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How to Choose a Microwave Oven: 7 Questions to Ask

Before you buy that new microwave ask yourself these seven questions! Considering the type and features that will fit your kitchen and your needs is important.

Couple chooses microwaves

Are you in the market for a new microwave oven? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options available today. Here are seven questions that may help you narrow down the choices to make the right selection for your home:

1. Do you want a built-in microwave, an over-the-range microwave, or a countertop microwave?

If you’re replacing a built-in microwave oven, chances are you’ll want another built-in that’s the same size to fill the existing space. If you don’t currently have a built-in microwave and you have plenty of counter space, a countertop version may be the way to go. If space is an issue in your kitchen, you might consider an over-the-range microwave that also functions as a vent.

2. Do you want a standard microwave, a convection microwave, or a combination microwave and conventional oven?

A convection microwave combines microwave heating technology along with convection heating technology and air circulation. A combination microwave and conventional oven is a great space-saver and flexible cooking appliance, but can be more expensive than most standard microwave ovens. 

3. What is your budget?

It’s helpful to decide a spending range before you start shopping. As a general rule of thumb, countertop microwaves are usually less expensive than other models.

4. What size do you need?

If you’ve decided on a built-in microwave or an over-the-range microwave, the existing space measurements of your cabinetry or range will help you determine the size you need. If you’ve decided on a countertop microwave, measure your countertop space, including the counter depth and cabinet height, to decide what size will work best in your kitchen. You also need to think about how to you plan to use the microwave so you can determine what interior capacity you need, which influences the size.  Microwaves are generally termed compact, mid-sized, and large. For example, if you generally use the microwave for small tasks, such as heating a cup of coffee or melting butter, a compact microwave may be fine for your needs. On the other hand, if you plan to cook or heat things like full casseroles or large pizzas, you may need a bigger size. A good tip is to measure some of the microwave-safe dishes, containers and plates that you use most often to see what size will accommodate them.

5. What wattage do you want?

Microwave wattages usually range from 600 to 1,200. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the oven is, which means that higher wattage ovens usually cook food faster. Again, think about how you typically use your microwave oven to determine whether a higher wattage, higher powered microwave is important to you. 

6. What features appeal to you? 

Microwaves come with a wide array of features, but why pay for options if you’re never going to use them? For example, if you don’t have young children in the house, you probably don’t need a child lock feature. On the other hand, if you often use your microwave to thaw foods, then defrosting features may be attractive to you.  Make a list of the key features that you use frequently, and focus on those when you shop.

7. What color would complement your kitchen's décor?

The easiest way to make this decision is to match your microwave to your other appliances. If your refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher are stainless steel, then a stainless-steel microwave will fit right into your kitchen. Black finishes often make built-in appliances seem less conspicuous, while white or light-colored appliances can lend a clean, bright look to a kitchen. Appliances in shades of gray or slate are a growing trend, as are appliances in retro colors like turquoise, gold, red, and green. 

Whatever size or type of microwave you choose, remember that all appliances inevitably malfunction at some point and can be expensive to repair or replace. American Home Shield Home Warranties® offer sensible coverage for many major home systems and appliances. Even built-in microwave ovens are covered with the AHS Appliance Plan, Combo Plan, or Build Your Own Plan (when built-in microwave coverage is selected).  Get a free quote today to find out just how affordable this valuable protection can be. 

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