What to Look for in a Microwave Oven [2024]

When it’s time to buy a new microwave, knowing what to look for can make all the difference. Whether you’re eyeing a countertop microwave to save on counter space or considering an over-the-range model to complement your cooktop, the right microwave oven can enhance your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics. This microwave buying guide will help you navigate the variety of options available, from built-in models that blend seamlessly with your cabinetry to the versatile convection microwave ovens that can cook and defrost in record time.

What to Look for in a Microwave Oven? When choosing a microwave oven, consider its wattage, size, and features like convection cooking and pre-programmed settings. Assess the interior capacity, turntable quality, and ease of use. Energy efficiency and noise levels are also important factors to keep in mind.

Think about the microwave size that fits your space and needs—do you need something compact, or are you looking for something with a bit more cubic feet for larger dishes? Wattage is another key factor, as higher watt appliances can cook your food faster, which is great when you’re in a rush. Features like power levels and specific settings for common tasks like popping popcorn or venting steam are also something to consider. And if you’re looking to free up counter space, built-in microwaves are a sleek option. Remember, the best microwave for you is one that fits your kitchen’s layout, matches your cooking habits, and meets your aesthetic preferences.

What’s the Best Microwave for Your Kitchen? – Finding the Right Type and Size

What's the Best Microwave for Your Kitchen? - Finding the Right Type and Size

When you’re in the market for a new microwave, it’s not just about picking any appliance off the shelf. You want a microwave that not only fits your kitchen but also suits your cooking style and needs. Here’s how you can find the best microwave for your home.

Consider Your Kitchen Space

First things first, think about where your microwave will go. Do you have ample counter space for a countertop model, or would a microwave drawer better suit your kitchen layout? The size of the microwave often depends on how much room you have available. If counter space is limited, an over-the-range or built-in model might be the way to go, helping you maintain a clean and uncluttered kitchen.

Understanding Microwave Types

Microwave ovens come in several types:

  • Countertop Models: These are the most common and generally the most affordable. They can sit easily on any counter and come in various sizes and power capacities.
  • Over-the-Range (OTR) Microwaves: These double as range hoods and are installed above your stove. They are great for saving counter space and usually include ventilation systems.
  • Built-in and Microwave Drawers: Sleek and space-saving, these are integrated into your cabinetry, offering a custom look that can seamlessly blend with any kitchen design.

Key Features to Consider

When you’re looking at what to look for before buying a microwave, consider these features:

  • Wattage: Microwave wattage is crucial because it determines how quickly and evenly your food will cook. Higher wattage means faster cooking, but it also usually comes with a higher price tag.
  • Convection Cooking: This feature allows microwaves to function almost like a traditional oven, circulating hot air to cook food more evenly. If you do a lot of cooking and want a microwave that can double as a second oven, look for a convection model.
  • Size and Capacity: Consider what you’ll be using the microwave for. If you’re only using it to heat up cups of coffee or small meals, a compact model might be enough. For larger dishes or cooking for a family, look for a microwave with more interior space.

Evaluating Your Needs

Before purchasing a microwave, think about the features you need. Do you need preset cooking modes, sensor cooking that adjusts time and power automatically, or are you looking for simplicity with basic time and power controls? Also, consider the ease of cleaning—models with removable racks or non-stick interiors can save a lot of cleanup time.

Choosing the Right Brand

Microwave brands vary widely in terms of quality, features, and price. Some brands are known for their durability and high-end designs, while others might offer more budget-friendly options. Researching and reading reviews can help you find a reliable brand and get the best buy for your needs.

By understanding the various microwave types, considering your kitchen space, and evaluating the key features and brands, you can find the best microwave that not only fits your kitchen but also enhances your cooking experience.

Microwave Features You Can’t Miss – What to Check Before You Buy

Microwave Features You Can't Miss - What to Check Before You Buy

Choosing the right microwave involves more than just picking a model that fits in your kitchen space. Today’s microwaves come packed with features designed to make cooking easier, faster, and more intuitive. Here’s what to look out for when you’re on the hunt for a new microwave.

Understanding Wattage and Power

The wattage of a microwave is a key indicator of its cooking power. The higher the microwave wattage, the faster and more evenly your food will cook. Most models start around 700 watts, but for quicker cooking times, look for microwaves with at least 1,000 watts. Remember, higher wattage typically means a higher price, but it’s worth it if you frequently cook or reheat large dishes.

Size Matters

When it’s time to replace a microwave or choose a new one, finding the right size is crucial. You’ll want to consider both the external dimensions to ensure it fits your designated space and the internal capacity, which dictates how much you can cook at once. If you regularly prepare multiple dishes or large meals, opt for a larger model. The right size microwave ensures you won’t be struggling to fit your favorite dinner plate or a full-size casserole dish inside.

