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Microwave Ovens Buying Guide – FAQ

Microwave ovens have revolutionized cooking. Speedy and smart, they are a modern living must-have for the home.


Frequently Asked Questions

How powerful a microwave will I need?

Ask yourself how fast you want things to cook. Microwave oven power is measured in wattage and can range from 500 watts for the smallest model to more than 1,500 watts for the largest ovens. Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster the microwave will cook.

What size microwave oven should I buy?

Choosing the size will depend a lot on what you intend to cook or reheat. If you will be cooking for a family or enjoy entertaining, consider purchasing a large microwave oven that will accommodate an over-sized casserole dish or several small ones. Location is also important. If you have limited counter space, consider buying a compact microwave oven or a model that can be installed under kitchen cabinets. Another option is a space-saving over-the-range microwave oven that fits above a cooktop in the space of a range hood.

Are there microwaves that are energy efficient or "green"?

While no microwave has an ENERGY STAR® rating (there is no ENERGY STAR label for microwaves), there are many ways a microwave oven can be an energy saver. Microwave cooking takes less time than using conventional ovens, so overall you use less energy. Plus a microwave won’t heat up your kitchen in summer, saving on air conditioning costs. Generally, a smaller microwave is probably more energy-efficient than a larger one.

What dishes are safe to use in the microwave?

Metal is the most famous no-no for microwave use. Inspect dishes and utensils for metallic trims, fastening screws or clamps because even the smallest amount of metal trim can cause "arcing". Essentially, arcing is when sparks are created between the metal object and the interior wall of the microwave. This can cause serious damage to both the object and the microwave. Some microwaves include metal accessories, but these have been specifically designed to avoid arcing. Only use accessories designed for microwave use.

Most non-metal dishes and utensils are safe to use in the microwave. If you're unsure, try this dish test. Place the dish and a cup of water next to each other in the microwave oven. Turn the microwave on high for one minute. If the dish is warm and the water cool, the dish is absorbing the microwave energy and should not be used in the microwave oven.

How do I get rid of unwanted cooking smells?

To clear your microwave oven of unwanted cooking odours, add a half cup of lemon juice to 1 cup of water in a bowl. Microwave the mixture for several minutes, and then let it stand for another 10 minutes. The smell should disappear.