The microwave and convection oven are two of the most essential appliances in the kitchen. Unfortunately, both of them are quite cumbersome, taking up large areas of precious culinary real estate.
It was only a matter of time before food engineers combined both gadgets into one clever contraption. With a microwave convection oven, you get the best of both worlds.
Like all brilliant inventions, however, some brands are better than others, and there are still a lot of bugs that need to be worked out. While this article is an incredible start, research is an inevitable part of finding the right oven for you.
We looked at 3 variables when considering quality in a convection microwave. We looked for high cooking reviews, a fair and reasonable price, and nifty features that make everyday cooking easier.
The following summaries are based on actual reviews from verified buyers who have tried the product firsthand, so without further ado, here are the best convection microwaves to date!
Our #1 Pick
Convection microwaves were one of the first products we ever reviewed here at Robust Kitchen. Our #1 pick hasn't changed in all that time. The customer reviews speak for themselves. Toshiba made an incredible microwave
Top 3 Compared
Top Rated Products
1) Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Countertop Convection Microwave (Amazon) - Best Overall
2) Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 Convection Microwave (Amazon) - Best Convection Microwave w/ Air Fry
3) Panasonic 4-in-1 Convection Microwave (Amazon) - Best Convection Microwave w/ Air Fry and Broiler Options
4) GE 1.0 Cu Ft Convection Microwave (GE Appliances) - Best 1 Cu Ft Convection Microwave w/ Air Fry
5) Panasonic FlashXpress Broiler Microwave (Amazon) - Best Microwave w/ Broiler Option
6) Kitchenaid 1.5 Cu Ft Convection Microwave (Lowes) - Best Microwave w/ High Wattage
7) KitchenAid Over-the-Range Convection Microwave (Home Depot) - Best Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
8) Sharp 1874-T Over-the-Range Convection Microwave (Amazon) - Easiest to Install Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
9) Whirlpool Over-the-Range Microwave (with Wifi) (Home Depot) - Best Over-the-Range Convection Microwave with Wifi
10) Samsung Pull-Down Convection Microwave (Home Depot) - Best Pull-Down Convection Microwave
1) Toshiba EC042A5C-BS Countertop Convection Microwave Oven
Toshiba just happens to make one of the highest reviewed, most reasonably priced convection microwaves available. The majority of the competing companies offer a product with similar characteristics, but at a much higher price and with worse reviews.
One of the coolest options the Toshiba convection microwave oven offers is the combination button. The "combi" button allows you to both use convection heat and micro wave radiation at the same time. This helps cook your food quickly and evenly with the microwave, while giving the outside that nice, crisp brown layer only a convection oven can offer.
It also has a sensor cook option which automatically cooks food to a desired moisture level. The button display is large and simple to use, which seems to be a rarity these days. With all the hype about automation, engineers have found a way to make the simplest cooking method more complicated than it needs to be. I like how Toshiba kept it simple.
The only reason I might hold off on this convection oven is if you are limited in space. The microwave itself isn't that big (L 21.7" X W 20.1" X h 12.8"), but in order for it to function safely and effectively, there must also be a 3" clearance on the right side, a 3" clearance on the rear, and a 12" clearance on the top. To make it easier, make sure you have at least this amount space.
L 25" X W 24" X h 25"
Provided you have this area available, this convection microwave will make a convenient addition to your kitchen.
5 / 5 Stars
2) Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 Convection Microwave
We're continually blown away with the quality of Breville's kitchen products. Consistently earning spots on countless reviews we've created, Breville has once again created a product worth mentioning.
Breville's 3-in-1 convection microwave addresses all the downsides we found with other microwaves. It has a relatively large capacity (1.1 cubic ft), it has an extra air fry function, and it has a combi function to allow both microwave and convection cooking.
The price point is slightly higher than competing microwaves, but this is to be expected with Breville products. Many of the reviewers commented on how the pricer was high, but worth it.
5 / 5 Stars
3) GE 1.0 Cu Ft 3-in-1 Countertop Microwave Oven
If you want to get a combo microwave oven while saving on space and money, this compact unit from GE is your best bet. It’s slim and short enough that you can tuck it away inside a cabinet, and it does a little bit of everything. Along with standard microwave oven functions and convection heat, it doubles as an air fryer and triples as a broiler.
Many users were impressed with how quietly this machine runs. The convection heat works just as advertised, cooking food evenly and browning roasted items like a full-sized oven.
