The first microwave ovens were sold around the 1940s. One of the essential and versatile kitchen appliances, microwave ovens are not only used to cook food but also to reheat and defrost food quickly. The quick cooking and their compact sizes have made them a useful and smart addition to every kitchen.
The very first microwave ovens were countertop ovens. Slowly, newer models and types of microwave ovens started making their entry into the market. With different features, sizes, prices, and installations, these ovens are now available in a variety of options. Buying a microwave oven should be preceded by a careful consideration of a lot of factors, such as space in the kitchen, location in the kitchen, the number of people you will be cooking for with the oven, the power, size of the oven, volume of the oven, and so on. To help you navigate through all the confusion, here are a few tips that can be used while buying a microwave oven:
- Space and size: First, check and measure how much space is available to spare in the kitchen. Also, determine how you are planning to use your oven. A big oven can cook casseroles and lasagnas. If a microwave oven is required to cook for a large number of people, a large oven would be useful. If there is a restriction of space in the kitchen counter, a smaller microwave oven would be suitable. If you just want to heat coffee or soups, you can get a small portable microwave oven with a volume of .5 cubic feet.
- Location: You need to see where in the kitchen you want to place your microwave oven. Microwave ovens are categorized into three main types: countertop, over-the-range, and built-in. A countertop model, as the name suggests, is placed on the countertop and are best for smaller kitchens. Over-the range microwave ovens are installed above the kitchen range saving countertop space. Built-in microwave models are suitable for customized kitchens and cabinets.
- Power or wattage: Microwave ovens that do the cooking faster and more evenly have higher wattage. A majority of the microwave ovens have a power range between 600 and 1200 Watts. If a microwave oven has a larger size and higher cost, the wattage value will also increase. This also affects the performance of the oven. Before buying a microwave oven, you will need to consider whether you want an oven with high power to do the maximum cooking or a low-power microwave oven that will satisfy all your cooking requirements.
- Required features: Some basic features should be incorporated in all microwave ovens. Features such as automatic defrost and pre-programmed settings to warm up meals are preferred by most people. These settings make it easier to use the oven. Many ovens now have a feature that uses sensors to detect the time left until cooking is done based on the amount of steam released from the food. Also, look for an oven that is user-friendly: buttons and icons in larger sizes make the usage and operation of the oven simpler. Quick keys increase the convenience factor of an oven. Check whether the door is comfortable enough to open and close multiple times.
- Other essential features: Check the turntables/trays of the oven. Also, check whether there are racks that you require in your oven. Although many ovens have multiple features of grilling, convection, and browning; however, if you want an oven specifically for grilling, you can consider buying a griller rather than a microwave oven. However, if you are not very particular about the quality of grilling or browning, a microwave oven would work just fine.