Combined appliances are something which can save space and money when you’re setting up your kitchen. The best convection microwaves out there combine the capabilities of both an oven and a microwave into one medium-sized appliance.
There are a lot of imitators out there and there’s one big problem with many of them: low wattage on the microwave section. If you can avoid running into this problem, however, you’ll end up with an extremely useful device. Our favorite was the Toshiba EC042A5C-SS Convection Microwave with Sensor Cooking Function which functions well in both modes and fits easily on a countertop. On the other hand, there’re a lot of respectable options out there, so let’s hop in and check them out.
The truth is that if you’re willing to spring for it, this Toshiba convection microwave is one of the best currently on the market. Talk about kitchen miracles!
Top 5 Convection Microwaves
|Toshiba EC042A5C-SS||Countertop||1.5 cu. Ft.||Check Price|
|Cuisinart CMW-200||Countertop||1.2 cu. Ft.||Check Price|
|Cuisinart CMW-100 Stainless Steel||Countertop||1.0 cu. Ft.||Check Price|
|Sharp R1874T 850W||Over-the-Range||1.1 cu. Ft.||Check Price|
|Emerson with Convection Grill||Countertop||1.5 cu. Ft.||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Convection Microwave
Toshiba EC042A5C-SS Convection Microwave with Sensor Cooking Function
This was the best of the convection microwaves we could find by a long shot. It boasts a powerful microwave and an impressive 1.5 cubic foot capacity that’s more than enough for most dishes.
The stainless steel interior is a particularly nice touch, since it’s easy to clean off even baked on stains. It’s also capable of dual-function usage right out of the box, allowing you to microwave and use the convection oven at the same time for some of the fastest cooking you’ll be able to find anywhere.
Add in that it’s a convenient to install countertop model and we had a clear winner. It comes with a ton of options right out of the gate to allow you to cook pretty much anything with ease, and it’s really one of the most user-friendly options we could find anywhere.
This all comes at a pretty high cost for a countertop appliance, of course.
Pros and Cons
- Three year limited warranty
- Extremely simple to use
- Can use both microwave and convection options at the same time
- Great capacity
- Limited power in the microwave portion
- Hot spots at the top of the appliance
2. Runner Up for Best Overall Convection Microwave Over
Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill
This was our second favorite of all of the available options and it’s pretty easy to see why. It comes with a 1.2 cubic foot capacity and 1000W of power to let you cook and nuke at the same time.
It also comes in with a stainless steel interior which works out pretty well when it comes to cleaning time. Add in the eight presets and the ability to remember your personal settings and you’ve got a clear contender.
Our main problem was that the microwave portion feels a little bit underpowered. The capacity is also a little bit small for those who are planning on cooking for their whole families.
On the other hand, this countertop convection microwave is pretty awesome for those who don’t want to have to remember their manual settings every time they turn around.
Pros and Cons
- Stainless steel interior for easy cleaning
- Eight presets
- Memorizes settings for cooking
- No install since it’s a countertop model
- Rather expensive compared to the smaller version
- Microwave function is a little bit underpowered
3. Best Small Convection Oven
Cuisinart CMW-100 1-Cubic-Foot Stainless Steel Microwave Oven
This is the little brother of our runner-up and we had to include it since it was also the best of the small convection microwave ovens we looked at. Once again we have a countertop model which can handle quite a bit, but the slightly reduced capacity put it behind our favorite.
It’s got 1000W of power, which actually works quite well with the smaller capacity. That alone makes it shine, since it doesn’t feel underpowered compared to single-use appliances.
It has the eight presets to make it easy to cook just about anything you might want to roast or bake and it can run both functions at the same time in order to deliver a crisp outside and a hot center.
It also has a memory function in order to allow you to remember which settings worked the best in the past if you want to step away from the presets.
Overall, if you’re willing to put up with the smaller capacity you may just fall in love with this microwave convection oven. It’s perfect for smaller homes, and the reduced cost makes it more accessible for those on a budget.
Pros and Cons
- 1000 watts works pretty well with the capacity
- Memory function to remember your settings
- Can use both microwave and convection options at the same time
- Attractive brushed chrome exterior
- Slightly limited capacity
- Rack is a bit shifty
4. Best Over-the-Range Convection Microwave Oven
Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
If you’re looking for something that won’t take up any counter space then you’ll be in luck with the Sharp R1874T. It has its flaws, but you’ll be able to overlook them once you have this sleek, stainless steel appliance installed in your kitchen.
