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What Should I Consider when Buying a Microwave Oven?

A microwave oven.
Size is an important factor if a microwave is going to be installed over an oven.
A stainless steel microwave oven may compliment other appliances.
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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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When buying a microwave oven, you are most likely looking for an appliance that will provide convenience. This appliance may help you cut hours from the time normally spent in the kitchen. When considering your purchase, you'll want to consider the size of the oven, if it's stand-alone or installed, the length of the cord, and programmability and other features.

Consumer microwaves come in a range of sizes, from small, compact devices that have 0.7 cubic foot (0.019 cubic meter) or less of internal space to major cooking appliances with 2.2 cubic feet (0.062 cubic meter) or more of space — enough for a full-size casserole dish. While bigger sounds better, most of these extra-large microwaves will take up a great deal of counter space, so think about how you expect to use the appliance and where you'll put it. If the microwave is going to be installed over the oven or in another designated area, you'll also need to make sure that you don't choose one that's either too big or too small for the space.

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When buying a microwave oven, one thing that often goes unchecked is the length of the power cord. Many microwaves have short cords, since they are generally used on counter or carts, and a long cord isn’t essential. In some settings, however, a longer cord may be necessary. The cord may set to one side, which means that it'll be even shorter if the outlet is located on the other side. Always measure the area between the surface where the unit will be placed and the outlet, and then measure the power cord on the models that you're considering.

Programmability is an important feature for many microwave buyers. If you make certain foods frequently, you might want to choose a microwave that allows you to program a setting for that item. Many models have certain foods already programmed into the memory, such as popcorn, which can be a handy feature. For a bit more money, you might look for a microwave with “smart” sensors that will turn itself off when the popcorn has stopped popping or will stop heating once liquids boil, instead of running for a set length of time.

Another option to consider when buying a microwave oven is how easy it is to clean and maintain. Look for an inside tray or plate that can be easily removed. If there is a turntable, make sure the entire assembly is easy to remove for cleaning and easy to replace.

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Mae82
Post 2

When looking to buy a microwave oven, are there any versions that are easier to clean? Like with self-cleaning ovens?

I find my little white microwave to be really hard to get clean. Food really cakes on and I have to use oodles of harsh chemicals to strip off the grime. It takes a lot of time and work. I would love a microwave that wasn't so hard to keep neat.

Also, if there are not any self-cleaning microwaves, can anyone recommend a natural way to clean one?

I mostly have to deal with impenetrable sauces that have stuck to the interior.

Sara007
Post 1

Price can be a big consideration when buying a microwave oven. When we picked ours out it was surprising how much the prices varied.

For just reheating things and making microwave popcorn, you can get a simple small one for about $50USD, sometimes even less on sale.

We ended up getting a larger one that was stainless steel as we planned to do a lot more actual cooking in it.

You'll find the more expensive ones have a range of features, special timers and even recipe books with them. They also usually cook at up to 1200 wats which is more powerful, faster and tends to cook everything evenly.

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