A microwave oven is one of the must-have kitchen appliances. It’s actually a favorite to busy people with limited time to cook food.
With a microwave, you can cook, reheat and defrost foods quickly. And if you get one with automated features, multitasking won’t be an issue.
Two of the most common microwave types are the combination and grill microwave oven. And in this guide, you’ll learn more about them.
We will review the difference between combination and grill microwaves, how they work and their pros and cons. This will help you make an informed buying decision.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Combination Microwave Oven?
A combination microwave oven, also known as a convection microwave, boast all functions of a grill and solo. It can also bake, roast or crisp food.
If looking for a microwave that is versatile enough to help you cook a wide variety of meals, this is the model for you.
And did you know that you can even use metal in a combination microwave? Yes, use it in all settings except the microwave mode.
A combination microwave can eliminate uneven cooking and save a lot of energy.
How Does a Combination Microwave Work?
A combination microwave has two standard modes. The first mode uses microwaves to cook or heat your food, while the second one uses a heating element and a fan to distribute heat evenly throughout the oven.
And because of this, this microwave allows you to use cooking techniques that aren’t available in conventional microwaves. That’s why you can only bake, broil, toast or roast in a combination microwave oven.
A combination microwave also allows you to alternate between the 2 modes for faster cooking.
What is a Grill Microwave Oven?
A grill microwave is more advanced than a solo microwave oven. It can perform the functions of a solo and grill microwave.
It’s also true to say that a grill microwave cooks a wider variety of meals than a solo/regular microwave oven.
These microwaves use a radiant heating element and a magnetron. With one, you can reheat, roast, defrost, grill and cook rice and pasta.
How Does a Grill Microwave Work?
A grill microwave works by creating an environment that is quite similar to an outdoor grill. It has a heating element that radiates heat to stimulate a cooking environment that equals that of an outside grill.
When you place your food on your grill, the exterior gets nice and brown while the interior cooks slowly and evenly.
A Comparison Chart for Combination and Grill Microwave Ovens
|Feature||Combination Microwave Oven||Grill Microwave Oven|
|2 heaters(one at the top |
and the other at the bottom
of the oven’s cavity)
and a hot air fan
|Uses||Cooks all the food |
you can prepare in a
grill microwave plus more
|Used for simple cooking|
and grilling foods.
|Capacity||big||A little bigger|
|Features||More advanced features||Basic features|
|Wattage||1200 to 2200 watts||900 to 1700 watts|
|Cook time||Shorter cooking time||Longer cooking time|
in a cabinet
in a cabinet
|Cooking results||More evenly cooked food||Evenly cooked food|
Comparing Combination and Grill Microwave Ovens
1. Heating Elements
A combination microwave comes with 2 heaters, one at the top and the other at the bottom in the oven cavity. It also comes with a fan that circulates hot air in the oven evenly.
This makes your food have a crispy and browned outer layer.
On the other hand, a grill microwave uses a heating coil that provides the grilling effect, which helps toast and grill meals.
A combination microwave can be used for simple cooking like warming milk, making popcorn, cooking rice and pasta, defrosting food, among others.
In simple terms, you can use a combination microwave to prepare all foods that you can cook in a solo or grill microwave oven.
In addition to that, you can bake cakes, cookies, brownies and all sorts of bread. These models work like little regular ovens.
With a grill microwave, you can cook all foods that a regular microwave can. The only difference between the two is that while you can grill chicken, fish, steak and kebabs in a grill microwave, you can’t in a solo microwave.
The only thing you can do with a grill microwave oven is bake.
A combination microwave is highly versatile and comes with all the features of a solo and grill microwave. What sets it apart from the two is that it boasts more advanced features.
These features include the inverter technology, sensor cooking and premium glass door.
Sensor cooking enables automatic temperature selection options, a feature that is highly convenient when you want to prepare a dish for the first time.
