RH Kitchen & Bath Ltd.

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Appliances How To

How to choose a microwave

So, how can you decide what is the best microwave oven for your needs??

Let's take a look at some the important things you need to consider.

  • Location:
    • Over the range:
      • Space saver.
      • It performs triple duty, outside venting/odor filtration, heating foods, and lighting.
      • It Can pose safety concerns when used by young children while the stove is on.
      • Little or no flexibility in installation height.
    • Countertop microwave:
      • As the name suggests, it sits on the countertop or it can sit on a shelf built in a wall cabinet.
      • Least expensive.
      • Can waste counter space.
    • Drawer microwaves:
      • Expensive.
      • Usually installed under the counter.
      • Allows you to comfortably reach for foods from above.
      • Accessible to children.
    • Built-in microwaves:
      • Can be installed in a deep tall cabinet or a deep wall cabinet.
      • Some are countertop microwaves with a separately purchased trim kit.
      • Some European brands come with the trim kit attached to the microwave. These microwaves cannot be used as countertop microwaves.
    • Wall Oven/Microwave/Warming Drawer combo:
      • Convenient.
      • If any of the units break all units need to be replaced.
  • Interior and Exterior Finishes:
    • Exterior finishes can range from the familiar black, white, and stainless steel colors, to the unusual colors like light blue, light green, slate, or even red.
    • Interior finishes can be white or colored enamel which is prone to chipping and rust, or can be stainless steel which resist chipping and staining.
  • Size and Capacity:
    • Capacity ranges from a small 0.5 ft³ cubic feet to the family sized 2.2 ft³.
    • There is a direct correlation between the wattage of a microwave and its ability to heat foods. The higher the wattage the more energy it consumes and the faster it heats your food.
    • The width is usually standard but the height and depth vary from model to model.
      • Over the range microwaves come in 30" and 36" inches standard width.
      • Wall oven/microwave combo come in 27" and 30" inches standard.
      • Drawer microwaves come in 24" and 30" inches standard width.
      • Sizes of countertop microwaves are not standardized.
  • Other features that come standard on almost all microwaves nowadays:
    • Turn table: It makes your food heats evenly.
    • End of cooking beep.
  • Non-essential features:
    • Recessed turn table or a turn table that oscillate in both directions.
    • Convection microwave with an elevated rack to allow air to move freely around the food.
    • Microwave grill: It is a microwave with a browning element on the inside.
    • Express cooking: Just press one button and the microwave cooks your food for the time indicated on the button.
    • Thirty seconds button: adds 30 seconds to the cooking time with one button.
    • Auto defrost: no need to reduce the cooking power, your microwave will set the power level and cooking time based on the weight.
    • Auto cooking: using a humidity sensor, these microwave know how long to cook your food. They can get confused if your cookware is wet.
    • Adjustable power levels: from 100% down to 10% for slow cooking.
    • Lock feature: for the unintended use of the microwave by children.
    • Sound volume, to change the beep to low, medium, high or even off.
    • Language options and Imperial and Metric weight measurements.
    • Cooking in stages: It allows you to set a time and cooking power level for each stage before the cooking starts.
    • Auto Reheat function: Allows you to set a cooking time and power level and use the same setting to reheat multiple identical servings
    • Warm and Hold function to keep cooked foods hot.
    • Adjustable display: Ability to change the speed of words scrolling on the display, and the ability to change the display contrast.
    • Daylight savings for the time display.
    • On screen recipes: makes it easy to look up some of the most common recipes included with your microwave.
    • Delayed light shutoff for over the range microwaves.
    • Super defrost: for quick defrost of certain hard to defrost foods.
    • Availability of accessories, such as boiling wand and a food cover. Some microwaves come with accessories storage drawer.
    • Hinge location: most microwave doors are hinged on the left, some are hinged on the bottom or even on the top.
  • The convenience features are numerous and manufacturers try to win you over by including as many of these features as possible within the price limitations. In the end you choose what best fits your needs and budget.