From defrosting food, to cooking ready-meals and from heating milk for a hot chocolate through to cooking custard, the microwave can be an invaluable appliance in the kitchen – if you get the right model for your needs and requirements.
Yet choosing the right microwave can often be difficult, especially when you consider the various options available. But to give you a helping hand, below we’ve outlined three considerations for choosing a microwave.
There are four main types of microwaves which are common place throughout the UK, and these are:
Solo (Basic) – these are not only the most common form of microwave, but they are also the most basic due to only using microwave energy to heat and cook food.
Such a microwave is ideal for those who are happy to use their conventional oven / grill for the majority of cooking, but occasionally want a speedy option. However, it is worth noting due to only using microwave energy, solo microwaves aren’t able to “brown” food, whereas other models, such as grill microwaves can.
Grill – a grill microwave performs all the duties you’d expect from a solo microwave; but comes with an added grill function allowing food to brown and crisp.
The grill element can be found just above the turntable, and enables users to combine microwave energy and heat from the grill for a more complete cooking experience. As an added benefit, the grill microwave can be used to cook food such as pizzas.
Combination – such microwaves are growing in popularity, due to cooking in the same way as a standard oven but in a quicker time and more energy efficiently. Such microwaves also come with added functions, such as pre-set programmes which automatically cook certain dishes for the right amount of time and on the right temperature without you having to set it.
In addition, combination microwaves allow the user to cook by microwave, convection and grill either independently or collectively, enhancing the cooking experience.
Steam – one of the newest types of appliance, and offer a healthier cooking option due to the steam allowing food to keep more of its vitamins and nutrients.
Instead of requiring a separate steaming dish, the cavity in such a microwave can be switched to a steam mode; where water is fed into the oven cavity and heated by a powerful element at the bottom of the appliance. This ensures the microwave runs to maximum efficiency, with only the required amount of water being used.
The power of a microwave is measured in watts, ranging from 600w to 1100w. As a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage of a microwave, the quicker the food will be cooked – although it is worth noting that the average wattage for a solo microwave is 800w.
On a grill and combination model, the power levels will be different for the grill and oven components.
The capacity of your microwave will be measured in litres, often ranging from 14 litres through to 40 litres – most solo models come with a capacity of 20 litres. However, a larger microwave doesn’t necessarily mean more capacity, as many modern microwaves are now using space saving techniques.
Whilst considering the type, power and capacity of the appliance will help you to purchase the right microwave for your needs and requirements; once you have a microwave it’s important to ensure you know how to clean and repair simple faults which may occur – to keep it running for longer. As explained in our “A Quick Guide To: Microwaves” post.
Tags: Microwave Spare Parts