Five Important Considerations When Buying A Home Microwave

Construction & Contractors Articles

Microwave ovens from places like Arizona Discount Appliance are modern conveniences to own, although choosing the right one to suit your needs can sometimes be challenging. With modern technology constantly emerging, new features are becoming available all the time, although you may not need all the "bells and whistles". Depending upon your budget, available space and cooking requirements, you should choose the right configuration, with appropriate wattage and features. Here are five important considerations for buying a new microwave:

1. A Counter Top vs. Over-the-Range Style: Which is Best?

When you consider that counter top microwaves are portable and may be relocated as desired, you might prefer this type. Counter top models are often less costly than a built-in or over-the-range style. If you have the counter space, this could be your best choice.

For the built-in model, you'll need to install some type of cabinet or enclosure. If you aren't particularly handy, this might require hiring a contractor. The main advantage of a built-in microwave is having your counter space free to use for other necessities. It also offers a sleek appearance for modern kitchens.

2. Consider The Wattage and Size

When looking at microwaves at your appliance store, you may notice many models differ in terms of the wattage. How much wattage is preferable in a microwave? This depends on your usage.

If you're using it primarily to reheat leftovers, you won't require a high-wattage model. Basically, the higher wattage a microwave has, the faster it will cook your food and the more efficient it will be. If you plan on preparing meals and entrees, consider a microwave with 1,000-1,200 watts. Anything less will take a long time to cook.

A 700-900 watt microwave may be less expensive, but you might find yourself having to stir and rotate your food frequently. This is because low-wattage microwaves tend to cook some foods unevenly. Because of this, you may notice "hot spots" more often.

The width of a microwave, either counter top or built-in types, often range between 18-24 inches. Measure your allotted space before you buy. For proper ventilation, allow at least a few inches of space on both sides and in back of the unit.

The interior size of a microwave is determined by cubic feet. Depending upon the microwave cookware you own, you might opt for the compact model of .8 cubic feet, mid-size of 1.2 cubic feet or a full-sized model measuring 1.5-2.0 cubic feet.

3. Do You Need Presets or Auto Programming Features?

If you want easy selection and convenience, the answer is yes. Preset selections allow you to choose a cooking option with a push of one button. These are sometimes referred to as microwave shortcut keys. This takes the guesswork out of cooking times, as it's automatically programmed for the appropriate minutes.

You'll find presets for preparing quick foods such as potatoes, popcorn, snacks and hot beverages. A one-button defrost is another option. An auto-programming option may include a "keep warm" button as well. This will keep your food warm for 30 minutes or longer after it's cooked.

4. Accessories

The cheaper models may not include accessories, although most should include a turntable. A rotating glass turntable is a must-have for any microwave. This will ensure even cooking.

If  food does not rotate in the microwave, some areas may be uncooked, while other parts have hot spots. The turntable should be easily removed for cleaning. In addition, you might consider a full-sized microwave that includes removable cooking racks. This doubles your cooking space as well as browns your food.

5. Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority with any microwave. If you have small children, buy a microwave with a child-lock system. When the option is set, the microwave will require the input of a code before it becomes operable. This helps prevent a child from turning the unit on.

Final Thoughts

Don't be overwhelmed by all the available options. If you're on a budget, eliminate certain features you find unnecessary. Sometimes less can be best, especially for those who find technology to be a challenge. 

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14 January 2015

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