Microwave Finder: How to find your next microwave

Here’s what you need to know when choosing your next microwave.

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Best Microwave

Best Rated Microwave Brand: LG

With the launch of Australia's largest microwave in October 2020, LG is making waves in this category. It was voted best for cooking performance as well as ease of use.

Quick facts about microwaves

  • There are several different types of microwaves, including conventional, convection and built-in.
  • When choosing a microwave, think about where you're going to put it in your kitchen.
  • Prices range from AUD$70 to AUD$2,000.

Compare microwaves

Name Product Volume Power Turntable Size Product More info
Whirlpool JQ280IX 6th Sense 29L Crisp N' Grill Convection Microwave
Panasonic NN-ST25JMQPQ 20L Compact 800W Microwave Oven
Panasonic NNCF770M 27L Convection Microwave 1000W
Whirlpool JT479IX 6th Sense Crisp N' Grill Convection Fan Forced 31L Microwave
Samsung MC455THRCBB 45L Convection Microwave Oven 900W

Compare up to 4 providers

What types are available?

There are three main types of microwaves: conventional, convection and built-in.

  • Conventional. A conventional microwave is ideal if you want to use your microwave just for reheating or defrosting. This is the most common and cheapest type of microwave.
  • Convection. A convection microwave might suit you if you want a microwave with a greater range of cooking options.
  • Built-in. As the name suggests, built-in microwaves don't sit on your kitchen's countertop, but instead need to be installed. A built-in microwave has the most cooking options, including convection and grilling. These are usually the most expensive type of microwave.

Where can I put a microwave?

The type of microwave you should get depends on where you plan to put it in your kitchen. Check out the following options:

Free-standing microwaves

Free-standing microwaves are the traditional microwaves that stand on your countertop. They are usually used for heating, reheating and defrosting food as well as cooking simple meals.

  • Require no specialist installation
  • Usually the cheapest type of microwave
  • Have a limited range of cooking functions
  • Cooking times can vary greatly depending on how powerful the microwave is

Built-in microwaves

You might consider buying a built-in microwave if you are remodelling or building your kitchen since this type of microwave must be installed. Built-in microwaves usually come with conventional microwave functions as well as grill and convection functions.

  • Keeps your kitchen's countertops clear
  • Usually comes with a wide range of cooking options
  • Cannot be placed anywhere – must have a specific location in the kitchen
  • More expensive than free-standing microwaves

Over-the-range microwave

Over-the-range microwaves fit over the top of your range and have several different functions beyond the conventional microwave.

  • Multi-function – many over-the-range microwaves operate as lights and vents for your stovetop
  • Conveniently located if you need to use it while you are cooking
  • Must be a specific size to fit over the stovetop
  • May require professional installation

Drawer microwaves

A drawer microwave is exactly what it sounds like – a microwave in a drawer that slides in and out of the wall.

  • Very economical on space
  • Can be designed to look like another drawer in your kitchen
  • Not easy to install
  • One of the more expensive types of
  • microwaves

How to compare microwaves

When it comes to microwaves, there's a huge range of prices – from less than AUD$100 through to several thousand dollars.

When comparing microwaves, consider the following features:


What do you want to use your microwave for? If all you need is something to warm up last night's left-overs, you'll probably be happy with a conventional microwave. If you'd like something that will grill or bake as well, you'll need to consider a microwave with multiple functions.

Its place in your kitchen

All types of microwaves – other than conventional microwaves – require professional installation into a specific location in your kitchen. Conventional microwaves can be plugged in and used immediately. However, they tend to take up a lot of bench space.

Your mobility

Some microwaves are ideally suited to people with mobility issues. For example, if you have arthritis in your hands, you'll want to look for a microwave with large buttons that are easy to use.


The lower the wattage, the cheaper the microwave. However, what you'll save in money, you'll lose in power. Generally, microwaves between 900 and 1000 watts will get the job done well. Anything below 700 watts will struggle to heat your food effectively.

Energy efficiency

A less powerful microwave might suit you better if you're concerned about energy efficiency. Note that most microwaves use about the same amount of electricity as a stove-top element to do the same job. Microwaves use less power than a traditional oven to do the same job.

New or second-hand?

The average microwave lasts at least 10 years. So if you want a quality microwave but are strapped for cash, consider buying one second-hand. If you can, test the microwave before you buy it to make sure it still works as it should.

Check out our picks for the best microwaves

Six tips for cleaning a microwave

We've all had the unpleasant experience of opening a microwave to find caked-on food splattered across the interior. But don't panic! We have you covered with our best tips for cleaning a microwave – including some you may not have thought of before.

  1. Spray and wipe. Simply use a cleaning spray of your choice and wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel.
  2. Steam with paper towels. If you need to get rid of caked-on grime, place a handful of wet paper towels in your microwave and set the microwave to run for a few minutes. The steam from the heated paper towels will loosen the grime and can usually be wiped straight off.
  3. Try the lemon method. Cut a lemon in half and place the cut side down on a plate, along with a small amount of water. Microwave on high for one minute then remove the plate with the lemons and wipe the microwave clean.
  4. Use dishwashing liquid. Half fill a bowl with warm water and add a generous amount of dishwashing liquid. Run the microwave for a minute on high. Remove the bowl and use a cloth to wipe the inside of the microwave.
  5. Experiment with other methods. You can use similar methods described above using other cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda or window cleaner. Although you can use baking soda and vinegar together, be aware that they react when combined and will fizz strongly.
  6. Stay away from bleach. Don't use bleach to clean your microwave. It's not necessary, as microwaves generally don't get stained. And bleach can damage the plastic parts of your microwave.

Best rated microwave brand award breakdown

Total Score Overall rating Value for Money Cleaning & maintenance Cooking performance Ease of use
LG 8.35 4.48 4.50 4.52 4.62 4.68
Samsung 8.13 4.42 4.28 4.32 4.46 4.42
Westinghouse 8.12 4.35 4.59 4.53 4.53 4.53
Panasonic 8.07 4.38 4.32 4.30 4.48 4.32
Breville 8.05 4.40 4.28 4.36 4.32 4.32
Sharp 8.02 4.26 4.36 4.40 4.43 4.48
Big W 7.94 4.26 4.41 4.41 4.23 4.44
Electrolux 7.89 4.29 3.86 4.43 4.29 4.43
Kmart 7.89 4.20 4.52 4.10 4.36 4.54
Kogan 7.77 4.36 4.09 4.27 4.00 4.00
Bellini* 7.62 4.14 4.43 3.86 4.14 4.14
Smeg* 7.33 4.00 4.17 3.50 4.00 4.17
Russell Hobbs* 7.28 4.00 3.83 3.67 4.17 3.83
Other 6.07 3.28 3.36 3.40 3.36 3.24
*Brand did not meet the sample threshold to qualify for the award
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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