Combi microwave buying tips
Home Improvement Kitchen

Combi microwave buying tips

A microwave oven can grill and bake like a conventional oven, as well as heat and defrost. Find out in this article whether you should buy a combi microwave. Budding chefs can create a multitude of meals in a combination microwave, even a full roast dinner. The best combi microwave can cook just as well as a conventional oven, but faster. If you buy a bad combi microwave, you will have wasted your money on those extra features.

If you just want to know which combi model to choose from, take a look at our reviews.

View the TOP 10 best-selling combi microwaves according to:

  • Coolblue: view top 10
  • Bol.com: view top 10

 

How do combi microwaves work?

A combi microwave offers more cooking flexibility than a standard microwave. This is because a combi microwave (as the name implies) combines microwave energy, a grill, and convection heat (hot air), so they can heat, roast, frost and brown in the same way as a large conventional oven.

If you want to expand the boundaries of microwave cooking and do more than just heat and defrost soup, buying a microwave oven is a good choice. You can bake cakes in a combination and you can cook independently or together with the heat sources.

Pre-set programs can be very useful when cooking certain meals in a combination microwave, as they automatically cook food for the correct time combination of microwave, convection and grill without you having to set it yourself. Take a look at your microwave’s manual for guidelines for different meals.

Accessories such as vegetable and rice steamers and browning plates can help you achieve the right finish and make healthy and tasty meals.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of combi microwaves

Advantages

  • Offer additional cooking options compared to standard microwaves
  • Can cook in the same way as a standard conventional oven, but faster
  • Often have a lot of extra automatic functions and features
  • They can be built in your kitchen just like normal microwaves
  • They are smaller than conventional ovens

 

Cons

  • They are more expensive than other types of microwaves
  • A basic microwave may be sufficient if you simply want to heat and defrost food
  • They do not always achieve the same results as a separate oven. We found that when baking some foods, they couldn’t create the same delicious texture of a conventional oven
  • They are not as big on the inside as a conventional oven

View the TOP 10 best-selling combi microwaves according to:

  • Coolblue: view top 10
  • Bol.com: view top 10

 

 

What should you pay attention to when you buy a combi microwave:

Visibility

Bright interior light and large transparent viewing windows allow you to watch your food while cooking. Not a single model we tested scored really well in this area.

 

Ease of use

Look for easy-to-use controls and good instructions on the display. With the best models, you don’t have to grab the instruction manual to be able to perform the basic functions.

 

To clean

Check that there are not too many holes in the oven or seams on the outside where food and grease can accumulate. It can be difficult to clean around exposed grill elements. However, some models have their grill element built into the roof. A stainless steel exterior may look nice, but it does require extra care to keep them free of fingerprints.

 

Dimensions

Check whether your hobs and oven dishes fit in the microwave. The microwave also needs space on the outside for ventilation. This is at least 5cm at the sides, 10cm at the back, and 15-40cm at the top.

 

Automatic functions

These ask you to enter the weight and type of food and then automatically calculate how much time is needed.

 

Quick boost/start

This starts the microwave, usually by pressing a single button. Most microwaves increase the cooking time by 1 or half a minute each time you press the button again.

 

Time Adjustments

This makes it possible to extend or shorten the programmed time without having to stop the microwave.

 

Delayed start

This makes it possible to program the microwave to start the set time. Don’t leave your food in the oven for too long, though, or it could go bad.

 

Cooking sensor

Sensor programs take the automatic functions one step further by measuring the vapors during cooking to determine the cooking time.

 

Multiple cooking steps

Microwave ovens with this feature can be programmed to perform a sequence of functions such as defrost, then cook and then stand.

 

Child lock

This means that you can press a sequence of buttons to deactivate the microwave. All models we tested have this feature.

 

kitchen clock

Can be used to time other things, such as boiling an egg.

 

Cooling Fan

Many microwaves (both convection and basic models) have a fan to cool the interior after cooking, but in some cases they are quite noisy.

 

View the TOP 10 best-selling combi microwaves according to:

  • Coolblue: view top 10
  • Bol.com: view top 10

 

Additional tips

Safety

  • Convection cooking heats the entire inside of the microwave, so the appliance must be insulated to prevent the outside from becoming dangerously hot. During our testing, we found that the knobs, glass door and handle heat up more than a standard microwave, but not dangerously hot. These models are much better insulated than mini ovens.
  • As with a conventional oven, you need to be very careful when removing food from the microwave as the inside of the door gets very hot during convection mode and may close on its own and hit your hand. Always use oven gloves and let the microwave cool down before cleaning the inside.
  • Also remember that while the interior of the microwave is still hot from the convection cooking, you should avoid using microwave-only containers/containers as they can be damaged by the heat.

 

Combi cooking

  • Combination mode: Using convection and microwave cooking at the same time (and maybe the grill too) can speed up the cooking process and give very good results.
  • Combination cooking is suitable for roasting meat, poultry, and vegetables, cooking fish, stew, and potato and pasta dishes, and baking cakes, pies, and bread.
  • Metal cookware can be used during combination mode. However, some metal utensils can cause sparks when they come into contact with the sides of the microwave or racks.

 

To clean

  • Make sure the microwave has cooled down sufficiently before cleaning. Unlike a standard microwave, the sides of a convection microwave can become very hot after use.
  • Do not use corrosive, penetrating or harsh cleaning agents or scouring pads. Never spray an oven cleaner directly on any part of the microwave.
  • To clean the interior you should use warm soapy water. For stubborn dirt, heat a bowl of water until it boils and then let it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The steam will settle on the walls and soften the stubborn dirt, so you can wipe the microwave clean with a cleaning cloth and washing up liquid.

 

Installation

  • All recessed models must have a trim kit and be installed by a certified electrician.
  • Convection microwave ovens should not be placed where heat and steam generate (next to a conventional oven, for example).
  • All ovens require at least 5cm clearance on the sides, about 10cm at the back and 15-40cm at the top.

 

 

How much should you pay for the best combi microwave?

Combi microwaves are generally more expensive than standard microwaves (you pay for the extra functionality they offer). But not all of them are as expensive as you might expect. One of the cheapest recommended models we’ve tested costs around $150, but keep in mind that the cost can add up to well over $500 for a large-capacity built-in microwave.