Microwave ovens are a convenience found in just about every home kitchen. While most people use their microwave ovens to heat frozen dinners, warm leftovers, and maybe pop popcorn, some use them to cook elaborate meals.
While you can spend a lot of money on the most state-of-the-art, feature-rich microwave oven on the market, there’s a chance you won’t need it. There are more basic, less expensive microwave ovens that might suit your needs just fine.
The next time you go shopping for a microwave oven, here are some questions to consider.
Where Will You Put It?
There are three basic types of microwave ovens.
Counter top microwave ovens sit on a counter or other flat surface, like the top of the refrigerator. These units are usually the most affordable.
Built-in or wall-mounted microwave ovens are actually installed in the wall, so that the door of the microwave oven is flush with the wall. This can be good if you don’t have a lot of counter space, but these units can be costly, and require professional installation.
Over-the-range or over-the-counter microwave ovens can be mounted above a stove, or under a cabinet. This is another good choice if you don’t have a lot of counter-space.
What Will You Be Cooking?
If you’re only going to be reheating leftovers and preparing frozen meals, you can just ignore the fancier, more expensive microwave ovens, which will have a lot of features you just won’t need. You also shouldn’t need a microwave oven that’s very big. Try one of the compact or midsize microwave ovens on the market. And make sure the one you choose is big enough for your plates and frozen food containers.
If you’re going to be using your microwave oven to cook entire, meals, you’ll want a bigger, more powerful unit that has more features. So, you’ll probably want to look at full-sized microwave ovens.
How Much Power Do You Need?
Most microwave ovens have between 500 and 1200 watts of power, largely depending on the size of the microwave oven. The higher the wattage, the faster your microwave oven will cook. If you’re going to being using your microwave oven to prepare meals, you need at least 800 watts of power. But at least 1000 watts or more of power would be even better.
What Extra Features Do You Need?
You can find microwave ovens with a multitude of different features.
* Rotating Carousel or Turntable. Cooks food more evenly.
* Convection. Cooks food faster, and produces more appetizing meats and baked goods.
* Browning Feature. The browning feature will make sure certain foods, like pizza or breads, will be brown and crispy. This feature goes by other names, like grilling, crisping, and toasting.
* Probes and Sensors. Help you determine whether food is cooked thoroughly.
* Preset Buttons. Some microwave ovens come with preset buttons for certain foods, which ensure those foods are cooked for the right amount of time, at the right power levels. For example, you don’t have to read the instructions on a bag of microwave popcorn anymore. Just put the popcorn in the microwave oven, push the right button, and the popcorn will be perfect every time.
Microwave ovens are a major modern convenience. And they are even better when you choose the microwave oven that’s the best fit for your specific needs.