Like most of these combination countertop units, the GE 3-in-1 doesn’t air fry quite as fast as a standalone machine. But the baking, roasting, and broiling functions are more powerful than you’d guess from looking at its compact size.
There is one thing that you need to look out for: when you use the GE 3-in-1 as a convection oven, the exterior has a tendency to get quite hot. Be careful about touching the top and sides, and don’t leave anything near it that could melt easily (butter, wax, etc).
Most customers gave it good reviews for ease of use, which isn’t always the case with this many different functions to choose from. The one complaint in that area is that the controls aren’t backlit, making them a bit tricky to operate in dim light.
4.5 / 5 Stars
4) Panasonic NN-CD87KS 4-in-1 Convection Microwave
Panasonic has made it on our list several times because they seem to have perfected the convection microwave, where most companies (even the big companies) have utterly failed.
This Panasonic carries the functionality of a convection oven, broiler, air fryer and microwave. While quality tends to go down the tube as manufacturers put more functions on a machine, this seems to be the exception.
People were overall, very happy with the versatility and functionality of this Panasonic model.
However, it does sell for a pretty high price and there were some complaints about the oven needing its own circuit. Make sure you have the money and the right electrical environment to add this to your kitchen.
4.5 / 5 Stars
5) KitchenAid 1.5 cu. ft. Countertop Convection Microwave in Stainless Steel
This model from KitchenAid is nice and roomy, with a 1.5-foot capacity and a turntable that’s recessed into the bottom so it doesn’t take up space. It’s also powerful, with a 1400-watt convection element in addition to the 1000-watt microwave.
If you’re not sure that a unit this beefy can fit on your countertop, you can get the optional trim kit to install it as a built-in instead.
The KitchenAid Countertop has most of the features you’d expect from a dual oven. It has moisture-sensor cooking and a roasting function that alternates conventional and microwave heat to even out the distribution of heat. It doesn’t have as many preset options as our #1 pick, the Toshiba EC042A5C. However, it does have a grill setting, with an included rack, for when you want to sear a juicy cut of meat.
The big downside is the cost. This is the most expensive countertop option we looked at. You’ll have to decide if the versatility and hefty capacity are enough to justify the premium price.
4.5 / 5 Stars
6) Panasonic Countertop Microwave Oven with FlashXpress Broiler
Sometimes a full convection microwave isn't really necessary. Especially for those of us who just want that nice crisp char on the outside of our microwaved meals.
Anyone who owns a convection oven can tell you a broiler gets the job done and gets the job done well.
The Panasonic FlashXpress broiler is a pretty cool concept. It's a regular microwave but with an infrared broiler at the top. It allows you to get meals to your desired consistency without any crazy investment. It also has a combination button to allow you the luxury of both microwave and broil at the same time.
Panasonic focuses on delivering a large interior capacity without the bulky outside. This allows for ample cooking room without the sacrifice of too much counter space. The inverter radiation technology also allows for faster and more evenly cooked food, which is now a baseline for most of Panasonic's current microwave models.
The only real complaint is the button display. Buttons can accumulate food particles over time and become jammed. As long as you clean it frequently, this shouldn't be a problem. The buttons also don't include a 0-9 keypad for easy cook time input. Instead, it offers 10 minute, 1 minute, and 10 second interval changes with 3 buttons.
5 / 5 Stars
7) KitchenAid Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
With over a staggeringly high number of reviews (over 2000), the KitchenAid over-the-range convection microwave has a 94% recommendation rate (as of 10/01/2020).
To sustain such a high rating when there are so many things working against the engineers (installation, higher price, and overall expectations), this is a pretty spectacular machine. In addition to it receiving such great reviews, it also has a sensor steam/simmer option which is pretty nifty.
There were a couple of complaints about installation and the vent fan power, but overall, these complaints were pretty marginal.
4.5 / 5 Stars
8) Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
Attempting to buy an over the range convection microwave can be a little daunting. Knowing that everything has to fit correctly and installation must be precise, anyone interested should be cautioned.
But in the face of all these obstacles, Sharp has proven itself as an exceptional company in providing customers with a relatively easy installation.
An over the range convection microwave is the ultimate space-saver.
Allowing you the freedom of convection and microwave cooking without taking up counter space is a huge perk for those with bigger plans for their kitchen.
