How to Choose the Right Size Microwave for Your Kitchen

The size of the microwave you need depends on your cooking needs, the available space in your kitchen, and the wattage of the appliance. A general rule of thumb is to choose a microwave that has at least one cubic foot of interior space and 1000 watts of power for every four people in your household. However, there are other factors to consider as well, such as the types of food you cook, the features you want, and the style of your kitchen. In this article, we will explain how to measure your space, compare different sizes and types of microwaves, and find the best fit for your kitchen.

Measuring Your Space

Before you start shopping for a microwave, you need to measure the space where you plan to place it. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid buying a microwave that is too big or too small for your kitchen. Here are some tips on how to measure your space:

  • If you want to place your microwave on the countertop, measure the width, depth, and height of the available area. Make sure to leave some clearance around the microwave for ventilation and easy access. You should also consider the length of the power cord and the location of the nearest outlet.
  • If you want to install your microwave over the range, measure the width, depth, and height of the space between the cabinets and the stovetop. You should also measure the distance from the bottom of the cabinet to the top of the range, and the distance from the back wall to the front of the range. These measurements will help you find a microwave that matches the dimensions and style of your range.
  • If you want to build your microwave into a cabinet or a wall, measure the width, depth, and height of the opening. You should also check the electrical wiring and the ventilation requirements for the microwave. You may need to hire a professional to install the microwave and make any necessary modifications to the cabinet or the wall.
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Comparing Different Sizes and Types of Microwaves

Microwaves come in different sizes and types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The size of the microwave is usually measured by its interior capacity, which is expressed in cubic feet. The type of the microwave is determined by its placement and features. Here are some common sizes and types of microwaves and their pros and cons:

  • Small microwaves have a capacity of 0.5 to 0.8 cubic feet and a power of 500 to 800 watts. They are ideal for small kitchens, dorm rooms, or offices, where space is limited. They are also cheaper and easier to move than larger microwaves. However, they may not be able to fit large dishes or cook food evenly and quickly.
  • Medium microwaves have a capacity of 0.9 to 1.3 cubic feet and a power of 900 to 1100 watts. They are suitable for most households, as they can accommodate standard plates and bowls and cook food faster and more evenly than small microwaves. They are also more versatile and offer more features, such as preset programs, sensors, and turntables. However, they may take up more counter space and cost more than small microwaves.
  • Large microwaves have a capacity of 1.4 to 2.0 cubic feet and a power of 1200 to 1600 watts. They are perfect for families or people who cook a lot, as they can fit large dishes and cook food in less time and with more consistency than medium microwaves. They are also more advanced and offer more options, such as convection, grilling, and steaming. However, they may require more space and energy and cost more than medium microwaves.
  • Countertop microwaves are the most common and affordable type of microwaves. They are easy to use and install, as they simply plug into an outlet and sit on the counter. They are also portable and come in various sizes and colors. However, they may take up valuable counter space and clutter the kitchen.
  • Over-the-range microwaves are designed to fit above the stove and replace the range hood. They are convenient and save counter space, as they integrate with the existing appliances and cabinets. They are also equipped with fans and lights that help ventilate and illuminate the cooking area. However, they may be more expensive and difficult to install than countertop microwaves. They may also be less accessible and ergonomic for some users, especially children and short people.
  • Built-in microwaves are installed into a cabinet or a wall, creating a seamless and sleek look. They are elegant and save counter and floor space, as they blend with the kitchen design and layout. They are also customizable and offer more flexibility in terms of size and placement. However, they may be more costly and complicated to install than countertop or over-the-range microwaves. They may also require more maintenance and repairs than other types of microwaves.
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Finding the Best Fit for Your Kitchen

The best size microwave for your kitchen depends on your personal preferences and needs. However, here are some general guidelines to help you find the best fit for your kitchen:

  • Consider your cooking needs. Think about how often and what types of food you cook in the microwave. If you only use the microwave for reheating, defrosting, or making popcorn, you may not need a large or powerful microwave. If you use the microwave for baking, roasting, or grilling, you may want a large or convection microwave that can handle these tasks.
  • Consider your available space. Think about how much space you have in your kitchen and where you want to place the microwave. If you have a small or crowded kitchen, you may want to choose a small or over-the-range microwave that does not take up too much space. If you have a large or spacious kitchen, you may want to choose a large or built-in microwave that can fill the space and match the style of your kitchen.
  • Consider your budget. Think about how much money you are willing to spend on a microwave. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to choose a small or countertop microwave that is cheaper and easier to install. If you are willing to splurge, you may want to choose a large or built-in microwave that is more expensive and requires professional installation.

Conclusion

Choosing the right size microwave for your kitchen can be a daunting task, but it does not have to be. By following the steps and tips in this article, you can measure your space, compare different sizes and types of microwaves, and find the best fit for your kitchen. Remember, the size of the microwave you need depends on your cooking needs, the available space in your kitchen, and the wattage of the appliance. A general rule of thumb is to choose a microwave that has at least one cubic foot of interior space and 1000 watts of power for every four people in your household. However, you should also consider other factors, such as the features, the style, and the budget, to make the best decision for your kitchen. Happy shopping!