Microwaves have become a common sight in kitchens across the world. The prices for such appliances have dropped so anyone can afford to buy this very useful device.
Many manufacturers now invest in creating the best microwave ovens considering more and more people have less time to use a regular oven and prefer a time-saving solution.
Picking the proper microwave can be difficult considering the vast number of options. Our experts have taken their time to test the highest rated products and make a list destined for customers who have no idea what characteristics they should be looking for in a microwave.
All of the devices suggested below come with great features and offer great value for money. They also have some common specifications and abilities which are not to be missed.
The 5 Best Microwave Ovens (Top Picks):
A Brief History:
Microwaves weren’t always found in the common household. They were first invented by Percy Spencer after World War II and used radar technology.
The microwave oven wasn’t designed for household use until acquired the licensing 1955 by Tappan, but their microwaves were still too expensive for a common household to afford.
In 1967, the Amara Corporation introduced the new microwave oven, with a countertop design, and that’s when microwaves began to grow in popularity.
Do You Need a Microwave?
Microwaves are such a common item, and such a convenient way to cook, many people would consider it a necessity. If you would like your food reheated quickly without waiting for the oven to preheat, or if you would like to cook something without using pots, pans, and extra dishes to cook them, then the microwave oven for you.
On the other hand, if you don’t cook very often, and frequently eat out, a microwave is perfect for heating up leftovers. It’s also a great tool for those that are not culinary-inclined because every grocery store offers food specifically for being cooked in the microwave.
The best part about a microwave is that nearly anything can be cooked in one. From frozen vegetables to ramen noodles to pre-made dinners, the microwave oven will reheat everything, much quicker and more efficient than the stove top or the typical convection oven.
Advantages of Using Microwave Ovens:
Microwave ovens are the perfect appliance for people who have fast-paced lifestyles. If you are a working mother, a student or a yuppie living alone in an apartment, you definitely need one of these ovens to make your everyday life easier and more convenient.
What are some important things to know about countertop microwave ovens?
- A typical Microwave Ovens is about 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep and 12 inches tall. Some are even smaller than that. They use about 500-1000 watts and cost not more than a hundred dollars.
- The best microwave oven can defrost anything in a shorter period of time. Just place the food that needs to be defrosted inside of the microwave, push the button for defrosting and wait for a few minutes.
- If you are having one of those movie nights with your friends or family, a microwave oven comes in handy. Select the option for making popcorn and in a matter of minutes, you and your final will enjoy a relaxing evening in front of the television eating popcorn.
- Full course meals can also be prepared using this appliance. They are usually served during special gatherings or family dinners. If you are planning to have one of those parties held at your house, a microwave oven is the best helper that you can ever have. You do not have to worry about undercooked pork, chicken, beef or fish. The ovens are created to efficiently cook food.
- Another function that these ovens can do is to heat up beverages or drinks like coffee, chocolate, and tea. Pour the drink into a cup and put inside the oven. Select the appropriate button, wait and that’s it.
- Fresh vegetables straight from the supermarket or the farm can also be cooked using a microwave oven. The oven keeps the bacteria and germs away, therefore ensuring that what you are eating is fresh and clean.
- When you cook using this appliance, you save more time and energy. This is because it uses microwave radiation, which causes the uniform distribution of heat to the polarized molecules in water or food. Therefore, your food is cooked quickly and evenly.
Since there are a lot of companies now that manufactured microwave, consumers have a wide variety of products to choose from. Each of these ovens has different special features that make it unique from the others.
The Three Types of Microwaves:
When it comes to microwaves there are a few different types that consumers can choose from.
Countertop microwaves are the most common. They sit (you guessed it) on top of the kitchen counter, and have range hoods for ventilation. Because Countertop Microwaves are built to sit on top of a counter, they are the easiest to install – you only need a common power outlet and some kitchen space.
Over the Range microwaves or OTRs, are designed to be built into the kitchen, or over the range of the countertop space. This is convenient for kitchens with limited countertop space, and certain OTRs can be set up to vent outside of the home, considering they do not have a range hood.
OTRs are expensive than countertop microwaves and may take an electrician for installation. However, OTRs typically have more high-end features.
Built-In microwaves are built to be installed flush with the rest of the kitchen. These microwave ovens are designed to blend into cabinetry and the base of kitchen islands.
Built-Ins have a polished, sleek front, but do not typically have finished sides, because they are built for installation.
These microwaves come with range hoods, so they are better than OTRs in that sense, and they keep counters clear, but they are the most expensive option, and mandatory electrician installation only adds to the cost.
Turntables VS. Trays:
For a microwave to function correctly, the food must always be moving. Without a turntable, the food does not cook as uniformly. However, some best microwaves have trays that gently move back and forth, great for larger portions of food.
Microwaves without turntables or trays are still around, but we recommend finding something with that moves for the best, most consistent reheating capabilities.
How do Microwave Ovens Technically Work?
Microwaves are designed to rapidly reheat previously cooked foods, quickly cook other foods, and even efficiently heat ingredients for cooking, like melting butter for baking. This is accomplished by using electromagnetic radiation in the microwave spectrum. Once the food has been exposed to electromagnetic radiation, the food itself has a chemical reaction that creates thermal energy.
What does this mean for us? A more uniform temperature throughout the cooked food, which means less scalding hot outside and frozen centers. Additionally, because of the way food is cooked in a microwave, food has a very low chance of browning or burning.
“How Do Microwaves Work?”
Must Have Features of the Best Microwave Oven:
All three types of microwaves have hundreds of features to choose from, but when purchasing a microwave oven, it’s important to think about your needs and wants.
Size and Capacity:
The size of the microwave is probably the most important aspect of such appliance, aside from the type of microwave.
Full-size microwaves will take up more room, but they can also heat up larger dishes. Full sized microwaves average around 1.5 cubic feet.
Mid-sized microwaves average around 1.2 cubic feet and can handle a full sized dinner plate, but not larger casserole dishes.
Compact microwaves, which average .5 cubic feet or less, are perfect for smaller families or those who don’t wish to heats up a lot of food. These smaller microwave ovens will not accommodate a full sized dinner plate.
The amount of cooking power is also important when choosing a microwave. The higher the cooking power the faster the cook or reheat the food. Microwaves can be found as low as 600 watts, but as high as 1200 watts.
One of the best features to have is a cooking sensor because it will adjust cooking times and temperatures to prevent the food inside from over cooking. The cooking sensor will also shut off the microwave once the food has reached its ideal temperature.
Short Cut Keys:
Most microwaves nowadays come with a variety of short cut keys. For example, auto defrosts or a dedicated popcorn key, along with quick minute. What short cut keys you choose will depend on personal preference, but these keys do a lot to make cooking with a microwave easier.
“Best Microwave Ovens Buying Guide”
While knowing what features to look for is helpful, it also helps to know what the most popular brands are. With microwaves, the two most popular brands currently available on the market are Sharp and Panasonic.
Both of these manufacturers offer over the range microwaves, as well as countertop microwaves. Where they differ is in the technology used to cook the food.
For example, many Sharp microwaves use cycling power, which means it starts off at 100% power and then has periods of no power. On the other hand, Panasonic microwaves use inverter technology, which allows the food to cook at a constant temperature the entire time.
Microwaves have become more popular than a common household item. Dorm rooms, lounge areas, and break rooms all have a microwave oven.
When purchasing a microwave for yourself, it is important to think about your lifestyle. Larger microwaves will accommodate large platters of food for big families, compact microwaves will save space in a small kitchen and is perfect for a single businessman.
Features, wattage, size, settings, and space are all different components to choosing the best microwave oven for you.