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The purpose of this buying guide is to help you find the best microwave oven for your kitchen.

Here are links to the complete guide:

Microwaves have come a long way from a simple appliance that uses microwaves to rapidly heat or cook food to incorporating evolving technologies like inverter microwaves, convection microwaves, and developing an increasing number of convenience and automatic settings.

And now Part 4: “This and That” – All the little extra features that various microwaves come with so you can decide what you can live without, and what you cannot live without.

Onward!

How To Buy A Microwave Oven

THERE ARE SEVERAL FEATURES YOU NEED TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR MICROWAVE OVEN:

Wattage and Power

The higher the wattage of your device is, the more heat will be produced, thus cooking your food faster. Most microwave ovens have power that ranges between 600 to 1200 watts, but most recipes require a power of at least 800 watts to ensure even cooking. Remember that this also provides you a rough estimate of your units energy consumption.

Size of the Microwave Oven

Microwave Oven Display
Microwaves come in a variety of sizes. The size of the microwave oven may be compact, mid size, family and full size. There are several conditions you need to consider when choosing the right size of your unit. First is the size of your family: the larger your family, the larger your microwave oven is suggested to be. Also, consider the available space in your kitchen which can conveniently accommodate your microwave oven. It is not wise to purchase a much bigger unit than what your kitchen space can provide storage for.

And finally, consider the food you plan to cook and the purposes you intend to utilize with your device. Make sure that these foods can conveniently fit inside your unit. You can even try bringing a platter with you to check if it can fit inside well. Decide if you want to just perform simple cooking or you intend to do further tasks with it such as roasting, baking and toasting.

Generally, we categorize sizing as such:

Compact Microwave Ovens:
less than 1 cubic foot, .6 cubic foot and .7 cubic foot are generally the most popular size.

Medium Microwave Ovens
1 cubic foot to 1.5 cubic feet, generally 1.2 cubic feet is the most popular size

Large Microwave Ovens:
Large: 1.6 cubic feet and above, generally 1.6 cubic feet and 2.2 cubic feet.

Cleaning ability and Maintenance

For convenient cleaning, you may purchase a microwave oven which features an innovative non-stick interior coating to ensure easier clean up. With this feature, it does not require any special cleanser and only needs simple wiping to get the unit clean. A stainless steel design also enables easier clean-up compared to plastic construction, apart from being more durable and odor-resistant.

Some models also feature a catalytic or pyrolitic lines which are self-cleaning, preventing any food or grease build up. By making sure that your microwave ovens are easily maintained and cleaned, you effectively enhance its ability to look new for a longer period of time.

Common Task Buttons or Shortcut Keys

microwave control panelShortcut keys or common task buttons provide the convenience of simply selecting a preset cycle with just a single touch of a button. If you are someone who looks for units that deliver simple means of function, this feature is a must to the microwave oven you should have. There are devices which provide pre-programmed settings for a specific food (e.g. pop corn, pizza or coffee), sparing you from specifying these settings yourself. This does not only provide convenience, it also allows faster operation.

There are also auto settings which automatically stops the cycle for certain conditions, such as when the food is already fully defrosted. Just always remember to prioritize the functions you think will be most functional to you so that you can avoid paying extra for buttons you will hardly ever use.

Enhanced Ventilation

In order to remove smoke, steam or odours, a microwave-hood combination may be installed in your unit to make it a venting or non-venting device. A vented hood generally sends exhaust outdoors, while a non-venting hood simply re-circulates the air back into the kitchen via a charcoal filter. You can check the venting power of the unit you intend to purchase in terms of CFM (cubic feet per minute) which describes the amount of air that the exhaust fan moves every minute. The higher the number, the better the suction is.

Sensor Cooking

This feature enables the microwave oven to automatically detect the moisture in the food and the humidity inside the unit, adjusting the power levels and cooking time accordingly to yield optimum results. This is a key feature among several microwave ovens since this can effectively ensure best food cooking results, preventing any possibilities of over- or undercooking. It is also functional when heating a frozen food item or popping a bag of pop corn. While it is advisable to purchase a unit with this special feature, also consider your budget as this will definitely increase the cost of the device.

Turntable and Trays

As mentioned earlier, turntables effectively promote uniform heating of your food inside the microwave oven. It may either be circular which rotates the food inside the unit, or rectangular which slides the tray from side to side. If you plan to use an elongated platter inside your device, a rectangular tray may be the suitable turntable for you.

Timing Buttons: 30-second increments or 1-minute increments.

Microwave Start Button Timer Plus 30Many microwaves will feature “one-push-button” timing changes to increase and decrease your timing settings. The two most common are 30-second increments and 1-minute increments. While this may seem like not a big thing as you are reading this, surprisingly when your microwave is in front of you and you are actually using it you may realize this is a big convenience selling point. After all when we use microwaves we are all about efficiency and speed. If you don’t believe us, check out actual owner reviews and you will see more mentions that you would think about this being an inconvenience that they wished the timing button had a different iteration.

Other Extra Features

Several models offer far better features compared to others, mostly being minor but can efficiently improve the convenience of utilizing your equipment. Some common added features of several units include: (1) chaos defrost which uses random pulses of microwave energy to further reduce usual time for defrosting, (2) child lock which protects the unit from the little fingers of your kids that may accidentally start or interfere a program for cooking, (3) drop-down door which mediates putting and taking out of food from the unit, (4) multiple-sequence cooking which automatically alters the power levels during cooking, providing the best cooking time and (5) turbo reheat which provides extra boost of power, especially for reheating soups or baked beans. Since most of these accessory features will definitely make your unit more expensive, it requires your careful discretion to analyze whether or not these extra functions are worthy of the extra money. Also consider how often you expect yourself to use them to ensure that you are not spending over something you will roughly ever use.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MICROWAVE OVEN BUYING GUIDE

Hopefully, this “How to Buy a Microwave Oven” buying guide has managed to deliver great information which you can very well use in selecting the best unit for your needs. With the multiple factors you should consider in purchasing this device, ensure that you know the functions you think are most important and prioritize these during your surveys. As long as you carefully study the strengths you expect your unit to have, you will definitely get the best microwave oven for you and your family.

Here are links to the complete guide:

Thanks for reading!

References:

  1. http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/microwave-oven.html
  2. http://etips.sulekha.com/types-of-microwave-ovens_1042
  3. http://www.3fatchicks.com/3-benefits-and-risks-of-microwave-meals/
  4. http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Benefits-of-a-Microwave-Oven&id=4212612
  5. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/microwave-ovens/buying-guide.htm
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_oven


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