The fast and busy modern-day lifestyle has made microwave ovens an indispensable part of every household. It is used for so many tasks — from preheating food to reheating pizza, thawing frozen items, and even popping popcorn. This time-saving gadget also saves energy wastage in your kitchen. Now, if you are on the lookout to purchase a new microwave oven, you must be overwhelmed by the tremendous range of options. Therefore, in this guide, we will help you in choosing the best microwave oven for your kitchen.
Types of Microwave Ovens
A conventional microwave works on the principle of microwave emission that passes via heat-resistant materials such as glass and plastic containers in order to cook food. It, in fact, functions on a combination of microwave technology with circulating hot air and radiant heat which enables roasting, browning, and grilling of food.
Convection microwaves feature a heating element that produces the required heat — along with a fan to circulate the hot air. Therefore, convection models ensure more thorough and uniform cooking. These microwave types are also called speed-cook microwaves and they make the best, juiciest roasts and crispiest pizza crusts.
If you wish to get convection microwave ovens that feature multiple cooking modes in a single model then expect to pay a few extra bucks.
Styles of Microwave Ovens
Countertop models are the go-to option for maximum homeowners because they are portable and easy to install. However, do note that they take up a bit of counter space. Modern kitchens nowadays feature a microwave shelf next to the fridge or stove. This makes it easy to simply place the oven in this designated area. A countertop microwave is a top pick for you — if you have the required space — because it features several automatic cooking functions.
Built-in models — as the name suggests can be installed inside or under your cabinets or over your range. These microwave models sometimes come with lighting and a venting system below. Therefore, they can also double up as a vent for your kitchen. Other models offer great options such as convection, bake, or roast.
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For buying the best microwave oven, besides measuring the dimensions of your range or countertop, you also need to decide the size capacity of your model. Microwaves sizes are usually specified in cubic feet and can be as large as up to 2.2 cubic feet.
You can find ultra-compact, space-saving microwaves if you want one for simple, everyday tasks — such as reheating food, defrosting frozen pizza, and making popcorn. They are ideal if you live in a dorm room or small apartment. You can even carry them on boats and campers.
Another version of compact models is toaster ovens. They can warm meals for one person, heat water for tea and coffee, and quickly toast bread or bagels.
Mid & Full-Size Ovens
Larger, mid-size and full-size models are best when you do a great deal of cooking — ranging from roasting chicken to making bacon.
The wattage of a microwave determines the speed of cooking food. Therefore, a 1200 watts microwave will cook your food much faster than a 600 watts model. Remember that the power settings also depend on the size of your microwave. You will usually find that the maximum of the best microwave oven models features approximately 1000 watts of power. However, certain over-the-range microwaves come with multiple wattages for multiple functions.
Before you make a decision, you should also research the various additional features that are included in any model’s manual. Only then you will be able to buy the best microwave oven according to your needs.
With the auto-reheat option, you can reheat your food to perfection by pressing just a single button. Modern microwaves also specific settings that can reheat leftover scraps or cold soup.
Have some stored meat in the freezer? Defrost it within minutes with the auto-defrost button. The settings will, however, need to be adjusted according to the weight of your mutton, chicken, beef, or any other types of food.
Auto-cook is a life-saver for inexperienced cooks. It saves you from the hassle of monitoring the cooking time, in order to check if the food gets burned. Just set the timing with one touch and get baking!
Many microwave models feature power levels such as high, medium, and low. You must already know that certain packaged foods come with instructions of cooking them at a particular temperature. This is when this feature comes in handy by giving you options when cooking.
Most of the best microwave ovens come with a rotating turntable for uniform cooking and heating of food. However, if you do not want this option, you can go for a model that also has a button to turn the turntable off when required.
Some microwaves come with sensor cooking. This feature allows your oven to automatically sense for what duration the food needs to be cooked and adjust its timing accordingly.
You can also go for microwaves with two levels — the top rack and the bottom rack. You can choose whichever rack you want to put your food on.
Quick Minute Functions
If you wish to add an extra minute or two to your previously set timing, check out microwaves with this function. It allows you to set up to 10 minutes of cooking time in intervals of 1 minute each.
Keep Warm Feature
Finished cooking early and want to keep your food warm? Then get an oven with a keep warm feature. It will maintain a temperature that is perfect for keeping your meal warm till you are ready to eat or serve.
Homeowners can use the kitchen timer feature to allow the microwave to do their cooking while they chill in front of the TV or get some other chores done.
Child lock is necessary for families with kids. It will prevent your children from accessing the microwave or turning it on when you are engaged somewhere else.
When you buy a countertop microwave, all you need to do is put it down in your designated spot and plug it in. However, you need to put in a bit more thought when you purchase a built-in model. It has to fit the space above your range or in your cupboard. Therefore, be prepared with your measurements before buying this type of oven.
At a first glance, one may consider a microwave to be a small appliance, but it is one of the most versatile appliances you will own. Check out several models and choose the best microwave oven that will fit into your kitchen perfectly.
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