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Countertop Microwave Ovens - A Buyer's Guide to Countertop Microwave Ovens

cooking features wattage low

Amid the many and varied options of countertop microwave ovens are several similarities in form and function. Factors which relate to people’s choices in microwave include such things as cooking speed, child safety features, smart cooking and defrost functions, energy efficiency, and even portability.
Following is a list of six sample microwaves which embody these options. Though all are good products with reasonable customer reviews, they are not listed as part of a “top 5” list or anything similar. Rather, they are being used as examples to demonstrate how countertop microwave ovens differ.

Wattage is the best measure of a microwave’s cooking speed—that is, more electricity equals less time spinning behind the glass. Wattage is a major influence on price, as seen in Sharp R-23GTF 1600 watt oven, which costs $1000. At more than double the power of most other microwaves (average is 700 watts), it lives up to the Spinal Tap cliché of “going up to 11” in its stainless steel cabinet. Intended for commercial, high volume cooking, this product can boil water in a little over one minute.
Product Site

Child safety locks are a common feature in microwaves. The Emerson 900 Watt microwave features a child safety lock to keep children from putting stuffed animals, forks, or younger siblings into this potentially dangerous appliance.
Product Site

Functionality is the signature of modern microwave ovens. Though simple designs are still made, buyers can look to some models for heavily computed cooking that can greatly assist cooking once the initial obstacle of deciphering all the buttons is surpassed. The Panasonic NN-H765 is loaded with these kinds of features. A turbo defrost function allows for entrees to go from freezer to skillet in record time, while an onboard scale and computer automatically calculates heating times once a general category such as poultry or beef is selected.
Manufacturer’s Site

Countertop microwave ovens are more energy efficient than stoves, and using a low wattage microwave can boost energy efficiency even further. Naturally, these microwaves cook more slowly, but fans of low wattage microwaves are likely to point out that even a slow microwave cooks quickly compared to traditional cooking methods. At the low end of wattage can be found the Haier MWM66000RW, available for $53. This compact unit features .6 cubic feet of space and a removable glass turntable in addition to its low energy consumption of 600 watts.
Manufacturer’s Site

For portability, few models beat the Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven. At $200, this intriguing, fourteen-pound microwave features a carrying handle and can be powered by a vehicle outlet or 12 volt battery in addition to its plug-in adapter. Marketing itself as an ideal tool for dorm rooms, road trips, not-quite-roughing-it, and (on ThinkGeek.com, at least) zombie apocalypse scenarios, it is a clever device that piles travel-oriented features into a compact, low wattage design.
Manufacturer’s Site

When choosing among countertop microwave ovens, buyers should consider which features are most valuable to them. Low wattage and simpler designs trim price, while more robust designs can increase cooking times, portability, and smart cooking features.

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