The Ultimate Guide – Microwave Buying Tips

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Microwaves have become an indispensable appliance in modern kitchens, offering convenience, speed, and versatility in cooking and reheating food. With a wide variety of models available in the market, choosing the right microwave can be a daunting task. From understanding different types and sizes to evaluating features, power levels, and budget considerations, there are several factors to consider. This comprehensive guide aims to provide valuable tips and insights to help you make an informed decision when buying a microwave. Whether you’re a busy professional, a cooking enthusiast, or someone looking for a simple and reliable appliance, this guide will assist you in finding the perfect microwave for your needs.

Determine Your Needs:

Before embarking on your microwave buying journey, it’s essential to identify your needs and priorities. Consider the following factors:

Cooking Habits: Determine how you plan to use your microwave. Do you primarily use it for reheating leftovers, cooking full meals, defrosting, or a combination of these functions?

Kitchen Space: Assess the available space in your kitchen. Consider the countertop space or the area where you plan to install a built-in microwave. Measure the dimensions to ensure the microwave fits properly.

Capacity: Consider the size of your household and the quantity of food you typically cook. Microwaves come in various capacities, ranging from compact models suitable for individuals or small families to larger models for larger households.

Cooking Features: Determine if you require specific cooking features such as pre-programmed settings, sensor cooking, or convection capabilities. These features can enhance your cooking experience and expand your culinary options.

Types of Microwaves:

Understanding the different types of microwaves available will help you choose the one that best suits your needs:

Countertop Microwaves: Countertop microwaves are the most common and versatile type. They are portable, easy to install, and require no additional setup. They are suitable for most kitchens and offer a wide range of sizes and features.

Over-the-Range Microwaves: Over-the-range microwaves are installed above the stove, combining a microwave with a ventilation system. They save countertop space and provide an integrated look in your kitchen. They are ideal for kitchens with limited space or for those who prefer a streamlined appearance.

Built-in Microwaves: Built-in microwaves are designed to be installed into cabinetry or walls. They offer a seamless and custom look in your kitchen, but require professional installation. They are suitable for kitchen remodels or when space optimization is a priority.

Microwave Drawers: Microwave drawers are installed below the countertop and open like a drawer. They offer easy access and can be installed at an ergonomic height. They are a great choice for kitchens with limited overhead space or for those seeking a unique and modern design.

Power Levels and Wattage:

Microwave power is measured in watts, and higher wattage typically means faster cooking times. Consider the power levels you require based on your cooking habits. Microwaves generally range from 600 to 1,200 watts, with higher wattage models providing faster and more efficient cooking. However, keep in mind that higher wattage microwaves may also require more power and have a higher price tag.

Cooking and Convenience Features:

When buying a microwave, consider the following features and functionalities:

Cooking Modes and Presets: Look for microwaves with pre-programmed cooking modes and presets for common foods or specific functions like popcorn, defrosting, reheating, or beverage preparation. These presets simplify the cooking process and ensure optimal results.

Sensor Cooking: Microwaves with sensor cooking use humidity and temperature sensors to determine cooking time and power levels automatically. This feature eliminates the guesswork and ensures that your food is cooked evenly and to perfection.

Convection Cooking: If you’re looking for versatility, consider a microwave with convection capabilities. Convection microwaves combine the speed of a microwave with the browning and crisping capabilities of a traditional oven. They are ideal for baking, roasting, and cooking a wide variety of dishes.

Inverter Technology: Microwaves equipped with inverter technology deliver consistent heat by providing a steady power level rather than cycling between full power and off. This technology allows for more precise and even cooking, especially for delicate foods.

Auto Defrost: Look for a microwave with an auto defrost feature that calculates defrosting time based on the weight of the food. This feature ensures that your frozen items thaw evenly without partially cooking them.

Child Lock: If you have young children at home, consider a microwave with a child lock feature. This safety feature prevents accidental operation by locking the control panel when activated.

Easy-to-Use Controls: Look for a microwave with intuitive and user-friendly controls. Clear labels, easy-to-read displays, and well-placed buttons enhance the overall user experience and make operating the microwave a breeze.

Turntable and Racks: A rotating turntable helps distribute the heat evenly, ensuring that your food cooks uniformly. Some microwaves also come with additional racks or shelves, allowing you to cook multiple dishes simultaneously.

Size and Capacity:

Consider the size and capacity of the microwave, keeping in mind the available space in your kitchen and your cooking needs. Microwaves come in various sizes, ranging from compact models with a capacity of around 0.5 to 0.8 cubic feet to larger models with capacities of 1.2 cubic feet or more. Assess the size of the dishes you typically use and ensure they fit comfortably inside the microwave.

Budget Considerations:

Set a budget before purchasing a microwave and consider the features and functionalities that are most important to you. While higher-end models may offer advanced features and sleek designs, there are also budget-friendly options that provide reliable performance and essential features. Determine your priorities and strike a balance between price and the features that align with your cooking needs.

Energy Efficiency:

Look for microwaves with an ENERGY STAR certification, which indicates that the appliance meets energy efficiency standards. Energy-efficient microwaves consume less power, reducing both your energy bills and environmental impact.

Reviews and Recommendations:

Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources, such as consumer review websites or cooking enthusiasts. Pay attention to feedback on performance, durability, and customer satisfaction. Real-life experiences can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

Warranty and Customer Support:

Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer and the customer support provided. A reliable warranty ensures peace of mind in case of any issues or defects with the microwave. Research the manufacturer’s reputation for customer service and availability of authorized service centers in your area.

Safety Considerations:

Ensure that the microwave you choose meets safety standards and has features like a sturdy door latch and overheating protection. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation, cleaning, and maintenance.


Choosing the right microwave involves considering your cooking needs, available space, desired features, and budget. By understanding the different types of microwaves, evaluating power levels, cooking and convenience features, size and capacity, and considering energy efficiency, warranties, and safety features, you can make a well-informed decision. Remember to read reviews, seek recommendations, and compare different models before finalizing your purchase. With the perfect microwave in your kitchen, you’ll enjoy the convenience, speed, and versatility it brings to your cooking and meal preparation.

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