The importance of a microwave in your life is one of those things that can easily be overlooked—until your microwave isn’t working or meeting your needs anymore. We all use the microwave more than we might even realize until that luxury is taken away from us.
Think about those morning breakfasts you microwave or the leftovers you heat up so you don’t have to make dinner. You don’t want to live without those luxuries, especially with kids in the house.
Choosing a microwave is a big decision these days though. There are so many features and bells and whistles, so how do you know what the best choice is?
The following are some tips and things to keep in mind if you’re in the market for a new microwave.
One option you’ll likely see a lot of is the microwave oven with convection. So, what does this mean and do you need it? The answer? Maybe.
Convection microwaves might be a game changer for some families. A convection microwave offers all of the quick cooking benefits of a traditional microwave, but you also get some of the best features of an oven including browning and crisping.
Basically, rather than heating only the inside of the food which is what you get with a regular microwave, a convection microwave will cook the outside of food and brown it.
You can cook a cake or even a whole chicken in many convection ovens.
Convection microwaves work differently from a regular microwave. They use a fan that forces air and heat up to cook food from the inside out. You can even use a convection microwave for baking and roasting. So is it a must-have? More than likely.
Built-In or Countertop?
Deciding between a built-in microwave and a countertop microwave is going to depend on the design of your kitchen. A countertop microwave is convenient, tends to be smaller in size, and they can be moved around the kitchen if necessary. If you have a shelf for a microwave built into your kitchen, you can put a portable one there.
Built-in microwaves are something that is usually put in cabinets, under cabinets or above a range.
The following are some of the features you may be able to choose in a microwave—typically the more features you get, the more expensive the microwave may be.
- Auto-reheat is a feature where you can touch a button, and it will heat leftovers and food at the right temperature and for the right time. Depending on how often you reheat food, you might opt for a microwave with settings that let you specify what type of food you’re putting in the microwave.
- Sensors: Some microwaves include sensor cooking, which can be convenient. With the sensor function, the microwave automatically detects how long the food needs to cook. Sensors are not only efficient and make it easier to cook things properly, but they also prevent food explosions, so it’s going to be easier to keep the inside of the microwave clean with this feature.
- Steaming and Grilling: Along with the convection feature that you may find useful on a microwave, you might consider looking for one with steaming and grilling capabilities.
When you’re choosing a microwave you need to think about size in terms of the footprint it’s going to take up in your kitchen, but also how much cooking space you need inside the microwave. There are a variety of sizes that typically start as small as 0.5 cubic feet and go up to 1.5 cubic feet.
What are you normally cooking and with that in mind, how much space will you need?
The wattage of a microwave plays an important role in the choice you make also. It’s typically recommended that consumers choose a microwave with a wattage of anywhere from 900 to 1000. You’ll need that if you’re going to be heating food but also have the option to defrost items from the freezer.
If you go with a lower wattage such as 700 or less, it may be cheaper but the food is not likely to heat evenly, and it will take longer to warm food.
Finally, depending on how advanced you want to be there are plenty of other features you can opt for as well. Just one example is a child lock. You’ll have to press a code before the microwave opens, which can keep little ones from using it.