How to Choose a Microwave? Quick Tips and Tricks

To choose a microwave, you need to consider the size, power, features, and budget that suit your needs and preferences. A microwave is a versatile and convenient appliance that can save you time and energy in the kitchen. But with so many options available, how do you find the best one for you? In this article, we will guide you through the main factors to consider when choosing a microwave, and provide some tips and recommendations to help you make the best decision.

Size

The size of a microwave is measured by its internal capacity, usually in cubic feet (cu. ft.). The size you need depends on how much food you plan to cook or reheat in the microwave, and how much space you have in your kitchen. Generally, the larger the microwave, the more powerful and expensive it is.

The most common sizes of microwaves are:

  • Compact (0.5 to 0.8 cu. ft.): These are the smallest and cheapest microwaves, ideal for small kitchens, dorm rooms, or RVs. They can fit a small plate or a mug, but not much more. They are also less powerful, usually ranging from 500 to 800 watts, which means they take longer to heat up food and may not cook evenly.
  • Midsize (0.9 to 1.3 cu. ft.): These are the most popular and versatile microwaves, suitable for most households. They can fit a standard dinner plate, a large bowl, or a small casserole dish. They are also more powerful, usually ranging from 800 to 1,200 watts, which means they can heat up food faster and more evenly.
  • Large (1.4 to 2.0 cu. ft.): These are the biggest and most expensive microwaves, ideal for large families or people who cook a lot in the microwave. They can fit a large casserole dish, a whole chicken, or a 9×13 inch baking pan. They are also the most powerful, usually ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 watts, which means they can cook food in less time and with more precision.
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To determine the size of the microwave you need, you should measure the space where you plan to place it, and the largest dish or container you plan to use in it. You should also leave some clearance around the microwave for ventilation and easy access.

Power

The power of a microwave is measured by its wattage, usually in watts (W). The power of a microwave affects how fast and evenly it can heat up or cook food. Generally, the higher the wattage, the better the performance and the more expensive the microwave.

The recommended wattage for a microwave depends on the size and the type of food you plan to cook or reheat in it. For example, if you mostly use the microwave to reheat leftovers, popcorn, or frozen meals, you can get by with a lower wattage. But if you use the microwave to cook raw meat, vegetables, or rice, you will need a higher wattage.

The average wattage for a microwave is around 1,000 W, but it can vary from 500 W to 1,600 W depending on the size and model. You can check the wattage of a microwave by looking at the label on the back or inside the door, or by consulting the manual or the manufacturer’s website.

To get the best results from your microwave, you should follow the cooking instructions on the food package or recipe, and adjust the time and power level accordingly. You should also stir or rotate the food halfway through the cooking process to ensure even heating and avoid hot spots.

Features

The features of a microwave are the functions and settings that enhance its performance and convenience. The features you need depend on how you plan to use the microwave and what kind of food you plan to cook or reheat in it. Some of the most common and useful features of microwaves are:

  • Pre-programmed settings: These are the buttons or icons that allow you to select the type and amount of food you want to cook or reheat, and the microwave will automatically adjust the time and power level for you. For example, some microwaves have pre-programmed settings for popcorn, pizza, potato, beverage, defrost, and more. These settings can save you time and guesswork, and ensure optimal results.
  • Sensor cooking: This is a feature that detects the moisture and temperature of the food, and adjusts the time and power level accordingly. This feature can prevent overcooking or undercooking, and ensure even and thorough heating. Some microwaves have sensor cooking for specific foods, such as meat, fish, vegetables, rice, and more.
  • Inverter technology: This is a feature that allows the microwave to deliver consistent and precise power at any level, from low to high. This feature can prevent overcooking or burning, and preserve the texture and flavor of the food. Some microwaves with inverter technology also have advanced functions, such as convection, grilling, steaming, and more.
  • Turntable: This is a feature that rotates the food inside the microwave, to ensure even and uniform heating. Most microwaves have a turntable, but some have a rectangular tray that slides back and forth, or a stirrer that distributes the microwaves. Some microwaves also have a turntable that can be turned on or off, or a turntable that can accommodate different sizes and shapes of dishes.
  • Child lock: This is a feature that prevents the microwave from being accidentally turned on or opened by children or pets. This feature can enhance the safety and security of the microwave, and prevent potential hazards or injuries. Some microwaves have a child lock that can be activated or deactivated by pressing a combination of buttons, or by using a code or a key.
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These are some of the most common and useful features of microwaves, but there are many more that can vary from model to model. You should compare the features of different microwaves, and choose the ones that suit your needs and preferences.

Budget

The budget is the amount of money you are willing to spend on a microwave. The budget you need depends on the size, power, features, and quality of the microwave you want. Generally, the more advanced and sophisticated the microwave, the more expensive it is.

The average price of a microwave is around $100, but it can range from $50 to $500 depending on the size and model. You can find microwaves at various retailers, such as department stores, home improvement stores, appliance stores, or online. You can also look for discounts, coupons, sales, or refurbished models to save some money.

To determine the budget you need, you should consider the value and the durability of the microwave, and how often and how long you plan to use it. You should also read the reviews and ratings of other customers, and check the warranty and the customer service of the manufacturer.

Conclusion

Choosing a microwave can be a daunting task, but it can be easier if you follow these steps:

  • Consider the size, power, features, and budget that suit your needs and preferences.
  • Compare the options and features of different microwaves, and read the reviews and ratings of other customers.
  • Choose the microwave that offers the best value, performance, and convenience for you.
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A microwave is a great appliance that can make your life easier and your food tastier. We hope this article has helped you find the best microwave for you. Happy cooking!