Finding the best microwave is often challenging, especially if you want to give up the traditional oven. Are combi microwaves really worth it?
Long story short, they are. The best microwave for grilling and baking fuses the convenience of a microwave oven with that of a convection oven, making it a versatile appliance to own.
Now, are you wondering how to find the best model? Take a look at our selection. But before, let’s see what to check before buying.
What are the Differences Between standard, Grill, and Combination Microwaves?
The difference between standard, grill, and combination microwaves is just what it says on the tin.
Standard microwave ovens are designed to cook food through microwave radiation. They can’t grill or bake, but they’re perfect for preparing microwaved meals, reheating leftovers, making popcorn, defrosting foods fast, and more.
Most standard microwaves are perfect to cook potatoes and vegetables too, and you could even use them for steaming.
Grill microwave ovens have an additional heating element and a rack that allow you to broil or grill foods.
When used in this mode, the oven generates radiant (but not microwave) heat. Thus, you can use the metal rack inside the microwave oven.
One thing to know about cheaper models is that the grill heating element is very weak. Generally, it will cook your food, but it won’t necessarily turn it crispy. If you want a powerful microwave for grilling, opt for a more expensive, higher-end model.
Combination microwave ovens use both microwave and convection heat; you can switch between the functions and use the oven for baking, roasting, broiling, and everything else you’d use a microwave for.
These appliances are ideal for people with small kitchens since you can use the same appliance for two purposes. They also allow you to save money – even if combi microwaves are expensive, they are definitely cheaper than two separate ovens.
What are the Benefits of a Combination Microwave oven?
As explained above, combination microwave ovens merge the functions of standard microwaves with those of standard convection ovens. This comes with a number of benefits:
Combi microwaves allow you to save counter space, especially if you have a small kitchen. If you opt for a built-in design, you can still incorporate an extra cabinet into your kitchen since you only need one appliance slot.
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A combination microwave makes it easy to switch between functions. More often than not, you can switch from cooking to keep warm mode or turn from convection to microwave as needed.
Ease of use
Most combi microwave ovens are very easy to use. Pre-programmed cooking options apply to both microwave and convection cooking, so you can take the guesswork out of the game.
Whether you need an oven for your home or small business, a combi microwave brings unmatched versatility.
You have flexible temperature and humidity options, can set cooking times, use pre-programmed cooking options, and more. Some models are even smart, connecting with your mobile phone through apps so that you can control cooking from a distance.
What kind of microwave oven should you have to bake at home?
Baking in a microwave oven is only possible if you have a combination microwave. This oven type is also called convection microwave oven because it uses both convection and microwave cooking technologies.
As explained above, the main difference between standard and combi microwaves is the use of two heat sources instead of one.
These microwave ovens have a magnetron that generates microwave heat when you want to cook food fast. You can use the oven to make popcorn, defrost stuff, prepare microwaved meals, or reheat leftovers.
When you want to bake, you can simply switch to convection heating.
This mode uses a standard heating element that you’d find in a traditional oven. Some units have fans to allow for ventilated baking. This mode increases the cooking speed, although some recipes call for non-ventilated heat. In most cases, you’ll be able to switch between the modes.
What things to consider before purchasing a microwave for baking and grilling?
A microwave for baking and grilling brings unparalleled value for money. However, there are a few things to consider before buying.
How small or large the oven is the first thing to consider before spending your hard-earned money.
Combination microwave ovens are generally larger than standard microwaves, but you can still find compact models if you have little counter space. More often than not, the minimum size you can get is 1.2 cubic feet, although there are exceptions.
If you have plenty of space, consider getting a larger microwave. A larger capacity would fit larger pans, allowing you to cook for more people at a time – or in larger batches.
Next, consider the materials the oven is made of. Stainless steel is a popular choice, but the polished variant smudges easily and is hard to clean. If you like stainless steel, get a matte or brushed finish.
Some microwave ovens have plastic cases and plastic parts, such as the handle or push button to open the door. Check them out. Make sure the material is rigid but not brittle.
Thin plastic parts can break easily, but so can thicker parts made of poor-quality plastics.
Also, check the oven’s interior. Make sure it is enameled or coated with non-stick ceramic.
Generally, enameled interiors are longer-lasting since they don’t scratch as easily as non-stick coatings. If the ceramic coat becomes damaged, the metal underneath could cause arcing or leak toxic fumes into the oven’s cavity.
Also, check the carousel and make sure it’s easy to maintain. Keep in mind that moving parts are the most likely to break.
Like standard microwave ovens, combination microwaves output a certain wattage – or power – during the cooking process.
