Looking to upgrade your old microwave? Wondering what features to consider in a modern one? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the top features that you should look for when buying a new microwave. From sensor cooking to convection settings, we will cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision. So, let’s dive right in and discover the exciting world of modern microwaves!
Size and Capacity
When choosing a modern microwave, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is the external dimensions. The size of the microwave is important because it determines how much countertop space it will take up in your kitchen. You’ll want to measure the area where you plan to place the microwave to ensure it will fit properly. Additionally, the external dimensions can also affect the overall aesthetic of your kitchen, so it’s important to choose a size that complements your existing décor.
The internal capacity of a microwave refers to the amount of space available for cooking. This is measured in terms of liters or cubic feet. The larger the internal capacity, the more food you will be able to cook or heat at once. If you frequently cook large meals or have a family to feed, opting for a microwave with a larger internal capacity can save you time and make meal preparation more efficient. On the other hand, if you have limited counter space or typically only cook for yourself, a smaller capacity microwave may be more suitable.
The turntable size is an important consideration when it comes to determining the overall capacity of a microwave. The turntable is the rotating plate inside the microwave that helps to ensure even cooking by allowing the food to be exposed to the microwave’s heat source from all angles. A larger turntable can accommodate larger plates or dishes, which can be beneficial if you often cook or reheat larger portions. However, keep in mind that a larger turntable may also mean a larger overall size of the microwave.
Power and Wattage
Microwaves typically have multiple power levels that allow you to adjust the intensity of the microwave’s heat. This is particularly useful when you’re cooking or reheating different foods that require varying levels of heat. For example, if you want to defrost a frozen meal, you can choose a lower power level to ensure it defrosts evenly without cooking the outer edges.
The cooking time of a microwave is an important feature to consider. Modern microwaves often have pre-set cooking times for common dishes, which can save you time and make cooking more convenient. Additionally, some microwaves have features that automatically adjust the cooking time based on the weight or type of food being cooked. This can help ensure that your food is cooked evenly and reduces the risk of overcooking or undercooking.
The wattage of a microwave refers to its power output and can affect how quickly and efficiently it cooks food. Higher wattage microwaves generally cook faster than lower wattage models. However, it’s important to note that higher wattage microwaves may also require more energy, so if energy efficiency is a concern for you, you may want to consider a lower wattage option. The wattage of a microwave is typically listed on the product specifications and can range from around 600 to 1200 watts.
The most basic and essential cooking mode of a microwave is, of course, microwave cooking itself. This involves using the microwave’s electromagnetic waves to heat and cook food. Microwaves allow for quick and efficient cooking, making them a popular choice for busy individuals or those looking to save time in the kitchen. It’s important to note that microwaves are particularly effective at heating liquids, leftovers, and pre-packaged meals.
Many modern microwaves come with a built-in grill function, which allows you to achieve a crispy and browned finish on your food. The grill mode can be particularly useful for cooking foods such as grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, or even vegetables. It’s important to ensure that the microwave you choose has a reliable and efficient grill function if this is a feature you desire.
Convection microwaves combine the speed and efficiency of a microwave with the browning and crisping capabilities of a traditional oven. These microwaves use a fan to circulate hot air, allowing for more even cooking and browning of food. This feature can be particularly useful for baking or roasting dishes that require a more consistent and precise heat distribution.
Some microwaves offer a combination of cooking modes, such as microwave and grill, microwave and convection, or even all three. These combination modes allow you to have more versatility and flexibility in your cooking options. For example, you can quickly warm up leftovers using the microwave function, then switch to the grill function to achieve a crispy finish on the top. If you enjoy experimenting with different cooking techniques, a microwave with combination modes may be the best choice for you.
Sensor cooking is a feature found in some modern microwaves that uses built-in sensors to automatically detect and adjust the cooking time and power level based on the moisture or humidity level inside the microwave. This ensures that your food is cooked evenly and eliminates the need for you to manually set the time and power level. Sensor cooking can be particularly helpful for dishes that require precise cooking, such as popcorn or baked potatoes.
Digital vs. analog
The control panel of a microwave plays a crucial role in how easy it is to operate and navigate the various functions and settings. In modern microwaves, you’ll typically find two types of control panels: digital and analog. Digital control panels feature a digital display and buttons, making it easy to read and set precise cooking times and power levels. Analog control panels, on the other hand, use dials or knobs to control the microwave’s functions. Both types have their advantages, so it’s important to choose the one that you find most intuitive and user-friendly.
Having a user-friendly interface on your microwave can make a world of difference in your cooking experience. Look for microwaves that have clear and easy-to-read displays, well-organized buttons or knobs, and intuitive menus. A well-designed interface can save you time and frustration when trying to navigate through the various settings and functions of your microwave.
In addition to the type of control panel, it’s also important to consider the control options available on the microwave. Some microwaves offer preset cooking programs for common dishes, such as popcorn, pizza, or beverages. These programs take the guesswork out of cooking and ensure consistent results every time. Other microwaves may have customizable settings that allow you to save your favorite cooking time and power level combinations for quick and easy access. Consider your cooking habits and preferences when choosing a microwave with the right control options for you.
Auto Cook Programs
Pre-set cooking settings
One of the top features to look for in a modern microwave is a variety of pre-set cooking settings. These settings are designed to automatically adjust the cooking time and power level based on the type of food you’re cooking. For example, if you’re reheating a slice of pizza, a pre-set cooking setting for pizza will ensure that it’s heated to the perfect temperature without drying out or becoming soggy. Look for microwaves that offer a wide range of pre-set cooking settings to make your cooking experience more convenient and hassle-free.
