Purchasing appliances especially ones that you intend to use slightly long-term is never easy. There are so many considerations to make not least of which is the cost and longevity of the device. For when you find yourself at a place where you need to purchase a microwave oven, here are some considerations that will hopefully make your search easier.
Countertop vs Over-the-range
These are the two main types of microwave ovens to choose from. Your budget and the space you have available are key considerations. The space available for the location of the microwave affects the size and type of microwave which then affects the price, features, and installation requirements.
Counter-top ovens are cheaper, they are convenient since they don’t require installation and their compact design makes them great for smaller kitchens and dorm rooms. You can place them wherever makes the most sense for you. Their primary disadvantage is they take up valuable real estate on your counter which can be real hustle if your kitchen does not already have enough counter space and cooking space. These are the most common microwave oven types.
Over-the-range microwaves are installed above your stovetop and into your cabinetry freeing up counter space. Their key limitation is they need to be installed by a professional, are not portable after installation, and can be inconvenient especially for shorter people.
How you intend to use the microwave
For some people, the microwave oven is solely for heating already cooked food while for others it’s for baking, grilling, and experimenting with new recipes too. People who only use it for heating do not need as many features as those who actually use their microwaves to prepare entire meals.
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Microwave wattage is microwave power. The higher the wattage the faster and more evenly the food will cook. Most microwaves fall between 600 and 1200 watts. Recipes are written specifically for the microwave usually call for at least 800 watts so that the food cooks evenly. Cheaper versions with less than 700 watts take longer to heat and have a difficult time heating food evenly. Larger more expensive microwaves tend to have a higher wattage.
Size and Capacity
The size of the microwave is a function of the space you have to put it. This also affects the capacity of the microwave which is a function of the size. The larger your family, the larger your microwave should be. A single person could do with a compact microwave but a family of four or five may need a full-size microwave.
Interior cavity material
There are two key types of material used to make the interior of the microwave, stainless steel, and ceramic. Stainless steel cavities facilitate better heating because steel is a good conductor of heat. Stainless steel also provides better protection against leakages of microwave rays. It however does not offer very good protection against scratches and they are a bit more expensive.
The ceramic cavity surface is non-sticky and therefore easy to clean. It also adds a lustre to the surface which makes it look good. Ceramic cavity microwaves however take longer to heat up the food.
Extra features to consider
This measures the steam the food emits and automatically turns off the microwave oven once the food is done. The microwave runs just as long as is necessary and goes off when the food is ready. This saves you time and energy consumption and also keeps messes at bay by keeping food from exploding from overheating.
This refers to the preset cooking modes where you only press one button to automatically cook a dish.
These microwave ovens not only cook but also grill and can bake cakes and cookies. They are better at circulating the heat inside them, evenly cooking the food, and even making it crispier. This is something the average microwave cannot do.
Begin by considering how you intend to use the microwave, your budget, size, and location of the microwave. Then consider what extra features you’d like. Happy microwave shopping!
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