Microwave ovens have become an indispensable appliance in modern kitchens, providing a quick and convenient way to heat up food and drinks. However, with so many different types and models available, choosing the right microwave oven for your home can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best microwave oven for your home, including types of microwave ovens, sizes and capacities, the latest technologies, safety tips, accessories, budget vs. high-end models, a buying checklist, cooking tips and tricks, reviews, and ratings of top models, and much more.
Whether you’re in the market for a new microwave oven or just want to learn more about this essential kitchen appliance, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice for your needs and budget.
Importance of Choosing the Right Microwave Oven
While some may think that all microwave ovens are the same, the reality is that choosing the right one can make a big difference in your cooking experience.
A microwave oven that is too small for your family’s needs may require you to heat up multiple dishes one at a time, while a microwave oven that is too large for your kitchen can take up valuable counter or storage space.
Additionally, features such as convection cooking and sensor technology can greatly impact how efficiently and effectively your microwave oven operates.
Choosing the right microwave oven not only ensures that you can quickly and easily heat up your food and drinks, but it can also make a significant difference in the quality of your meals.
We’ll explore the different factors you should consider when choosing a microwave oven to help you make the best choice for your home.
Types of Microwave Ovens
Microwave ovens come in various types, each with its own unique features and benefits.
Here are the four main types of microwave ovens:
1. Countertop Microwave Oven: The most common type of microwave oven is the countertop model. These ovens are designed to sit on a kitchen counter or table and are easy to move around if necessary. They come in a wide range of sizes and capacities, making them suitable for any family size.
2. Built-In Microwave Oven: Built-in microwave ovens are designed to be installed into a cabinet or wall. They are a good option for those who want to save counter space or have a seamless look in their kitchen. Built-in models typically cost more than countertop models but offer more features, such as convection cooking and higher wattage.
3. Over-the-Range Microwave Oven: Over-the-range microwave ovens are installed above the stove or cooktop and are vented to the outside. They save counter space and are convenient for cooking and reheating food while you’re cooking on the stove. Over-the-range models often have built-in exhaust fans to help vent cooking odors.
4. Drawer Microwave Oven: Drawer microwave ovens are installed below the kitchen counter and open like a drawer. They are a great option for those who have limited counter space or want a seamless look in their kitchen. Drawer models typically have larger capacities and are easier to access than other types of microwave ovens.
When choosing a type of microwave oven, consider the available space in your kitchen, your cooking needs, and your budget. Each type of microwave oven has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose one that fits your lifestyle and cooking habits.
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Microwave Oven Sizes and Capacities
When choosing a microwave oven, it’s important to consider its size and capacity.
Here are some factors to keep in mind:
1. Family size: The size of your family is a key factor in choosing the right microwave oven. A smaller microwave oven (less than 1 cubic foot) may be sufficient for a single person or couple, while a larger microwave oven (1 to 2 cubic feet) may be better for a family.
2. Available space: Consider the available space in your kitchen when choosing the size of your microwave oven. If you have limited counter space, a smaller model or a built-in drawer model may be a better option.
3. Cooking needs: If you plan to use your microwave oven for cooking, reheating, and defrosting larger items, such as whole chickens or roasts, you’ll need a larger capacity model. Look for a microwave oven with a capacity of at least 1.5 cubic feet.
4. Wattage: Microwave ovens with higher wattage tend to cook food more quickly and evenly. However, they may also be larger and more expensive. Consider your cooking needs and budget when choosing a microwave oven with the right wattage.
5. Features: Some microwave ovens have additional features, such as convection cooking that may impact their size and capacity. Convection microwave ovens tend to be larger and offer more cooking options, while standard microwave ovens are smaller and less expensive.
When choosing a microwave oven, it’s important to find the right balance between size, capacity, and features. Consider your family size, available space, cooking needs, and budget to find the right size and capacity for your home.
Exploring Microwave Oven Technologies
Microwave ovens use electromagnetic waves to heat and cook food, but different technologies can impact how efficiently and effectively they operate.
Here are some of the key technologies used in microwave ovens:
1. Inverter Technology: Inverter technology allows for more precise temperature control in a microwave oven.
Rather than simply turning the magnetron on and off, an inverter microwave oven can adjust the power level of the magnetron to cook food more evenly and avoid overcooking or undercooking.
2. Sensor Technology: Sensor technology uses sensors to detect the moisture level in food and adjust the cooking time and power level accordingly. This can help prevent overcooking and undercooking and ensure that food is cooked to the desired level of doneness.
