Woman using a microwave in kitchen

Shopping For A New Microwave Oven?

Four Types of Microwave Ovens To Look For

It used to be that microwave ovens were nearly all the same. However, with an estimated 90% of American homes using microwaves today, manufacturers have been busy coming up with new models and options.

With so many varieties, finding the right microwave can be confusing. Depending on your kitchen and your cooking needs, you can choose from countertop, over-the-range, microwave drawer, and convection microwave ovens as well as, power and size.

  1. Counter Top Microwaves
  • The best part about countertop microwaves is that they can literally be placed anywhere as long as, you have an outlet close by. They’re also considerably less expensive, and there is no additional cost of installation. The major downside to countertop microwaves is that they do take up valuable counter space.
Microwave Oven
Countertop Microwave

2. Over-the-Range Microwaves

  • An over the range microwave saves space. It also means that functionality has increased since a OTC microwave does the work of two appliances. While performing its cooking duties, it also provides ventilation for your range.  An OTC Microwave may not be the best choice for you if your wall cabinets are not installed at a comfortable height over the range. Depending upon the height, it may be difficult for short people or children to use.  And, you should be very careful using the microwave while cooking on the stove.
Microwave Oven
Over-the-Range Microwave

3. Microwave Drawer 

  • Can be built into a cabinet or wall by itself or under a gas or electric wall oven. The drawer pulls out and you access the heating cavity from the top (versus front). What makes the microwave drawer so exceptional, is its flexibility and ergonomics. You can make sure that kids can’t get in by locking the drawer and setting a passcode to open it, which you can’t do in all countertop versions. Microwave drawer is more expensive with some models costing well over $1,000. You will also need to factor in installation.  Con: They’re (a lot) more expensive. If you are used to having a countertop microwave or over-the-range version, there will be an adjustment as you might have to bend down to see the control panel below your counters.
    Microwave Oven
    Microwave Drawer

    4. Convection Ovens  

  • Also known as combination ovens, these ovens are the multi-taskers of the cooking world. A convection microwave oven combines basic microwave technology with radiant heat and circulating hot air to let you roast, brown, and grill foods. Convection microwave ovens tend to be more expensive than your standard microwave and they tend not to be as large inside as a conventional oven.
    Microwave Oven
    Convection Microwave Oven

How size and how much power (wattage) do you need in your microwave oven?

Before you go shopping determine how much space you are willing to use for your microwave. If you are considering an over-the-range unit, are your cabinets at the correct height. A Microwave Drawer will require installation.

If you are cooking meals for the family, a large size microwave with high power is necessary. Full-size ovens can deliver between 1000-1,600 watts of power and cooks quickly and efficiently. Mid-size ovens deliver between 800-1000 watts and a compact microwave between 500-800. Compact microwaves are good for small areas such as offices or dorm rooms.

One last consideration is your budget.  How much are you willing to spend on your microwave. Countertop Microwaves are the least expensive while Microwave Drawers are the most expensive and will include installation.