Knowing what to look for when purchasing a microwave oven can save you money and get you the kind of oven that you may eventually use for all your cooking. The three most important features to know about, on a microwave oven are the cooking wattage, the control panel and power levels.
Ovens are made with cooking wattages from 350 and up. The microwave industry has chosen as its standard the 700-watt oven. Therefore, all the recipes that are published in cookbooks, newspapers, magazines and demonstrated in classes are developed and tested in the 700-watt oven. That means that when a person buys a 500-watt oven, he receives a cookbook with the oven that has recipes developed in the 700-watt oven, which cooks the recipes faster and better. So buying an oven with less than 700-watts is like trying to cook on low heat all the time.
The second most important feature on a microwave oven is the control panel. Many people buy an oven with dials because they are used to them and uncomfortable with a touch panel control. But the touch panel is easier to use because most importantly, it is easier to read. It is also more exact. In the microwave oven, a few seconds can mean a rock-hard roll instead of a hot tasty, fresh one. So it is very important to get a touch panel with all ten numbers on it. Moreover, the easier the oven is to use, the more you will use it.
The third feature to insist on is at least 3 power levels. All ovens cook at 100% power, but to defrost certain foods before cooking, you need a 30% power level and to simmer foods, you need a 50% power level. If the oven comes with more, fine but you really will need at least three.
Under the cabinet models seem so convenient, but the most convenient to use are the counter top models where you can safely leave the dish in the oven, add ingredients to it and stir and rearrange the food. All the fancy extras that the high-priced models offer will not eliminate one fact: when learning to cook in the microwave, you must learn to cook by time and not sight. It will take a little effort, but with the three essential features listed, you will have greater success in learning how.