A microwave oven has become one of the versatile cooking appliances in our kitchen and not just a reheating/defrosting machine. A microwave oven can be used for cooking, baking, grilling, toasting, roasting etc with the help of numerous user-friendly customized features. It is very helpful for someone who needs to cook a quick snack but don have the right skill or time. But you have to note some Things you should check before buying a microwave oven.
Read More: Top 10 Microwave Ovens
Nevertheless, it is very important to know as much as you can about the product and how it is suitable for your lifestyle before buying it. Let’s discuss all the major features you should know while choosing the microwave oven for your kitchen. Some popular brands of Microwaves are LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, Whirlpool, etc.
A microwave oven is a power driven oven that defrost and cooks eatables by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This lets polar molecules present in the food item to vibrate and produce thermal energy. This process is called as dielectric heating. Microwave cooking has proven to be much more energy efficient than conventional methods of cooking and grilling as in these ovens food not only defrost quicker but the heat only arms the food and not the dish or the oven. Also, the nutrients level decreased due to heat in the microwave is no more than traditional methods of cooking food. In fact, nutrients are less exhausted in microwaves as the food heats quickly here even without adding unnecessary amount of water.
Advantages And Drawbacks of Using a Microwave Oven
Unique Features of Microwave Ovens
Ten Features Which to Note Before Choosing Your Microwave Oven
Given below are certain parameters you need to keep in mind before you choose your own microwave oven:
- Different Variants of Microwave Oven
- Different Size of Microwave Oven
- Power Capacity of Microwave Oven
- Essential Features of a Microwave Oven
- Energy Rating of Microwave Oven
- Food Habits
- Best Time to Buy
- Brand And Manufacture Companies
- Control Panels
Different Variants of Microwave Oven
The 3 standard kinds of Microwave Oven are:
Solo Microwave Oven
- These are meant for basic cooking and reheating/defrosting within minimal time but not for grilling or baking.
- Are usually smaller than the other two types i.e., 19-23 litres.
- Simpler to use and cheaper in cost (price: Rs 4,000-8,000) than the other two microwaves.
- These are available with almost all features with automatic sensors and multi-level cooking.
Grill Microwave Oven
- These ovens are mainly for grilling, i.e., cooking using heat. Other than that, these are for toasting, baking and broiling.
- It costs for around Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000.
- Are usually of the size 18-28 litres.
- These ovens use an inbuilt heating element that turns hot to cook/grill food.
- Though you can easily grill veg and non-veg items easily with minimum chaos, the taste isn’t the same as that of the barbeque or tandoor cooked food. You won’t get the smoky flavour with these oven as you get will tandoor roasting.
Convection Microwave Oven
- These can be used for all sorts of cooking, grilling and baking as these provide the user with both microwave energy and heat. These two combines together to bake items.
- Even complex items can be made easily without any spillage.
- These ovens cook by circulating the heat uniformly inside them to heat food evenly and thus making it crispier.
- Price range of these ovens are Rs 9,000 to Rs 25,000 and thus costliest among the three.
- These are versatile and offers quicker heating of food when compared with other two.
- These ovens allow metal dishes to bake.
Note: The basic difference between conventional microwave and convection microwave is the way they heat the food.
A conventional oven gives out microwaves that pass-through the dishes used to cook. It first combines basic microwave technology with radiant heat and then circulate hot air to heat food whereas convection microwaves have a heating element and a fan to circulate the hot air for a thorough homogenous heating of food.
Different Sizes of Microwave Oven
One of the main factors that should be taken into notice while buying a microwave oven is checking whether the capacity of the oven suits your eating habits or not. The capacity of an oven is measured in litres revealing the quantity of food which can fit inside the oven in each go. Choose the oven size by keeping your family size in mind. For 2-3 members, an oven with 18-20 litres is enough while for a larger family, the mid-sized ones with 20-23 litres of capacity with high power are suitable. The mid-sized ones are the most popular ones.
Power Efficiency of Microwave Oven
If you need an oven just for the sake of cooking fast-food/snacks or for 2-3 members then go for the one that requires less power. But for cooking a full meal, you need a large with high power oven. Power of mid-sized ovens can range from 800-1000watts while 1000-1600 watts for the full ones. Even smaller ones have 600-800 watts of power. Also, with the increase in voltage, the efficiency of the oven will increase while the time duration of preparing food will decrease since more power means more heat.
Essential Features of a Microwave Oven
There are certain additional features available in certain microwaves to make the oven more user-friendly and convenient to use. These customized features are:
- Child Lock
- Auto Cook
- Automatic sensor
Child Lock Feature in Microwave Oven
To protect the children and the oven from any harm, the microwave ovens now a days are constructed with a child lock facility. This feature allows you to set an electric code/password to lock/unlock your oven. This prevents any kind of misuse of the oven by the children in your absence.
