Microwave Buying Guide

Explore our Microwave Buying Guide to make informed decisions when choosing the perfect appliance for your needs. Whether you're upgrading or purchasing for the first time, we cover different types of Microwaves, essential features, FAQs, and maintenance insights to ensure a long-lasting and convenient appliance.

What is a Microwave ?

A microwave, also known as a microwave oven, is a kitchen appliance used for cooking and heating food using microwave radiation. It's a common household appliance found in kitchens around the world.

Microwaves work by emitting microwaves, a type of electromagnetic radiation, which interact with the water molecules present in food. This interaction causes the water molecules to vibrate, generating heat. As a result, food heats up quickly and evenly without needing a heat source like a stove or oven.

Microwaves typically consist of a metal enclosure, a control panel with various settings and options, a cooking chamber, and a turntable (in most models) to ensure even cooking. They come in different sizes and types, ranging from compact countertop models to larger over-the-range or built-in models.

In addition to reheating leftovers, microwaves can be used for cooking a variety of dishes, from simple snacks to full meals. Many modern microwaves also feature additional cooking functions such as defrosting, grilling, convection cooking, and preset cooking programs for specific foods.

Microwave Types

Freestanding Microwaves

A freestanding microwave, also known as a countertop microwave, is a compact and portable microwave oven designed to stand independently on a flat surface like a kitchen countertop. It requires minimal installation, with simple plug-and-play functionality. Freestanding microwaves feature a control panel on the front for setting cooking functions, come in various sizes to accommodate different cooking needs, and offer versatility in tasks such as reheating, defrosting, and cooking. They are affordable options suitable for a wide range of consumers.

Integrated Microwaves

An integrated microwave, also known as a built-in microwave, is designed to be installed seamlessly within cabinetry or a kitchen wall, providing a sleek and space-saving solution. Unlike freestanding microwaves, integrated microwaves are customized to fit flush with surrounding cabinetry, offering a cohesive and modern look in the kitchen. They come in various sizes and cooking capacities, with controls typically located on the microwave or incorporated into the cabinetry design. Integrated microwaves offer versatility in cooking functions and are popular for their ability to blend seamlessly with kitchen aesthetics.

     How to measure for a new Microwave

  1. Choose the Location: Decide where you want to install the new microwave. Common locations include on the countertop, in a cabinet, or over the range.
  2. Measure the Width: Using a tape measure, measure the width of the space where the microwave will be placed. If you're installing the microwave over the range, measure the width of the space between the cabinets or the width of the range itself.
  3. Measure the Height: Measure the height of the space where the microwave will be installed. This is especially important if the microwave will be installed in a cabinet or over the range, as there may be height restrictions.
  4. Measure the Depth: Measure the depth of the space where the microwave will be placed. For countertop microwaves, measure the depth of the countertop. For built-in or over-the-range microwaves, measure the depth of the cabinet or the space above the range.
  5. Check Clearance: Ensure that there is enough clearance around the microwave for proper ventilation and easy access to the controls and door. Leave at least a few inches of space on all sides, especially if the microwave will be installed in a cabinet.
  6. Note Any Obstacles: Take note of any obstacles such as trim, molding, or other kitchen fixtures that may affect the installation of the microwave.

Different Microwave Features

Power Levels - Wattage

Power levels and wattage are crucial aspects of microwave ovens. Wattage refers to the microwave's power output, with higher wattage indicating faster and more efficient cooking. Low wattage microwaves (500-800W) are suitable for basic tasks, while high wattage models (1,200W and above) are ideal for versatile cooking. Power levels, represented as percentages of full wattage output, allow users to adjust cooking intensity. High power levels are for quick heating, medium levels for longer cooking, and low levels for gentle heating.

Cooking Presets

Cooking presets in microwaves are pre-programmed settings designed to simplify the cooking process for specific types of food. They automatically adjust the microwave's power level, cooking time, and other parameters to suit the selected food item. These presets offer convenience, versatility, and time-saving benefits by eliminating the need for manual input and streamlining the cooking process. Users can select presets for common foods like popcorn, potatoes, and vegetables, and some models allow for customization to suit individual preferences.

