professional advice and what to look for

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A microwave oven is a house­hold appli­ance that allows you to quick­ly heat up or cook food.

Allows you to heat water almost 3–4 times faster than a “tra­di­tion­al” gas stove.

So the use of a microwave oven also allows you to slight­ly save on util­i­ty bills.

But most con­sumers do not know what cri­te­ria should be used to choose such equip­ment.

At the same time, the range of microwave ovens offered by retail chains is very wide, which caus­es dif­fi­cul­ties for the aver­age buy­er.

What size to choose

Exter­nal dimen­sions are a sec­ondary char­ac­ter­is­tic. It is nec­es­sary to pay atten­tion to the vol­ume of the inter­nal cham­ber, where the heat­ing or cook­ing is per­formed. Indi­cat­ed in liters (or in dm3).

Freestanding or built-in

Con­ven­tion­al­ly, all microwaves are divid­ed into 2 cat­e­gories:

  1. Embed­ded. They do not have an exter­nal dec­o­ra­tive case. They are installed direct­ly in the kitchen set. Their advan­tage is the sav­ing of free space. Also, this tech­nique will ele­gant­ly fit into the already dec­o­rat­ed inte­ri­or of the kitchen. But you should select strict­ly accord­ing to the dimen­sions (there are sev­er­al stan­dard­ized sizes).
  2. Stand-alone. An option for those whose kitchen set is not designed for the instal­la­tion of built-in appli­ances. The microwave has a dec­o­ra­tive out­er cas­ing, most mod­els are pre­sent­ed in dif­fer­ent col­ors.

There are also ovens with a microwave func­tion. But they cost an order of mag­ni­tude more expen­sive, take up a lot of space and are main­ly used in the com­mer­cial sec­tor (restau­rants, cater­ing estab­lish­ments). For pri­vate kitchens, they are usu­al­ly not pur­chased.

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What volume to choose

Accord­ing to this char­ac­ter­is­tic, microwave ovens are con­di­tion­al­ly divid­ed into 3 cat­e­gories:

  1. Up to 19 liters. The best option for heat­ing food or defrost­ing semi-fin­ished prod­ucts, meat at home. You can also dry your greens eas­i­ly in a small microwave.
  2. From 20 to 25 liters. Microwaves with this inter­nal cham­ber vol­ume are the best-sell­ing. A uni­ver­sal option, in 90% of cas­es it ful­ly sat­is­fies the needs of a fam­i­ly of 2–4 peo­ple. Suit­able for both heat­ing food and defrost­ing, cook­ing.
  3. From 26 liters and more. An option for those who pre­fer to cook dish­es in the microwave. It is often equipped with a grill grate, a con­vec­tion sys­tem, which allows you to even­ly “bake” the meat.

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What power to choose a microwave

Microwave pow­er is indi­cat­ed in Watts (W). Indi­cates the scat­ter­ing coef­fi­cient of microwaves for the entire vol­ume of the inner cham­ber of the oven.

REFERENCE! The larg­er the vol­ume of the microwave oven, the high­er the pow­er required. In a microwave oven of 19 and 25 liters with a dis­si­pa­tion fac­tor of 1500 W, water heat­ing in the first will be much faster.

You can fol­low these guide­lines:

  1. The basic min­i­mum is 800 watts for a microwave oven of 19 liters, 1000 — up to 24 liters, 1500 — over 25 liters. This is enough for quick heat­ing, and for cook­ing sim­ple dish­es.
  2. If you plan to cook meat (grill), then the pow­er of the microwave oven should be about 25 — 30% high­er than the base one.

And you need to take into account that some unscrupu­lous man­u­fac­tur­ers indi­cate 2 val­ues ​​u200bu200bin the tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The pow­er of the installed mag­netron in the microwave oven (it is respon­si­ble for the gen­er­a­tion of microwaves), as well as the con­sumed elec­tric cur­rent (about 20% high­er than the pow­er of the mag­netron). It is nec­es­sary to pay atten­tion to the first val­ue!

Main Functions of Microwave Ovens

Most mod­ern microwave ovens have the fol­low­ing oper­at­ing modes:

  1. Grill.
  2. Grill and con­vec­tion.
  3. Fast start.
  4. Auto­mat­ic defrost­ing.
  5. Auto­mat­ic cook­ing.
  6. Man­u­al set­tings.
  7. Mul­ti-stage cook­ing (with pro­gram­ming mode).

