The microwave has become essential in our fast-paced world, streamlining our everyday culinary procedures and saving valuable time. Although it may not be the most significant technological advancement of our time, owning this silent hero in your kitchen has saved you many hours.
They offer convenience and speed when it comes to cooking or reheating food. However, with so many available options, choosing the suitable microwave for your kitchen can take time and effort. Let this article make choosing the right microwave easier for you.
Four Types of Microwaves
These are the most common types of microwave ovens found in kitchens. This popularity may be because these devices are easy to purchase, replace, and install. No setup is required; plug in the microwave and start cooking. It sits on the countertop and is suitable for basic cooking and heating needs.
Countertop microwaves are versatile and can be used for various cooking tasks such as reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen food, and cooking simple meals. They are also quite affordable compared to other types of microwaves.
- Countertop microwaves are incredibly convenient and easy to use.
- Compared to built-in or over-the-range microwaves, countertop models are generally more affordable.
- No installation is needed, and they are portable so they can be easily moved or replaced.
- Countertop microwaves come in various sizes and power levels, offering versatility to accommodate different cooking needs.
- Maintaining a countertop microwave is easy as most models have removable turntables and interior surfaces that are easy to disassemble.
Over-the-range microwaves, also known as built-in microwaves, are designed to be installed above the stove or cooktop. Flushed amongst your kitchen cabinets, this type of microwave blends right into the rest of the kitchen. Thus, these microwaves save valuable countertop space and provide a sleek and integrated look to the kitchen. Over-the-range microwaves often include a ventilation system for the stove.
OTR microwaves come with various cooking features, similar to countertop microwaves. These can include multiple power levels, cooking presets, sensor cooking, and convection cooking.
- OTR microwaves are designed to be mounted above the stove, which helps save counter space.
- OTR provides extra lighting to the range below.
- Many OTR microwaves come with built-in ventilation systems, including fans and filters, which can help remove smoke, cooking odors, and steam from the kitchen.
- OTR is easy to reach since placing the microwave at eye level or within easy reach can be more convenient and ergonomic for users.
These microwaves are integrated into the cabinetry or wall space, providing a seamless look in the kitchen. Although built-in microwaves are frequently placed directly over wall ovens, the placement of the appliance might vary based on the position layout of your kitchen.
Further, they offer the kitchen a seamless and integrated look as they blend in with the surrounding cabinetry. They are often more expensive than countertops or over-the-range microwaves but provide a customized and high-end appearance to the kitchen.
- Built-in microwaves offer an elegant built-in look that matches other appliances.
- Since built-in microwaves are designed to be integrated into cabinetry, they often allow for more customization options.
- Venting capabilities are sometimes included with built-in microwaves, which can help eliminate steam and cooking smells.
- In addition to standard microwave capabilities, built-in microwaves frequently have sophisticated features and technologies that offer a variety of cooking alternatives.
- Built-in microwaves often have safety features such as child locks, automatic shut-off, and cool-touch surfaces.
Convection microwaves use a completely different method of cooking food. This type of microwave uses high heat and an internal fan to circulate air, while other microwaves use electromagnetic waves. For this reason, you can use convection microwaves to cook food in many ways different microwaves could never even attempt, like baking cookies or making stews.
- Like regular microwaves, convection microwaves can quickly cook or heat food.
- The convection feature allows you to bake and roast like in a conventional oven.
- Convection microwaves are generally more energy-efficient than traditional ovens.
- Convection microwaves feature a unique cooking style that leads to better flavors and textures.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Microwave
Size and Capacity
The size and wattage of the microwave are essential factors to consider. Microwaves come in many different sizes, from compact to larger models. The size of the microwave should be determined by the space available in your kitchen. Also, consider the capacity of the microwave, measured in liters. If your family is large or you often cook large meals, a microwave with a larger capacity will be more suitable.
For quick-size features, it’s better to measure the microwave’s dimensions. Measure a microwave’s height, width, and depth to determine if your space can accommodate the equipment you have in mind. Also, most microwaves offer a defrost setting that reduces power consumption by 20 to 30 percent.
