Choosing the best countertop microwave oven can be accomplished by first examining how and where you plan to use the oven. The size of the oven, as well as its power level, are other options to consider. A turntable, short-cut keys and color are other countertop microwave oven options that can sway your decision.
When selecting a countertop microwave, size is one of the first criterion that needs to be considered. If you have limited space, you may prefer a smaller microwave so you will have more counter space open for other uses than simply storing your microwave. On the other hand, you will also need to consider the types of foods you will cook on your microwave. To be able to make large, family-sized frozen dinners, you may need to select a larger version of a countertop microwave. Full-sized versions are typically 1.5 cubic feet (46cm) while the compact models can be 1/2 cubic feet (15cm) or smaller.
Choosing the appropriate cooking power is also crucial when selecting the best countertop microwave oven. Microwave oven wattage typically ranges from a low of 600 watts to a high of 1,200 watts, with 1,000 watts being average. A higher cooking power equates to faster reheating, thawing and cooking times. It is also important that the oven's power cord be long enough to reach an outlet from its desired location. It is typically not recommended to use extension cords on appliances that draw as much electrical power as microwaves typically do.
A turntable is an added feature on many types of countertop microwave ovens. The turntable is typically a round, glass tray located in the bottom of the oven that slowly rotates as the food is cooked. This rotation enables microwaved foods to cook more evenly than if they were left in one place throughout the cooking process. You will also need to choose the color and finish of your microwave, and choices often include stainless steel, white and black.
The control panel on many countertop microwave ovens often sets the tone for how easy or how complicated the appliance will be to operate. Quick-cook or short-cut keys are often available for common cooking tasks, such as heating a cup of coffee or popping a bag of popcorn. Another common option is a one-minute button that allows you to quickly start the oven for a quick warm-up. Some oven also have sensors that will automatically shut the oven off when it senses the food has either finished cooking or reaches a desired temperature.