How to Compare Microwave Ovens

Unlike a traditional oven which uses heat, a microwave oven uses microwave radiation to move particles in the food, creating heat, which helps to heat food faster and, with the exception of very thick foods like a slab of meat, more evenly.

Microwaves can save time and energy.Microwaves can save time and energy.
Though microwaves are often easier to use than ovens, they cannot achieve certain cooking effects, such as browning. When comparing different microwaves, take into consideration the size, power and features the microwave offers.

Measure the dimensions of the space you plan to fill with the microwave. Before comparing the features a microwave offers, determine the size of the microwave you want. If you have a larger space, keep in mind how much food you will heat at a time. Even if you have two cubic feet of space, if you only microwave food for yourself, you may save money by purchasing a smaller microwave.

Pay an extra $10 to $20 (2010 prices) for a cooking sensor to prevent the microwave from heating your food for too long. According to Consumer Search, they are well worth the money. According to CNET, the sensors also help reduce your electric bill by limiting the overcooking time.

Listen to the microwave running or look up the noise level of the microwave. The noise is measured in sones. One sone is very quiet, about the amount of noise of a running refrigerator, while four sones is about the noise generated by two people talking. If noise bothers you, it may be worth paying extra for a quieter microwave.

Select a microwave oven with a higher wattage rating if you plan to cook a lot of food at once. The higher the wattage rating, the faster the microwave oven will heat your food. Use 1,100 as a base wattage because that is the wattage most frozen foods base their cooking instructions on.

Pay a premium for microwaves that have a warming feature. Warming features allow you to leave food in the microwave to keep it warm until you're ready to serve it. If you only reheat leftovers, this is probably unnecessary. If you want a way to keep different courses of a meal warm until they are to be served, this can be a big help.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape

About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."