The quality of the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 is obvious: the intuitive design has a premium feel, and the large LCD, clear buttons and shortcuts make it very easy to use. With oven and air fryer functions – as well as a range of smart programmes and pre-sets – it’s a versatile microwave, justifying the higher price. While some of the smart settings can be rigid and the grill is on the weak side, there’s plenty to work with here, particularly as the powerful microwave output helps to shave minutes off many common cooking tasks.
- Easy to use
- Powerful and fast
- TypeThis is a combination microwave, convection oven, grill and air fryer.
- PowerThis is a 1000W microwave.
- Max temperatureThe oven goes to a maximum temperature of 230C.
Microwaves are a fast way to heat up food – but they can also be much more than that. The Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a combination microwave that also works as a convection oven and an air fryer, as well as boasting grill and smart cook features.
Thanks to an array of function buttons and shortcuts, this appliance is incredibly easy to use, while its powerful performance helps to reduce the cooking times of many staple dishes.
Design and features
- A large but handsome unit with myriad functions
- The LCD, buttons and shortcuts are easy to use
- Smart cook options handy but sometimes rigid
The first thing to note about the Sage Combi Wave is that it’s like a spaceship – both in terms of its design as well as proportions. At a relatively standard height and width, the depth here – 513mm with handle, 490mm without – is the excessive dimension. But at a whopping 32-litre capacity, it’s not entirely surprising.
The brushed stainless-steel body’s futuristic vibe is further enhanced by the cosmic trill this oven plays when first plugged in. The viewing window is generous here, and the door boasts a soft-close feature. All the buttons are clearly labelled, and functions spelt out on the screen, making it very easy to use.
Two dials plus six large and two smaller buttons make up the control panel underneath a large LCD. The dials – one for convenient time selection and another for easy power and weight adjustments – also double as start and stop switches respectively.
The six main function buttons are Fast Combi, From Frozen, Air Fry, Oven, Microwave and Food Menu. The latter is essentially a selection of smart cook options for meat, veg and much more. Despite the wide range of options, the smart cook function has certain limitations, mainly the rigid weight limits. For instance, you can only use it for cooking a 200g or 400g portion of fish. This doesn’t mean that the weight capacity here is low, however: the smart cook chicken option allows you to roast a whole bird up to 1.6kg.
The two smaller buttons on the control panel add a bit more (30-50secs) to the cooking time and turn off the turntable (for using a square oven dish, for instance). Meanwhile, just inside the door, a series of shortcuts enable you to quickly pick the right mode, time and power level for tasks such as softening butter or melting chocolate – or to activate the grill or keep-warm function. These shortcuts can be further customised by saving a preferred option under the favourite button.
But that’s not where customisability ends: there are three different volume settings for alerts, as well as the option to turn off sound entirely. Units can be displayed either in kilograms and Celsius or ounces and Fahrenheit.
In addition to the turntable and its roller, a crisper pan with foldable legs and a metal trivet are included for use in the oven, air-frying and combi modes. The manual outlines specific functions, including which receptacle to use, step by step – although most of it will already be self-evident from the controls and the screen. Recipe ideas are available as an e-book on the Sage website.
- Defrosting and reheating yields even results
- Grill setting very gentle
- 7min baked potato in microwave but best results with combi setting
The Sage Combi Wave performed efficiently in all tests across its various functions.
Its From Frozen smart function is meant for defrosting specific types and quantities of meat or fish, while the low-medium defrost setting can be selected manually for other types of food. I tried the latter for defrosting two slices of white bread, which took 1min, heating in 15-sec intervals. After 45secs, there was still a noticeable cold spot in the centre of the plate where the two pieces of bread met, according to images taken on a thermal camera. At this stage, I flipped the bread over to achieve even defrosting and to keep the defrosted parts from drying out. The cold spot still felt a little cool to the touch, but it was no longer frozen.
