All Guides and Information

overtherange 300x174 Over the Range Microwaves GuideAn over-the-range microwave is located, as the name suggests, over the oven range. Many modern kitchens come standard with an oven/microwave combination, where the oven is on the floor, and the microwave is above it.

There are several advantages to an over-the-range setup. For one thing, you save kitchen space. Any countertop microwave will take up a substantial area on your counter, which could otherwise be used for food preparation or other appliances. The over-the-range model frees up that space.

Additionally, these models often come standard with a Microhood, which extracts the smoke and steam from the oven below it and pushes it out through a ventilation system. Cooking on the stove may produce a lot of smoke, so a proper vent system can keep your kitchen manageable.

A microwave is one of those purchases you only make every few years, so it’s something you should think about considerably before making any decisions. Just about any microwave oven you pick up will do fine at popping popcorn or making last night’s leftovers palatable again, but there are other things to consider.

A great number of technological advances have been made in the last 5 to 10 years, so your next microwave can probably do a lot more than your old one. Features like rotating turntables, pre-configured settings, convection ovens, and more set some microwaves above the rest. So before making a purchase, let’s take a look at some of the most important features:

  • Turntable: Microwave turntables are pretty common these days, but not guaranteed. A simple rotating plate will ensure that your food is heated evenly on all sides and through to the center.
  • Wattage: Most microwaves come with somewhere between 800 and 1600 watts. For cooking purposes, the more watts it has the faster it cooks. While 50 or 100 watts may not make a difference, 200 or more will bring a noticeable change in cooking speed.
  • Cooking Sensors: A lot of newer models come with high-tech sensors that can stop or slow down cooking when the food is overheating, so your food always comes out perfectly cooked, even if you’re unsure of how much time or power to use.
  • Color: It may not seem essential, but if you’re making a big purchase you don’t want it to stand out like a sore thumb in your kitchen. Microwaves often come painted in black or white, while stainless steel models are becoming more common.  That said, you can also find some pretty splashy microwaves.  Check out this red Emerson countertop microwave, for example.
  • Child Locks: If you have young children at home, a simple child lock can save a lot of headaches. For a few extra dollars you get a feature that will ensure your children are safe and unable to tamper with the oven.
  • Pre-Programmed Settings: You’ve just popped something in the microwave, be it popcorn or a T-Bone steak, and you don’t know how much power or time to give it. No problem: with pre-programmed settings, you simply select the kind of food you’re heating and the microwave chooses the perfect temperature and time.

microhood 300x300 MicroHood Microwaves GuideWhat is a Microhood?

A microhood is a small ventilation system attached to the microwave that allows hot air to escape, usually outside the home. Microhoods are placed atop over-the-range microwave ovens, so that hot air, steam, and smoke from the oven below can disperse, rather than remaining in the kitchen.

It is very common for over-the-range microwaves to have microhoods, though not compulsory. The thinking is that if you have a microwave above your range (which is common), you cannot have a dedicated ventilation system there as well, so the microhood helps to alleviate the heat and smoke.

The microhood has one or more fans inside that pull the air through and away from your kitchen. Be sure to check the product specifications to see:

  1. How many fans the hood has, and
  2. How fast the fans spin.

Faster fans will be more effective at eliminating exhaust. Some ovens also have multiple speed settings, allowing you to adjust to the current needs. This way you don’t need to keep a powerful fan on, which may be noisy and require more energy, if you are only producing a small amount of smoke or steam.

Find the Right Microhood for your Kitchen

Take a look at the Microhood Microwave reviews available on this site for more information.

countertop 300x300 Countertop Microwaves GuideCountertop Microwaves are the most common type of kitchen appliance. As the name suggests, they generally sit on the kitchen counter, though they can be placed anywhere that is flat and stable.

The term ‘Countertop’ refers simply to the placement and structure of the microwave; this is in contrast to Over-the-Range microwaves, which are placed within the cupboards, above the oven range. As such, countertop microwaves can include convection, microhoods, or any other feature you may find in a microwave.

