Microwave Oven for Your Family Needs
Choosing a microwave oven may seem easy, but with the plethora of options available in the market today, you’d be surprised to learn that it can be quite confusing. Aside from size, there are several considerations you must know before buying one, like when you’re looking for a microwave perfect for big families. Other considerations include:
- Type of Microwave
The types of microwave ovens are divided into two categories:
- by placement ( such as the countertop, over-the-range, and built-in microwaves) and,
- by technology (convection, inverter, or “combination” microwaves)}
As you can guess, countertop, built-in and over-the-range microwave ovens are designed to fit the kitchen countertop, custom sizes of your kitchen cabinets, and above your range respectively.
All countertop, over-the-range and built-in microwaves can also be further categorized by the technology they use such as “built-in inverter microwave” or “convection countertop microwave oven”.
Understanding the differences between these types of microwaves could ensure you’re picking the best oven for your family’s needs.
- Kitchen Space
If you’re replacing a broken microwave oven that used to be stored in a particular spot in your kitchen, you need to measure that space and find a model that would fit into it.
Microwaves are still big enough for small kitchens, which is why considering kitchen space should also be the case for new installations and even if you’re just buying a countertop microwave oven.
When it comes to wattage, you don’t need to get into a complicated explanation. Just understand that the higher a microwave oven’s wattage, the faster it is able to cook your food. Standard microwave ovens are in the 1000-watt range.
You can still enjoy the benefits of a microwave oven below 1000 watts (and even spend on something cheaper), but you should also be OK with a slower-cooking model.
The functionality is where some microwave ovens shine, and others do not. Depending on your family’s needs, you need to take a closer look at the following:
- Cooking functions: What does your family use a microwave oven for?
The functions vary between models but all microwave ovens can be used for defrosting and heating. Others are more powerful and could even let you cook from scratch, grill, broil, bake, roast and cook chickens, turkeys and other meats via a rotisserie.
Some microwave ovens are designed as an all-arounder and can handle most functions. If your family relies on the microwave oven for many cooking functions, then this should be your priority when choosing between models.
- Safety features: Who is going to use the microwave oven in your family?
Do you have kids who are used to popping popcorn in the microwave themselves or teenagers who already know how to reheat pre-packed meals, but have very young kids (toddler-age) who may copy their older siblings?
If so, you might want to look for a microwave oven that offers some kind of safety child lockout feature. The most common way manufacturers do this is by providing users with a way to set up a security code, which would then be needed to be entered whenever you’re going to use the microwave.
All microwave ovens have pre programmed settings (for reheating pizza, popcorn, cooking instant noodles), but advanced models would have other cooking functions like broil/bake, reheating drinks, and other preset options also pre-programmed out of the box.
- Noise and ventilation:
These features may not be as important to your family, as they would be to others, but you need to know that some microwave ovens are noisier than others. Also, not all microwave models have ventilation, which is essential if your family kitchen requires an over-the-range version.
As I mentioned earlier, microwave ovens could also use different technologies such as convection and inverter tech.
Convection technology combines conventional microwave tech with an additional fan and heating element. This results in an oven that lets users roast, bake and crisp food, on top of the standard microwave functions like reheating. If your family loves baking but has no space for a real oven, a convection microwave oven could serve as your main oven.
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient microwave oven for your kitchen, models that use inverter technology could be something you’d be interested in. These types of microwave ovens use an inverter instead of a transformer or magnetic coil. It uses half the energy at faster cooking times. Plus you’ll enjoy reheating or cooking your meals more evenly than a traditional microwave oven.
You can easily buy a microwave oven for under $100, especially if you’re only after basic functions like defrosting and heating. But if you’re on the lookout for built-in cabinets, prepare to shell out more because anything custom-made is usually more expensive than its mass-produced counterparts.
Size is also an important consideration for many people. Commercial microwave ovens are best if you’re operating a food business. If you’re cooking for one or two, standard-sized microwave ovens are more than enough.