Choosing a talking microwave

Talking microwaves give audible speech output of the functions chosen, such as the power setting and cooking time selected. Thus as you press the control buttons the microwave may give you speech feedback such as "High Power", and "Two minutes and thirty seconds".

Before purchasing a talking microwave consider features such as:

  • Will you use the microwave as an alternative to using an oven or an addition? Will you mainly be using it for cooking, defrosting or reheating food? All microwaves can do this. However, if you would also like to bake, baste, brown and grill food you will require a microwave with a convection oven (a combination microwave).
  • The capacity and size of the microwave you require? A larger capacity microwave will take larger dishes but will it fit in a location which will give you good access? Combination ovens are usually deeper and higher than standard microwave ovens, thus they require a deeper work surface or table top to sit on.
  • Check that the speech output includes the functions (including the timer) that you require.

Its worth reading users' reviews on the internet about their experiences of using specific microwaves.

Possible alternatives to a talking microwave for blind users or users with low vision

  1. Basic analogue microwaves. These are microwaves with two rotary knobs / dials (with one dial for time and the other for power). A recent RNIB survey (University of Surrey RNIB, 2009), Good Housekeeping Institute report on microwaves and Internet reviews all suggest that many users prefer analogue microwaves, finding their controls simple to use. Analogue microwaves are often the cheapest type of microwaves. There are some models which combine dial and touch controls.
  2. Place tactile or visual marks on and around the microwave control knobs/dials using raised self adhesive plastic dots or a bright liquid that dries to give a raised hard tactile indicator (Scheiman, Scheiman and Whitaker, 2007) For example, you could place one dot on the time control dial to indicator where its indicator line is located and another at the 5 minute mark beside the dial. To set the cooking time to 5 minutes the user can turn the dial to join the two dots by touch. To view tactile add on bumps please click on the image below:
  3. Microwaves with touch controls. Look for models with strong contrasting colours or a control panel that can be distinguished by touch. There may be different audible signals for the various controls, such as different tones when the minute or second button is pressed. Tactile dots or markings could be placed on certain buttons to distinguish them.

Further information

Read our advice on using a microwave for further information.

Advice last checked: 09 May 2017 Next check due: 09 May 2020

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement


  1. Surrey Social Market Research (SSMR) at the University of Surrey RNIB 2009  Understanding the Needs of Blind and Partially Sighted People: their experiences, perspectives, and expectations Report
    View reference   Last visited:  12/12/2013 Evidence type: 3