Nat­u­ral­ly, some modes are found only in microwave ovens of the high­est price cat­e­go­ry. A detailed list is indi­cat­ed, as a rule, on the pack­ag­ing of the house­hold appli­ance itself.

Grill

The key dif­fer­ence between such microwave ovens is the pres­ence of a heat­ing ele­ment. That is, an elec­tric heater, which is installed main­ly in the upper part of the inner cham­ber. Allows you to cook dish­es with a crispy crust.

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Grill and convection

It is a mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the grill. In addi­tion to the heat­ing ele­ment, such microwave ovens have a built-in fan that ensures uni­form dis­tri­b­u­tion of hot air through­out the inner cham­ber.

Due to this, fry­ing is car­ried out more even­ly, a crispy crust is obtained from all sides. It is con­sid­ered the best option for cook­ing meat dish­es.

Fast start

When this but­ton is pressed, the microwave oven oper­ates at medi­um pow­er. The timer does not need to be set, auto­mat­ic shut­down works after 1 — 2 min­utes.

It is con­ve­nient when you just need to warm up food from the refrig­er­a­tor.

Automatic defrost

It also auto­mat­i­cal­ly turns on the microwave at medi­um pow­er. But in addi­tion, the user is prompt­ed to indi­cate the weight of the prod­uct to be defrost­ed — from this, the oven will auto­mat­i­cal­ly “cal­cu­late” how long it will take to defrost.

Automatic cooking

A wide range of microwave ovens has a pre-pro­grammed set of pop­u­lar recipes. For exam­ple, “piz­za”, “chick­en”, “pota­to stew” and so on.

It is enough to press only one but­ton, and the microwave will auto­mat­i­cal­ly set the opti­mal heat­ing mode and the auto-off timer.

Manual setting

In this mode, the user can inde­pen­dent­ly spec­i­fy both the heat­ing pow­er and the auto-off timer.

At any time, cook­ing (warm­ing up) food can be paused with the Stop but­ton (in some microwave ovens, you need to press the door open­ing but­ton to do this).

Multi-stage cooking

Most­ly found in “pro­fes­sion­al” microwave ovens.

The key dif­fer­ence is that dur­ing cook­ing, the modes change. For exam­ple, it starts at medi­um pow­er, and before the end of the timer, the max­i­mum heat­ing and heat­ing ele­ment are turned on (to get a crisp).

Suit­able for expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­al chefs who cook com­plex dish­es using a microwave.

In most mod­els, pro­gram­ming for mul­ti-stage cook­ing is also avail­able. That is, you can man­u­al­ly set each mode, spec­i­fy the switch­ing of their sequence.

Additional functions. Do I need to pay

Tech­ni­cal­ly, there are 4 types of microwave ovens:

  1. Ordi­nary. That is, heat­ing is per­formed only due to the radi­a­tion of radio waves by the mag­netron.
  2. With grill. The only dif­fer­ence is the pres­ence of a heat­ing ele­ment.
  3. with con­vec­tion. They have both a grill and a built-in fan (in a spe­cial “cap­sule” that pro­tects it from high tem­per­a­ture, as well as mois­ture, fat).
  4. With sup­port for steam cook­ing. They, as a rule, have an addi­tion­al “direc­tion­al” mag­netron that heats only water in a spe­cial con­tain­er.

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Ordinary

Suit­able for defrost­ing and reheat­ing food.

As prac­tice shows, about 85% of all microwave ovens are bought specif­i­cal­ly for these tasks, the rest of the func­tion­al­i­ty is not in demand.

with grill

Suit­able for those who peri­od­i­cal­ly want to cook meat dish­es in the microwave.

REFERENCE! Expe­ri­enced cooks say that if there is an oven, they should be pre­ferred when cook­ing meat.

with convection

Buy­ing such microwaves should be for those who often cook meat dish­es, but do not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty (or do not want to) use a tra­di­tion­al oven.

A con­vec­tion grill is not suit­able for bak­ing, but for oth­er dish­es it is quite enough.

