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How to buy the best microwave

Microwave buyers guide

A microwave is one of the most convenient appliances to have in your kitchen. They can cook food very quickly, making them more energy-efficient than a conventional oven. There are many different types and brands of microwaves available, each with different features and settings. Which one you choose depends on your needs.

Something important to note: If you have a pacemaker, check with your doctor if it is safe to use a microwave. Most modern pacemakers are protected against interference, but older ones could be affected if they are too close to a microwave.

What are the different types of microwave?

There are five main types of microwave:

Here we explore each one in a little more detail.

Freestanding microwaves

A freestanding microwave stands alone and can be positioned wherever you’d like, providing it’s within easy reach of an electrical point. They’re ideal for basic tasks like reheating and defrosting food.

Combination microwaves

A combination microwave can also work like a convection oven but with faster cooking times. They offer a range of multi-cook options, allowing you to defrost, microwave and then grill.

Microwave with grill

A microwave with a grill has all the features of a standard microwave, but with the added feature of a grill element. This allows you to grill food as you would in a conventional oven for flavoursome results. The grill can be used on its own or in conjunction with the microwave to give you more control of the cooking process.

Built-in microwaves

A built-in microwave is perfect for a fitted kitchen as they work with the integrated look to create a sleek and stylish aesthetic. You can get different types of built-in microwaves – standard, grill and combination microwaves – so there’s a good range to choose from.

What size microwave do you need?

Microwaves come in various sizes, from small, compact models to larger bulkier models. The most common microwaves are between 15 and 32 litres.

Compact microwave
Size: Under 1 cubic foot.

Mid-size microwave
Size: 1 to 1.5 cubic feet.

Full-size microwave
Size: 1.6 to 2 cubic feet.

Common microwave features explained


The power of a microwave is measured in watts. A typical domestic microwave has a wattage of somewhere between 700 and 1200 watts. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster it cooks.

​Preset programmes

Many microwaves come with a range of preset programmes for reheating and defrosting popular foods – a great feature if you want to take the guesswork out of cooking.

Sensor cooking

Microwaves with sensor cooking automatically detect moisture in food. They also measure the microwave’s humidity and then adjust the power levels and cooking time to ensure your food won’t dry out.

​Child lock

The child lock function prevents children from using the microwave unsupervised. When this feature is activated, children will not be able to start a programme and interfere with the cooking process.

Colour and design options

If you’re looking for something a little different from the average stainless steel microwave, then why not choose something with a little more colour. You could even coordinate your microwave with other appliances in your kitchen for a more sleek look.

Digital or manual?

​Microwaves come with either digital or manual controls. Digital microwaves tend to have more advanced settings, whereas manual models have simple rotary dial controls and are usually more basic.


One of the most useful features of modern microwaves is defrosting – perfect for when you don’t have time to wait for food to thaw out.

Shop for microwaves at Knees Home & Electrical

We stock a wide variety of microwaves from top brands including Bosch, Neff, Swan, Miele, Smeg and Haden.

We have two stores in Wiltshire; one in Trowbridge and one in Malmesbury. We have a range of microwaves on display in-store, so you can take a look before you buy.

But you don’t have to live locally to buy your microwave from us. We deliver across mainland UK using our delivery partner – view our delivery services page for further details. You can also see and buy our entire range online.

If you need any help or advice, our helpful customer service team will be happy to assist you.


Shop microwaves here