Meanwhile, for the microwave’s dimension such as height, weight and depth, they are measured in order to assist you assess whether your room can fit the device you have in mind. Certain arrangements, like compact countertop microwaves, only need to be 10–11 inches tall, 15–18 inches wide, and 12–16 inches deep. Larger variants typically measure between 10 and 22 inches high, 24 and 30 inches wide, and 15 and 25 inches deep, and are available in built-in and over-the-range formats.
The kitchen where your microwave will be installed must be able to accommodate it. Measure the countertop or the designated microwave area. If you value aesthetics, consider how it will appear in its surroundings. Choose a microwave that matches the other stainless-steel appliances in your kitchen. Or you’d like to add a splash of color to your kitchen. Ensure the microwave will function appropriately in your kitchen before purchasing. Don’t just grab the first one you see that you like.
Power and Wattage
The power and wattage of a microwave determine how quickly and effectively it can cook or reheat food. Wattage and power are synonymous in the context of microwaves. It’s a terrific starting point to use a 1,000-watt microwave, which cooks food fast and efficiently. Microwaves with higher wattages tend to cook food faster and more evenly. However, remember that microwaves with higher wattages may use more electricity.
Generally speaking, cooking times decrease with increasing power. If you’re trying to stay within a budget, remember that microwaves with higher wattages typically have larger price tags.
Even the most durable microwaves can have a shelf life of around 10 to 12 years, with the average microwave lifespan being 9 years. You may replace your microwave one way or another within the next few years. So, you may find it makes more sense to focus your decision on features other than durability. If it’s important to you to find a microwave that lasts as long as possible, take the time to read any reviews you can find about the model you’re considering.
Price and Brand
Price is always essential when purchasing any device, regardless of size. Consider your budget ceiling and the reputation of the brand. Microwaves come in a wide price range, so setting a budget before purchasing is crucial. Research famous brands and read reviews to ensure you choose a reliable and reputable brand that offers good quality products.
Most affordable options are usually found in the countertop category. But if your kitchen layout makes a built-in or multi-function microwave a more practical choice, the extra investment will be worth it.
Different microwaves have various cooking functions that can enhance your cooking experience.
Some microwaves have pre-cook functions for specific foods, like popcorn, pizza, or defrost. Others may have a convection or grill function, allowing you to broil or grill food. Consider your cooking preferences and needs when choosing a microwave with the right features.
Preprogrammed settings are commonly included with microwaves to facilitate the convenience of cooking specific food kinds. Most microwaves have a popcorn option, at the very least, which lets you cook according to the size of the bag. Another typical setting on the majority of microwave ovens is defrost. Some brands offer a range of preset cooking options for everything from baking potatoes to reheating pizzas to warming up beverages like coffee are available in the market as you begin to investigate more upscale microwaves.
In terms of beverage settings, others have an advantage. This setting reheats liquids like soup, tea, or coffee. The microwave might have specific auto-cook options for certain dishes, such as popcorn, baked potatoes, or frozen dinners.
- Sensor Cooking: Adjusts automatically cooking time based on moisture levels in the food.
- Inverter Technology: Provides stable and consistent cooking power for more even results.
- Pre-programmed Settings: Some microwaves come with presets for specific foods, making cooking certain dishes more convenient, like popcorn setting.
- Convection and Grill Functions: If you want your microwave to double as an oven, consider a model with convection or grill features.
Some microwaves are noisier than others, and if you’re sensitive to the noise they make, you should try out the model you’re buying before buying to get a feel for it. Meanwhile, when purchasing a microwave online, look for customer reviews, as they will often mention whether the microwave is particularly noisy, so you can know which models to avoid.
Although you may occasionally encounter worrying articles about microwave radiation leaks causing cancer or destroying all the nutrients in your food, until now, there has been no actual research. The only genuine safety concern with microwaves is the minimal chance of flammability and the need to teach children to be careful when using them – especially with large-range microwaves, which can be challenging to reach.
Helpful Additional Features
Inverter technology is still relatively uncommon when buying a new microwave, although various types are available if you know where to look. Inverter technology is designed to provide you with the option of cooking food more evenly and steadily at a lower temperature.
With the apparent exception of convection microwaves, most have few temperature settings. Thus, the kinds of food you may prepare in them are restricted. Although they provide more options, inverter microwaves must be more flexible than convection ovens.