Supports steam function

Such mod­els are extreme­ly pop­u­lar among those who lead a healthy lifestyle.

But microwave ovens with sup­port for this func­tion are almost 2–3 times more expen­sive and take up more space (with a sim­i­lar vol­ume of the inter­nal cham­ber).

Control

There are 3 types of set­tings and modes in microwave ovens:

  1. Mechan­i­cal.
  2. Push-but­ton.
  3. Touch.

Mechanical control

The advan­tage of this option is reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Adjust­ment of timers, heat­ing pow­er, as well as a door lock — all these are mech­a­nisms with­out elec­tron­ics. The chance of break­age is min­i­mal. But visu­al­ly it looks “out­dat­ed”: 2 han­dles, as well as a mas­sive door open­ing but­ton.

push-button

Instead of mechan­i­cal han­dles — but­tons, more often — with a rub­ber­ized base (pro­tects against the ingress of water, grease, dirt inside). Also reli­able, func­tion­al option.

It rarely fails. But if a break­down occurs, then you have to change the entire con­trol pan­el, and such a repair will cost about 30 — 40% of the cost of a new microwave oven of the same mod­el.

touch

As a rule, there is either an insert made of ABS plas­tic or heat-resis­tant glass on the case. A touch film and mark­ings of “vir­tu­al” but­tons are applied on top.

Out­ward­ly, such microwave ovens look the most attrac­tive. In terms of reli­a­bil­i­ty, there are at least com­plaints, but if a break­down occurs, the repair will be expen­sive. Because it is impos­si­ble to change the sen­sor base itself, you have to install a new con­trol unit. And this is 50 — 60% of the cost of a house­hold appli­ance.

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Which interior coating to choose

Now man­u­fac­tur­ers of microwave ovens use the fol­low­ing options for the inter­nal coat­ing of the heat­ing cham­ber:

  1. Stain­less steel.
  2. Enam­elled steel.
  3. Ceram­ics (and also bio­ce­ram­ics).
  4. Acrylic.

Mod­els where the inner cham­ber is sim­ply made of steel are prac­ti­cal­ly non-exis­tent now (in 2022).

Stainless steel

The cheap­est option.

The main advan­tage: stain­less steel eas­i­ly tol­er­ates even the high­est tem­per­a­tures. You can reheat food, defrost large pieces of meat, use the grill at max­i­mum pow­er.

The main dis­ad­van­tage is that it is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to achieve per­fect clean­li­ness of the inner cham­ber. It has to be cleaned reg­u­lar­ly using aggres­sive deter­gents. And if you do not remove the rem­nants of fat, then this will cer­tain­ly lead to the for­ma­tion of cor­ro­sion. And even with very care­ful care, the steel tar­nish­es over time, becomes cov­ered with small scratch­es, that is, visu­al­ly the microwave oven from the inside will look com­plete­ly “unpre­sentable”.

enamelled steel

Enam­el col­lects less “stains”, eas­i­er to clean. There­fore, microwave ovens with this coat­ing of the inner cham­ber are some­what more expen­sive.

But it is for­bid­den to use deter­gents with the addi­tion of abra­sive com­po­nents in them. That is, “del­i­cate” care is required. Oth­er­wise, micro-scratch­es are formed, under which the met­al sub­se­quent­ly cor­rodes.

Also of the minus­es, it should be men­tioned that enam­el spray­ing does not tol­er­ate long-term expo­sure to high tem­per­a­tures. So it is not rec­om­mend­ed to buy a microwave oven with a grill, where the inner cham­ber has an enam­el coat­ing.

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Ceramics and bioceramics

One of the best options, accord­ing to the buy­ers them­selves.

Ceram­ic spray­ing does not con­tribute to the for­ma­tion of stains, it is easy to wash using ordi­nary deter­gent. Eas­i­ly with­stands pro­longed expo­sure to high tem­per­a­tures.

But ceram­ic coat­ing is quite frag­ile. So it is strict­ly for­bid­den to use deter­gents with abra­sive com­po­nents, as well as to clean the inner cham­ber with a “brush”. Of the addi­tion­al fea­tures, it should be not­ed that bio­ce­ram­ics also has anti­sep­tic prop­er­ties. That is, it does not pro­mote the growth of bac­te­ria.