The advantage to a countertop set-up is that its placement is flexible. You can move it anywhere you want, thus freeing up space for other appliances and cooking. Generally, countertop microwaves are cheaper than over-the-range machines, because they require no extra structural parts, simply four padded feet to hold them up.

compact 270x300 Compact Microwaves GuideCompact microwaves are perfect for any kitchen, no matter its size. They are generally countertop units that can be placed on any stable, flat surface. Have a little extra room on top of the fridge or in the corner of your counter? Drop a compact machine anywhere you want.

Advantages of a Compact Microwaves

The main advantage is visible right in the name: it’s a small piece of equipment. If you find yourself running low on counter space in your kitchen, a small microwave is a great way to maximize your available space. Plus, they tend to be lighter than full-size microwaves, so they can be easily moved around, whether you’re completely re-arranging your kitchen or simply want to get it out of the way.

Additionally, compact microwaves are generally the cheapest kind, due to their size. True, you can still get a wide range of options on a compact model, but smaller generally means cheaper, so this is great for people on a budget, especially singles or college students.

Drawbacks

That said, if you’re going to be cooking larger meals, you may find that some dishes simply don’t fit into a compact model. Plan on cooking for a family of four? You’re probably better off sticking with a full size or over-the-range oven.

Still not Sure?

See what other customers have had to say about compact microwave ovens.

convection 300x300 Convection Oven Microwaves Guide

A convection oven microwave combines traditional microwave technology with convection to heat meals incredibly quickly and evenly. Whereas a traditional meal might leave the inside of something cold or not completely cooked, convection will ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly inside and out.

What is Convection?

A convection oven works by using a fan to circulate hot air around an enclosed space. This high-speed fan moves the heat equally around the oven, thus providing equal heat to everything you’re cooking.

Why Use a Convection Microwave?

Microwaves are known to cook fast, but with the additional power of convection, entire meals can be cooked at astonishing speeds. Additionally, it can bake, cook, reheat, broil, or brown any meal, as opposed to the traditional ‘heat’ setting that microwaves come with.

Convection microwave ovens produce foods with brown outsides and moist, fully-cooked interiors. They also have a fast-baking feature that uses both microwave and convection at the same time to cook completely and quickly. Generally, cooking speeds are reduced 20% when convection is added.

Because convection ovens cook so fast, you can cook with less oil, which makes your meals healthier. And they cook at lower temperatures, so you won’t burn away all the food’s nutrients and minerals.

This also keeps the heat down in the kitchen, which is great, because a lot of cooking can raise temperatures 15 or 20 degrees.

Finally, convection ovens use considerably less energy than traditional microwaves, saving on energy bills and helping the environment.

Not Convinced Yet?

Check out customer reviews of Convection Microwave Ovens and see what others think.

Microwave ovens come in a number of sizes and builds. What kind you choose will depend on your needs as well as the amount of space available. They generally have different features, so let’s look at the different sizes and types:

  • Compact Microwaves: With a standard capacity of about 0.8 cubic feet or less, compact microwaves are best for one person or college students; anyone who has limited space and/or microwave needs. While you can still get loads of features on a compact model, the space saved can make a huge difference.
  • Countertop Microwaves: The most common type, countertop ovens are easily moved from location to location. While they may still have a hefty weight, you can try it anywhere you have space, or move it to clean behind.
  • Convection Oven Microwaves: Convection microwaves combine traditional microwave technology with convection, which uses a fan to circulate hot air. Convection allows for even browning and baking, as well as faster roasting. It seals in juices and keeps meats from drying out.
  • Microhood Microwaves: A microhood is a small tray or ‘hood’ located above or below the main microwave. It allows for ventilated heating, useful for keeping a prepared meal hot or slowly heating something up without nuking it.
  • Over-the-Range Microwaves: Over-the-Range refers to microwave placement. Whereas a countertop microwave can be placed on any solid surface, an over-the-range oven is placed above the range, or conventional oven, thus freeing up space in your kitchen. Many kitchens come standard with a carved out nook above the oven where you can place your microwave.
  • Speed-Cooking Microwaves: These combine standard microwave technology with convection to cook evenly and thoroughly in a fraction of the time.