Usage of a tubular susceptor for hybrid sintering in a cylindrical single-mode microwave furnace is studied experimentally. The new approach allows an immediate, smooth and repeatable heating of room-temperature-transparent materials such as ZrO2 and Al2O3. The sintering tests show that the microwaves can partially penetrate the thin susceptor and give a hybrid sintering of the ceramics. A variety of ceramics were sintered successfully by the hybrid sintering with tubular susceptor. (C) 2000 Acta Metallurgica Inc. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.