Commonly used dishes
The pre-set cooking settings in a microwave can cover a wide range of commonly cooked dishes. Some microwaves may have settings for popcorn, potatoes, vegetables, beverages, and more. These settings take into account the specific cooking requirements for each dish and adjust the cooking time and power level accordingly. If you frequently cook or reheat certain types of food, make sure the microwave you choose has pre-set cooking settings for those dishes.
Saves time and effort
Having pre-set cooking settings in your microwave can save you valuable time and effort in the kitchen. Instead of having to manually set the cooking time and power level for each dish, you can simply select the pre-set cooking setting and let the microwave do the work for you. This feature is particularly useful for those who are new to cooking or want to simplify their meal preparation process.
Time and weight defrost
Defrosting food is a common task in the kitchen, and having a microwave with a reliable and efficient defrosting function can make the process much easier. Many modern microwaves offer both time and weight defrost options. Time defrost allows you to set a specific defrosting time, while weight defrost automatically calculates the defrosting time based on the weight of the food. Having these options available gives you more flexibility and control when defrosting different types and sizes of food.
One of the challenges of defrosting food in a microwave is ensuring that it defrosts evenly without cooking the outer edges. Look for a microwave that has a defrosting function specifically designed to achieve even defrosting. This can help preserve the quality and texture of the food, ensuring that it doesn’t become partially cooked or dried out during the defrosting process.
Preserves food quality
Using a microwave for defrosting can help preserve the quality and flavor of the food compared to other defrosting methods such as using hot water or leaving the food to thaw at room temperature. Microwaves defrost food quickly and efficiently, minimizing the risk of bacteria growth that can occur when food is left out for an extended period. Additionally, the even defrosting feature of some microwaves ensures that the food retains its moisture and doesn’t become overcooked or dry.
If you have children in your home, a microwave with a child lock feature can provide peace of mind. Child lock prevents unintended or unsupervised use of the microwave by disabling the control panel buttons. This can prevent accidents and keep your children safe from potential harm. Look for microwaves that have a child lock feature that is easy to activate and deactivate but secure enough to prevent accidental tampering.
The safety of the microwave door is another important consideration, especially if you have small children or pets. Look for microwaves with sturdy and well-constructed doors that are easy to open and close but securely seal when in use. Some microwaves may also have a safety feature that automatically stops the microwave from operating if the door is opened during a cooking cycle. This can prevent accidental burns or injuries.
Overheating can be a safety hazard, so it’s essential to choose a microwave that has built-in overheat protection. This feature automatically shuts off the microwave if it detects that the internal temperature is too high, preventing the risk of a fire or other damage. Overheat protection provides an added layer of safety and ensures that you can use your microwave with peace of mind.
Keeping your microwave clean is important for both hygiene and performance. Look for microwaves with a removable turntable, as this makes it much easier to clean. A removable turntable allows you to easily wash it in the sink or dishwasher, ensuring that any food debris or spills are thoroughly cleaned. Additionally, a removable turntable makes it easier to clean the interior of the microwave, as you can access all areas without any obstructions.
An interior that is non-stick can make cleaning your microwave even easier. A non-stick interior prevents food from adhering to the walls and floor of the microwave, making it easier to wipe away any spills or splatters. This can save you time and effort when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of your microwave.
Easy to clean
In addition to a removable turntable and non-stick interior, look for other features that make cleaning the microwave easier. Some microwaves have a quick-clean function that uses steam to loosen and remove food residue, making it easier to wipe away. Other microwaves may have a dishwasher-safe interior, allowing you to place the entire microwave cavity in the dishwasher for a thorough clean. These features can greatly simplify the maintenance of your microwave and ensure that it remains in top condition.
If you’re conscious of your energy consumption, look for a microwave that has an energy-saving mode. This mode reduces the power usage of the microwave when it’s not in use or after a certain period of inactivity. This can help lower your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact without compromising the functionality or performance of the microwave.
Some manufacturers are now using eco-friendly materials in the production of microwaves. These materials are typically free from harmful chemicals and are more sustainable and recyclable. When choosing a microwave, consider opting for one that is made from eco-friendly materials to reduce your carbon footprint and support sustainability initiatives.
Design and Aesthetics
While functionality is essential when choosing a microwave, the design and aesthetics can also play a significant role in your purchasing decision. Microwaves come in a wide range of styles, from sleek and modern to retro or farmhouse-inspired. Choose a microwave that matches your personal style and complements the overall look of your kitchen. A stylish microwave can add a touch of sophistication and elevate the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen space.
Matching kitchen décor
If you have a specific color scheme or theme in your kitchen, you’ll want to find a microwave that matches or coordinates with your existing décor. Many microwaves are available in a variety of colors, including black, white, stainless steel, or even bold and vibrant options. Consider the color and finish of the microwave to ensure that it seamlessly integrates into your kitchen design.
Compact or built-in options
The size and layout of your kitchen will also influence your choice of microwave design. If you have limited counter space, a compact microwave that can be easily placed on the countertop may be the most suitable option. Alternatively, if you’re planning a kitchen remodel or have a specific design in mind, you may prefer a built-in microwave that can be seamlessly integrated into your cabinets or wall. Consider your kitchen layout and space constraints when choosing the design of your microwave.
In conclusion, when looking for a modern microwave, it’s important to consider various features and functions that will enhance your cooking experience. From the size and capacity to the power and wattage, control panel options, cooking modes, and safety features, each aspect plays a role in determining the efficiency and convenience of your microwave. By considering your specific needs and preferences, you can find the perfect microwave that suits your cooking style, enhances your kitchen’s aesthetics, and simplifies your meal preparation process.