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Which Microwave Should I Buy

This user-friendly Panasonic's compact design belies its power. It boasts five power levels and nine auto programs, including three cooking settings, defrost and reheat options. Our testers loved their fluffy jacket potatoes and fully-cooked ready meals, which came out piping hot in the centre, even when cooked from frozen. Their only qualm was that fingerprints showed up easily on the black touch display.

which microwave should i buy

At Consumer Reports, we test microwaves in every price range and buy every model we test. Our ratings include small, midsized, and large countertop microwaves; OTR microwaves; and a few built-in models that sleekly integrate into your cabinetry.

Average Cost of a MicrowaveCountertop microwaves usually cost less than the other types. Small models start around $50, and midsized models are typically in the $100 to $300 range. OTR microwaves can be had for as little as $200, but most we test cost $400 and up. Models designed only to be built into cabinetry or a wall cost roughly $300 and up. Some countertop models are available with kits that give you a built-in look for less.

All the microwaves in our tests have a minimum of 700 watts; models with higher wattages provide faster and more even cooking. In our recommendations, for example, all microwaves feature power levels between 1,100 and 1,250 watts. Watts are listed in the full view of our microwave ratings; slide the Ratings & Specs bar to the right. The usable capacity and wattages presented below are based on our tested models, which represent the marketplace.

As the price goes up, so does the number of features. One we find invaluable is the sensor, which measures the steam that food emits and turns off the microwave when cooking is done. Here are other features to consider.

They keep food moving for uniform heating. Most microwaves have a turntable that rotates food. Some instead have a rectangular tray that slides from side to side (which might work better for large casseroles or platters).

This manufacturer offers a wide range of countertop models in the U.S. market, ranging from midlevel to high-end. A number of Panasonic countertop microwave ovens can be converted to built-in with a kit you can purchase. Models are widely available.

Countertop microwaves are easily the most common type of microwave you will come across. This popularity is probably due to how easy these units are to buy, replace and set up. There is virtually no installation required, all you have to do is plug in the microwave and start cooking.

The only real consideration you need to take into account is the size of the oven and whether you have enough space on your kitchen countertops. The vast majority of most affordable microwaves you will come across are likely to fall into the countertop category.

An over-the-range microwave will be installed directly above your stovetop or cooking range. These microwaves usually are installed flush amongst your kitchen cabinets, so it blends right into rest of the kitchen.

Widely regarded as luxurious and elegant, an over-the-range microwave have a few extra benefits that are not available in other types of microwaves. The most obvious benefit is how much countertop space you can save. However, the majority of these microwaves also have a light fixture at the bottom of it to help illuminate the cooking surface down below. Additionally, they typically have a built-in ventilation system that can remove odors, fumes and excessive heat, much like a range hood or exhaust fan.

Over-the-range are the most common type of built-in microwave, but you have plenty of other options as well. In fact, this type of microwave can be built into your kitchen in just about any space that can fit the dimensions and electrical requirements of the unit.

These are common if you are remodeling your kitchen, having a custom cabinets designed or if you want a drawer-style microwave. Built-in microwaves are often installed directly above a wall oven, but the location you install it can vary depending on your kitchen design.

A convection microwave utilizes a completely different method of cooking food. Much like an oven, a convection microwave acts uses high heat temperatures and an internal fan to circulate the air, whereas other microwaves use electromagnetic waves to heat your food from the inside out,

Due to its unique cooking style, this is the most versatile type of microwave available. You can use convection units to cook foods in many ways that other microwave ovens could never even attempt, such as baking cookies or making casseroles.

Roasting, baking, broiling or just adding a little crisp, all of these can be accomplished with a convection unit. And to make it even better, you can find convection microwaves available for countertops, over-the-range or built-in.

When it comes to buying a microwave, some of the factors you need to keep in mind will be about your personal preferences, while others will be determined more by the space you have to work with. Here are some of the most important factors to consider in order for you to find the best microwave for you.

Your microwave needs to fit in to the kitchen it will become a part of. If aesthetics are important to you, then you need to think about how it will look with everything around it. If the other appliances in your kitchen are stainless steel, then you will likely want to go with a microwave that matches. Or perhaps you want a pop of color in your kitchen.

You should consider how you use your kitchen each day and which areas of it would be the most convenient or inconvenient for the microwave to be placed. Countertop space is a valuable commodity in every kitchen, so are you willing to give it up for a new microwave?

Size is, hands down, one of the most important things you have to consider when buying a microwave. Before you start browsing all of your options, it would be wise to get a clear idea of the space available and the size that would work best for you.

Price is always an important consideration when buying any appliance, no matter how large or small it may be. You will quickly notice the price ranges for microwaves will vary considerably, with a lot depending on which type of microwave you decide to invest in.

All of the most affordable options will be found in the countertop category. But if your kitchen design makes a built-in or over-the-range microwave a more practical choice, the extra investment will be well worth it. Not only will a built-in unit save countertop space, but it will create a more elegant kitchen that improves the value of your home. You can easily get by with a microwave that costs less than $100 if your needs are basic, but if you decide an over-the-range model or a convection oven is the best choice for you, expect to pay a bit more.

Most microwaves will come with at least a Popcorn setting that allows you to cook based on the size of the bag. Defrost is another common setting that will be found on most microwave ovens. When you start to explore more high-end microwaves, you will notice a whole new range of preset cooking options for uses from baking potatoes to reheating pizzas to warming up beverages like coffee.

If you like to get what you need from a microwave without having to put much thought into it, look for a model with a variety of preprogrammed settings that includes the items you will most likely be using your microwave for.

For the most part, microwave safety issues generally have more to do with proper use than which model you buy, but to be careful, you can always check the reviews of a model to see if you encounter any warning signs.

While those are the main factors that will be important to most buyers, there are a few additional features that you may be interested in when buying a microwave. These features are specific, and may not appeal to all buyers, but nonetheless, they are worth looking into.

Many of the big manufacturers of kitchen appliances include microwaves in their portfolio, and several less familiar names offer high-quality products as well. We looked at some of the reviews out there of some of the biggest brands in the microwave industry to help get a picture of the overall performance of each brand.

GE is another familiar and trusted brand for home appliances. They have many different microwave models available, many of which are available in different colors and sizes. While many of the reviews are positive, there is a noticeable trend of customers expressing disappointment in the durability of some of the more expensive higher-end models, as well as the cost that comes with fixing the issues that do arise. While this sentiment is not widespread, it does serve as a good reminder to consider the warranty that comes with the microwave you buy.

Kenmore is another popular brand making home appliances. They have a number of affordable microwave options avaialble. Reviews of their microwaves are fairly inconsistent, with a good number of happy customers mixed in amongst those disappointed in the quality and durability of their products. Since they do have a lot of different microwaves to choose from, it is wise to research the reviews of the particular model you have your eye on before making a buying decision.

I agree that a top thing to keep in mind when buying a microwave is the size that you have available for it to fit into. I can see why buying one that it too big or small could be a little frustrating. I think it is a smart idea to take measurements of the area and then go down an inch or so to determine what size you need to look for.

Microwaves are handy items to have in any kitchen, for anything from reheating leftovers to defrosting a chicken. Whether you're upgrading an ageing microwave or buying one for the first time, this guide will help you find a microwave with the features you need. 041b061a72


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