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Sharp R959SLMAA combination microwave oven
Pros: fantastic capacity, simple-to-use
Cons: large footprint, gets very hot, expensive
Star rating: 4/5
Read our full round-up of the best microwaves to buy
At a huge 40 litres, this model has over double the capacity of the smallest microwave we tested – and with two racks of different heights and two square cooking trays provided, you can really make the most of it.
It will easily hold large plates and oval dishes – the downside being that the turntable won’t easily fit into a small sink to be cleaned.
Although this model cooks, grills and microwaves, the settings are simple to get to grips with, thanks to a straightforward instruction booklet which offers cooking and defrosting charts, recipes and cooking tips.
The unique square trays are perfect for cooking some of the 120 recipes provided, such as leek tart and pizza. When you start cooking, the display also offers guidance as you programme in your cooking (for example, ‘enter cooking time first’ if you hit the wrong button), which proved useful.
All three main functions perform well, offering fast grilling and even convection cooking, and eight auto-cook functions for items including pizza, potatoes and ready meals are listed on the display panel, cutting down on the need to constantly consult the instructions.
Uniquely, the baked potato function allows you to input a number of potatoes to be cooked, rather than going by weight, which makes it ideal when you’re cooking for just one instead of the whole family.
You can also adjust the time slightly if needed, with useful ‘less’ and ‘more’ buttons, and programme in sequence cooking – defrosting followed by convection cooking, for example.
A jacket spud cooked through perfectly, without any extra cooking required, and a defrosted chicken breast was similarly spot-on, and still tender inside – although the defrost setting was relatively inaccurate, with the meat needing two full cycles on auto-cook to fully thaw, with no additional resting time needed.
Now for the downsides: an energy save mode means you have to open and close the door before cooking, which might be energy-efficient, but can become a little annoying, and the metal exterior of the microwave gets very hot during convection cooking, so it needs to be kept well away from little hands.
Instead of a timer dial, you also need to roll through times and temperatures using a button, which feels a bit labour intensive.
It’s also quite expensive – but if you have a large household and need an equally large, multi-function microwave to cope, this will certainly suit your needs.
Sharp combination microwave specifications
Dimensions: H388mm, W550mm, D537mm
Microwave recipes and tips
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