Microwave Deals

standard microwave

Microwaves tend to be an essential items in most kitchens if you need to heat something quickly or don't want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. Whether you're just using your microwave to make some popcorn or you're using it to cook a full meal, there are plenty of different options on the market varying in size, power, and cooking options.

See Also: Cookers & Hobs

Microwave Buyers Guide

In days of yore, microwave ovens were looked on rather snobbishly by those that loved their food. Thought of as the preserve of those that like to simply reheat beans or make a meal to eat on their own surrounded by their 17 cats.

Now they have been developed to the point that you can cook full meals, from pizza to roast chicken, in the top of the range microwaves. They are no longer looked down upon, but rather thought of as an excellent addition to the kitchen and a great space saving device for those that are limited on how much room they have in their kitchen.

Before taking the plunge and buying a new microwave oven, it might be worth making sure you know how they work so you know what you’re looking for.

How Do They Work?

Microwaves are radio waves that travel at a frequency of 2500 mega hertz. Water, fats or sugars that are present in the food placed in the microwave absorb these waves and it is converted to atomic motion – or heat. Micro waves are reflected by metal, so never put any inside the device. Plastic, glass and ceramics are generally all fine.

Conventional ovens tend to heat the food with air, causing it to cook from the outside in. Microwaves cause the food to become ‘excited’, meaning that food is cooked evenly. Where a conventional oven requires the whole device to get warm, micro waves only heat the foodstuff itself and not the oven, so they are more efficient.

Types Of Microwave Ovens

microwave with door openMicrowave ovens can be broken down into 4 different categories:

  • Microwave Only: The most simplistic of all the options. A standard microwave will heat, defrost, steam, and reheat your food. Ideal for those that regularly tend to have microwave meals, soup, vegetables and so on.
  • Microwave With Grill: Standard microwaves have one main disadvantage, which is that the air inside the oven is at room temperature so you won’t be able to get a crust to form on top of your food. A microwave with a grill demonstrates all of the features of a standard microwave, but with the added benefit of a grill. This can be used to grill meat or fish, for example, or even cook a pizza. A great alternative to a normal oven if your culinary mastery is limited and you’re short on space.
  • Combi Microwave: More like a mini oven than a microwave, the combi option includes all of the features of the standard microwave as well as the grill option, but it also includes a convection oven and often a steam function. Again, a great space saving option if you live in a flat or have a small kitchen.
  • Integrated Microwave: Designed to fit into your kitchen as seamlessly as possible, integrated microwaves tend to have a designer look and feel. You can get them in conventional and regular sizes, and they often have front handles for ease of access.

Size & Power

microwave grill combiMicrowaves vary in size from the smaller range, which tend to be around the 17L mark, to the larger 32L capacity. If you have a large family and feel you’re likely to need to cook a reasonably large amount of food, then try not to go any smaller than a 27L model. Microwaves of this size will have a larger turntable, and will be able to fit in several plates at once – or even your Sunday roast!

Power-wise, microwaves are measured in Watts. You can normally get appliances that range from 800W to 1100W. Remember, if you want to cook your food quicker then get a microwave oven with a higher wattage.

Additional Features To Look For

Now that you know which type of microwave oven you want, which size you think is right for you, and you understand how they work, it’s worth considering what other features you can keep an eye out for to ensure you buy the best device for you.

The more features your microwave oven offers, the more expensive it will become. Unless you are under extreme financial restrictions though, you shouldn’t let that be a deal breaker. Depending on your lifestyle and the way you cook food, the right features could be ideal and time saving. Here’s a quick look at the main things to keep an eye out for:

  • microwave defrost buttonAutomatic Functions: Some microwaves can consider the actual weight of the food before working how long you need to cook it for in order to ensure it’s safe to eat. The same can be said of food defrosting, which can be worked out automatically.
  • Chaos Defrosting: If you tend to cook a lot of food before freezing it in order to reheat it at a later date, then a microwave with a chaos defrost function could be invaluable. It uses random pulses of energy to reduce the amount of time needed to defrost your food.
  • Child Lock: Ideal for those with a young family, microwaves with a child lock stop your young ones from being able to get their fingers inside the machine, or from accidentally starting a programme.
  • Control Panel: Microwaves need to be told what to do, so if you like to be specific in your instructions then look out for devices with a good control panel that allows you to change the settings without stopping the cooking.
  • Drop-down Door: Traditional microwaves have doors on hinges that open outwards, but more and more are offering drop-down doors so that you can get easier access to your food. It’s also a convenient place to rest any hot dishes after you’ve done your cooking.
  • Inner Linings: Microwaves are, by their very nature, much easier to clean than conventional ovens. Top-end microwaves also come with catalytic or pyrolytic liners. These are self-cleaning, which limits the build-up of grease on the inside of the microwaves.
  • Multiple Sequence Cooking: This means that you can set the microwave to change the power levels mid-cook. So, it can defrost the food first, for example, before going on to cook it.
  • Pre-set Programmes: This feature can help you take the guess work out of cooking. You simply enter into the microwave what it is that you’re doing from a series of pre-set programmes. Things like cooking popular foods, re-heating or defrosting will all be on offer.
  • Sensor Cooking: Top end microwaves have sensors that can tell when there’s moisture in the food and what the oven’s humidity is. They will then adjust the power levels and cooking time to ensure you get the best results.
  • Turbo Reheat: A fun function for people like that to eat a lot of soup or bean based produce, this gives your food a boost of cooking power!

Whatever you choose, it’s important to do your research first to see which type of microwave would suit your individual needs.