If you want to know how to choose a microwave oven for your home then you might want to continue reading. A microwave is one of the most popular and useful appliances in your kitchen. It helps you quickly heat up pizza in the middle of the night and make popcorn for you and your friends when you want to watch a movie.
Microwave ovens are also very easy to use, can save a lot of time and energy, so you should get one at all costs. They come in different sizes, colors and shapes and are available in different price ranges, so even if your budget is not that high, you can still get a great-quality microwave oven for your kitchen and use it for years to come.
To determine which one is good for your needs, I created the following buying guide which will help you familiarize yourself with the basics of microwave ovens. Keep reading to find out more.
There are usually several types of microwave ovens, the most popular ones being conventional and convection microwaves.
Conventional microwave ovens is the standard type of microwaves which send heat in waves, passing through plastic containers and glass to reach the foods or liquids you want to heat up. These are usually the most popular ones and they are inexpensive in most cases.
Convection microwave ovens, on the other hand, don’t only emit heat waves to cook your foods, but they are also equipped with fans which help circulate the air.
This ensures a more even cooking process and it gives you multiple cooking options as well. Although they might be a little bit more expensive than conventional microwaves, they are worth every penny if you plan to do a lot of cooking at home for you or for your family members.
When it comes to type/model, you can also separate microwaves in various models like countertop microwaves, above the range microwaves, drawer microwaves or even combination microwaves.
A countertop microwave is the most popular one and it comes in various sizes. It is basically a standard microwave you put on your kitchen countertops and use it on a daily basis. Some compact models also fit smaller kitchens, so be mindful of interior space when buying one. Check my top picks of countertop microwaves for this year.
Over the range microwaves are designed to be installed above your cook-top and they can save space in your kitchen. They are also very popular and easy to use. Check my top picks of over the range microwaves for this year.
A drawer microwave is a little bit more different. It is basically incorporated into the existing furniture items in your kitchen and it opens just like a drawer, allowing you to put a large amount of food inside, to be cooked or thawed.
Lastly, combination microwaves are more sophisticated because they work in tandem with a normal oven and they are more suitable for high-end kitchens.
These can get pretty expensive, but they can cook large amounts of foods quickly and efficiently with minimum input from the homeowner.
The power of the microwave is also important because it is directly related to how fast you can cook the foods. For example, if you are living on your own or with your partner, you might not need the most powerful microwave out there.
Something with a wattage around 800 – 1200 watts would be ideal for you in this case. On the other hand, if you have a large family and want to cook plenty of foods quickly, you might want to look for a model which has a rated power output of 1,600 watts or more.
More powerful microwaves will cook your foods much quicker and they also come with multiple cooking options for you to choose from.
A good feature that comes with over the range microwaves is venting. Since this microwave is installed over the cooker, it features a ventilation system that takes the place of a traditional oven hoods.
If you don’t have a ventilation system over your cooker then it will be a good idea to find an over the range microwave who can do both jobs, heat your food and act as a cooker hood.
When it comes to the size of the microwave, the interior capacity is what is most important. Some models are really spacious with an interior capacity of up to 2.2 cubic feet.
Again, if you’re on your own or there are few family members in the house, a smaller microwave would be more appropriate for you.
Not only that it is more affordable, but it will also occupy less space on the kitchen countertop. More compact microwaves are also lighter, and this is an advantage if you move it from place to place often.
If you have a large family and want to cook a lot of foods on a daily basis, go for a more spacious model which can accommodate large plates and bowls of food at the same time. You can check this great size chart to get a better idea.
Make sure that you provide it with ample countertop space and you’re golden.
This is also an important aspect, although not a big concern for you as a homeowner. Keep in mind that most microwaves are relatively heavy units (some weighing up to 30 pounds or more) and this is because they are made from stainless steel and contain a lot of metallic components.
In some cases, you will find microwaves made from aluminum and they will be a little bit lighter, not to mention more eye-catching.
The turntable inside the microwave is made from a special type of glass which doesn’t break apart that easily or get affected by the heat waves in the long run.
If you plan to use other types of recipients or containers, make sure they are approved and safe to get into the microwave to prevent unwanted accidents or even injuries.
The color of the microwave is also important for some homeowners. These products are available in a broad range of colors such as black, stainless steel, white, grey, even red or blue in some cases.
Preset cooking times
The more modern your microwave is, the more features it might come with. For example, most kitchen microwaves come with built-in programs and settings for cooking various popular foods such as popcorn, pizza, potatoes, and more.
In other words, you might not have to set the temperature and cooking option manually, you just press a button and the microwave will do everything for you, cooking your foods correctly every time.
Some high-end models can come pre-programmed and incorporate cooking options for up to 100 different dishes which is a great thing, especially if you are a beginner and want to expand your culinary knowledge.
When it comes to features, some microwaves come with multiple racks that enables you to cook more than one dish at the same time. This option usually comes in big sized microwaves.
Grill & Steam
How often does your meat or chicken becomes rubbery everytime you heat it with a microwave? To avoid this issue, some microwaves circulate the warm air inside and gives you a soft texture same as using the grill.
Some models come with a steam option that lets you steam your veggies or fish without the need to buy a separate food steamer.
If your appliance is more sophisticated, it can contain options to thaw foods or cook it at different temperatures for certain periods of time which gives you more leverage when preparing dishes.
Defrost & Keep Warm
If you cook a lot of foods using your microwave, you might want to go for a unit which offers defrost options as well as “keep warm” option.
This will basically preserve your soup or other dishes at the correct temperature for a long period of time, so when you come home from work, you just take it out from the microwave and enjoy it!
If you are worried about safety, you might be happy to find out that some high-end microwaves come with child locks which basically prevent kids from opening the door of the microwave and get in touch with the hot food. To open the door, you have to enter a special code using the built-in keypad.
Price and warranty
When it comes to price, today’s microwaves are increasingly more affordable because the technology to make them gets less and less expensive.
For example, most standard microwave ovens which come with accessories and various cooking options can cost between $50 and $70 in most cases.
They are ideal for homeowners who have basic cooking needs and don’t necessarily look for a sophisticated model.
On the other hand, if you want a high-end product, the price for a microwave oven can go up to $150 or even $200, depending on its features.
As a good rule of thumb, the price of a microwave oven will go up if it has a lot of power or a large interior capacity.
Any extra features added will also increase the price, but it will make the unit more user-friendly and give you more cooking options to play with.
Needless to say, each microwave also comes with a warranty period from the manufacturer. This warranty period can stretch from one up to five years in some cases, so make sure you check out this aspect before paying for your microwave.
Here’s a video that explain things further:
Now that you know more about microwaves, it is time to make the big decision. Start by deciding how much interior space your units should have.
This can be determined by analyzing your eating habits and how frequently you want to cook foods in your microwave.
Afterwards, come up with a budget and go for a model which has a decent power output, a couple of practical features and doesn’t occupy a lot of space on your kitchen countertop.
With a little bit of luck, you will find one of the best home microwave which will help you make popcorn and heat pizza whenever you want to!