Size / Capacity

Size and capacity are key considerations when choosing a microwave oven. The external dimensions determine its fit in your kitchen space, while internal capacity refers to the volume available for cooking food. Microwave capacities vary from compact to large, accommodating different cooking needs. It's crucial to assess the available space and your cooking requirements to select an appropriately sized microwave that balances capacity with space efficiency.  

Convection Cooking

Convection cooking in microwaves combines traditional microwave heating with a built-in fan that circulates hot air, allowing for faster and more even cooking. This feature expands the versatility of microwave ovens, enabling baking, roasting, and crisping of foods. Convection microwaves offer adjustable settings for temperature and cooking modes, providing control and ease of use. They excel at browning and crisping foods, achieving results similar to conventional ovens in less time. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency in microwaves refers to their ability to effectively use energy while cooking. Factors influencing efficiency include wattage, cooking time, size, and features like Energy Star ratings and standby power consumption. Higher wattage microwaves and quick cooking times contribute to efficiency, while smaller models and energy-saving features further enhance it. Choosing an energy-efficient microwave can help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. 

Control Type

 Control types in microwaves determine how users interact with the appliance. Mechanical controls feature physical knobs or buttons for manual adjustments, while digital controls use electronic displays and touchpads for precise settings. Button controls and touchscreen interfaces offer intuitive navigation, while knob controls provide simplicity. Some microwaves also offer voice control capabilities. 

Picking Your Colour

After finalizing the features you desire in your Microwave, the next step is to contemplate the colour selection. Here, we elaborate on the advantages of the most commonly chosen colours.


Choosing a black microwave can offer a modern, sleek appearance that complements various kitchen styles. Black appliances have a timeless appeal and can blend well with different color schemes. They often hide stains better and offer a minimalist design option. Black microwaves come in a range of models with various features to suit different cooking needs and preferences. 


Opting for a white microwave can offer a classic, timeless look that complements various kitchen styles. White appliances provide a brightening effect, making the kitchen feel more open and inviting. They are versatile and can fit well in both traditional and modern kitchens. While not as forgiving as black appliances, white microwaves can still hide minor stains and offer a minimalist, clean aesthetic.

Stainless Steel

Opting for a stainless steel microwave offers a modern, stylish, and durable option for many kitchens. Stainless steel appliances provide a sleek and timeless appearance that complements various design styles. They are resistant to rust, corrosion, and stains, making them easy to clean and maintain. Stainless steel microwaves can seamlessly integrate with other appliances in the kitchen, creating a cohesive look.

Microwave FAQs

What size microwave do I need?

The size of the microwave you need depends on your cooking habits and available space. Consider factors such as the number of people you typically cook for and the types of dishes you prepare. Compact microwaves are suitable for small kitchens or occasional use, while larger models offer more cooking capacity for families or frequent use.


What wattage should I look for in a microwave?

Wattage determines how quickly and efficiently a microwave can cook food. Higher wattage microwaves generally cook faster and more evenly than lower wattage models. For most cooking tasks, a microwave with a wattage between 800 and 1200 watts is sufficient. However, consider your specific cooking needs when choosing the wattage.


What are the advantages of convection cooking in a microwave?

Convection cooking combines microwave heating with a built-in fan to circulate hot air, resulting in faster and more even cooking. It's ideal for baking, roasting, and crisping food items, offering versatility and improved cooking performance compared to traditional microwaves.


How do I clean and maintain my microwave?

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your microwave in good condition. Wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces with a mild detergent and water solution or a microwave-safe cleaner. Remove spills and splatters promptly to prevent stains and odors. Additionally, clean the turntable, door seal, and ventilation filters regularly.


What is a good size microwave for a family?

For an average sized family, choose a microwave around 27 litres with power between 800W - 1000W+. If you’re a busy family, remember, the higher the wattage, the quicker the cooking speed!

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