What should I consider before I start shopping for a microwave?
Before you go shopping, determine how much kitchen space you're willing to give up for the microwave—and how you're planning to use the appliance. If you're feeding a family, go for a bigger oven (1.2 cubic feet or more) that can handle large dishes, like casseroles and lasagnas.
How much wattage do I need?
A 1,000-watt microwave will cook quickly and efficiently. Microwaves with 700 watts or less are slower than those which are 1000 watt. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time.
Countertop microwaves, also called compact or portable microwaves, are the smallest type and the most popular choice among consumers for reheating foods, thawing frozen food, making popcorn, and similar incidental cooking tasks. For sheer simplicity, a microwave-only option will heat up, defrost, steam and reheat food. Use it for ready meals, soup or vegetables .
These models demonstrate all the features of a standard microwave oven, but with the added convenience of a grill. This is ideal for grilling fish and meat, or simply crisping and browning the outside of your food. Also a great 2-in1 option for if you need to save on space.
Acting more as a mini oven, this option uses a microwave, grill, convection oven and often a steam function. This could offer a solution to smaller kitchens with not much space for appliances, or simply just to provide more convenience.
Microwave Oven Size & Power
If you want to do more than cook popcorn or bake a potato, buy a mid- or full-size oven. Cooking full meals for an entire family requires a large model and high power. Full-size ovens deliver 1,000 to 1,600 watts of power, and mid-size ovens yield 800 to 1,000 watts. Higher wattage heats food more quickly. More power is better for cooking entire meals.