REFERENCE! Under “ceram­ics” and “bio­ce­ram­ics” man­u­fac­tur­ers under­stand the same mate­r­i­al vari­ant. In fact, it is enam­el inter­spersed with a ceram­ic com­po­nent and a plas­ti­ciz­er.

Acrylic

Acrylic in the man­u­fac­ture of microwave ovens is used rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly. Its advan­tage is very low cost.

Such a coat­ing is found only in low-pow­er microwave ovens, up to 1400 watts in total. But for a quick warm-up or defrost­ing, this is more than enough.

Acrylic does not become cloudy over time, it is not frag­ile, it is eas­i­er to clean than stain­less steel. But in such ovens it is impos­si­ble to cook meat and oth­er dish­es.

Useful additional options

In a num­ber of microwaves there is not only a wide range of oper­at­ing modes, but also use­ful addi­tion­al options:

  1. Child lock.
  2. Self clean­ing.
  3. Remov­ing unpleas­ant odors.
  4. Steam sen­sor func­tion.

Child lock

This fea­ture is extreme­ly use­ful for fam­i­lies with small chil­dren. Although the out­side of the microwave oven prac­ti­cal­ly does not heat up, the dish inside will be hot. And it’s hard to imag­ine what can hap­pen if a child acci­den­tal­ly opens the microwave door.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers have pro­vid­ed this option. The child lock func­tion will tem­porar­i­ly deac­ti­vate all but­tons and knobs for set­ting oper­at­ing modes.

It turns on, as a rule, by press­ing the “Start” but­ton for 3 — 5 sec­onds. To dis­able the lock, you will either need to hold this but­ton again, or use a spe­cial com­bi­na­tion (for exam­ple, the “Lock” and “Start” but­tons). Ran­dom unlock — exclud­ed.

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Self cleaning

It is believed that for the first time this func­tion appeared in microwave ovens from Goren­je. Now found every­where.

Works like this:

  1. Pour a small amount of water into the con­tain­er, put it in the microwave.
  2. Press “Self-clean­ing” (or “Auto­Clean”). Heat­ing will start at max­i­mum pow­er.
  3. Due to the for­ma­tion of a large vol­ume of steam, most stains and streaks of grease on the inner wall will soft­en. It remains only to wipe them with a damp cloth or nap­kin.

This fea­ture allows you to com­plete­ly aban­don the use of “aggres­sive” deter­gents, and also sim­pli­fies the care of equip­ment.

Removing bad odors

The func­tion is main­ly found in mod­els with con­vec­tion sup­port. It will allow you to get rid of pun­gent odors after cook­ing dish­es with a lot of spices.

When the cor­re­spond­ing but­ton is pressed, the inter­nal cham­ber is blown for 5–15 min­utes.

Steam sensor function

Allows the microwave oven to “pick up” the cook­ing time more accu­rate­ly.

The func­tion uses an addi­tion­al sen­sor that takes into account the tem­per­a­ture of the steam released from the food being cooked. As soon as it reach­es 100 degrees, the pow­er auto­mat­i­cal­ly decreas­es (or the microwave oven com­plete­ly com­pletes cook­ing).

Truths and myths about microwave ovens

The most com­mon myths are:

  1. Microwave radi­a­tion is harm­ful. No that’s not true. For humans and ani­mals, they are absolute­ly safe. Harm­ful food also does not become. But what tech­nol­o­gy can real­ly dam­age is oth­er house­hold appli­ances. But only if the microwave is mal­func­tion­ing and radio waves prop­a­gate out­side the inner cham­ber.
  2. The microwave does not iso­late, that is, the radio waves “get” out. The myth is explained by the fact that if you put a work­ing phone in it (with­out turn­ing on the heat­ing), the device still receives the oper­a­tor’s sig­nal. That’s just the inter­nal cov­er­age is focused on a fre­quen­cy of 2.45 GHz. Check­ing this is easy — the WiFi sig­nal does not real­ly spread through a closed microwave.
  3. Cheap microwave ovens are not safe. And this is also a myth. Since this tech­nique is cer­ti­fied by spe­cial super­vi­so­ry author­i­ties (for exam­ple, in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion it is Ros­stan­dart). If the tech­nique was real­ly unsafe, then it would not appear in retail out­lets.

