The microwave oven is one of the most used appliances in most kitchens. Millions of people use them everyday to warm up leftovers, cook frozen dinners, and even make popcorn. As much as people use microwaves on a daily basis, most people only utilize a small percentage of a microwave ovens capabilities. Before you go out and purchase your next microwave oven, it is a good idea to have an understanding of everything a microwave can do for you as well as a knowledge of the types of microwaves that are available.
Most microwave ovens see the majority of their use coming from simple tasks such as reheating leftovers or thawing frozen food, but they are able to do so much more. Microwaves can also be used to cook complete meals in very little time. Because microwave ovens cook food much faster than a conventional oven or stove, more nutrients are allowed to remain in your food, making the microwave a healthy cooking option. Microwave ovens are also an economical choice because they save a lot of money in energy costs. With such quick cooking times, they will be at full power for much less time than a conventional oven or stove, using less electricity and saving you money on your utilities. They also are a wonderful alternative to cooking with your oven on a hot day. There is nothing worse than heating up the kitchen when it is already sweltering outside. Try preparing your whole meal using the microwave instead of the oven and not only will your house remain at a much more comfortable temperature, you will save money by not having to run a fan or the air conditioner to compensate for the heat the oven or stove caused.
There are several things to consider when buying a microwave oven. If you have an understanding of your cooking and reheating needs, you will be better equipped to choose exactly the right microwave oven for you. Capacity and power are the biggest differences in the microwave ovens on the market today. Before you shop around, it is best to determine what capacity and power your family needs.
If you plan to use your microwave to cook a lot of food for a large number of people you need to buy a microwave oven that is a higher powered unit. Look for a microwave with a wattage of at least 1000 watts. Compact microwave ovens run between 500-800 watts, midsize microwave ovens tend to range from 800-1000 watts, and full size microwaves are over 1000 watts. The higher the wattage, the more power the microwave has, which means faster cooking times.
The capacity of a microwave is almost as important as the wattage. You want to make sure that you get a microwave that is big enough to fit your favorite cookware. If you are planning to cook large casseroles in your microwave, you should consider buying a full size model. Compact microwave ovens have a capacity that is less than .8 cubic feet. Midsize microwave ovens have a capacity that is .8 to 1.2 cubic feet and full size microwaves are always larger than 1.2 cubic feet.
The last thing to consider when buying a microwave oven is storage. The size of the microwave will limit where you can place it, so it needs to be taken into account. If you have limited counter space, a full size microwave may be out of the question. If you are set on getting a high wattage microwave with the capacity to cook a roast, but your counter space is limited, there are a few alternatives. You can buy a microwave cart to set it on or invest in a microwave that fits over your existing range. You can also find microwaves that fit under cabinets or built in to your walls.
If you are in the market for a new microwave, carefully consider how much capacity you need, how high a wattage system you require, and how much kitchen space you can allot to your new microwave. Once you have figured out the three basics, you can easily narrow down your choices based on your list of needs. Buy the microwave that best fits all three of your criteria.