Tips for Choosing a Microwave

January 7, 2019
A microwave is very useful because it helps us heat up and prepare our food quickly if we're in a hurry.

A microwave is an essential appliance for the kitchen. Also, they offer us so many options when it comes to preparing food.

It can be hard to choose the right microwave since there are so many options on the market. So, you’ll have to know what your needs are and what you plan to use it for before you start shopping.

1. Size

It’s important to figure out exactly where you’re going to put your microwave so you can find the right sized device. This decision will also depend on if you’re going to add it to your kitchen furniture or leave it on the countertop.

Those added to the furniture will come with frames and require a little installation. These types of microwaves are larger than independent microwaves. You should always keep the frame’s size in mind.

Independent microwaves have smaller measurements and easier installation (all you have to do it plug it in). These are the most common types of microwaves. They usually measure 44-45 cm high, 25.7-26 cm wide and 33.5-34 cm deep.

2. Capacity

microwave

Another aspect to keep in mind is the microwave’s capacity.

The capacity can range from 17 to 40 liters, depending on the microwave’s brand. You should make this decision based on the dishes you typically make, the type of containers you’ll be putting inside and the diameter of the turntable.

Standard microwave capacities are 17 liters, 20 liters, 21 liters, 23 liters, 25 liters, and 30 liters.

In order to choose the capacity you’ll need, you should also think about how big your family is. If you have a larger family, you’ll want a larger capacity. However, if it’s just for one person, 17 liters should be enough.

3. Power

The power in a normal microwave ranges from 700 watts to 1000 watts, depending on the brand. This will determine how quickly the food cooks.

Another aspect that will influence the decision is energy efficiency. By looking at the energy label on the appliance, you’ll see its energy efficiency level. The classification goes from the letter A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

Models that have an A or B are the most efficient, but also the most expensive. However, the investment will actually save you money in the long run.

4. Functions

  • Heat: the microwave’s most basic function. You’ll use it every day to heat up leftovers, tea or coffee. Also, you can use it to thaw food from the freezer.
  • Make gratin-style foods: this will only work if you have a microwave with a grill, which we’ll talk about later. You can make gratin-style cheese, bechamel, bread crumbs or mashed potatoes. This is done by emitting a dry-heat which will give the food a golden color.
  • Baking: this is another great function of many modern microwaves. You can easily bake dishes without having to preheat the oven. Thanks to the fan inside the microwave that spreads the hot air evenly through it, you can make all different kinds of pastry dishes.

5. With or without a grill?

Microwave without grill

Microwaves without a grill defrost and heat very well. However, you can only make simple dishes with them, not ones that require more work. 

The price ranges between 50 and 130 euros, depending on the brand and design.

Microwave with grill

Microwaves with grills offer more possibilities than those that don’t have them. They can heat, thaw and can even combine thawing and cooking. You can also grill, brown and bake different dishes. This microwave is definitely worth the investment.

Its price ranges between 100 and 200 euros, depending on how many functions it has.

6. Types of microwaves

Other types of microwaves you can find are:

  • Steam microwaves: they work on a boiler that creates steam. The moisture makes the food juicy so it won’t dry out and will have more flavor. This also means that you can add less oil to your dishes, so they’ll be healthier.
  • Convection microwave: these ones cook your food using hot air currents. This cooks your food more uniformly, the process is faster and it requires less power. Your dishes will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Crisp microwave: this gives your food a crisp and golden finish and texture as if it came out of the fryer. There’s a special Teflon plate made for these microwaves that can withstand temperatures over 200 degrees if necessary.

7. Cleaning your microwave

It’s important to clean your microwave since you’ll be putting a lot of food in it. We recommend cleaning it every time it gets stained. Also, be sure to deep clean fairly frequently, but ensure it’s unplugged!

Make sure you’re careful not to damage the inside of your appliance. Microwaves can be very delicate.