Things to Consider Before Buying a Microwave

Things to Consider Before Buying a Microwave
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What are the most important kitchen appliances? The answers range from cookers, refrigerators, ovens, blenders, and microwaves. However, surveys have shown that a microwave is a must-have in a kitchen.

Times have changed, and though once the norm, the fast-paced nature of the modern world and the inclusion of women in workplaces mean that only a few homes eat freshly cooked food every mealtime. In most homes, people reheat leftover food. This saves time, cuts waste, and spares people the effort of cooking every time.

This is what makes the microwave such a valuable addition to the kitchen. Microwaves allow you to reheat leftover food without making it soggy or reducing the nutrient value. It cooks and reheats quickly using electromagnetic radiation. Because microwaves don't use gas or oil, you don't have to worry too much about carbon footprint.

They are also very versatile. You can cook, bake, or roast, depending on the microwave. You can even do the unconventional task of steriliser with a microwave steriliser. Many hacks are achievable with this simple appliance.

There are many types and brands of microwaves on the market — all with different features, colours, costs, and energy specifications. The abundant options available are blissful but can also be stressful to choose from. Read electronic store reviews from customers to help you narrow your list.

This article will explore all the factors you should consider before buying a microwave.

1. Types of Microwave Ovens

When discussing types, there are two main categories to consider. Microwaves are categorised based on their functions and their placements.

i. Based on Function:

Solo microwave ovens

Grill microwave ovens

Convection microwave ovens

Solo Microwave Ovens

Solo microwaves are the simplest kinds of microwave ovens. They cook evenly and are excellent at reheating, but that's about it. If you don't plan to get creative with your cooking, bake cakes, or grill meat, this microwave will serve you well.

Convection Microwaves Ovens

Convection microwaves take the functions several notches higher. This microwave can handle your basic cooking needs and allow you to grill, roast, bake, and brown food to a crisp. Convection microwave oven is suited for family homes where meals are elaborate. Unsurprisingly, they are more expensive than solo microwaves.

Grill Microwave Ovens

A grill microwave is somewhere between a solo and a convection microwave. It serves basic cooking needs and also has a grill function. However, you can not roast, bake, or crisp your food in them.

ii. Based on Placement

Countertop microwave ovens

Built-in microwave ovens

Over-the-range microwave ovens

Countertop Microwave Ovens

This is the kind of microwave you may likely see in most homes. As the name suggests, this microwave is set on the kitchen counter. It is favoured because it is cheaper and also requires little to no technical skill to install. You only need to set it on the counter or microwave shelf and plug it into the nearest power source. Countertop microwaves are easy to move; if you are not a permanent homeowner, this feature should interest you.

Built-in Microwave Ovens

Want your kitchen counter free of obstructions? Built-in microwaves are tucked into cabinets, opening up space and giving the kitchen a flush feel. However, built-in microwaves are more expensive and difficult to install. But if you don't plan to move anytime soon, then it's worth consideration.

Over-the-Range Microwaves

These microwaves come with an oven and a range hood. This is a fine choice if you have small kitchen space and your budget does not allow you to get an integrated microwave. You can easily fit it over your stovetop, combining a ventilation unit and microwave.

2. Size

The next thing to consider is the size of the microwave. Your kitchen slave largely determines the size of microwave you should buy, but the size and frequency of your servings are also determinants. Most microwaves range around 0.5 - 2 cubic feet (with 1 - 2 cubic feet being the most common). If you are a student living in a small flat with limited counter space, you should opt for a small microwave. A smaller size (less than a cubic foot) will neatly accommodate your dinner plate and serve your needs. However, if you have a family and heat large quantities, you need a microwave with more space. You can measure the cabinet space or counter and keep the dimensions in mind when you shop for a microwave.

3. Wattage

Microwaves do not run on gas like traditional cookers; they use electricity. So, consider energy consumption. They typically range between 700 to about 1100 watts. How many watts should your microwave be? It depends on your budget, extent of usage, and speed. A 1,000-watt microwave cooks quickly, so it is generally considered the benchmark. Lower watt capacities, like the 800-watt or 900-watt microwaves, are cheaper and energy-saving, but they do not cook evenly. The higher the wattage, the faster you cook, and the more you spend.

4. Extra Features

The primary function of the microwave oven might be to reheat food, but some pack features that improve the experience. These additional features range from exciting to functional. Some microwaves process voice instructions so you can get it to do what you want from the couch.

Another example is a microwave with a sensor. The sensor will estimate the time it would take to heat or cook based on the steam that the food emits. Microwave ovens with this feature might be more expensive but cost-efficient. You only need to heat a meal for as long as necessary, and no more.

If you have a family with kids, you can look for a microwave with a child lockout to prevent your children from using it without supervision. Some of the features have to do with the build of the machine. Would you prefer a panel control or a knob and button control system? While the former is easier to clean, the latter is easier to handle. You can also look for features like automatic defrost, a silent mode, an air fryer, or the exciting popcorn mode.

Admittedly, all of these features increase the cost of a microwave, so unless you have a big budget, you may have to choose the features that matter most to you. If you want to replace your microwave, go for the ones with similar features, so you don't feel like you bought a downgrade.

5. Colour and Design

Like most home appliances, microwave ovens are purely functional, but keeping an eye on aesthetics has never hurt anybody. A retro microwave, for example, adds exotic air to your kitchen. Beyond enjoying the functional benefits of a microwave, you also want to ensure that it fits your decor perfectly. Even though it is called 'micro', a black microwave will be conspicuous in a kitchen with a prevailing white-coloured decor. Many appliance brands understand the variance in preference, so whether it is a white or grey microwave, you can find them in the market. It is easier to factor colour in your decision-making if you move into a new home. The idea is to buy one that nicely blends into your home decor or stands out without being too jarring.

6. Budget

This factor is probably the most decisive on the list because your budget will help you narrow your search list. The cost of a microwave varies depending on the size, design (a flatbed microwave typically costs higher), extra features, installation, and brand. While it may be tempting to buy a microwave at a cheap price, it is best to rank quality above all. A cost-effective microwave offers all the necessary functions at the least possible rate. On average, microwaves have a 10-year lifespan, so you want to be sure you buy something you would not have to change soon.

What are the Best Microwave Brands?

The versatility of microwaves has made them one of the appliances that most popular brands design. The competition has spurred innovation in production. In retail outlets like Argos, you can shop for microwaves on major brands like Samsung, Tesco, and Russell Hobbs. Check out the list of online webshops selling electronic appliances like microwaves in the UK.

What are the Best Microwaves in 2022?

Innovations never stop. When shopping for a new microwave, you want to get the best. What are the top-ranked microwaves in the market today? Kitchen experts have ranked some microwaves based on the following criteria: functionality, budget-friendliness, space-saving, etc. If you are looking for a microwave with many functions, you should consider the Toshiba Multifunctional Microwave Oven. On a tight budget? The Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven is affordable and doesn't require extra installation costs. Looking to save space, LG's Over-the-Range Microwave will fit nicely into a small kitchen.

However, these are general picks and serve only to narrow down your search list. The best microwave is one that satisfies your cooking needs. Not sure what you want? Read reviews on best microwaves and microwave sales on BritainReviews.

Conclusion

Microwave ovens were once only afterthoughts, a small fixture in the kitchen. But with continuing innovations, the microwave has become an essential appliance. There are many brands and types of microwaves, so you are spoiled for choice. Hopefully, this article helps you streamline your options so that you can buy the microwave perfect for your needs.

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