When you want to heat food or defrost chocolate, the microwave is the door you open. This is the primary function. However, microwaves have since transcended such tasks.
The modern-day microwave oven is a workhorse that can grill, cook, roast, and even bake. Research has shown that it is one of the most owned appliances in the United Kingdom and is a testimony of its value. If you plan on joining the robust list of microwave owners soon, there are many things you must know. Check out the list of online webshops selling microwaves and other kitchen appliances.
The microwaves in the market today are not all the same. They vary in terms of price, functions, size, performance, and even design.
Given this abundance of options, choosing the perfect microwave for your kitchen can be stressful. This article will look at the main things you should consider in your selection to ensure that you buy a microwave that satisfies your kitchen needs.
Are Microwaves Safe for Cooking?
Some people are sceptical about microwaves because they fear they may cause food to absorb radioactive materials. Research from WHO has debunked this claim.
There is little to worry about when the microwave is in perfect condition. However, a broken door seal or poor maintenance leads to uneven cooking and exposes one to burns.
Tip: Microwaves can disinfect a baby's feeding bottles and other small kitchen utensils using a microwave sterilizer.
What are the Types of Microwaves?
Microwaves can be categorized based on placement, function, and operating mechanism.
Category of Microwaves Based on Placement
Freestanding Microwave Ovens
Freestanding microwaves are sometimes called countertop microwaves because you can set them on the counter or kitchen island. It is the most common type of microwave in the market, and people love it because they do not need to spend much on installation. One downside of the freestanding model is that it occupies valuable counter space, so if you have limited kitchen space, you must give it a little more thought before buying it.
Check out microwave shelf ideas to help you save kitchen space.
Built-in Microwave Ovens
Built-in microwaves fit into the wall-mounted or kitchen island cabinetry. It is a minimalist style that saves space and improves the kitchen outlook. When done correctly, the microwave stays flush with the cabinet. However, this model is more expensive than countertop models and requires technical support for installation. A built-in microwave is also known as an integrated microwave.
But there is a slight difference. While the built-in model fits into the cabinet, integrated microwave slots into the kitchen walls. So, the latter is sleeker. Interestingly, you can integrate a freestanding model into an empty space in the cabinet to give a built-in look if you want.
Over-the-Range Microwave Ovens
An over-the-range microwave oven is also known as a combination microwave oven. They come with a range hood and sit upon the stovetop.
Category of Microwaves Based on Function
Solo microwaves accomplish only simple cooking tasks. You can heat a cup of coffee that went cold as you worked or defrost chocolate, but you can complete other complex cooking on them. This sort of microwave is excellent for office places. It is also cheaper, so you need not worry about expenditure.
Grill Microwave Ovens
A grill microwave is a solo microwave with a grill function. You still get the basic packages, but this takes it a notch higher with the grilling feature.
Convection Microwaves Ovens
Convection microwaves are the most advanced microwaves when you consider functions. They combine the features of solo and grill microwaves. You can grill, roast, bake, and burn food to a brown crisp. Elaborate meals are not far from family homes, and convection microwaves are the best for the task. They are also more expensive than the other two, but given the functionalities, it should be unsurprising.
Category of Microwaves Based on Operating Mechanism
The turntable is the conventional microwave mechanism. Turntable models operate using a rotating table to move the dish about microwave for heat absorption. This mechanism facilitates heat distribution and ensures evenness in the cooking of food.
Flatbed microwaves do not have moving parts in the oven cavity. They distribute heat using a rotating antenna beneath the base of the microwave. So, in this model, the dish sits still and receives heat from different angles. This model removes the problem of spills prevalent in turntables due to the collision of plates with the microwave walls.
What Size and Cooking Capacity Is Best?
There are many microwave sizes in the market today, and they all cater to different needs. When you shop for a microwave, you must consider your kitchen space. If you intend to tuck it into an empty cabinet, you must first take the dimensions of the cabinet. Measure the height, length, width, and depth, and look for a microwave with similar dimensions.
Another thing to consider is the cooking capacity. The cooking capacity is the interior size of the microwave — the determinant of the dish size that can fit into the microwave. Microwaves with a high interior capacity would suffice for large families. A small microwave with a narrow internal width would be perfect if you live alone and rarely cook big meals. Microwaves generally have a capacity of 0.5 to 2 inches. Any size below 0.7 inches might not accommodate a dinner plate.
Tip: Flatbed microwaves have higher interior capacity than turntable models due to the absence of moving parts.
How Many Watts Do You Need?
Well, that is up to you. Wattage rating reflects the power of the microwave and is the most significant marker of its performance. Most microwaves fall within the 700 - 1200 watts range. The greater the wattage, the faster it cooks. However, there is the issue of budget. Microwaves with higher wattage ratings cost more and expend more energy, so your energy consumption will increase. If you have a small budget, go for 800-watt, 900-watt, or 1000-watt microwaves; these would offer satisfactory performance and save purchase and energy costs.
What Color Should You Get?
Perhaps, the question should be: what is the colour of your decor? If you want to create a kitchen with a bright outlook (say you have white tiles), go for a white or grey microwave. A black microwave would also neatly stand out. To be sure, colours do not influence performance, and appearance might only be a secondary consideration, but picture a bright red microwave in a white-themed kitchen. Even the red microwave would squirm in discomfort! Shop for microwaves that would enhance your home's theme or the very least, not ruin it. Red is a popular colour in retro microwaves. Retro microwaves look vintage — with knob controls, smooth, curved edges, and vibrant colours. If old-school is the prevailing theme of your home, a retro microwave would be perfect.
How Much Should You Budget?
What kind of microwave do you want? The price varies depending on the microwave's brand, size, design, and functionalities. Microwaves are affordable, and some (as of the time of writing), cost less than $100. They are also durable (with a typical 10-year lifespan), so if you get a quality microwave and maintain it well, you might not have to buy another in a long time. Read electronics store reviews to find retail outlets offering the best deals.
What Special Features Do Microwaves Offer?
It is well-established that microwaves are versatile appliances, but they can be much more. Modern microwaves pack a lot of great features that make cooking an enjoyable experience.
Microwave sensors, for instance, can tell when a food has reached doneness, and you will receive a notification beep. With a voice command system, you can also issue instructions to the microwave without pressing a button. Some microwaves also allow for syncing with phones to allow remote control. The options are endless. Whether it's a child-lock system to prevent your kids from unsupervised access or a mute option for quiet nights, the choice is yours. When shopping for microwaves, look for those with features that satisfy your cooking needs.
What are the Best Microwave Brands in 2022?
Many major electronic brands like Russell Hobbs and Samsung churn out microwaves yearly. It is always safer to buy from household names because their longevity in business suggests quality. However, it is even safer to read reviews to discover what customers say about their services. Browse ReviewsBird for independent customer reviews of stores like Argos and Tescos that deal in these brands to find out which offer the best customer service, quick delivery, and affordable rates.
Microwaves are undoubtedly essential kitchen appliances, and that has to do with their versatility and work rate. The points listed in this article will narrow down your options and help you pick the best one for you.