On the other hand, Inverter technology offers more cooking control by controlling the unit’s power levels. For instance, if the microwave’s power level is too high, this technology helps reduce it once your food reaches the optimum cooking level.
A grill microwave boasts features such as eco mode, turntable on/off, power grill, combo grill and solo grill.
Combo grill allows you to grill with the grill and microwave functions enabling your food to cook in less time. The only drawback when using this mode is that you can’t use a metal pan.
You can only use the grill function with the power grill. And although your food may take longer, you can use a metal rack with this mode. This will give you the beautiful lines you want on your meat.
Eco-mode is an energy-efficient feature that enables you to cook with less electric power.
A combination microwave power levels usually range from 1200 watts to 2200 watts. This means that a combination microwave oven can perform really well even at a lower power range.
On the other hand, grill microwaves come with a wattage range of between 900 to 1700 watts. The higher the oven’s power, the more efficient it is for cooking.
Combination and grill microwaves usually have similar capacities. Their capacity range from 1.0 to 2.5 cubic feet and can accommodate 20 to 32 liters of food.
However, one thing to note is that these figures aren’t set on stone. Capacity can vary according to the make, model and brand of the microwaves.
Both combination and grill microwaves have similar placement options. You place them on the counter, over the range or inside a cabinetry unit.
You can find smaller combination/grill microwaves in homes and bigger models in commercial kitchens.
Since combination microwave ovens boast a lot of features, expect to pay more for one. They are actually the most expensive of the three types of microwave ovens (solo, grill, convection).
However, although expensive, they are very much worth the price.
Grill microwaves are cheaper than the combination ovens but come with a higher price tag than the solo/regular microwave ovens.
One important thing to note is that all these models come with varying price ranges. It’s therefore very easy to get a unit from either model at a reasonable price.
Advantages of Combination and Grill Microwaves
- Cooks faster than a grill microwave
- Eliminates issues of uneven cooking
- Cooks a wide variety of meals
- Keeps the flavors intact
- Combines baking, grilling and regular microwave functionality
- Grills food like on an outdoor BBQ
- Easier to clean than outdoor BBQs
- Cooks faster than an outdoor BBQ
- Easy to use without the microwave function
- Cooks a wider variety of foods than a solo microwave
Limitations of a Combination and a Grill Microwave
- The cavity gets dirty with ease
- Smaller interior capacity when compared to conventional microwaves
- Cannot bake, crisp or brown food
- Extra features like a metal grill consume space in the oven
- Difficulty in regulating temperature causes undercooking and overcooking
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I bake bread in a grill microwave?
No, you can’t bake on a grill microwave. Should you give it a try, the results would be unevenly baked bread.
Q. Which is better, a combination or a grill microwave?
A combination microwave is much better. It cooks more evenly and is better at browning and making food crispier. Also, you need to remember that it can perform all the functions of a grill microwave as well.
Q. Can I cook pizza in my combination microwave?
Yes, you can cook pizza in the combination microwave. It’s actually the best for making pizza at home.
Q. Can I use a metal pan in a combination microwave oven?
You can use a metal can in a combination oven, but only in the convection mode. Never use it in the microwave mode as it can even lead to fires.
Q. Is it worth having a grill microwave oven?
If you are into barbecue, a grill microwave is a worthy investment. You should also get one if you like hosting BBQ parties. It comes in handy, especially if it’s chilly outside and you can’t use your outdoor BBQ.
Q. Can I grill in a combination microwave?
Yes. A combination microwave performs all the tasks of a solo and grill microwave oven. You can therefore grill your chicken, fish or steak in it.
Both the combination and grill microwave ovens work great and suit different persons. Getting the right one for your home narrows down to your cooking habits, favorite foods and budget.
A combination microwave boasts all the features of a grill microwave plus more. And although a little expensive, it will give you value for your money if you’re into baking.
A grill microwave makes the best companion to those who like grilled food but have no access to an outdoor grill.