3. Convection Technology: Convection technology uses a heating element and fan to circulate hot air around the food, similar to a traditional oven. This can result in more even cooking and browning and is ideal for baking and roasting.
4. Grill Technology: Grill technology adds a heating element to the top of the microwave oven to grill and brown food, similar to a broiler in a traditional oven. This is ideal for grilling meats, vegetables, and sandwiches.
5. Steam Technology: Steam technology uses a separate water reservoir to steam food, which can help retain moisture and nutrients. This is ideal for cooking vegetables, rice, and fish.
When choosing a microwave oven, consider which technologies are most important to you based on your cooking needs. Inverter and sensor technologies are ideal for precise cooking and reheating, while convection and grill technologies are better for cooking and baking.
Steam technology can be a great option for those who want to cook healthy meals quickly and easily.
Microwave Oven Safety
By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your microwave oven operates safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of damage to your appliance and potential injuries.
While microwave ovens are convenient and easy to use, it’s important to follow certain safety precautions to avoid injuries or damage to your appliance:
1. Use microwave-safe cookware: Only use cookware that is labeled as microwave-safe, such as glass, ceramic, or microwave-safe plastic. Metal or aluminum foil should never be used in a microwave oven, as it can cause sparks and fire.
2. Don’t overheat liquids: Liquids heated in a microwave oven can become superheated and boil over when disturbed, potentially causing burns. To avoid this, stir liquids thoroughly and use a microwave-safe container with a lid that allows steam to escape.
3. Avoid overheating food: Overheating food can cause it to burn or catch fire, potentially causing damage to your microwave oven. Be sure to follow cooking instructions carefully and check on your food frequently.
4. Ventilate your microwave oven: Steam buildup in your microwave oven can cause it to become hot and potentially damage its electronic components. Be sure to open the door and allow steam to escape after cooking or reheating food.
5. Keep your microwave oven clean: Food particles and grease buildup in your microwave oven can cause it to operate less efficiently and potentially catch fire. Be sure to clean the inside of your microwave oven regularly with soap and water or a specialized cleaner.
While microwave ovens are convenient and easy to use, it’s important to follow certain safety precautions to avoid injuries or damage to your appliance.
Microwave Oven Accessories
There are several accessories available for microwave ovens that can make cooking and reheating food more convenient and efficient.
Here are some popular microwave oven accessories:
1. Microwave-Safe Cookware: Microwave-safe cookware, such as glass, ceramic, and microwave-safe plastic containers, is essential for cooking and reheating food in a microwave oven.
2. Microwave Plate Covers: Microwave plate covers are designed to prevent splatters and spills when heating food in a microwave oven, while also allowing steam to escape.
3. Microwave Steamer: A microwave steamer is a specially designed container that allows you to cook vegetables, fish, and other foods in a microwave oven, retaining their natural flavors and nutrients.
4. Microwave Bacon Cooker: A microwave bacon cooker allows you to cook crispy bacon in a microwave oven without the mess and hassle of stovetop cooking.
5. Microwave Popcorn Popper: A microwave popcorn popper is a container that allows you to pop popcorn kernels in a microwave oven, eliminating the need for a stovetop or electric popcorn maker.
6. Microwave Egg Cooker: A microwave egg cooker allows you to cook eggs in a microwave oven, making it easy to prepare breakfast or snacks quickly and conveniently.
By using these accessories, you can make the most of your microwave oven and expand your cooking and reheating options.
Be sure to choose accessories that are labeled as microwave-safe and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use.
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Understanding Power Settings of Microwave Oven
One of the most important features of a microwave oven is its power settings. Microwave ovens typically have multiple power settings, ranging from 10% to 100% power.
The power setting determines how much energy the microwave oven uses to cook food, and therefore affects cooking times and the final result of the food.
The higher the power setting, the faster the food will cook, but it may also result in uneven cooking or overcooking. Lower power settings are better for foods that require more precise cooking, such as delicate vegetables or meats.
It’s important to understand how to use the power settings effectively to get the best results from your microwave oven.
Many microwave oven recipes will specify the appropriate power setting to use, but as a general rule, lower power settings are better for longer cooking times or more delicate foods.
Experimenting with different power settings and cooking times can help you get a better sense of how your microwave oven works and how to use it effectively for different types of food.
Some microwave ovens also have pre-set cooking programs that automatically adjust the power setting and cooking time for specific types of food, such as popcorn or baked potatoes.