One of the best parts? It comes with a built-in exhaust system. This means you’ll be able to easily hook it up to get the air used to cook out of your kitchen.
This unit is often installed in motor homes as well, so you know the company stands behind it.
If you’re looking for an over-the-range appliance for your home, then this is your best bet. It’s a little bit underpowered and quite expensive, but we found it still does a respectable job in the kitchen despite its flaws.
Pros and Cons
- Over-the-range model to save counter space
- Integrated exhaust fan
- Easy to install for an over-the-range
- Quite simple to use
- Limited presets
- Rather expensive for the power
5. Best Budget Convection Microwave Oven
Emerson 1.5 Cu. Ft. Microwave Oven with Convection Grill
Emerson no longer makes this rather old-fashioned model, but it comes in as one of the best if you’re trying to save money. The capacity and power can’t be matched at anywhere near the price of these refurbished models.
In our experience, they work as well as new. It has pre-programmed recipes and a heft 1400W of power to make sure that it can cook just about anything in short order.
On top of that it’s a countertop model so you don’t need to mess around to get it going in your kitchen.
The only problem is that it’s rather hit or miss on whether you get a grill included with it. Of the two we looked at, one did come with a grill despite the assurance there wouldn’t be one.
It’s also a bit old fashioned looking.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to save some money then this might just be the best option around. It may be old fashioned, but it’s no slouch when it comes to capacity and raw power.
Pros and Cons
- Huge 1.5 cubic foot capacity
- Nine presets for cooking
- Tons of power at 1400 watts
- Widely variable power levels, eleven in all
- Refurbished model since new ones are no longer available
- Doesn’t come with the rack
What is a Convection Microwave?
Of course, if you’re looking for one of these handy mixed appliances then you’ll want to know what they’re capable of.
A convection microwave combines both a convection oven and a microwave into one package. They’re usually quite similar in appearance and size to your usual microwave, but there are some larger exceptions for those who are going to be cooking large dishes.
In most cases, they actually perform both functions at the same time: basically, you can avoid the problems of having a blazing hot interior with a cold outside.
Since they’re dual-use, it pays off to replace a standard microwave with one in many kitchens. The convection oven function can be used to cook roasts and bake without the sogginess that microwaves sometimes leave food with. You’ll also be able to microwave things… hence the dual-usage.
They can really pay off for those who use them frequently, which is a good thing for most.
What to Look for in a Convection Microwave
There are many lesser options on the market which are only passable as either a convection oven or a microwave.
The ideal convection microwave is going to give you both options at a high rate. This ensures that you’re going to be able to handle everything with ease.
You’ll want to look for all of the following when you’re trying to pick a convection microwave for personal usage.
Cooking sensors measure the interior humidity of the appliance. This will allow you to prevent overcooking many of the more sensitive foods which might find their way into your device.
These are one of the first things to look for in anything which microwaves, since they can make a huge difference in how food comes out with less input on your part.
We’re all familiar with the turntables which ensure even microwave saturation during the cooking process. For those of us who like to cook bigger dishes a toggle may be necessary.
Most of these are simple enough: push a button, the plate doesn’t turn. This allows you to cook larger dishes without risking the small motor which powers the turn table.
“Quick Cook” Features
Quick cooking will let you press a single button and get a 30 second or 1 minute microwave session going. While they’re not really required they certainly can be convenient for just quickly heating something up.
The capacity of your new convection microwave oven is more important than it seems at first glance. In order to get the most out of the convection feature, you’ll probably be cooking much larger dishes than you normally microwave.
So, it makes sense to get something a little bit bigger than normal for the best end results.
On the other hand, you’ll also want to make sure that the whole thing fits where you place it so there’s a definite tradeoff happening. Larger capacity, larger appliance, harder to place.
It’s a good idea to figure out a few dishes you’re going to want to try cooking before you even get going and measure them to make sure that you’ll be able to enjoy things.
Older microwaves make quite a bit of noise, the hum of the magnetron can range from soothing to absolutely infuriating depending on the individual in question.
Most modern models aren’t too loud, but we did see a few that had complaints about how loud they were overall. This makes them less than ideal for those who have exceptionally sensitive hearing.
Microwaves tend to be tough. They pretty much have to be in order to be safe to use, since the magnetron works by emitting radiation in an enclosed space.
Unfortunately, that physical toughness doesn’t always translate into a truly durable appliance, since things have a tendency to break down over time. We rejected a lot of models for complaints about their longevity, even with a warranty having your cooking devices go down is a major inconvenience.
