Not long ago, the thought of being able to cook full meals in a matter of minutes using a compact countertop appliance seemed like science fiction. Then, following the conclusion of World War 2, an inventor named Percy Spencer introduced this thought into reality. Using radar technology discovered during the war, Percy Spencer was able to harness electromagnetic radiation to stimulate thermal energy in food. This is a complicated process called dielectric heating. Thanks to this colossal technological breakthrough, the world was given the gift of the household microwave. Now, microwaves are commonplace and the long list of advanced features they come equipped with grows larger by the day. Here’s latest microwave features to look for the next time you’re in the market for a new microwave oven.
Latest microwave features to look for
Power Microwave power is measured in watts, and most microwaves range from 700W to 1200W. The higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Typical power is around 900W, so look for a model with at least that as a maximum.
Size As a microwave will sit on the kitchen counter, make sure you measure before you buy a microwave to ensure it doesn’t use up valuable counter space that you need for food prep.
Capacity A microwave’s internal capacity is measured in litres, with models offering anything from a compact 17L to a whopping 32L. For a family microwave, look for a model offering at least a 27L size as this will have a larger turntable and enough interior height to cook a Sunday roast or two dishes at once.
Convection cooking and grilling Some microwaves combine a fan oven and grill with microwave power. Perfect for those short of kitchen space, a combination microwave helps speed up cooking times with the addition of circulating hot air and lets you brown and crisp food under the grill.
Microwave only These basic microwaves are ideal for simple tasks such as cooking porridge, jacket potatoes and ready meals, heating soup and defrosting frozen items.
Pre-set programmes Look for a microwave that has a number of pre-set programmes that take the guesswork out of cooking, reheating and defrosting popular foods.
Automatic cooking and defrosting Automatic modes let you enter the weight of the food and then leave the microwave to work how long is needed to cook or defrost the food safely.
Sensor cooking Some microwaves have sensors that measure the oven’s humidity and the moisture in your food, then automatically adjust the power level and time to ensure food is cooked perfectly.
Inverter technology An option on some expensive, high-end microwaves, this technology uses a consistent microwave power level to ensure food is cooked evenly, helping to improve texture and flavour.
Chaos defrost Random pulses of microwave energy are used to speed up defrosting.
Removable racks Some large microwaves come with these so you can cook several items at once.
Oven lining Most microwaves have smooth interiors that can be simply wiped clean. With combination microwaves, look for one with catalytic or pyrolytic liners that are self-cleaning.
Child lock This safety features stops young children from accidentally starting or interfering with the microwave.
Built-in Cook Settings
A countertop microwave, like the Sharp Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven , that possesses built-in cook settings proves just how far humanity has come. Foods that could be tricky to cook like popcorn or potatoes are made simple with this standout feature.
The preset cooking menu on appliances that possess this technology will vary from brand to brand and model to model, but will always prove to be beneficial. This feature will save you both time and effort.
By far, the most underrated and underappreciated feature of some modern microwave ovens is the Convection Cook option. Those who have experienced the succulent results of cooking with a traditional convection oven do not need to be convinced of this feature’s value.
The use of fans to circulate the hot air during cooking times will give your meals an even heat both inside and out. This all is done through trapping moisture inside of the food to negate the pitfall of drying out your meal.
Additionally, appliances like the Sharp Stainless Steel Carousel Convection + Microwave Oven combine the powers of microwave and convection cooking to have your food ready faster than ever.
When purchasing a microwave oven, many people tend to dismiss the importance of a quality carousel. This seemingly tiny detail can turn out to be a big deal. Glass, plastic, or ceramic? Well, that is a personal preference. Some people shoot for a style uniform to the rest of their appliances, while others look for whichever is easiest to clean. Regardless, a carousel is a feature you should seek out in your new microwave.
It is no secret that size does indeed matter. However, it is a common misconception that bigger is always better. When picking out a new microwave oven, it is important to pay attention to how much countertop space you are willing to sacrifice, if any at all.
For those who cannot stand the idea of wasting valuable countertop space on a microwave oven or for those who simply cannot spare the space, there are plenty of options in modern day microwave ovens. One can look to install an over-the-range microwave oven, an over-the-counter microwave oven, or for the most daring individuals, a built-in microwave drawer like the Sharp Stainless Steel Easy Wave Open Microwave Drawer Oven .
These appliances are conveniently placed in space saving areas of your kitchen and can modernize even the most outdated kitchens.