We can’t imagine our lives without a microwave. In the constant time note mode only it will help to prepare breakfast or dinner for the whole family in a few minutes, defrost meat and semi-finished products. But in order to make the microwave oven really useful acquisition, and not just took a place on the table, before buying, you should ask what criteria to pay attention to in the first place.
The best microwave oven manufacturers – which company to choose
First of all, you should limit your search by compiling a list of home appliance manufacturers that you trust. If there are no personal preferences, you can use our list of proven brands.
The best microwave ovens come out today:
- 1. Panasonic;
- 2. BBK;
- 3. Bosch;
- 4. Samsung;
- 5. Maunfeld.
Their microwave ovens are characterized by rich functionality, quality and reliability – these are the models presented in our ranking of the best microwave ovens.
Those who are looking for a gift to someone they know, can easily take any furnace that was in the top “PRICEBOON”. But if you take the purchase of household appliances seriously and want it to meet all your requirements, you will have to delve into the nuances and listen to the advice of experts. This will help you decide on your choice and find your ideal stove.
Operating principle and microwave system
The microwave oven is a kind of mini-cabinet with a spacious camera behind the door and a control panel on the facade. Inside there is a pallet (usually rotating around its axis), on which you need to install the dishes with food for cooking. But the most important thing in microwave technology is hidden from view.
It is a magnetron, an electric wave generator that accelerates the movement of particles. Its operation is set up in such a way that the greatest impact of the created radiation is felt by water molecules contained in the products. It turns out that vegetables, meat and pudding are cooked from the inside – that’s why the process of cooking dishes in the microwave takes less time.
The radiation is fed into the chamber through the waveguide hidden behind the wall and is reflected off the inner surfaces, allowing the food to warm up more evenly. To enhance this effect, some models are equipped with additional waveguides.
Another important element of the microwave is the fan. The cooler dissipates the excess heat emitted by the magnetron, otherwise it will simply fail. Heated air is directed to the chamber through special holes and also participates in cooking. It also displaces the water vapour that accumulates inside the oven.
Manufacturers do not forget to protect people from harmful microwave radiation. For this purpose, microwave is equipped with a shielding casing, and behind the glass of its door there is a fine mesh metal mesh, which detains electromagnetic waves and reflects them back to the camera.
Types of microwave ovens
We have just considered the device of standard microwave frequencies in detail, but did not affect the mode of operation of the magnetron. Until recently, it was the same for all models – the generator was turned on and off periodically for a few seconds.
Depending on the duration of these intervals, it was possible to obtain a certain heating power at the same performance of the magnetron itself, which always gives the maximum.
Large selection of “classic” models in stores;
Fewer components – lower risk of failure of the furnace itself.
Due to the permanent effects of microwave radiation, products are boiled, lose their shape and most of their vitamins.
Inverter microwave ovens
The new power change technology used in these models allows you not to turn off the magnetron, but to control the intensity of the radiation itself. Simply put, microwave waves affect the foodstuffs all the time – during the whole cooking time.
Thanks to the inverter converter, the bulky transformer has been eliminated from the circuit, so that modern ovens have lost some weight and at the same time gained other positive qualities.
It is better to preserve the structure of products and the amount of nutrients;
The absence of a transformer has made it possible to increase the volume of the chamber without changing the size of the body;
Reduced overall energy consumption.
Less resource of work of the basic components and expensive repair;
The cost of inverters is higher than the classic microwave.
Microwave selection options
Built-in or freestanding oven?
In principle, this is a matter of organizing space and your financial capacity. Embedded microwave systems do not differ from standalone microwave systems in terms of volume and functionality.
If the kitchen has little space, microwave oven is better built into one of the cabinets or a pencil case, placing it at chest level. Such technique is more expensive, but it fits perfectly into the furniture wall and does not take up useful space.
In all other cases it is better to buy a separate model suitable in size. Moreover, it can be installed on brackets or transferred to a wide window sill, where it will not interfere.
The more eaters you have and the larger the portion, the more roomy the microwave should be. Also, the volume of the camera should be related to the purposes for which the microwave oven is purchased:
1. For simple warming up of dishes, and also cooking for 1-2 persons, compact models in volume from 13 to 20 l will suffice.
2. If you cook every day for 3-4 people, take a larger oven – up to 32 liters inclusive.
3. Bake big bird carcasses and cook full lunches for a big family is more convenient in a microwave of not less than 40 liters.
The simplest microwave ovens are only suitable for defrosting, heating and cooking food. If you are going to use the microwave as a complete oven, it should have additional functions:
1. The grill;
3. Steam module.
Each of them complicates the design of the microwave, increases its cost and energy consumption, but at the same time seriously expands the scope of application of this technique.
The microwave oven with grill will allow you to almost completely abandon the oven, bake meat and fish in the microwave oven, as well as cook pies and cakes with brown crust. But when buying, be sure to pay attention to the type of heater.