Meanwhile, using the microwave on high power with the same set-up took 30secs. The thermal camera showed more cool patches, but a touch proved these were not frozen.
The grill function turned out to be rather gentle – possibly because of the distance between the heating element at the top, and the crisper pan surface (even with its legs out). After 5mins of grilling (flipping the bread over half-way through), the bread didn’t brown. However, the slices had a good crunch, being fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside. Curiously, there is no preheat function for the grill.
Using the smart cook rice setting to cook one cup of long-grain rice (250g) with two cups of water took 16mins30secs. It started at the highest microwave setting, reducing power to medium at around the 10-minute mark. After standing for the recommended 5mins, the rice was fluffy in texture without excessive stickiness. While it tasted cooked, it was still a little on a chewy side, so adding another 50secs (using the handy A Bit More button) was perfect. A seasoned rice maker is likely to get better results in a saucepan or rice cooker, but this method proved to be the perfect combination of minimal effort and maximum time saving.
Once the cooked rice was fridge-cold, I heated 1.5 cups (200g) of it with two tablespoons of water using the medium-high microwave reheat setting for 2mins. While the temperature was 96-97°C in the middle with no noticeable cool spots, according to the thermal camera, the edges were closer to the 70-80°C mark.
Using A Bit More for 50secs resulted in the centre temperature of 99°C and edges around 75-85°C.
After microwaving a 350g fridge-cold baking potato for 3mins on each side and letting it stand for another minute, it had already achieved an internal temperature of 99°C. The inside was mostly soft and fluffy, with a little bit of hardness. After cutting it open, I used A Bit More for 50secs to get a softer result. While the texture would have come out better in a traditional oven, under 7mins of cooking time is remarkably fast.
I had even better results using the Fast Combi setting and the crisper pan in the low position for another similar-sized potato. After 20mins of combination cooking, with the oven set at 200°C, its skin was visibly browning and crisping. Since it still felt crunchy on the inside, with an internal temperature of 78°C, I cooked it for a further 10mins. The potato came out with a creamy, mash-like middle, so it’s likely an extra 5mins would have sufficed.
The smart cook programmes proved very convenient. Air-frying chips took 24mins at 200°C and the oven beeped half-way through the cooking to suggest giving them a stir, resulting in evenly brown and crisped chips.
Meanwhile, a 1.6kg chicken was cooked through and the skin crisped up nicely as the programme made use of microwave, oven, as well as grill functions.
Preheating the air fryer and the oven was always fast, only taking 3-4mins. However, once the appliance has preheated, it gives a short signal and immediately counts down the previously chosen cooking time until you open the door – meaning it’s best not to stray too far from the oven in order to react quickly.
Also, using the microwave-only mode for cooking rice and a baked potato led to a fair amount of condensation, some of which dripped out of the appliance onto the work surface, requiring a bit of drying up.
Should you buy it?
If you’d like a powerful microwave that can also function as a back-up oven and an air fryer, the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a solid choice.
This appliance is large and pricey for someone short on space or simply after a standard microwave.
With its intuitive design, the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 is a pleasure to use. The large LCD and clear buttons mean you don’t need to keep referring to the manual. It’s also very powerful, managing to make a large raw potato edible in the matter of minutes. The smart programmes and combi settings help to take the guesswork out and cut the cooking time of many household staples.
That said, it’s a large and pricey appliance, and while it functions as an oven and an air fryer, it’s not capacious enough to replace a regular oven, and for frequent fryers, specialist air fryers are likely to provide better results, as well as allow cooking larger quantities of food.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every microwave we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main microwave for the review period
We use a thermal camera to see how well the microwave can defrost frozen bread, using the defrost setting and any automatic programmes.
We cook a baked potato using just the microwave setting and, if available, another using the combi setting.
If there’s a grill option, we toast bread to see how evenly it cooks.
You might like…
It has a 1100W microwave, so can cook food fast.
It’s also a convection oven, air fryer and grill.