Key Features to Enhance Microwave Cooking

Modern microwaves offer a range of features designed to streamline your kitchen tasks:

  • Sensor Cooking: This technology takes the guesswork out of microwave cooking by automatically adjusting the power and time based on the moisture level in the food, ensuring perfect reheating and cooking results every time.
  • Convection Cooking: Some microwaves also come with a built-in convection mode, which includes a heating element and a fan to circulate hot air – perfect for those who want their microwave to double as a second oven.
  • Pre-set Programs: Look for microwaves with pre-programmed settings for common foods like popcorn, potatoes, and even for steaming vegetables. These settings adjust time and power automatically for optimal results.
  • Multi-stage Cooking: Some models allow you to program multiple cooking stages with different times and power settings, which is ideal when a dish needs to start on high and finish on low.

Special Features for Convenience and Style

  • Built-in Look: Over-the-range microwaves and built-in models provide a sleek, integrated look that can complement your other kitchen appliances and cabinetry.
  • Microwave Drawers: For those who prefer a seamless kitchen design, microwave drawers offer a wide range of convenience by freeing up counter space and blending beautifully into your kitchen’s layout.
  • Smart Features: With the advent of smart home technology, some microwaves now connect to home networks, offering features that range from voice control via virtual assistants to remote diagnostics and control through smartphone apps.

When you’re in the market for a new microwave, it’s important to consider how each feature fits into your daily cooking habits and kitchen routine. The best microwave for your needs will not only fit into your kitchen space but also enhance your cooking experience with features that cater to your lifestyle.

Time to Upgrade? How to Choose a New Microwave That Fits Your Needs

Time to Upgrade? How to Choose a New Microwave That Fits Your Needs

Deciding it’s time to upgrade your microwave can be exciting, especially with the array of options available today. Choosing a new microwave that fits your needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you make a smart choice.

First off, consider the placement and size of your new microwave. If your kitchen has limited space, a small countertop model might be perfect for you. These are great because you just set them on the counter, plug them in, and you’re good to go. However, if you’re looking to save every inch of counter space, over-the-range models or microwaves installed in a wall, like wall ovens, can be ideal. These models free up counter space and can give your kitchen a more streamlined look.

When thinking about the type of microwave that is best for your situation, reflect on your cooking habits. If you’re moving into your first home and need basic functionality, a standard microwave might do the trick. However, if you love cooking and are looking for convenience features, consider microwaves with options like sensor cooking, which automatically adjusts cooking time by sensing the humidity in the food. This means no more guessing if your food is hot all the way through when you’re opening the door and possibly letting out heat.

It’s also worth looking at how different microwaves use energy. Many microwaves are designed to be more energy-efficient, which not only helps reduce your household’s energy consumption but can also save you money on utility bills in the long run.

No matter which type you lean towards, remember that microwaves are the most common kitchen appliances after the refrigerator and stove, so you’ll find a variety of models with different features to make your daily routine easier. Whether it’s defrosting, reheating, or cooking, there’s a microwave out there that’s designed to meet your specific needs. By considering these aspects, you can ensure you pick a microwave that enhances your kitchen functionality and fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.


In wrapping up, your journey to choosing the perfect microwave doesn’t have to be complicated. Armed with this guide to make an informed decision, you can navigate the wide variety of microwaves available, each offering a range of sizes and convenient features tailored to meet the needs of different kitchens. From compact models that are large enough to fit your favorite dish to over-the-range microwaves that also feature advanced ventilation technology—measured in cubic feet per minute—based on the steam emitted during cooking, there’s a microwave to suit every cooking style.

Microwaves come in a variety of types and with options like the “add 30 seconds” button, making quick adjustments while cooking is easier than ever. Whether integrated into your range of home appliances or standing alone, these devices can do more than just heat up leftovers. From quick recipes to kitchen hacks, discovering how your microwave can revolutionize your cooking experience will make it a staple in your daily culinary adventures. With the right microwave, you’ll find that preparing meals can be faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions (What to Look for in a Microwave Oven)

What features to look for when buying a microwave?

Features to look for when buying a microwave include wattage for cooking speed, size and capacity for your kitchen space and cooking needs, preset programs for ease of use, turntable for even cooking, inverter technology for precise control, and energy efficiency for cost savings.

How do I choose a microwave oven?

When choosing a microwave oven, consider its size, power, and features to match your kitchen space, cooking needs, and convenience preferences. Look for user-friendly controls, preset programs, and energy efficiency. Read reviews for reliability and performance, and ensure it fits within your budget.

What factors should you consider when using a microwave?

When using a microwave, consider food type and size for even cooking, wattage for correct power settings, container material to avoid toxins, placement in the microwave for uniform heating, and timing to prevent overcooking. Monitoring during cooking is crucial for safety and achieving desired results.

What wattage of microwave should I buy?

The ideal microwave wattage for most households is between 900 to 1,000 watts. This range offers a good balance between cooking speed and energy efficiency, suitable for heating, defrosting, and cooking a variety of foods effectively.

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