Combination microwave ovens

Any advice please, I need to get a new microwave as mine is broken.
Is it any cheaper to use a combination microwave oven, as opposed to using my electric oven?   
Obviously if I'm buying a new microwave and it's going to work out more cost effective then I'll go for a combination one . 
 I have been looking at air fryers,  (mainly for energy saving)  but I don't know much about them, what they can be used for etc.
    We seem to heat up the oven   just to cook one part of a meal say , and it must cost a fortune for a little bit of food. 
Plus, now my microwave has given up.   
 So, with needing a microwave anyway, seems daft to not get a combination one.???
But are they actually cheaper to use than my main cooker??

any advice would be much appreciated thank you
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  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,091
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    edited 18 September 2022 at 12:45PM
    We have a small cheap Tower air fryer.  Used for things like fries, onion rings, scampi, nuggets and even sausage rolls (once).

    Trouble with it is you need to keep moving the food as it just blasts hot air from above and stuff under gets missed while the top browns/burns.  So that's remove the basket, shake a few times put back in to continue cooking and repeat regularly.  Not sure it's any quicker than cooking on a tray in a main oven.

    Most ovens are pretty well insulated so once at temperature maintain it with shortish bursts.  Air fryers are similarly insulated and do similar.  It would need a person with a scientific curiosity and the appropriate metering to measure precisely which method of cooking was cheaper for a specific type and amount of food(s).

    As soon as you are cooking anything else in the oven it's a no brainer to use it for the accompaniments.

    Combi microwave: had one once (many decades ago) never used the grill element after the trouble I had cleaning up after that use.
  • BUFF
    BUFF Posts: 2,185
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    I have been using combination microwaves for something like 35 years now (I recommend Panasonic or Sharp.. First Panasonic lasted 20 years+, second is on 10+).
    I also have a full size (& expensive!) AEG under-counter oven that has been barely used over the years.

    Obviously, if you aren't heating as large a space (iirc mine ~32l) you will use less energy. If you can actually use the features in combination (this isn't actually possible in some models or quite convoluted to use in others so worth checking before buying) then there is potential for further savings, better or quicker results.

    Personally, I have never had a problem with the grills in either of my combination microwaves  & I do grill regularly - possibly different manufacturers use different styles.

  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,259
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    I have a combi microwave with a baked potato programme.

    You dial the weight of the spud and let it do its thing. 

    Does me a quick and cheap basis for a meal
  • I have had a combi microwave for years, but have rarely used the functions other than the microwave. I've now started to use it instead of my main oven for baking, roasting and grilling and cooking easy cook type dishes. I'm not having a problem except that I need to keep the instructions handy as some of the combination modes are quite complex.

    Mine's a Panasonic, and if you need a new microwave anyway I'd definitely recommend one. It uses quite a lot less power, especially for preheating.
  • ka7e
    ka7e Posts: 3,076
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    I have a Panasonic combi and I'm using many more of the functions now that electricity is getting so expensive. I find it's very versatile and held off buying an air fryer when I realised I could use the microwave for chips, roasts, baked spuds and pizzas. I have a microwave steamer for veggies, mw plate warmers and use enamel or glass bakeware for combi dishes. I only use my oven for baking sponges now as I'm not keen on the texture of mw cakes!
    "Cheap", "Fast", "Right" -- pick two.
  • I'm a big fan of combination microwave ovens BUT remember you can't really use them as a microwave oven when they are in convection mode so if for instance you were to use the convection mode you'd need to wait for it to cool before using microwave mode.


  • BUFF
    BUFF Posts: 2,185
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    Murmansk said:
     BUT remember you can't really use them as a microwave oven when they are in convection mode 


    don't know about other brands but in a Panasonic Inverter combination microwave you can.
  • Bendy_House
    Bendy_House Posts: 4,756
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    edited 18 September 2022 at 8:39PM
    Murmansk said:
    I'm a big fan of combination microwave ovens BUT remember you can't really use them as a microwave oven when they are in convection mode so if for instance you were to use the convection mode you'd need to wait for it to cool before using microwave mode.



    Hmmm, the reason it's called a 'combi' oven is because these cooking systems can be combined :-)
    With ref to the grill, that is something I very rarely use, and the main combi oven features are the fan oven and/or the microwave.
    The Sharp R959 has various preset programs, including the desirable 'baked potato' one. It uses a combination of micro and fan to get you a nicely browned baked pot in around 20-odd minutes. You call up that program, very intuitively, and then tell it how many pots. Job pretty much done, tho' you may need to tweak the time depending on the pot sizes.
    A wipe with olive oil before cooking gives it a lovely finish - for the sensible folk who find the skins the best part...
  • Bendy_House
    Bendy_House Posts: 4,756
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    edited 18 September 2022 at 8:46PM
    Rodders53 said:
    Trouble with it is you need to keep moving the food as it just blasts hot air from above and stuff under gets missed while the top browns/burns.  So that's remove the basket, shake a few times put back in to continue cooking and repeat regularly.  Not sure it's any quicker than cooking on a tray in a main oven.

    Most ovens are pretty well insulated so once at temperature maintain it with shortish bursts.  Air fryers are similarly insulated and do similar.  It would need a person with a scientific curiosity and the appropriate metering to measure precisely which method of cooking was cheaper for a specific type and amount of food(s).
    Yes, the smaller baskets will need a toss. I find this is only required once, and really quick to do.

    The BBC radio prog did just that - the tester had an energy meter on each oven. Can't remember the exact figures, but the air-fryer used less than half the power to cook various foodstuffs, such as chips, chicken fillets, etc. BUT, if the A-F wasn't large enough - if you were cooking for a whole family - then it would require two batches. It was still marginally cheaper.
    I love the chips from the A-F - just awesome... In fact everything seems better - crisp but moist. And faster...
    Seriously considering a larger A-F - one of these worktop, mini-oven-style, 30L jobbies - for Chrimbo. I reckon wife and I could pretty much live on that, since kids are orf to Uni.
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