Child Lockout Microwave Features
Child lockout features in microwaves are designed to prevent accidental or unauthorized appliance use, especially by children. Search for a model with a lockout option to ensure your children will not tamper with the microwave oven. This will enable you to program a code that needs input for the microwave, limiting access to people you trust inside your home. This reduces the possibility of someone getting wounded or possibly igniting a fire.
Combination Microwave & Other Appliance
Consider a combo microwave and oven or one that combines with a refrigerator if you’re redesigning your kitchen. You can take advantage of a reasonable price on many appliances at once. Purchasing both at once may help you save time and money on installation and simplify the procedure. A microwave and refrigerator combo is a popular and practical alternative for anyone looking to acquire a unit for their dorm room tiny apartment or to have nearby in a single room.
Fingerprint-resistant coatings are permanent and extremely hard, similar to the final coat on a new car. The finish is designed to remove the natural oils and greases found in fingerprints. It also guards against food and drink spills that are sticky. It is significantly less reflective because of the more delicate finish than regular stainless steel. Reviews of kitchen appliance appearances have generally recognized this even in microwave products. Steer clear of scouring pads, vinegar, bleaches, and abrasive cloths. They can pierce, sever, or soften the covering.
Popular Brands to Choose From
GE: A well-known and reliable brand of household appliances is GE. General Electric is a trusted brand that produces a variety of kitchen appliances, including microwaves. They provide various microwave models, many of which come in various sizes and colors.
Avanti: Avanti is a company that has garnered positive feedback online for making user-friendly and simple microwaves that are excellent for their intended use.
Cuisinart: Those who purchase kitchen appliances daily are likely familiar with the Cuisinart brand. Depending on the specific model type and buyer requirements, they provide a range of microwave models that receive varying user evaluations.
Danby: Danby provides a selection of reasonably priced countertop microwaves in various sizes and styles with comparable features. Most customer reviews for Danby microwaves are favorable, particularly for those searching for quiet, small microwaves that may fit into comparatively small kitchen spaces.
EdgeStar: EdgeStar offers a few refrigerator and microwave combo models that are worth considering. This company, well-known for producing small fridges, wine coolers, and beverage refrigerators, would also include a microwave.
Kenmore: Another well-known manufacturer of household appliance is Kenmore. There are several reasonably priced microwave choices available. They have a large selection of microwaves, so it is a good idea to read reviews of the specific model you are interested in before purchasing.
Magic Chef: Magic Chef offers a few chic and reasonably priced microwaves that receive positive feedback from consumers. When purchasing a new microwave, you should consider this brand.
Panasonic: Another well-known company that offers a large selection of microwave types is Panasonic. Known for their innovative and reliable microwave ovens, this brand received a yes from many customers.
Sharp: Another company that has a wide range of microwaves is Sharp. Their product selection is quite diverse, catering to various budgets and needs. The evaluations are generally positive since they are known for producing microwaves with sleek designs and advanced features.
Smeg: Smeg is an internationally recognized brand that produces a broad range of vintage appliances and is generally well-trusted. This contains a variety of opulent, elegantly designed built-in microwaves.
Choosing the Best One For You
Choosing the best microwave for your needs involves considering various factors that will make or break your choices. There are several options from leading brands to pick from, including built-in, over-the-range, and compact microwaves, as well as countertop and over-the-range models. However, that does not indicate that decisions have been made. Size, power consumption, and cost are the last factors to consider.
Modern microwaves don’t have to be expensive to include high-tech functions. Remember to account for installation when purchasing built-in and over-the-range products. Next, consider how you intend to use the microwave to prioritize your required features and determine an approximate size.
Always measure the area where the microwave will be placed before purchasing to ensure that the model you select is manageable. Lastly, consider if you would prefer an energy-efficient type that lowers utility costs and promotes more sustainable living. If so, make sure to concentrate your search on inverter-powered versions.
Choosing the suitable microwave for your lovely kitchen involves carefully considering many factors to ensure it meets your needs and fits seamlessly into your cooking routine. Since microwaves are cheaper than other appliances, you may take your time to be picky, as this minor kitchen investment can save half of your time in cooking. Take the time to research and compare different options before deciding.