Warranties are pretty much essential for any kind of kitchen appliance that runs more than $20. Due to the moving parts and interaction with various foods… they tend to break down quite a bit. That means you’ll want to make sure you have at least a year of warranty ahead of you.
Sooner or later these things do break down, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it for a couple of years.
Ease of Repair
Chances are you’re not going to be working on your convection microwave at home.
But, you do want to make sure that you’ll be able to get it repaired somewhere nearby if it happens. Checking the manufacturer’s information to see if there’s someone capable of putting it back together near you is important if you don’t want to end up having to buy a new one over what should be a minor repair.
Three Types of Convection Microwave
There are three primary types of convection microwave out there, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Standard countertop models are our favorites. Most of us have a microwave on the counter anyways, so it’s easy to find the space for one.
These models are pretty much “plug and play”, allowing you to plug them in and get things going immediately.
Of course, the trade-off is that they do take up space on the counter and if you’re planning on cooking larger dishes then you’ll be limited with what you can do.
Over the range convection microwaves, on the other hand, save a lot of counter space but they’re much more difficult to install for the average homeowner.
The saved counter space is awesome for kitchens with limited space.
The last type are built-in convection microwaves. These are the best of the best, offering large capacity and ensuring that you’ll not have to use any counterspace. Unfortunately, they’re also a pain to install and you probably don’t have room for one.
There’s an exception to this, however: if you already have a convection oven installed in your home then you may be able to swap out the model if it’s the right size.
They’re also the most expensive of the three, so choose wisely if you’re planning on installing one.
Things to Ask Yourself
Whenever you’re thinking of an addition to your kitchen this large, you need to carefully consider how you’re going to use it in order to make sure that not only do you need the appliance but also which one is best suited for your own home.
Ask yourself the following when you’re looking to snap one up in order to make sure that you get a welcome addition to your home instead of just an expensive block of electronics that rarely is used to its full potential.
- Where are you planning on sticking the convection microwave? This is the biggest factor for most people, and it’s going to help you figure out which one is the best for your home.
- How are you going to use it? If you just want a microwave with the option to quick roast a chicken once in a while, for instance, then you’re going to want to make sure the microwave portion is high powered. On the other hand if you’re trying to replace your normal oven entirely then you’ll want to put some emphasis on the convection aspects instead.
- Do you need one? Most people will benefit from a convection microwave, but the majority of people are going to use just one mode or the other most of the time. If you’re not going to use the convection feature, for instance, you may be better off doing the occasional crisping in an existing oven.
- How much are you willing to pay? We know you’re not made of money, and many of these can cost the same as a new oven entirely. That means you’ll have to make sure your budget is in line to allow you the most benefit from your convection microwave.
Helpful Tips for Your Convection Microwave
If you’re not already familiar with these appliances, then they can seem a little bit confusing at the first glance.
Instead of just hoping for the best, we recommend doing the following:
- Learn about the settings. That means you’re going to want to look through the manual and make sure you know what each button does before you use it. Some of the higher end appliances can get a bit confusing, but thankfully they usually come from brands that have clear instructions.
- Use the microwave setting sparingly. Basically, you don’t want to use it on anything you wouldn’t microwave normally. Of course, all of the usual precautions around using a microwave apply, including keeping metal out of there unless you want to ruin the device.
- Use the combination feature for super-fast cooking. When the functions of the device are both functioning you can finish food remarkably quickly, which is one of the primary advantages of using one in the first place. Foods like whole birds can be ready to eat remarkably quickly if you made sure to pick up the best one available.
- Check food early until you get used to things. When the combination setting is in effect, you’ll want to check food early before you get used to it. They can cook things fast and you may overcook a couple of dishes first if you’re not careful.
- Use the convection setting for baking. Seriously, convection baking is one of the best uses for any kind of convection oven, and you’ll be in good hands here if you like to make cookies and cakes… just make sure that you purchased one large enough in the first place.
- Clean microwave splatters before using the convection function. The convection feature has a bad habit of “baking on” stains when used, and microwaves tend to splatter a bit when not used carefully. This can lead to a serious mess if you don’t wipe things down in between.
Follow the above practices and you’ll be in good hands.
A convection microwave can be a welcome addition to nearly any home. On top of being a dual-use appliance, the dual-mode can cook things amazingly fast. All that remains is to make sure that you know exactly which one is going to serve your family the best, and once you’ve got it in and working you’ll be surprised at just how much easier they can make your life.