Like most over the range microwaves, the Sharp convection microwave provides an exhaust fan (low and high speed) with a hood light to illuminate food cooked on the stove. It also has sensor cook and food presets for baking, broiling, roasting, and microwaving (presets like vegetables, chicken, pork, and even cake and brownies).
There are a few precautions if you decide to go this route...
This particular model is sold by different vendors through Amazon. Make sure they have a good rating and have a reputation for packaging properly. There have been countless complaints about improper packaging and delivering damaged microwaves.
This is a heavy (approx. 80lbs) package and should be taken care of. Get the extended warranty if you can manage it. Also, make sure the dimensions are correct. Here is an installation guide to help you see if you have the proper space.
4 / 5 Stars
9) Whirlpool Smart (Wifi) Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
Finally, someone brought wifi into the realm of microwaves. We're a little surprised it was Whirlpool, but they've created quite the convection microwave.
Equipped with wifi cooking and scan-to-cook options, the Whirlpool over-the-range convection microwave is the first of its kind.
Unfortunately, there were a good amount of complaints about the wifi connectivity and ease of use.
Overall, a lot of positive reviews with cook functions. It seems the bugs haven't been worked out with the "smart" features. I wouldn't recommend buying this model for its wifi features, but if you're looking for a high quality, sleek looking, over-the-range convection microwave, this Whirlpool has more than proven itself.
4 / 5 Stars
10) Samsung PowerGrill Countertop Convection Microwave
If you're a fan of the drop-down door, this is the best convection microwave available. It has grill, slim fry, convection, microwave, and combination functions that make it a versatile cooking machine.
It also has a convenient eco mode, auto cook and several cooking presets which all help to make life easier when your on the run.
At 1.2 Cubic ft capacity, you should have no trouble cooking smaller meals. We just wouldn't recommend this as a second oven. It's convenient for microwaving and convection cooking single person meals.
If you're looking for a secondary oven, we recommend the Wolf Countertop Convection oven. Its one of the very few models that actually stands up to the label.
There is however, a lot of complaints regarding the ease of use. It seems a lot of people were disappointed with the directions and the learning curve involved with the machine.
4 / 5 Stars
Perks of a Microwave/Oven Combo
Even though it might seem obvious to you, here are the advantages of buying a microwave/oven combo unit.
Instead of going back and forth between two appliances, you can microwave and heat your food all in the same place, thus saving you precious trips around the kitchen.
The kitchen is usually one of the most constricted places in the house due to the number of items in it. With a microwave/oven combo unit, you can save space by having one appliance instead of two, thereby allowing you to make room for something else that you may have in mind.
-Use Convection and Microwave on Same Food
The flavors of food will come out differently depending on the heating method, temperature, and cooking time (also known as the Maillard reaction). Depending on the taste that you want, there will be times when you are going to alternate between the microwave and the oven. With a combo unit, this will be a whole lot easier to achieve.
Microwave/oven units are built with the latest green technology that consumes less energy and will significantly reduce your monthly bills as a result.
Most standalone ovens are gigantic and can result in a lot of excess heat going to waste. If you’re the type who bakes smaller dishes like cupcakes and cookies, then a microwave/oven appliance is the most logical choice.
What to Look For
The power ratings in regular microwaves typically range between 600-1,200 watts. On the other hand, convection microwaves hover at around 900-1,200 watts (they tend to be higher due to their dual function).
Power ratings are important because they tell you approximately how much energy is being used to heat your food. Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time, but since it uses more electricity, it can also cost more.
Power is spent on other functions as well such as the rotating tray and the digital display, so not all of the wattage is going into the actual cooking.
There is a new technology in microwave ovens that detects the moisture content in food. Once it reaches a certain level, the microwave oven will automatically adjust its heat, making sure that the dish isn’t overcooked even if you’re not physically present to monitor it.
This is often known as sensory or sensor cooking.
The moisture level is determined by the manufacturer, so different brands may give different times, but overall, sensory cooking is a godsend that can let you multitask in the kitchen without fear of burning your dish due to inattention.
Since this is a fairly recent innovation, however, it’s best not to rely on it too much, especially when dealing with unfamiliar dishes.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning the microwave is similar to the way you'd clean a toaster oven. Food particles get stuck to the wall, and with continued use, become more and more caked to inside surfaces. So when buying a microwave, there are a few things you should consider.
1) Make sure that all the interior parts can be disassembled quickly.