Today, manufacturers offer two main types of grills to choose from:
Metal tube with a red-hot up to +650 ° C core is considered the most reliable and durable, in addition, it is relatively inexpensive. In some models, the tannery grill is made movable or hinged, which is very convenient. However, it has one serious drawback: it takes too long to heat up.
Has a heating element in the form of a nichrome spiral, only it is enclosed in a glass tube and on the maximum capacity leaves in few seconds, giving out +800 °С. Due to the brittleness of the shell, this grill is often hidden behind a metal grill, which prolongs its service life but complicates the care of the oven.
There are microwave ovens on sale, which use both types of heaters. This design allows you to significantly expand the list of dishes cooked in the microwave, and actually turns it into an oven.
As with electric ducts, the convection mode is provided by a fan installed inside the chamber. The fan heats the hot air preheated by the grill, allowing food to bake more evenly and more quickly.
This function is only justified if you don’t have a full oven, and you really want to cook deliciously and baked goods.
In order to integrate a steam generator into a microwave oven, developers often have to sacrifice the grill – with all its consequences. If, on the other hand, there is a technology on the market with a heater and a steam module installed at the same time, it is prohibitively expensive and not very spacious.
In general, it is difficult to call the function of a steam cooker in a microwave oven mandatory, so do not spend money on it. Especially if you are looking for an inverter model that does not dry out the food. Well, and supporters of healthy eating can always buy a special container with a grid steamer, and cook healthy meals in it – using the standard microwave mode.
Traditionally, small appliances are controlled by means of mechanics or electronics. However, in the case of microwave ovens, attention should be paid to the convenience of the control elements themselves:
1. Rotary handles
An excellent choice for microwave ovens that are not overloaded with unnecessary functions. Such control is simple and clear, especially it is loved by people of age. The most pleasant thing is that you can change the microwave operating mode right during cooking with the handles.
2. Mechanical buttons
They are installed on microwave ovens, where the number of programs does not exceed 10-12. Excellent, when each button has its own mode, so that you can select the desired recipe with one click. But to clean such a panel is not very convenient, and the mechanisms here are unreliable.
A modern version that allows you to manage multiple cooking programs. The flat, waterproof panel is very easy to maintain, but its ease of use will depend on the sensitivity of the sensors.
You shouldn’t lose sight of this point, as both the ease of maintenance of the microwave oven and its service life depend on the coating.
There are plenty of options here, but not all materials can be called a good choice:
1. Ceramic spraying is very smooth, environmentally friendly and always has an aesthetic appearance. If you choose a more expensive microwave with a bioceramic surface, you will also get an antibacterial coating that retains more vitamins in your products.
2. Stainless steel is a durable and durable material, although scratches on the glossy surface remain. Microwave ovens with this finish are more expensive, but the food is cooked faster.
3. Enamel is a cheap kind of finishing, which is used in budget models. It is not difficult to wash it away from fat, but it is impossible to use abrasives, because a fragile layer can be scratched.
4. Acrylic is another inexpensive option, though not widely used. The reason is that acrylic coatings are not suitable for appliances with high power – they can only be used in grill free solo furnaces for heating and defrosting foodstuffs.
Optional microwave options may also be useful if you are going to use the microwave for daily cooking.
In this case, we advise you to pay attention to the following functions:
1. automatic programs
They don’t have to experiment with the power and running time of the microwave. Intelligent technology will choose the optimal mode for your specific products. Only here it is necessary to remember that auto programs are installed separately for defrosting, heating and cooking. When buying, be sure to specify in which modes they are supported, and in which – not.
2. Steam sensor
This variant is even better because the microwave is not only guided by the given program but also assesses the dish’s condition by the amount of steam being allocated. If necessary, the microwave oven can independently change the heating power or switch off before the timer has impregnated if the food is ready.
3. Step-by-step cooking
A convenient solution for lovers of frozen semi-finished products. Here you can set several commands to defrost the food first, then cook it, and then brown it with a grill at the end. And all this without the participation of the hosts.
4. Maintaining the temperature of ready meals
In this mode, microwave ovens can operate for up to one and a half hours. However, the maximum possible temperature in the chamber at this time will not exceed +25 ° C, that is, there will still be no hot food.
Which microwave oven is the best choice
1. In the office or in the bachelor apartment, where the microwave requires a minimum of functions (heat lunch, boil water, defrost semi-finished products), you can buy the most simple and low-power solo model of small volume – up to 20 liters. Such a stove is also suitable as a gift for elderly relatives, especially if you choose a device with simple rotary knobs.
2. If the family loves variety in the menu, and you don’t have time to stand at the stove on weekdays, take an inverter microwave with a quartz grill. It is better to give preference to medium volume models of 25-30 litres. Convection mode is not necessary, but in good condition of wiring in the house and the presence of money for an expensive purchase, you can afford this option. It is desirable to choose a touchscreen control, the display is welcomed.
3. is it not possible to install a full oven or do you have a large family? Look for the most spacious 40-45 litre inverter microwave. Ideally, there will be two grills (top and bottom), convection, as well as a maximum number of modes and automatic cooking programs. Operation is touch-only.