Microwave Oven Buying Guide

An expert, impartial overview of buying a new microwave oven, including types and styles, sizing a microwave, features, and more
They are great for reheating pizza, defrosting frozen foods, popping popcorn, and far more. In addition to saving time, a microwave also conserves energy. It can get rid of a tremendous amount of squandered energy in the kitchen, from the energy needed to preheat a traditional oven to the waste involved in heating up a kettle of water when all you need is a cup.microwave-oven-buying-guide

If you remain in the marketplace for a new microwave, you’ve most likely found that the range of designs and alternatives can be complicated. Should you buy a countertop or over-the variety design? What is the best size and power capability for your requirements? How does a microwave stove vary from a standard microwave?
It used to be that microwave ovens were nearly all the same– basic appliances that could thaw frozen hamburger, reheat leftovers, and pop popcorn in only a few minutes. They had a track record for fast benefit but little else; today, it’s approximated that 90% of American homes have a microwave oven in the cooking area, and there are numerous ranges of these home appliances.
Microwaves combine speed with adaptability and technology to develop a smart cooking area home appliance, in a selection of designs and colors.
Depending on the design you purchase, a microwave oven can: Brown, roast, and grill foods like a conventional oven; prepare particular recipes using a pre-programmed touch keypad; cook entire meals without overheating your kitchen area; automatically shut down when a sensing unit figures out the food is done.
What functions should your new microwave oven offer? In this article, we’ll assist you determine the system that best fits your needs and lifestyle. We’ll likewise discuss pricing and important concerns to ask prior to making your purchase.

Conventional or Convection Microwave?

A traditional microwave discharges microwaves that pass through glass and plastic containers to cook food. A convection microwave integrates basic microwave technology with convected heat and flowing hot air to let you roast, brown, and grill foods.
Convection microwaves have a heating element in addition to a fan to distribute the heated air. This results in a more comprehensive, even job of cooking. Likewise referred to as speed-cook designs, these units assure juicier pot roasts and crustier pizzas. Some systems feature a pan for cooking bacon and crisping bread.

Another alternative heating method integrates microwaves with extreme light from a quartz halogen bulb to grill and roast food. This technology includes color and taste to meats while speeding cooking times.
Considering that convection microwave permit multiple cooking modes in a single oven, anticipate to pay a bit more.

Styles of Microwave Ovens

Home microwave are offered in numerous sizes and styles. The 4 significant types of microwaves are countertop designs, above-range units, microwave drawers, and combination microwave ovens. Each has particular advantages.

Countertop Microwave Ovens

Countertop microwaves, also called compact or portable microwaves, are the tiniest type and the most popular choice among customers for reheating foods, defrosting frozen food, making popcorn, and comparable incidental cooking jobs. GE microwave are a top seller in this category, according to Consumer Reports.
A normal size is 18 inches large by 14 inches deep and 12 inches high. Capacity is usually 1 cubic foot and their power is typically in between 500 and 1000 watts. Countertop microwaves are portable– you can take them with you when you move. And they are affordable, with costs often below $100.

Do be aware that a countertop microwave will take up valuable cooking area work area. Some designs include packages that permit you to install the device under a cabinet to prevent this problem.

Above-Range Microwave Ovens


Above-range (also called over-the-range) microwaves, as their name indicates, are developed to be set up above the kitchen area range.

Amongst the primary types of microwaves, they rank 2nd in popularity. Recently, improvements have been made to the units’ exhaust fans for venting steam and filtering smoke from a range’s leading burners.
The majority of designs have multispeed fans that recirculate air using replaceable charcoal filters. These systems do not have to be vented outside. Some exhaust fans likewise switch on instantly if a range top ends up being too hot, protecting the microwave. Because above-range models require area over your range, you might need to get rid of a cabinet before setup. Typically, above-range microwaves are acquired to replace existing ovens or when a kitchen area is being renovated. Some name brand names– such as the GE and Sharp microwave ovens– start as low as $250, however above-range ovens can top $1,000, depending upon the functions.

Microwave Oven Drawers


Microwave drawers are reasonably new to the marketplace, preferred because they don’t consume valuable counter space, however provide all of the benefit of microwave ovens. Though setting up one isn’t as simple as setting a microwave oven on top of a counter, setup is relatively easy. For more, please see How to Set up a Microwave Drawer.

Combination Microwave-Conventional Ovens

These are the most elegant alternative, offering a built-in standard oven and microwave in the very same area. The microwave generally is on top of the bigger traditional oven. These double ovens have drop-down doors and a streamlined stainless design. They can cost as much as $3,000.

Microwave Oven Size & Power

If you want to do more than cook popcorn or bake a potato, buy a mid- or full-size oven. Cooking full meals for an entire family needs a big design and high power. Panasonic microwave ovens use a few of the largest sizes (approximately 2.2 cubic feet).
Full-size ovens deliver 1,000 to 1,600 watts of power, and mid-size ovens yield 800 to 1,000 watts. Higher wattage warms food faster. More power is much better for cooking whole meals.
Compact microwaves– the smallest ovens– work well in dormitory, offices, and apartments. Some people use these mini-microwaves in boats and campers.
The compact system needs to have the ability to hold one supper plate. These smaller sized microwaves yield 500 to 800 watts. Remember that the lower the power, the longer it requires to cook a meal.
Microwave toaster ovens are a “do-it-all” variation of the compact microwave: They warm meals for one, heat water for tea and cocoa, and toast bread and bagels. Fancier designs may provide to 24 toaster settings and 10 automatic cooking settings.

Microwave Oven Features


Convenience distinguishes today’s microwave from earlier models. Shortcut settings automate power levels and cooking times for foods such as popcorn, pizza, frozen entrees, and potatoes.
The priciest microwaves offer up to 100 pre- configured menu products that let you prepare meals without first needing to choose the quantity of times or the power level.
Lots of units use fast defrost settings that take the uncertainty from thawing. Some designs have hold-up start-time options or will keep food warm after it cooks.
When you purchase a new microwave oven, no matter the oven you select, keep the referral guide handy so you can maximize the functions.


It is critical to have a revolving glass plate or turntable inside your oven to guarantee even cooking. Otherwise, you will need to stop the microwave several times and turn the food by hand. Many mid- and full-size microwaves have removable turntables. Some new variations also have rectangle-shaped trays that relapse and forth.


This safety function can not be easily seen however ensures that the microwave will not run if the door opens or is ajar. A lot of ovens have two interlocks; some have three. If one lock fails, the backup lock will work.

Variable Power Controls

You do not always need to use your microwave at full power. Variable power lets you change the setting level. You can simmer food at 50% power or thaw at 30%.

Child Lockout

Child-proof doors are specifically important on microwave convection systems, where meals might be additional hot when they come out of the oven. Child-proof doors can be locked and released using a keypad.

Automatic Sensors

This brand-new technology can inform when food is adequately prepared by determining steam in the oven. You don’t need to set a timer. The microwave automatically shuts down, ensuring that food will not be overcooked or undercooked. The majority of producers are adding automatic sensors to their designs if they haven’t currently.


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Morris T. Parson, Tech Support

Leading specialist in electronics and engineering. Author of dozens of articles on various topics from the world of hi-tech. Sound independent analysis of products, exploring new niches and global trends is his special passion.

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