How to choose the right microwave oven for your budget and needs
When it comes to choosing the right microwave oven for your budget and needs, there are several important factors to consider. With so many models and features available, it can be overwhelming to make a decision.
However, by taking the time to assess your cooking and reheating needs, and carefully considering the features and options available, you can choose a microwave oven that fits both your budget and your lifestyle.
Microwave Oven Buying Checklist
Before purchasing a microwave oven, it’s important to consider a few key factors to ensure that you choose the right one for your needs.
Here is a checklist of things to consider when buying a microwave oven:
1. Size and Capacity: Consider how much space you have in your kitchen and how much food you typically need to cook or reheat. Choose a microwave oven with a capacity that is suitable for your needs.
2. Power: Microwave oven power is measured in watts, with most models ranging from 600 to 1200 watts. Consider how much power you need for your cooking needs.
3. Cooking Features: Consider what types of cooking features you need, such as defrosting, sensor cooking, grilling, and convection cooking. Choose a microwave oven with the features that are most important to you.
4. Ease of Use: Consider how easy the microwave oven is to use and whether it has intuitive controls and clear instructions.
5. Safety Features: Check for safety features such as child locks, automatic shut-off, and ventilation systems to ensure that your microwave oven is safe to use.
6. Brand and Warranty: Choose a reputable brand with a good track record for quality and reliability. Check the warranty to ensure that you are protected in case of defects or malfunctions.
7. Price: Consider your budget and choose a microwave oven that fits within your price range, but doesn’t sacrifice quality and safety for a lower price.
By considering these factors and doing your research before purchasing a microwave oven, you can ensure that you choose the right one for your needs and use it safely and effectively for years to come.
Top Microwave Oven Models to Consider
1. Panasonic NN-SN966S: This 2.2 cubic feet countertop microwave oven has a 1250-watt high power output and a sleek stainless steel design. It features inverter technology for even cooking and a range of preset cooking options.
2. GE Profile PEM31SFSS: This compact countertop microwave oven has a 1.1 cubic feet capacity and an 800-watt power output. It features sensor cooking options and a built-in kitchen timer.
3. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS: This countertop microwave oven has a 1.2 cubic feet capacity and an 1100-watt power output. It features smart sensor cooking technology and a pre-programmed menu for common dishes.
4. LG LMV1762ST: This over-the-range microwave oven has a 1.7 cubic feet capacity and a 1000-watt power output. It features a sleek stainless steel design, easy-to-use touch controls, and a built-in kitchen timer.
5. Breville BMO734XL: This countertop microwave oven has a 1.2 cubic feet capacity and an 1100-watt power output. It features smart cook, defrost, and reheat settings, and a unique “A Bit More” button for adding extra cooking time.
6. Samsung MG14H3020CM: This over-the-range microwave oven has a 1.4 cubic feet capacity and a 950-watt power output. It features a durable ceramic enamel interior, a grilling element for cooking crispy foods, and a range of preset cooking options.
7. Sharp R-21LCFS: This commercial-grade microwave oven has a 1 cubic feet capacity and a 1000-watt power output. It features a durable stainless steel exterior and interior, and easy-to-use dial controls for precise cooking.
8. Whirlpool WMC50522HZ: This countertop microwave oven has a 2.2 cubic feet capacity and a 1200-watt power output. It features sensor cooking technology and a sleek stainless steel design.
9. Black+Decker EM720CB7: This budget-friendly countertop microwave oven has a 0.7 cubic feet capacity and a 700-watt power output. It features a compact design and easy-to-use digital controls.
10. Farberware FMO11AHTBKB: This countertop microwave oven has a 1.1 cubic feet capacity and a 1000-watt power output. It features a sleek black stainless steel design and a range of preset cooking options.
11. Cuisinart CMW-200: This countertop microwave oven has a 1.2 cubic feet capacity and a 1000-watt power output. It features a sleek stainless steel design and a range of preset cooking options, including defrosting popcorn, and reheating.
12. KitchenAid KMHS120ESS: This over-the-range microwave oven has a 2.0 cubic feet capacity and a 1000-watt power output. It features a durable stainless steel design, sensor cooking technology, and a built-in kitchen timer.
13. Frigidaire FGMO226NUF: This built-in microwave oven has a 2.2 cubic feet capacity and a 1200-watt power output. It features a sleek stainless steel design, sensor cooking technology, and a range of preset cooking options.
