How to choose a microwave oven
Microwave manufacturers provide the customer with a wide range of choices, but everyone’s selection criteria are different. If you are thinking about buying a microwave oven, the first thing to consider are a few basic parameters:
- chamber volume;
- power of the appliance;
- the way the food is processed;
- The availability of additional functions.
Built-in and freestanding microwave ovens
A built-in microwave is convenient because it can be hidden in any niche, preserving the style coherence of the kitchen. The recess must be 2-3 cm larger than the microwave (in height, width and depth).
A freestanding microwave (on the worktop, a cabinet, the top drawer of a kitchen cabinet, the fridge or a special shelf) is a “walk-around” thing: its location can be changed at any time. It is not a problem when rearranging furniture or moving house.
Luggage compartment capacity
The microwave oven cavity capacity depends on the size and purpose of the oven. Different models have a capacity of 17 to 42 litres. You choose your microwave on the basis of what it will be used for and how many family members you have.
Compact microwaves (up to 20 litres) are ideal for:
For heating food, making simple meals (e.g. sandwiches);
Defrosting and defrosting foods.
If you have a large family and intend to use your microwave oven regularly for cooking, choose a model with a larger chamber – over 20 litres.
The more powerful your microwave, the faster you can cook or defrost food.
Depending on the task at hand, your microwave requires different wattages. For example:
Keeping food hot: 80-150 W;
defrosting a small amount of food quickly: 400-500 W;
Slow cooking or heating: 550-700 W;
Rapid cooking or heating: 800-900 W
Heating, defrosting or cooking: 400-900 W
Cooking a complete meal: up to 1400 W.
The most popular models have a power output of 700 W to 1000 W.
The higher the power of the microwave oven, the bigger the cavity and the higher the power consumption. Different modes – grill, convection, combination – also consume different amounts of energy. When choosing a microwave oven model, it is important to consider the state of the wiring in your home. For example, an oven with a convection and microwave mode has a power rating of up to 3,500 watts – putting extra strain on the grid.
Is it possible to control the power? Yes, if it is an inverter microwave oven. Unlike conventional microwave ovens, inverter ovens automatically adjust the power level. This results in rapid and even heating. As a result, the food is not altered in structure and does not become overly dry. Food cooked in such an oven retains more vitamins and nutrients.
How to choose a microwave oven for your home without overpaying for unnecessary functions
The assumption is that a simple microwave oven is sufficient for heating food. If you like your food fresher – porridges, stews and baked goods – a convection version would be better. If you like crispy crackling and roasts, buy a microwave oven with a grill. Grilling in microwave ovens can be THEN, quartz or infrared.
Additional options and modes in the microwave
Steam cooker. The oven is equipped with a built-in steam generator. It is possible to cook dietary meals. Not only do the products retain their natural appearance and consistency, but they also cook quickly.
Autocook. Chicken, Frozen vegetables, Porridge and other most popular dishes.
Electronic weighing: The electronic weighing scale indicates the weight of the food in the oven compartment.
A programme of built-in recipes. For example, “Russian cook” (more than 10 recipes). There are ovens with recipe memory – this is useful if you like to invent your own dishes.
Quick start. Meals are heated to maximum power in half a minute.
Double Radiant Oven. Ensures uniformity of cooking.
Odour-removal mode. The smell vanishes in a few minutes after cooking.
Self-cleaning. Water is poured into a special container, placed in the cooking cabinet and the “Steam cleaning” mode is set. At the end of the function, wipe the walls with a cloth.
The cooking programme is a step-by-step programme. The food is cooked in stages. For example, 30 min the food is defrosted, then a 20 min break, then the grill starts working (35-40 min) – and in the end the food is processed by microwaves.
“Childproof”. Lock/unlock all keys. Equally important is the option to disable the audible timer when the baby is sleeping, signalling the end of the oven.