The minimum you should aim for is 1,000 watts. This power is high enough to cook foods fast, but it won’t consume a lot of electricity.
More powerful microwaves are desired, though, if your primary purpose is that of baking and roasting foods rather than microwaving them.
Some of the best microwaves for baking and grilling can reach up to 1,500 watts of power output.
Grill and Baking Features
Not all combination microwaves were created equal. Cheaper models often have poor-quality elements that won’t produce exceptional results.
Power aside, you must also consider the accessories.
Most combination microwaves come with SA that allows you to roast, broil, bake, and grill foods without purchasing additional cookware.
If your chosen model doesn’t include accessories, make sure you know what kind of heat it uses throughout each cooking cycle. If the oven switches from convection to microwave during the cycle, you might not be able to use metal or polished cookware safely.
Cleaning any kind of oven is no fun, so make sure the one you buy is easy to clean and maintain.
As mentioned above, its interior should be enameled or coated in a non-stick material. Wipe off residues as soon as you’re done cooking to prevent buildup.
What you may not know is that some microwave ovens can make things easier for you. These ovens have a self-cleaning function that steams the interior, dislodging any stuck grease and food bits.
Alternatively, you can steam the interior yourself with water or white vinegar. The latter is a better option if you’re dealing with a huge mess.
With this in mind, let’s find out which are the best microwave ovens for baking and grilling in today’s market.
Best Microwave for Baking and Grilling
1. Cuisinart CMW-200 Countertop Microwave Oven
One of the best countertop microwave ovens for baking and grilling, the Cuisinart CMW-200 is the one-stop choice for avid home chefs.
With four functions, it conveniently lets you swipe from microwave to convection cooking. The convection mode has three options, allowing you to choose from standard convection – ideal for baking – a fast baking mode and roasting convection.
These buttons make cooking seamless, regardless of what you want to prepare.
Why I love it
Ideal for families, this convection microwave has a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet. Switching from one mode to another is a cinch.
Another highlight is the ease of choosing the right convection power – simply press the right button before you begin the cycle.
The touchpad controls panel features an LCD screen that makes it easy to navigate between functions. The oven also has numerous preprogrammed options and comes with accessories.
Power-wise, the oven outputs up to 1,000 watts of cooking power and has ten power levels. The unit also comes with comprehensive instructions and a convenient recipe booklet.
What could be better
Convection and grilling aren’t as efficient as you’d get in a standard convection oven. However, the results are decent.
The main downside is the lack of customer support offered by Cuisinart. Unfortunately, the brand gives little after-sales support.
2. Tovala Gen 2 Smart Microwave Oven
Tovala Gen 2 is not a microwave oven in the true sense of the word, but it has made it to our list thanks to the versatile options it brings.
This smart oven is an excellent choice for people who primarily want to bake and roast or grill rather than cook microwave meals. It has a small capacity, but a power that goes up to 1,525 watts. This makes it perfect for baking cakes and cooking and roasting lamb or veal.
Why I love it
Undeniably, this oven’s main advantage is the app connectivity. You can connect it to your phone and control cooking from a distance.
In-app controls include automatic adjustments of power and cooking time based on recipe, so you’ll never have to guesswork anything ever again.
More than baking and grilling, you can use this oven to broil, toast, steam, and reheat. In this aspect, it works more or less like a microwave oven. However, it isn’t a suitable option to defrost frozen foods or dishes.
The stainless steel unit has a classic design with traditional knob controls. Nevertheless, it is one of the most technological countertop ovens on the market.
What could be better
This unit really has very few drawbacks, and perhaps the main downside is that it doesn’t include microwave cooking. That said, you can still prepare frozen meals inside, as long as the package says that you can cook them in a convection oven.
3. Farberware FMO12AHTTBSG Countertop Microwave Oven
Farberware is an excellent choice if you don’t care much about baking but would like a microwave oven with a grill function.
With a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet and power up to 1,100 watts, this is one of the most powerful microwaves on this list suitable for families. The unit also features ten power levels and nine cooking programs, offering plenty of versatility.
Why I love it
This brand is known for its quality appliances, and this microwave doesn’t disappoint. The unit has a sleek appearance with a brushed stainless steel finish. The surface is smudge-resistant and easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
A handle instead of a push button increases durability. The control panel is also intuitive and very easy to use.
Like most microwave ovens, it has a 30-second button and a convenient child lock. Switching between functions is also a cinch, and the unit won’t break the bank.
What could be better
For what it’s worth, the grill function works, but it’s painfully slow. Plan ahead to prevent waiting too much at dinner time. The interior light is also rather dull, so you’ll have to open the door to monitor the cooking progress.