Auto Cook/Auto defrost Feature in Microwave Oven
If you are the one who is still learning how to cook, then this feature is for you. With this, you don’t need to guess the needed time and power configuration to cook. All you have to do is to choose any food item available in the auto cook menu, then set the type and finally press start. This will let the oven automatically detect the required duration and heating power to defrost that food item.
Also known as humidity sensor, is a feature that enables the oven to check whether the food is completely cooked or not, by itself. This happens by measuring the steam in the oven by the sensor. As the oven detects that the completion of cooking, it shuts off automatically. This feature prevents the overheating/undercooking of food. The sensor present is used to fix the cooking time by taking the food quantity into consideration.
Energy Ratings of Microwave Oven
Nowadays with the increase in features in different electrical appliances to make things convenient for the users, it becomes mandatory to check the energy ratings of the product before you buy them. Nearly every appliance has these ratings over their outer body or packaging. Check these out for your microwave oven too. These energy ratings are shown in form of yellow stars. More the number of yellow stars present, more energy efficient the oven is. That means lesser power consumption and more pocket friendly. This energy rating feature is promoted mainly to increase energy efficiency among the people.
Your Food Habits
Before choosing the kind, size and features of your microwave oven do look out for your eating habits: whether you are a foody or a diet following person; vegetarian or non- vegetarian; live in small family or a big one or is always organising parties or get togethers. Considering all of these things prefer the microwave which suits and fulfils your needs.
Certain microwave ovens produce a lot of noise. So, if you are some who cannot tolerate noise they produce, verify these issues beforehand with your retailer. Try out the model in the showroom itself to get a hint of the range of noise to know the expected noise from the oven. If you’re someone who has decided to buy a microwave oven online then do remember to check out the customer reviews. Here, you will get to know if any noise issue related to the product had been faced by the earlier customers or not. This will help you to uncheck the models you do not prefer. Certain microwaves, also provide the noise decibel ratings listed for the product.
Best Deals to Buy a Microwaves
Prefer buying an oven during the festival sales, as we have seen buying even the smallest of the ovens can cost you in thousands, so why not wait for a cheaper deal. According to the market dynamics, festivals bring in numerous discounts and sale offers both in physical shops or in online shopping, which can be very economical for you. There are other cheaper opportunities too; such as the year end sale. Also, if you need a cheaper option try buying an older model rather than the latest one.
Brand And Manufacture Companies
One of the most important factors which should be kept in mind before buying any electronics not just ovens is the manufacture Company of the product. Some of the popular microwave oven brands are Samsung, LG, Toshiba, IFB. These are the leading developing companies of microwave ovens. Also, check out the warranty period of these companies before finalising your oven. Certain brands such as IFB and Godrej provides three-year warranty on heating technicalities and oven body while others provide only a year warranty. Also, try preferring the microwave oven with best after sales services of the manufacturing brands.
Try buying a microwave oven with a Control panel which is suitable according to your convenience. Try going for an oven with both mechanical controls and touch control pad. Since mechanical control panels are preferred for tough and rough use whereas touch controls are delicate and prone to disruptions, the oven overall is not something you can deal harshly with. Both kinds of control panels have their own pros.
Mechanical panels can be repaired very easily while touch controls need to be handled with care as they can fail even with slightest of roughness. Nevertheless, exact time and temperature are best chosen by touch and electronic panel only. Most companies nowadays are offering mechanical control panels with their ovens.
Info Related to Containers to Be Used in Microwaves
Only certain kinds of containers should be used in microwaves. Glass, paper, ceramic, or plastic dishes are preferrable as only these materials allow microwaves to pass through them. Although these dishes won’t turn hot by microwaves, they can heat up due to the heat of the food items defrosting inside them.
Certain plastic containers can even melt due to this heat which can lead to toxic and uneatable food. So, these must not be put in a microwave oven.
Also, metal pans or aluminium foils cause microwaves to deflect resulting in undercooked food or even damaging the oven compartment. So, such materials should also be avoided for microwave usage.
Do remember to look at the instruction booklet given along the product to check the kind of containers that can be used in the microwave oven. They also have guidelines of how to verify whether the particular dish can be kept in microwave ovens or not.
These are all facts you need to know before choosing a customized oven for your kitchen. Also, remember that if an oven is broken or faulty, discontinue its use immediately. Contact your oven manufacturer or check if the oven is still in the warranty period or not. Always follow the guidelines given in the rule booklet given with the product while operating a microwave. If there is a faulty door seal, report it to the retailer. Other than that, Microwave ovens are a relatively cheaper investment with much greater usage.