A microwave cooks food by sending Microwave radiation through it. The frequency of the waves causes water in the food and other molecules to rotate. This rotating action creates friction and makes the moving molecules to bump into other molecules causing them to rotate as well. The friction creates heat, which cooks the food. You may not care for an explanation of the magnetron that’s at the seat of this phenomenon, but you’ll definitely want to know the key features and terms of microwave oven so that you can select the right one for you.
Top 10 Best Microwave Ovens 2018
1. RCA RMW733-BLACK
2. Westinghouse WCM770B
3. Panasonic NN-SN651BAZ Black
4. Westinghouse WCM660B 600 Watt Counter Top Rotary
5. Danby Designer DMW077BLSDD
6. Sharp Countertop Microwave Oven ZR651ZS
7. Samsung MS11K3000AS 1.1 cu. ft.
8. Panasonic NN-SD372S Stainless
9. LG LCRT2010ST 2.0 Cu Ft Counter Top
10. Oster OGB61102 1.1-Cubic Feet
Microwave Oven Buying guide
As with most household appliances, microwave ovens can be built-in or freestanding. Freestanding is most popular because it gives the owner flexibility in where to place it, replace it when it gives out, and take it with them when they move. Built-ins are useful for homeowners who want to save counter space or have a seamless look to the kitchen.
Microwave Ovens can come with only the ability to cook by heating the water content in the food. The advantage of this is quick, inexpensive cooking, with a much smaller risk of burning or fire. However, cooking options and flavours are limited. Microwave food tends to have a bland steamed or boiled taste and browning and crisping is also possible. Most microwaves cook with a specific magnetron technology. Some boast of an inverter technology. It cooks the same as standard microwave technology, just that the microwave oven will be lighter and more spacious.
Microwaves with grills have grill elements for additional heating and crisping. The microwave does the majority of cooking, for speed and energy, but the grill heats the surface evenly from the outside in. The grill portion has a more involved effect on fats and juices, giving a special cooked flavour that microwaves themselves cannot achieve. Types of grill heating elements are: halogen, infrared, quartz, and radiant elements.
Microwaves with ovens are also known as microwaves with convection. Convection cooking is a method in which the air in the oven is heated. Then a fan is used to move the air around. In convection microwaves, the microwave radiation is used to heat the water inside the food to speed cooking and lower energy use. A fan and a heating system create a convection current which heats the food evenly across the surface.
Some microwaves come as a combination grill and convection, giving the user the most control over cooking needs. Microwaves without grill or convection cooking capability are best for those looking for easy and quick re-heating of frozen foods and liquids, while combos are reserved for those who have a culinary bent but need a quicker, safer, more compact alternative to an oven.
Power is measured in Watts. The higher the power to the microwave, the faster the foods will cook. Most cooking times are based on microwaves set at 800 Watts. Microwaves will range in power from 400 W – 1200W. Higher powered microwaves will cost more in terms of energy use, and maybe only more desired in cases where one cooks large quantity of foods at a given time.
Many microwaves will have Power Levels or settings. These allow you to set the microwave to lower levels than its maximum power output. This is particularly critical when dealing with high powered microwaves. Many foods cook more evenly at lower power settings. Power levels may range from 1-11, though expensive and high powered microwaves may go higher.
Capacity is how much food can be cooked in the microwave. It is measured in litres. It will range from 10 litres – 45 litres, though some microwaves are even larger. Bigger is not necessarily better. The amount and types of food your household cooks should be considered when considering capacity needs. Smaller households who heat simple frozen dinners and tea should go for smaller capacity. Microwaves that are cooked with nothing in it will cook their own mechanical parts through wave reflection phenomena (the waves bounce around inside cooking the parts repeatedly). Increasing capacity of the microwave should correlate to increasing amounts of foods typically cooked to reduce wear of microwave parts.
Dimensions are measured in cm or mm by height, width and dimension for the entire unit rather than the inside cooking shell. Caution should be taken in selecting the appropriate size if you tend to use irregular or large cooking dishes. Compact microwaves are smaller and designed for those with space constraints.
The control panel will either be a rotary dial or an electronic panel with pressure sensitive touch pads. Rotary dials are not as popular as electronic touch, but still can be had.
The control panel will be an integrated timer. It is set primarily in minutes, with power being adjustable depending on the model. This allows food to cook for a set period of time. If the user forgets about it, they will not burn down the house.
A rotating plate is a must and should only be foregone if the microwave is of such a small size that it cannot accommodate one. Microwaves heat unevenly. The rotating plate allows the microwave to move the food around for more even heating, without the user having to watch, stop and rotate midway through. Consider one that is designed for easy removal and cleaning.
Defrost setting is also important, especially if you cook a lot of frozen foods. Ice cooks slower in microwaves than water. Parts of frozen foods which have melted can over cook and bubble while other parts are still cold. Lower power settings can help avoid this. Defrost setting is not predominantly a lower power setting. It is a rapid turning on and off of the microwaves which allows for more even heating.
Other settings maybe available, such as a popcorn button that lets you pop a bag of popcorn, meat or other items with one touch. Sometimes the microwave will allow you to program in custom settings.
A digital clock is not a must but is very handy. It is easily incorporated into the digital cook timer. It can also have a non cook timer, in which the microwave does not heat while the timer is counting down.
Child locks, end of cook alarm and interior lights are also very handy features to have.