’ve bought your microwave oven, it’s imperative to take good care of the appliance so that it’ll last you for years, far beyond the warranty it came with. As an electronics specialist, Imam said the most common issues he has encountered with microwave ovens include control panel malfunctions, door latch problems, circuit board failures and faulty magnetrons (the electronic part responsible for generating heat).

Tips to take care of your microwave oven

In order to extend its lifespan and ensure the appliance runs steadily, with no issues, Imam shared a few tips. He said: “Clean it regularly; wipe the interior and exterior surfaces using mild soap and water to prevent the buildup of food residue. Always use containers and covers suitable for microwave use to avoid damage or potential safety hazards.”

How you operate the microwave also makes a big difference. Imam added: “Avoid running the microwave oven empty - it can damage the magnetron. Handle it with care. For instance, avoid slamming the microwave door, as it can impact internal components and affect performance. In general, follow the manufacturer's guidelines and adhere to the recommended power levels, cooking times, and ventilation requirements mentioned in the user manual.”

Editor's tip
Looking for discounts on large appliances? You can get up to 40 per cent off on items like refrigerators, microwave ovens and dishwashers on Amazon right now during the Ramadan Sale.

Based on our expert’s recommendations, we picked bestselling microwaves - many are on sale - that are absolutely worth the money. Have it delivered to you with free, one-day delivery with an Amazon Prime membership.

1. Best Overall: Samsung Solo Microwave Oven (34L)

Pros

  • Large 34-litre capacity
  • Includes nine auto-cooking presets
  • Scratch-resistant ceramic interior
  • Handy Melt option
  • Easy to use and clean

Cons

  • Reviewers say panel buttons are not always reliable

This 34-litre appliance by Samsung is ideal for everyday use. With nine auto cooking menus – from chicken to frozen vegetables – the microwave oven makes it easy for you to select exactly how you want to heat your food without drying it out. It's made with ceramic interiors, instead of epoxy, so it offers a smooth surface that is easy to clean and won't discolour over time from oil or grease residue. If you're a baker, you'll appreciate the oven's thoughtful Melt function; you can select from four modes for chocolate, sugar, or butter, for perfectly softened or melted recipe ingredients. Reviewers say the inner compartment is so spacious, it can fit large dinner plates, and the microwave oven is simple and easy to use.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dh49.58 for 12 months with select banks. Redeem an extra 20 per cent off with ADIB by entering the code ‘ADIB20’ at checkout.

Warranty: Manufacturer provides one-year warranty. 

2. Best Multifunctional: Panasonic Convection Microwave Oven (27L)

Pros

  • Incorporates convection, grill and microwave functionalities
  • Integrates combination cooking
  • Compact, but spacious
  • Includes 131 Auto Menu programs
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain that the appliance sometimes overheats

Imagine recreating freshly baked breads, or making a whole, rotisserie chicken – in just one appliance. This Panasonic convection microwave oven allows you to do just that, with its convection, microwave and grill capabilities. It comes with a whopping 131 auto menu programmes for a variety of Indian, Japanese and continental recipes. The appliance delivers 1,400W grill and 900W microwave power, both of which are responsible for getting the job done quickly and consistently. It’s a great size for families, and has a sleek, sophisticated appeal thanks to its stainless-steel build. Several reviewers say they have cooked entire meals from scratch in this oven, although some have found that the appliance tends to get hot if they are cooking for a long period of time.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dh60.75 for 12 months with select banks. Redeem an extra 20 per cent off with ADIB by entering the code ‘ADIB20’ at checkout.

3. Best for Small Spaces: Black+Decker Microwave Oven (20L)

Pros

  • Space-saving appliance
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent for preparing ready-to-eat frozen food

Cons

  • May take longer to heat than usual

Perfect for small families, or even students living away from home, this Black+Decker microwave oven is easy on the eyes, and on the pocket. It features a 35-minute timer to help you control cook times, along with a manual defrost feature that helps you defrost and cook in a single step – perfect for ready-to-eat frozen food. Easy to operate, the appliance has five cooking power levels for foolproof melting or reheating. Although its rotary knobs offer intuitive control, and the oven has a lot of advantages, reviewers do caution that it sometimes takes up to five minutes to reheat food, because of its relatively low power of 700W.

Bonus: Apply a 10 per cent coupon for further savings. Redeem an extra 20 per cent off with ADIB by entering the code ‘ADIB20’ at checkout.

Warranty: Manufacturer provides two-year warranty. 

4. Best Large Capacity: Samsung Microwave, Grill and Convection Oven (45L)

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Useful SmartSensor technology
  • Includes Fermendation Mode
  • Ceramic enamel is scratch-resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • May take up too much countertop space
  • Expensive

You don’t have to worry about adjusting power levels, thinking about the weight of your food, or serving sizes with this Samsung microwave. The device’s SmartSensor technology takes smart cooking to the next level – from light snacks to full meals, it detects the humidity level of the food and automatically sets the optimal cooking time and power. But if you’d like to take control, there are six different cooking modes to choose from. The appliance’s ceramic enamel doesn’t scratch like stainless steel, or crack like plastic. It’s easy to clean, and always looks brand new. And if you’re baking bread or making yoghurt, use the oven’s Fermentation Mode to ensure an even, low-warm temperature that can aide and hasten the fermentation process.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dh120.83 for 12 months with select banks. Redeem an extra 20 per cent off with ADIB by entering the code ‘ADIB20’ at checkout.

Warranty: Manufacturer provides a one-year warranty.

5. Best Budget: Midea Solo Microwave (20L)

Pros

  • Includes a timer
  • Incorporates five power control levels
  • Includes child safety lock
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Manual control

For decent reheating and defrosting on a budget, Midea’s solo microwave does the job efficiently and with no fuss. The 20-litre microwave is ideal for small families or people living alone, and its manual control knobs leave out the guesswork – ideal for those who don’t want to deal with the ambiguities of digital controls. This budget microwave also has delightful add-ons, like like a child safety lock and the ability to defrost by weight or time, ensuring you get full value for the cost.

Bonus: Redeem an extra 20 per cent off with ADIB by entering the code ‘ADIB20’ at checkout.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.