Microwave Buying Guide
Microwaves offer a fast, convenient and energy-efficient way to prepare food at home; they’re more versatile than you may think, too. As well as heating and defrosting, you can find versions that grill, roast and bake like a conventional oven.
Of course, selecting the right microwave depends on your needs. To help you decide which microwave to buy, first think about how you’ll use it day-to-day, and where it will sit. From freestanding to built-in, from classic controls to multi-functional, there are many options available. Compare by type, size, and feature to find the best microwave for you.
Microwave Oven Types
Three types of microwaves are available: solo, grill and combi. It’s possible to find freestanding or built-in versions of each. Most designs use a round turntable to aid cooking, but flatbed styles are also available. These do not use a turntable, meaning trays and rectangular baking dishes can easily fit inside. Interior space is maximised, and you don’t need to spend time transferring food into smaller containers for microwaving. Some models allow you to disable the turntable, transforming the microwave into a flatbed style whenever it’s convenient. There are several Samsung microwaves to choose from with this feature.
Microwaves come in a range of sizes; consider a microwave’s external dimensions and its capacity in litres before purchasing. This will help you to ascertain whether you have the space for it, and if it can accommodate the meal sizes you require. The more people you typically cook for, the larger the microwave capacity should be.
Microwave power is measured in watts – the more watts, the quicker food cooks. So, if speed is most important to you, look out for microwaves with a higher wattage.
Features to Look Out For
Microwaves come with a host of features that make cooking quicker and easier. Different appliances will have different features, so it's worth understanding which of these are going to be most beneficial to you.
Microwaves are ‘generally the most efficient way of cooking,’* as less energy tends to be used in the cooking process. Microwaves heat water and fat molecules within the food, but not the container they are held in – unlike an oven, which heats from the outside in. This is why microwaves can heat up some food, such as a jacket potato, quicker than an oven. However, microwaves can use a lot of energy when in standby. This is bad news for sustainable living – and for household bills. Selecting an Energy Save mode ensures power is only used for the microwave clock, and nothing else.
* Source: https://www.uswitch.com/energy-saving/guides/energy-efficient-cooking/
Clean regularly with warm, soapy water and a cloth, checking the door and hinges for corrosion. A dirty interior will mean food cooks slowly and less evenly. You should always unplug your microwave whilst cleaning.
Only use cookware that’s labelled ‘microwave safe.’
If you have a freestanding microwave, check the user manual to understand how large a ventilation gap you should leave behind and above the appliance.
Vent covered food when cooking, so steam can escape safely.
Clean with abrasives like steel wool or scouring sponges.
Use metal containers or objects inside the microwave – this includes food twist ties.
Press start when the microwave is empty; the microwaves released could damage the interior walls.