A microwave is one appliance which is a must-have in any modern kitchen. This is because these nifty appliances offer much more than just reheating. A modern microwave can defrost, thaw, bake and even cook. Therefore, whoever desires a touch of convenience in their kitchen needs to acquire a top-notch microwave.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The marketplace is flooded with scores of microwave models. Each model is touted as the “best”. For someone looking for objective info on how to buy a microwave, all this noise can be annoying.
This is where we come in. We’ve decided to create a simple guide for anyone who is shopping for the best microwave in 2016. This simple guide will show you how to go about choosing the perfect microwave for your needs.
We shall cover three critical aspects: the different types of microwaves, what to consider when shopping for a microwave, and the two most popular microwaves for 2016. By the time you’re through with this guide, you’ll be in position to easily select the perfect microwave for your needs. So, let’s start off with the different types of microwaves:
Types of Microwaves
There are three major types of microwaves. The classifications are primarily based on how the microwaves are installed in a kitchen. These types are counter-top, over-the-range, and built-in microwaves. Each of these is best suited for different kinds of people and kitchens. Let’s take a brief look at each type:
This is the most common type of microwave. They are designed to sit on the kitchen counter. They are the easiest to install. You simply find a space on your kitchen counter, position the microwave, plug it into a power source, and you’re good to go.
Countertop Microwaves have three distinct advantages. First of all, they are highly mobile. You can easily move them from one position in the kitchen to another. Secondly, they are easy to install. You don’t need a specialist or technician to do so. Finally, they tend to be cheaper than the other models.
These microwaves are designed to be installed above the cooktop or range. They are positioned where a range hood would be positioned. This is because they are built to function not only as a microwave, but also as a range hood.
Besides the basic microwave functions, over-the-range microwaves also eliminate smoke, steam, and other cooking odors. They do this through an inbuilt ventilation system. Some have a hidden vent design which gives them a sleek appearance.
The main advantage of over-the-range microwaves is that their added functionality as a range hood. Their only downside is that they are comparatively costlier than countertop microwaves. They are also immobile and need to be installed by a professional.
These microwaves are designed to be installed inside a wall or within a cabinet. Once installed, they remain there permanently. These microwaves are best suited for those who don’t have space on their kitchen counters or above the range.
The main advantage of in-built microwaves is that they tend to be more powerful than countertop and over-the-range microwaves. This is because they tend to have a higher wattage (more on this shortly).
The only challenge with in-built microwaves is in terms of cost. They are among the most expensive. Also, they require prior planning before purchasing. You need to carefully select where you will install them. This is because, once installed, moving them is quite difficult.
In-built microwaves are also generally installed by professionals. The added complexity of in-built microwaves makes them best-suited for someone who is looking to invest in a microwave for the long haul.
What to Consider When Choosing a Microwave
Finding a microwave is actually not that difficult. This is because the market is flooded with lots of products. The tricky part is finding a microwave which can suit YOUR NEEDS. To do this, you need to carry out a basic needs assessment.
In other words, you need to think about what you actually want in a microwave. This includes things like size, speed of operation, the kinds of food you intend to use the microwave for, how much money you’re willing to spend, and so on.
Having thought about your needs, you can now proceed to consider what you are looking for in a microwave. Now, modern-day microwaves come with a variety of features and capabilities. However, when making a choice, these are the main things to consider:
There are two aspects of microwave size to consider. The first is the outer size — which is basically the amount of space it occupies. The rule of thumb here is to purchase a microwave which can easily fit onto your kitchen.
The second consideration is the internal capacity. This is the amount of food it can hold at a time. In this respect, microwaves typically range from 0.5 cubic feet to over 2 cubic feet. The choice will typically depend on the amount of food you intend to place into the microwave at a time
The wattage of a microwave typically determines its cooking speed. The higher the wattage, the faster it heats up. Microwaves usually have a wattage ranging from 600 to 1,500 watts.
These are also referred to as humidity sensors. It is basically a feature which determines whether the food has cooked by measuring the amount of humidity in the microwave. This feature is great because it saves energy and prevents overcooking. The reasoning is simple -microwaves which have humidity sensors automatically turn off when the food is ready.
Some microwaves come with presets for cooking certain types of food. These settings enable you to prepare foods at the touch of a button. Common presets include defaults for pizza, potato, popcorn, frozen dinner, reheat, and beverage. A microwave with such presets simplifies your cooking experience.
If default settings are convenient, then being able to create your own settings is even more convenient. Some microwaves offer this feature. They have programmable controls which enable you to save your own settings. This makes it easy for you to prepare your favorite meals without having to reprogram the microwave every time.
Auto Defrost and Steam Cooking
All microwaves can defrost food. However, there are those which offer auto defrost. For these, you simply select the type of food and its weight – the gadget then selects the best time and power levels. This greatly simplifies defrosting.
This feature enables you to cook at different power settings during the cooking cycle. This saves you from the hustle of continuously monitoring your cooking in order to manually change the power settings. Convection cooking is where a fan is used to circulate hot air on all sides of the dish. This enables the dish to get cooked evenly. Some microwaves actually offer a browning option which simulates cooking as a boiler.
- Steam cooking — This enables you to steam food by filling a reservoir with water. As the water is heated, its steam evaporates and cooks the food.
- A turntable — This automatically turns the food from within the microwave. This enables food to be evenly cooked without you having to stop the microwave and turn it manually.
- Bi-level cooking — This is when a microwave contains two racks, which allow you to cook two different foods at the same time.
- A child-safety lock — This is a basic security feature which prevents young children from accessing the microwave.
In a nutshell, those are the main things to consider when choosing a microwave. To simplify your shopping experience, here are two of the best microwaves for 2016 currently trending on Amazon.
The Best Microwaves for 2016
Panasonic NN-H965BF Genius Microwave
Panasonic is renowned for its high-end microwaves. With the NN-H965BF Genius, the company set a whole new standard. This microwave is one of the highest performing domestic microwaves on the market.
For starters, it has a maximum capacity of 2.2 cubic units. This places it among the largest microwaves on the market. This super-size is accentuated with a gargantuan 1250 watts of power. That wattage gives this microwave unrivalled cooking speed.
The NN-H965BF Genius also comes with a number of exciting features. These include automatic sensors, inbuilt inverter technology, and excellent cooking options (i.e. defrost, reheat and warming).
All of this is boosted with an ultra-modern LED display system, a child safety lock, and multi-lingual display capabilities. To add the icing on the cake, the entire package is placed in a sleek, sexy design. In other words, it is the perfect microwave for those who desire not just functionality, but a touch of class and elegance as well.
Kenmore 0.9 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave 73092
For someone who is looking for a great value for a low cost, the Kenmore 73092 is the perfect microwave. This petite gadget offers the best bang for your buck on the market. Its inbuilt capacity of 0.9 cubic units is nowhere near the mighty Panasonic NN-H965BF Genius. However, it is enough for the average kitchen. This microwave offers a decent 900 watts of power.
The stand out feature of the Kenmore 73092 is its 6 smart-touch settings. This simplifies doing things from melting chocolate to reheating. The microwave also offers multi-stage cooking programming which makes it quite convenient.
To add to these features, the Kenmore 73092 is robust, functional and extremely easy-to-use. Best of all, it is extremely cost-effective. Its performance outpaces some higher priced microwaves. Therefore, this is the perfect choice for someone looking for the best value for their hard-earned money!