Shopping Tips: Microwave Ovens

Consider these features and options before buying your next microwave oven.


Configurations:

+ enlarge image Installing a microwave over the stovetop is a popular option. Look for a model specifically sized for this location.
  • Full-size models take up more counter space but have interior capacities up to 2 cubic feet. Cooking power is about 1,000 watts.
  • Compact models usually are less powerful (about 700 watts) and won't cook as quickly. They also may lack some of the preprogrammed cycles of full-size models, such as sensor cooking.
  • Over-the-range models are full-size ovens that include a vent for installation over a range or cooktop. They free countertop space and put the oven conveniently at eye level.
  • Microwave/convection ovens let you cook in microwave mode only, convection mode only, or the two in combination. The convection feature brown and crisps foods in ways that microwaves alone cannot.

See more options in Cooking Appliances

Features:

+ enlarge image Microwave ovens installed at a low height should have child-safety features to help prevent accidents.
  • In addition to turntables to help food cook more evenly and multiple power levels (often 10 to 100 percent of full power), many ovens also include programmed cooking and reheating cycles for various types of food.
  • A moisture-sensor cycle on many ovens cooks food automatically based on the amount of steam it emits.
  • Many ovens have preset time options for cooking or warming different types of food or for certain time increments: a time-saver for cooks rushing to get a variety of warm dishes to the table at the same time.
  • For households with small children, some ovens incorporate a child-safety feature that prevents the oven from starting without entry of the proper code.
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