4. Panasonic NN-CD87KS HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven
Panasonic NN is a famous line of microwave ovens, and it includes this 4-in-1 unit you can use to microwave foods, broil them, grill, bake, and roast.
One of the best combination microwaves on the market, it features a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet and up to 1,000 watts of cooking power.
The unit also has 20 cooking programs, making it a perfect choice for busy people who don’t want to run cooking trials and errors.
While more expensive than other microwave ovens in its class, this Panasonic is undeniably one of the best options if you want a single appliance.
Why I love it
This is one of the most reliable microwave ovens on the market. It has an intuitive control panel and – the best of all – it includes an air fryer function.
The large-capacity microwave oven has a sleek design and fits seamlessly in all kitchens. It can also be installed in a cabinet if you use a compatible trim kit.
What could be better
The main downside of this microwave oven is the amount of electricity it needs to operate properly. Keep in mind that it needs its own circuit, or it must be turned on only when the other appliances and electronics are off if the circuit is shared.
The oven is also heavy, and the light is not particularly bright. However, this is an issue with most microwave ovens.
5. Galanz GSWWA12S1SA10 3-in-1 Convection Oven
Last on the list, this 3-in-1 convection microwave oven from Galanz is an excellent choice for those who want affordable versatility.
The first thing that stands out is the streamlined design. This oven is perfect for a modern kitchen.
The control panel is more than intuitive, and you can expect it to cook fast thanks to the power of up to 1,000 watts.
Like all other microwaves above, it has ten power levels. It also has pre-programmed cooking functions – ten of them – and a capacity of 1.2 cubic feet.
Why I love it
One of the main things I like about this microwave is its ease of use. You can switch between microwave, convection, and air fry mode with a simple touch of a button.
The cooking time and temperature are also easy to customize. Finding the preprogrammed functions is sometimes more challenging, but the unit is a breeze to use once you get used to it.
The brushed stainless steel finish and black glass details also add up to the aesthetic factor. The unit is also affordable compared to Panasonic.
What could be better
The interior light and warranty system are the biggest downsides of this microwave oven. The light could be brighter.
On the other hand, the warranty is on paper, and you must send any complaints by mail. The process is daunting and time-consuming, to say the least. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t have online warranty support.
Microwave for baking and grilling comparison table
|Cuisinart CMW-200||Tovala Gen 2||Farberware FMO12AHTTBSG||Panasonic NN-CD87KS||Galanz GSWWA12S1SA10|
|Capacity||1.2 cu. ft.||0.65 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.|
|Max power||1,000 watts||1,525 watts||1,100 watts||1,000 watts||1,000 watts|
Microwave for the Grill and Baking-Related FAQs
What can you cook in a microwave grill?
You can cook all microwavable meals in a microwave grill. In addition, you can grill meats or vegetables, make toast thanks to the broil function (don’t forget to turn the slices of bread on the other side mid-cycle), melt marshmallows, and more.
What makes a great combi microwave?
The things that make a great combi microwave can change from one person to another.
Generally, a great combi microwave should have a true convection function, which means the oven uses hot air rather than weaker microwave power to bake and roast foods.
It should also come with pre-programmed cooking functions for both convection and microwave options.
Ease of use and cleaning ease are two other important factors. To make sure the microwave oven you want to buy suits your needs, think of what would make your life easier and look for those things.
Can you cook chicken in convection mode?
Yes, you can cook chicken in convection mode, as well as other dishes you’d normally cook in a convection oven.
Still, wondering if baking in a microwave is the right solution for you and your family?
Baking in a microwave is the right solution for your family if you don’t bake very often and have little space in the kitchen. Otherwise, a microwave oven will rarely match the baking performance of a true convection oven.
What temperature should be set for baking cakes in a microwave oven?
Typically, cakes require a temperature of around 325°F, which is around 700 watts in a microwave oven. Refer to your user manual to lower the power level, if your microwave doesn’t have a specific button.
Which one is better to bake, a microwave or an oven?
A standard convection oven is your best bet if you’re concerned about baking alone. If you want the convenience of two appliances in one, you can’t go wrong with a combi microwave.
A microwave for baking and grilling is an excellent choice for households with little space in the kitchen. You can enjoy the benefit of two appliances in one, and even save some money on the purchase. However, keep in mind that such an oven might not bake as well as a standard convection oven would.
Before buying, consider your needs and whether you’d rather bake or reheat meals more. No matter what you need, I hope this guide has helped you find the best microwave oven for you.