14. Sharp R1874T: This over-the-range microwave oven has a 1.1 cubic feet capacity and an 850-watt power output. It features a durable stainless steel design, sensor cooking technology, and a range of preset cooking options.
Microwave Oven Cooking Tips and Tricks
Microwave ovens are a convenient and efficient way to cook and reheat food. However, it’s important to use them correctly to ensure that your food is cooked safely and evenly.
Here are some microwave oven cooking tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your appliance:
1. Stir or Rotate Food: Stirring or rotating your food during the cooking process helps to ensure even heating and prevent hot spots.
2. Use Microwave-Safe Cookware: Always use microwave-safe cookware to avoid damaging your appliance or exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Avoid metal, non-microwave-safe plastic, and aluminum foil.
3. Add Water: Adding a small amount of water to food, such as vegetables or rice, can help to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
4. Cover Food: Covering food with a microwave-safe lid or wrap helps to prevent splatters and retain moisture.
5. Use the Right Power Level: Using the right power level for your food can help to ensure that it is cooked evenly and thoroughly. Lower power levels are best for delicate foods like fish and vegetables, while higher levels are best for meats and poultry.
6. Let Food Rest: Allowing food to rest for a few minutes after cooking can help to ensure that it is fully cooked and allows the flavors to develop.
In addition to the general cooking tips and tricks outlined above, here are some specific tips for cooking different types of food, defrosting, and more in your microwave oven:
7. Cooking Vegetables: To cook vegetables in a microwave oven, add a small amount of water, cover the dish, and microwave on high until tender. Avoid overcooking, which can cause vegetables to become mushy and lose nutrients.
8. Cooking Meat: To cook meat in a microwave oven, place it on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or wrap it, and microwave on high until cooked through.
Be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that it has reached a safe temperature.
9. Cooking Eggs: To cook eggs in a microwave oven, crack them into a microwave-safe dish, add a splash of water or milk, cover, and microwave on high until cooked to your desired level of doneness.
10. Defrosting: To defrost food in a microwave oven, use the defrost setting or low power setting, and be sure to rotate or stir the food every few minutes to ensure even thawing. Be sure to cook the food immediately after defrosting to prevent bacterial growth.
11. Reheating Leftovers: To reheat leftovers in a microwave oven, place them in a microwave-safe dish, cover them, and microwave on high until heated through. Be sure to stir or rotate the food to ensure even heating.
By following these specific tips for cooking different types of food, defrosting, and reheating leftovers, you can make the most of your microwave oven and cook and reheat food safely and effectively.
Nutrition and Microwave Cooking
Infographic Source: https://www.nysi.org.sg/performance-pathways-science/sport-nutrition/basic-sports-nutrition/nutrition-and-microwave
Overview of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Microwaves
Microwave ovens have become an essential appliance in many households due to their convenience and speed of cooking. However, like any appliance, there are both advantages and disadvantages to owning a microwave oven.
Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:
Convenience: Microwave ovens are quick and easy to use, making them a convenient option for cooking and reheating food.
Time-Saving: Microwave ovens cook food faster than traditional ovens, saving time and energy.
Versatility: Microwave ovens can cook a variety of foods, including vegetables, meat, eggs, and even desserts.
Healthier Cooking: Microwaving food requires little to no added fat or oil, making it a healthier cooking option.
Energy Efficient: Microwave ovens use less energy than traditional ovens, which can save on electricity bills.
Limited Cooking Options: Some foods, such as baked goods and large cuts of meat, may not cook well in a microwave oven.
Uneven Cooking: Microwave ovens can create hot spots in food, resulting in uneven cooking.
Potential Health Risks: There have been concerns about the potential health risks of microwave ovens, although most studies have found them to be safe when used properly.
Plastic and Chemical Concerns: Heating food in plastic containers can release harmful chemicals into the food, making it important to use microwave-safe containers.
Cost: High-end microwave ovens can be expensive, although there are also more affordable options available.
Overall, the advantages of owning a microwave oven, such as convenience and time-saving, may outweigh the disadvantages for many households. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and choose an appliance that fits your needs and lifestyle.
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How to Clean and Maintain Your Microwave Oven
Keeping your microwave oven clean and well-maintained is essential for ensuring it functions properly and safely.
Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your microwave oven:
Clean spills and splatters immediately: If you notice any spills or splatters in your microwave oven, it’s best to clean them up immediately to prevent them from hardening and becoming difficult to remove later on.
