We also know that for fast food cooking, microwaves are super-convenient appliances. But you could be shocked by what those computers would do if you thought they were all for reheating leftovers and ready meals.
You have simple solo microwaves that can perform the basic tasks of heating and defrosting. Then there are hybrid ones that function like a countertop cooker, others with incorporated grills and others.
Before you pick the best microwave for you, there’s a lot to remember and we’ve put all the details together in one place to help you make the choice.
Main traits to watch out for
Seemingly quick, after the days of pressing a button and waiting for your food to be hot enough, microwaves have come a long way. Here are some of the main features when purchasing a microwave to watch out for.
This ranges from around 17L to over 32L in total. Look for at least 27L for bigger groups, and would have a larger turntable and more height inside, so you can prepare more than one dish at a time. The turntable size and interior height are more important than capability when you compare models. We consider the broadest size plate that can go through the door during our microwave testing and lie flat on the inside of the turntable. Ideally, the turntable diameter should be at least 30 cm for family use and the internal height should be greater than 20 cm to fit bigger plates and food portions.
From small countertop versions to bigger units, microwaves come in a whole variety of sizes, so it’s worth telling yourself how much kitchen space you can afford to give up. Solo microwaves appear to be smaller, while some hybrid models may be twice the size, so you may want to consider a solo model if countertop space may be an problem.
It also helps to remember the height of the entrance. Wide-opening doors make it much easier for hot or heavy dishes to be removed, and can be extremely helpful if you have limited strength or agility. Few hybrid models also have a drop-down door, which can be a comfortable place to relax while the door is open for your hot dishes. When you have a built-in model at eye level, this function is particularly helpful.
Room for clearance
You would still need to consider clearance space-no matter the microwave, for proper air circulation, both versions would require some space around them. Before you buy, check the clearance space needed for the model and ensure that there is a power outlet near the location you plan on housing your microwave.
When it comes to microwaves, electricity equals wattage. The spectrum of wattages is from 650W-1950W and the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time in general.
Any hybrid ovens only have pre-set combination cooking systems. This ensures that the degree of microwave power and convection temperature are set-for example, medium microwave and 180 ° C/350 ° F. The most flexible one is a model that helps you to choose your own settings.
Categories for heating
With A being the least efficient and E being the most powerful, the heating type clearly represents the wattage. As a consequence, the more efficient groups farther down the alphabet, the quicker your food can cook, you may presume.
Flatbed vs Turntable
Within, solo microwaves and many hybrid microwaves have a turntable, which rotates food automatically to ensure even cooking. For quick washing, these can be removed. Some versions have a setting that allows you to turn off this feature so that it stays stationary, depending on the size and shape of your dish and cooking needs, almost like a flatbed.
Flatbed microwaves use a particular technology that distributes heat equally, but without rotation, like a turntable. You get extra cooking space with a flatbed and it provides more freedom to position dishes of any form within the microwave, without having to pay for additional space for rotation. While you should usually expect to pay more, there are still less dirt traps than microwaves with a turntable.
How We’re Checking Microwaves
In order to see how they fare and to figure out how they work in real life, each microwave is put through a series of cooking trials, just as they will be used at home.
Our rigorous experiments for solo microwaves include boiling soup, preparing ready meals (both cold and frozen), rendering jacket potatoes and mincemeat defrosting. In addition to using the grill setting to cook pasta bakes, sausages and macaroni cheese, roasting an whole chicken and baking fairy cakes, we perform the same experiments with combination microwaves as solo microwaves. Not every combi microwave will have every kind of cooking atmosphere, some of which have just a grill option, for example, so we measure each one accordingly.
We also look at their ease of use, which involves if it is easy to use the controls and microwave overall, whether there are adequate power levels and whether it is easy to clean the interior. We look at the specification of each; measuring the scale of the turntable plate, whether the controls of the software are simple and are of good construction quality. The instruction manual’s consistency and scope are both taken into consideration.
Other things to look for and specifications
Programmes for Auto Cook
Microwaves strip away the guesswork of cooking your favourite recipes with pre-programmed environments. Enter the food form and weight and the microwave will measure automatically the strength and amount of cooking time required to cook the food safely. Most microwaves also have an auto-defrost environment that operates in a similar manner, using low-heat bursts to defrost food depending on form and weight.
Programming in various phases
Using this function helps you to programme multiple cooking modes in a series that will adjust during the cooking process automatically. Starting by defrosting the food , for example, then transitioning to cooking it.
Other hybrid microwaves only have a grill, which is much like a solo microwave, but with the extra bonus of an internal grill. Set behind a metal mesh are grilling lamps, making the grill simple to heat and easy to clean. In a traditional oven grill, quartz grills are less efficient than using a grill element, but do a similar job and are ideal for surface-browning food.
The radiant grill in your microwave would need preheating prior to use and is less efficient than a traditional oven grill, suitable for cooking thicker meats, such as pork chops.
This senses the moisture level of the food and the temperature of the oven and, for better results, changes power levels and cooking time accordingly.
Lock of Infant
A microwave with a child lock feature would help families with little kids. This would discourage kids from beginning a curriculum inadvertently or influencing the cooking schedules. They are simple to use and normally require pressing a series of buttons before the appliance can begin to work.
You will want to pay attention to the control panel, which, depending on the type and model of microwave, can differ. Larger buttons and icons are more distinctly identified in a larger font with push-button controls and it is simpler to choose the intended programme instead of the button next to the one you need; unlike control panels with smaller buttons that are closer together. Some versions instead have touch-panel buttons, which are simpler to clean than button or knob screens. To read properly, microwaves with digital displays should be bright enough.