Microwave Shopping – 2 Steps to find the Perfect Oven

Microwave Shopping - Replacing Your Microwave Oven

It’s time to throw out your old beloved microwave, and replace it with a better, more sophisticated and more efficient model.

Out with the Old, and in with the New:  Replacing Your Microwave Oven

Your old microwave oven is broke! You cherished this oven; it’s been with your family for almost 20 years! You are used to its programs, used to its cooking times, and you are even used to its little quirks. How will you ever find the right one to replace it? Most of us have been there. We had a kitchen appliance we were happy with, we were used to it, it did the job, and it fits in right at home in our kitchens. But the time has come to replace it with something completely new.

Buying a microwave oven today is much different to how it was 20 years ago. The amount of different models is huge and you can buy microwaves online now. Department and electronic stores usually have an alright selection, but when you get online, there are so many options, even from the one store there is a large variety. With so many new styles, features and special programs, where does one begin in searching for the perfect microwave oven to replace the old one?

Microwave Shopping 2 Step Guide

Step 1:  Pick the size and placement.

Microwave Shopping - Panasonic-NN-SD797S with Trim Kit

The Panasonic Prestige NN-SD797S is a countertop model but has a matching trim kit available if you want it as a built-in microwave.
It also has a huge interior capacity and is capable of fitting large casserole dishes, 12 inch pizzas, and 2 dishes at once on its turntable.

A very easy way to narrow down your selection greatly is to pick the size of your new microwave oven. Do you want it to be a similar size to your previous model? Will it be going in the same place? You may want to consider opting for a larger model, if you were never able to fit your casserole dishes in your old one. Or perhaps you would like to be able to cook 2 dishes at the same time. When considering the size of microwave oven you are after, you have to look at 3 things: exterior dimensions, interior capacity, and placement.

For starters, the exterior dimensions are of highest priority as you will not be able to use your new microwave if it doesn’t fit in your kitchen. This goes hand in hand with placement. Decide where in your kitchen your new microwave is going to be. You can choose to place it on your kitchen counter. In that case, you will need to purchase a countertop model. This type of microwave can also be placed on microwave designated shelving in your kitchen cabinets.

There are also 2 other options you may want to consider however, especially if you are short on kitchen counter space. And these are the over-the-range microwave ovens and built-in units. Over-the-range models are installed above your stove and in place of the hood of your range, as it functions as both. Built-in units are installed and integrated into your kitchen’s cabinets or walls and become part of the kitchens overall design.

Microwave Shopping Tips - Whirlpool WMC20005YW

Although the Whirlpool WMC20005YW 0.5 cubic feet Microwave Oven looks tiny, and it is, it can still fit a standard sized dinner plate comfortably.

After you have chosen your new microwave’s exterior dimensions (you have properly checked it will fit comfortably) and placement (you are happy with your choice of a countertop, over-the-range or built-in unit), you can then have a look at the unit’s interior capacity. This interior section is very important when it comes to what you want to be able to cook in your new microwave. When looking at compact microwave ovens, the most important thing is to check whether the interior can fit a standard dinner plate comfortably. If it can do that, you know you will be able to cook many meals, as long as it is no larger than a dinner plate.

Those wanting to fit larger plates and some larger or different shaped dishes may be very happy with a mid-sized unit. These are especially good for those who don’t want a simple compact model, and want the many features that come with a larger model, but do not have the space to accommodate a full-sized unit. Full-sized microwave ovens are well suited to those who love to cook in their microwave often and its interior is large enough to accommodate larger dishes such as those used for casseroles and pizzas, and can even cook two smaller dishes together.


Step 2:  Decide on features needed and features wanted.

When replacing an old microwave oven, I always try to make sure that the new microwave oven has everything the old one did. Usually with the best of the latest models they have everything you had, everything you need, plus a lot more. But there are a few little things you may miss. For instance, a lot of newer models do not keep the interior light on when you open the door. This is not a game changer, but you do find many consumers a bit disappointed that this feature they have been so used to for years is gone. I assume it is to save on power, but it can take a bit of adjustment, you will want your kitchen to be well lit. Another feature which is sometimes not found on the latest models is the Add 30 seconds buttons. Some models do still have it, but a great many more have opted for an Add 1 minute button instead. On a couple of occasions, consumers found the Add 30 seconds button hidden as it was also the main Start button. But this was only on a few models.

New features you may be interested in are automatic cooking programs. They never had these 20 years ago! Now if you want (and your microwave has this feature), you can just press a button or two and the microwave cooks your food automatically for you. It takes care of the cooking times and power levels, by using sensors. How did cooking get this easy! Other features to look out for are keep warm mode, which keeps your food warm in the microwave after it is done cooking usually up to around 30 minutes. This is great for keeping meals hot whilst waiting for another part of the meal to finish cooking on the stove or in the oven. Then you can serve it all together and nice and hot. Inverter technology is another interesting feature which is offered in many of the latest Panasonic models. This technology is praised for its ability to cook foods evenly. This stops the days of overcooked edges, and boiling hot spots in foods. The heat in foods is distributed evenly and the moisture of the foods is maintained. It does not dry out.

Microwave Features - Panasonic NN-SD797S

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Cooked to Perfection.
The inverter technology in the Panasonic Prestige NN-SD797S allows you to cook many different dishes with delicious results.

Essential features I would look for include thorough defrosting, quick buttons, easy to use controls, a good turntable and some sensor cooking options. Features preferred but not essential include inverter technology, delay start, keep warm mode, and a large sensor cooking menu.

Replacing your old microwave oven with a new model can take a bit of getting used to, but it can also be a lot of fun. Once you get familiar with your new oven and learn how to program it quickly, you can enjoy trying out new recipes that you couldn’t cook as well in the old one. You can try out all of the new programs and features and cook up as many different meals as you can think of. Choosing the right size of unit is essential, as is covering all of the basic functions you are used to. But you might want to add in a few new extra features for your new microwave oven, for more cooking options and more fun!


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