Use microwave-safe cleaners: When cleaning your microwave oven, be sure to use microwave-safe cleaners, such as warm soapy water or vinegar and water solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals, which can damage the interior and exterior of the microwave.
Remove and clean the turntable: The turntable in your microwave oven can become dirty and stained over time. Remove the turntable and wash it in warm soapy water or run it through the dishwasher if it is dishwasher-safe.
Clean the interior and exterior of the microwave: Wipe down the interior and exterior of the microwave oven with a soft cloth or sponge soaked in warm soapy water or a vinegar and water solution. Be sure to rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
Check the door seal: The door seal of your microwave oven can become dirty or damaged over time, which can affect its performance. Check the door seal regularly and clean it with warm soapy water or vinegar and water solution if needed.
Schedule regular maintenance: If you notice any issues with your microwave oven, such as strange noises or failure to heat properly, it may be time to schedule maintenance with a professional. Regular maintenance can help keep your microwave oven functioning properly and safely.
More Resources on Microwave
Q: What Are the Different Types of Microwave Ovens?
There are four main types of microwave ovens: countertop, built-in, over-the-range, and commercial. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs and preferences.
Q: How Do I Determine the Size and Capacity of My Microwave Oven?
The size and capacity of your microwave oven depend on the amount of space you have available and the types of food you plan to cook.
A general rule of thumb is to choose a microwave oven with a capacity of at least one cubic foot per person in your household.
Q: What Are Some Important Safety Features to Look for in a Microwave Oven?
Some important safety features to look for in a microwave oven include child locks, automatic shut-off, and proper ventilation. These features can help prevent accidents and ensure safe and efficient operation.
Q: How Do I Clean and Maintain My Microwave Oven?
To clean and maintain your microwave oven, wipe down the interior and exterior regularly with a soft cloth or sponge soaked in warm soapy water or a vinegar and water solution.
You should also remove and clean the turntable, check the door seal, and schedule regular maintenance with a professional if necessary.
Q: What Are Some Cooking Tips and Tricks for Using a Microwave Oven?
Some cooking tips and tricks for using a microwave oven include using microwave-safe containers, covering food to prevent splatters, stirring or rotating food halfway through cooking, and letting food sit for a few minutes after cooking to allow for even heating.
Q: Can I Cook Anything in a Microwave Oven?
While microwave ovens are versatile and convenient, not all types of food are suitable for cooking in a microwave oven.
For example, certain types of meat, fish, and vegetables may require more time and precision than a microwave oven can provide. Additionally, some types of food, such as bread or pastries, may not cook evenly in a microwave oven.
Q: How Do I Choose the Right Wattage for My Microwave Oven?
The wattage of your microwave oven determines how quickly it can cook food. Generally, higher wattage means faster cooking times. When choosing a microwave oven, consider the types of food you plan to cook and the amount of time you have available.
A higher wattage may be more suitable for quick meals, while a lower wattage may be more suitable for slower, more precise cooking.
Q: How Important is It to Choose a Microwave Oven With Advanced Features Such as Convection or Grilling?
Advanced features such as convection or grilling can provide additional cooking options and versatility, but they may also be more expensive. Consider your cooking needs and preferences when deciding whether to invest in these features.
Q: What is the Average Lifespan of a Microwave Oven?
The average lifespan of a microwave oven is around 9-10 years. However, proper maintenance and care can help extend the lifespan of your microwave oven.
Q: Can a Microwave Oven Be Used for More Than Just Cooking Food?
Yes, a microwave oven can also be used for other purposes such as sterilizing baby bottles, softening butter, or melting chocolate.
However, make sure to follow proper safety guidelines and use appropriate containers to avoid damage to the microwave oven or potential health risks.
Choosing the right microwave oven for your home requires careful consideration of your needs, budget, and lifestyle.
From the different types of microwave ovens and their technologies to the sizes, capacities, safety features, and cooking tips and tricks, there are many factors to weigh and evaluate.
To make the right choice, it’s important to assess your cooking habits, family size, and available space, as well as your budget and preferences.
Additionally, make sure to check out the warranties, customer reviews, and expert ratings of the microwave ovens you’re considering to ensure their reliability, durability, and performance.
Ultimately, investing in a high-quality microwave oven that suits your needs and lifestyle can save you time, energy, and money while providing you with a convenient and versatile cooking tool.
By following the tips and recommendations outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision and choose the best microwave oven for your home.