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We know: All About Microwave Ovens

How do microwave ovens compare to regular ovens?

Microwave cooking can be more energy efficient than conventional cooking because foods cook faster and the energy heats only the food, not the oven compartment.

Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.

What should I consider before I buy a microwave oven?

Start by deciding:

  1. Where to put your oven. Most models are made to set on a counter top, but some can be mounted over a stove or on a wall.
  2. The size of the oven you want to buy. This means determining both the space you have available, as well as the cooking space inside. Use the turn table size as the best indication of what a microwave will hold.
  3. The power of the oven. Compact ovens are between 600 and 800 watts. Midsized ovens run between 900 and 1350 watts. Large ovens are above 1350 watts.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of various sizes?

Big vs. Small?

Large or midsized counter top models generally have more power and heat food faster than a compact model. However, compact models are less expensive.

Counter vs. Over the Range and Built-ins?

Counter top models take up valuable counter space. However, over the range models cost about twice as much and can be difficult to install.

A built-in model that does not go over the range is easier to install than an over the range microwave and is less expensive.

What are some of the common features I will want to consider?

  • Speed cooking models offer grilling and browning.
  • A convection feature enables you to roast and bake food.
  • A turntable that rotates helps food cook more evenly. Some models now have a tray that slides side to side.
  • Preprogrammed keypads help you set cooking times for different types of foods, and use a 1-minute short cut.
  • Power levels help you control the oven so that you can defrost, or cook foods that require more or less heat.
  • A moisture sensor can help determine cooking times for various foods and can automatically shut the oven off when the food is done.
  • Crisper pans are good for making things like bacon crisp.

What is the price range for microwave ovens?

Counter top models range from $50 to $250.

Built-ins range from $50 to $200, with an extra charge for a kit to mount it on the wall.

Over the range models range from $300 to $600.

Models with convection features range between $300 and $800.

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