2) Make sure that the exterior surface is made of non-stick material.
3) Make sure the controls use a touchpad instead of buttons.
With a convection feature, it's imperative that heat is distributed to all angles of food evenly. There's nothing worse than biting into a cold spot.
For the convection oven, as long as the convection fan works effectively, this shouldn't be an issue. A turntable or rotating radiation emitter that allows food to cook as uniformly as possible is imperative for microwave ovens.
Always check customer reviews to determine if the mechanics are really up to your standard.
Make sure you’re getting what you pay for. I’ve found that many reviewers have had a terrible time going through warranty and return procedures with convection microwaves.
There are a handful of convection microwaves that sell for under $200, have great reviews, and are absent of horror stories for the most part. Worst case scenario, your microwave doesn't work and you have to go through the return process (which is a pain no matter what).
$200 - $800 Range: Most of these microwaves are similar to the under $200 microwaves but offer a higher wattage and some cool new features.
Here’s where I don’t like these microwaves...
You are investing A LOT of money and the assumption is that because you are investing so much, you will be taken care if things go wrong. But keep in mind...
- Most only have a full warranty of 1 year
- Most have a parts warranty for 5-10 years, but the warranty doesn’t cover labor, or shipping to the laborer.
Both unfortunate realities with convection microwave. Always weigh out the consequences of having to return the item in worst case scenarios.
-Convection Microwave Manufacturers
If you want to make an educated buy, it's important to know the convection microwave manufacturers that have made a solid name for themselves. Just to clarify, these company reviews are entirely based on their ability to design quality convection microwaves that customers are happy with.
Don't let this list define a company. In fact, if we were talking about regular microwave ovens, this list would be completely different.
While most kitchen appliance stores offer convection microwaves of all shapes and prices, Toshiba specializes in one type; high quality convection microwaves for under $200. If you are interested in getting a convection microwave that does its primary job perfectly, Toshiba is the way to go. But if you are looking for a bunch of bells and whistles, there are other competing companies that lead the pack.
Emerson is like the modern day Radio Shack. They specialize in making random products like remote controls and house fans. But it seems like whatever they choose to make, people are happy with. Emerson is similar to Toshiba in that they offer quality microwaves for a reasonable price. Although you will likely be limited to countertop microwaves.
Panasonic has been making microwaves for a VERY long time. As far as kitchen appliances go, no one really comes close. Supplying consumers with a wide variety of products allows buyers to choose a microwave that fits their taste. But as production becomes greater, customer service has a tendency to backslide. Know that if you order a Panasonic microwave online, you roll the dice in having to deal with an often ridiculed customer service system (similar reviews with Bosch).
Master chef specializes in making a few quality convection microwaves. It's far easier to trust in their products and customer service team when they are devoting all of their time to a couple products. Some of their products are on the more expensive side, but you can trust in the quality you're getting.
Sharp has also been making microwaves for a VERY long time. I've read of their earlier microwaves lasting decades. But relying on their old reputation might backfire on you. I've read reviews of many customers buying a new Sharp with their long lasting loyalty, only to be disappointed at the new quality of some of their cheaper products. If you are going with Sharp, I suggest you go with their higher-priced options. The original Sharp manufacturing reputation is still intact with this price range.
From what I can tell, Farberware is trailing Emerson and Toshiba in their ability to offer quality convection microwaves for less than $200, but their reviews lag behind the two companies. If you are thinking about a Farberware microwave, make sure to do your homework on the particular model. Make sure there is an ample amount of reviews to make an educated buy.
Kenmore is a very well established kitchen appliance company (amongst other types of products). If you are interested in a built-in convection microwave/convection oven combo, Kenmore is a great company. I recommend you go into the store to buy. Having to set up your order, delivery, and installation can be a lot to handle. Doing things in person is a better option (similar reviews for KitchenAid and GE).
Convection microwaves were a great idea. It's unfortunate the industry hasn't worked out all the bugs yet. I will keep my eyes peeled for technology improvements, but for now, this is the list.
If you can manage it, invest in a separate microwave and countertop convection oven.
You will have far more options and you can rest easy knowing you're getting quality.
But if you must, the convection microwaves noted above have proven themselves as smart investments. Just make sure you're getting exactly what you need. If you have any questions, please comment below and I'll do what I can to steer you in the right direction.
Founder of Robust Kitchen