Microwaves are an indispensable part of the kitchen, making cooking quicker and more efficient than ever before.
The simple warming function of microwaves of yesteryears has been replaced however, with modern models boasting futuristic cooking functions and deodorizing functions only you and I can marvel at.
Take a look at these tips on choosing a microwave, what the latest models include, and what you can expect to get for your money.
Basic Microwave Functions
The typical features you can expect from a microwave are your basic heating functions. This will enable you to heat up already cooked food, or drinks such as milk.
Alongside these comes the ability to defrost certain items, and users are usually presented with different buttons and options depending on the type of meat and how much they want to defrost.
Alternatively, the power level will give you the ability to control how powerfully you want the food to warm up, so you can reduce this to a low level for melting butter or chocolate for example.
Another useful extra, which is included on most mid-range microwaves, is an oven mode.
This gives you the option to actually cook your food, rather than microwaving which can often dry food out.
Another benefit of a microwave oven is that if you only require the oven for one small dish then you need not waste energy by heating up your main one. Or if you are cooking a feast, a microwave oven could act as an overflow oven.
GOODMANS CB250B features 10 different power levels for microwave usage, while also encompassing a fan convection oven with double grill. It is also useful for convenience meals with its re-heat programs.
Size and Power
Microwaves vary in size so they can fit into small or large kitchens, and accommodate a single person living alone, or a large family. They range from about 13 to 35 litres in size.
Power levels sometimes differ and this can determine the length of time you will be required to heat certain types of food.
Often purpose microwavable food has instructions relative to different power settings, but most new microwaves operate on the highest level.
Microwaves can also be fitted into a kitchen unit to save space on the kitchen surfaces, and make the kitchen look more streamline.
The MIELE H 5080 BM BK is an expensive, yet elegant design that will make your kitchen complete.
Coming in at £2,665.52, this microwave will do everything with its 16 + functions and 46.5×56.8×55.0 (H/W/D) cm dimensions.
Best Microwave Brands
Popular brands of microwave include Panasonic, Samsung, Prestige, Sanyo, and Goodmans.
The latter of the above is a stylish combination microwave which can also steam food making it easier to have food that is healthily cooked, such as steamed fish and vegetables.
Extras include a drop down door ability to rest hot dishes on, and child safety locks so curious hands are safe and prevented from tampering with the evening’s dinner.
If you use your microwave regularly, when you are choosing a new microwave seriously consider the benefits of the different accessories the different models include.
This could sway your decision, as some include extras like crisper plates which aid the grill crisp the food to produce a better outcome. Other accessories include grill racks and rice steamers.
However, if you are a non-fuss cook then all these extra bits may actually be a hindrance, getting in the way of your simple cooking needs.
Microwaves also come in a variety of colours and finishes to suit your particular kitchen style.
The stainless steel look is a very popular choice, while black can look smart and stylish, however for something more bold there are more colourful options out there.
The WHIRLPOOL MAX 25 CRG for example comes in a funky yellow colour.
This model comes in a unique shape which makes it ideal for fitting into corners or kitchens which are short of space, while it still has the capacity of a 20 litre conventional microwave.
How do Microwaves Work?
Microwaves cook differently to gas and electric ovens and grills They use microwave energy which can penetrate glass, plastic, air and paper containers, and they cause the water, fat or sugar to vibrate and heat up, which in turn causes the food to heat too.
Microwaves are typically made with metal, so the surrounding exterior of the microwave prevents the microwave molecules bouncing anywhere else outside the area where the food requiring heating is held.
This also means that any containers with metal on them should not go inside a microwave as they could cause sparks when the microwave molecules bounce off the metal.
Deep metal dishes for example would only allow the food to be heated from the top, as the microwaves would not be able to penetrate the container to heat the rest of the food.
For the best microwave on the market you could spend thousands of pounds for the latest model and design.
However, most manufacturers are making oven and grill settings the norm for their new products, so you can get a microwave to meet all your cooking needs at a very reasonable price.