Which company to choose a microwave

The unequiv­o­cal answer is no. Each mod­el has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages.

But if you believe the sta­tis­tics, then some of the most pop­u­lar are (accord­ing to sales sta­tis­tics, accord­ing to experts):

  1. Sam­sung ME83KRW-
  2. LG MS-20R42D.
  3. Goren­je MO17E1W.
  4. Hansa AMG20BFH.
  5. Can­dy CMS 20 W.

Samsung ME83KRW‑1

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One of the advan­tages of the mod­el is the increased vol­ume of the inter­nal cham­ber up to 23 liters. At the same time, its exter­nal dimen­sions are the same as those of oth­er microwave ovens for 19 — 20 liters.

A great option for those who have a min­i­mum of free space in the kitchen.

The main advan­tage of this mod­el from Sam­sung is its low price. At the same time, the man­u­fac­tur­er gives a guar­an­tee for 3 years, as well as an addi­tion­al 10 years for the inter­nal cam­era.

Of the short­com­ings, only not the most attrac­tive exter­nal design can be men­tioned, the col­or of the enam­el is black.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions:

  • modes — solo (with­out grill and con­vec­tion);
  • con­trol type — using but­tons;
  • Has a dig­i­tal dis­play
  • pow­er — 800 W;
  • coat­ing — enam­el.

LG MS-20R42D

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Bud­get mod­el from LG, cham­ber vol­ume of 20 liters.

The coat­ing is enam­el, there is an ener­gy sav­ing func­tion (at first, the max­i­mum or aver­age pow­er is turned on, then it auto­mat­i­cal­ly decreas­es to the min­i­mum). Pow­er — 1000 watts.

Grill and con­vec­tion are absent. There are over 10 inte­grat­ed cook­ing pro­grams.

Of the short­com­ings men­tion:

  • but­ton labels are quick­ly “erased”;
  • very short pow­er cord.

Gorenje MO17E1W

ten

One of the best-sell­ing mod­els of this man­u­fac­tur­er. The most tech­ni­cal­ly sim­ple microwave oven.

It is pro­duced only in a sin­gle col­or — white (the inner coat­ing is sim­i­lar).

Of the short­com­ings — only 12 months war­ran­ty, as well as a short pow­er cord. And one of the key advan­tages is low cost. But there are no com­plaints about the qual­i­ty of tech­nol­o­gy in the reviews.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics:

  • 800 W;
  • coat­ing — enam­el;
  • con­trol — only mechan­i­cal (han­dles, door open­ing but­ton).

Hansa AMG20BFH

eleven

It is a built-in mod­el with a grill, the vol­ume of the inter­nal cham­ber is 20 liters. Pow­er — only 700 W, but due to the inter­nal coat­ing (stain­less steel), the dis­tri­b­u­tion of microwaves is more uni­form.

There are 2 col­or options: black and white. Man­age­ment — touch. Grill — quartz (longer ser­vice life).

Among the short­com­ings: low pow­er, spots form quick­ly on the inner sur­face.

Candy CMS 20W

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Mod­el “solo” with­out grill and con­vec­tion.

Man­age­ment — mechan­i­cal (rotary knobs), pow­er — 700 W, cham­ber vol­ume — 20 liters. There is a quick defrost func­tion.

The main advan­tage is low cost. Inner cham­ber mate­r­i­al — heat-resis­tant enam­el. If you believe the reviews, then it does not fade even after 3 — 4 years of active oper­a­tion. But stains col­lect quick­ly, so you have to clean often.

Of the short­com­ings, only a short pow­er cord is men­tioned, as well as a very sim­ple design.

Man­u­fac­tur­er’s war­ran­ty — 12 months.

In total, when choos­ing a microwave oven for the home, you need to focus on: the vol­ume of the inner cham­ber, the spray mate­r­i­al, pow­er, sup­port for addi­tion­al cook­ing modes (if nec­es­sary).

And even before going to the store, you should decide for what pur­pos­es you plan to use the equip­ment. This will allow you not to over­pay for addi­tion­al unused func­tion­al­i­ty.

Useful video

A lot of advice on how to choose a microwave is giv­en in the video sto­ry:

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