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Microwave Oven Types: A Detailed Guide

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While making a purchase, people often forget or don’t consider the fact that – there are different types of microwave ovens.

Every type of microwave oven has its own limitation, benefits and drawbacks in terms of cooking methods.

If this information isn’t considered, then you may end up with an appliance that is not suitable for your needs.

In this article, we will discuss the types, the significant differences like the features, price, etc. By the end of this write-up, you shall be equipped to evaluate the appliances and choose the best one.

Different Types of Microwave Ovens

Depending on the functionality, you can classify microwave ovens into three types. They are:

  • Solo Microwave Oven: Best suitable for basic cooking and reheating.
  • Grill Microwave Oven: Perfect to grill meat and veggies, apart from reheating.
  • Convection Microwave Oven: Ideal for baking and grilling in addition to reheating and basic cooking.

1. Solo Microwave Oven

Also considered the basic model of the microwave oven, this device is ideal for cooking, reheating, and defrost. However, it cannot grill, bake and cook other cuisines.

Heating Process 

A solo oven uses magnetron, microwaves, and water molecules in the food for the heating process. The magnetron helps to create the microwaves that travel through the cooking chamber of the microwave and penetrate the food inside. These waves stimulate the water molecules, causing friction, which produces heat.

Ideal For Cooking

The solo microwave oven is best suitable for cooking the below cooking types:

  • Normal Cooking
  • Defrosting
  • Reheating

Accessories To Use

When cooking in a solo microwave oven, you should only use glass or plastic bowls, trays, and pans that are microwave-safe.

Power Consumption

The domestic ovens consume around 550 – 1500 watts of power. The average wattage for a solo microwave oven is 1000 watts.

Capacity

The smallest size that you can purchase in a solo microwave oven is 15 litres, and the largest one is 24 litres. You can choose the right size, depending on the number of members in your family.

Features

Solo microwave ovens have fewer features than grill and convection microwaves. These include the basic ones like express cooking, quick start, timers, and digital clocks. Some models even come with child lock features.

Price

In general, the watts and capacity determine the price of the oven. That means the higher the watts, the larger is the capacity, and the greater is the price of the device. A solo microwave oven is very inexpensive than the other types and may cost you about Rs. 5000 to 7000.

Drawback

The major drawback with a solo microwave oven is that you cannot grill, bake, roast, steam, or toast meals in it.

2. Grill Microwaves

A grill microwave falls in the middle between solo and convection microwaves. It can do everything a solo oven does, plus grill (vegetables, and meat).

Heating Process

In addition to the magnetron, a grill microwave has a heating element that can be either at the top or the bottom of the appliance. This heating element acts as an additional radiant heat source to grill the food.

Ideal For Cooking

A grill microwave oven is a great choice for cooking the below cooking types:

  • Grilling
  • Normal Cooking
  • Defrosting
  • Reheating

Accessories To Use

A grill microwave oven has a grill setting that enables you to prepare kebabs, tandoori, etc. However, one needs to activate this mode to avail of the grill option and should use a grill plate or rack inside the device for grilling purposes.

Power Consumption

A grill microwave oven consumes around 900 – 1700 watts of power.

Capacity

The smallest size that you can purchase in a grill microwave oven is 16 litres, and the largest one is 24 litres. If you are a family of four, the 24-litre capacity oven is the best choice. You can choose the right size, depending on the number of members in your family.

Features

A grill microwave oven has similar features as that of a solo microwave and also some additional ones. These include the solo grill, combo grill, power grill, On/Off feature of the rotating glass, and eco mode.

Price

A grill microwave oven is comparatively expensive than the solo appliance and cost-effective than the convection oven. It may cost around Rs. 8,000 to 10,000.

Drawback

Remember, you can only use one mode at a time. That means the microwave mode will remain turned off when working on the grill option. You can switch to normal microwave mode after finishing your tasks.

3. Convection Microwave Oven

A convection microwave oven is the superior of all three as it includes all the cooking options of both solo and grill microwaves. Additionally, you can also bake, toast, and roast foods in this.

Heating Process

A convection microwave oven has heating elements at the top and the bottom of the appliance and a fan at the back of the cooking chamber. This fan helps in the even distribution of hot air across the chamber that the heating elements produce.

Ideal For Cooking

A convection microwave oven allows you to explore the below cooking types:

  • Baking
  • Toasting
  • Grilling
  • Normal Cooking
  • Defrosting
  • Reheating

Accessories To Use

You can use pans or trays made of aluminium, glass, ceramic, or stone in a convection oven.

Power Consumption

A convection microwave oven consumes around 800 – 1700 watts of power.

Capacity

The smallest size that you can purchase in a convection microwave oven is 16 litres, and the

largest one is 40 litres. If you are a family of two to four, the 16-24 litre capacity oven is the best choice. For a larger family of six to eight members, a 40-litre capacity would be the best bet.

Features

The convection microwave oven has all the features that solo and grill appliances have. In addition to those, they have other features like sensor reheating, smarter cooking, inverter technology, etc.

Price

A convection oven is the most expensive of all three types, ranging from Rs. 12,000 to 18,000.

Drawback

The major disadvantage of a convection oven is that it is an expensive option.

Let us have a close look at the other characteristic and significant feature, i.e., the cooking capability of all the three types.

Cooking Capability

To help you determine better which model of the microwave oven is more efficient, we enlisted the cooking capabilities in the table below. This will give you a clear view of each oven type:

Cooking TypeSolo Microwave OvenGrill Microwave OvenConvection Microwave Oven
ReheatingYesYesYes
Making Hot BeveragesYesYesYes
Making PopcornYesYesYes
Noodles, Rice and PastaYesYesYes
GrillingNoYesYes
KebabsNoYesYes
Tandoori ChickenNoYesYes
Baking Cakes and CookiesNoNoYes
BreadNoNoYes
PizzaNoNoYes

Types of Microwave Ovens Based on Placement

Depending upon the placement of a microwave oven, you can further classify these devices into a countertop microwave and a built-in microwave.

What Is A Countertop Microwave?

As the name says, you can place these microwaves on a countertop of your kitchen. These are very popular because of their versatility to move them around. Although they require your kitchen space, they do not need any installation.

The countertop ovens are available in an array of designs, colours, and sizes suitable for your kitchen. Coming to the price, they are less expensive than a built-in oven. However, the price may vary for each unit depending on the brand, model, size, design, capacity, and features.

What Is A Built-In Microwave?

Built-in microwaves are appliances for installing into a wall or cabinet for freeing the space on your kitchen counter. Since they get integrated with your cabinetry, they are a convenient option. Not only that, but they also enhance the kitchen décor.

You can install them anywhere in the existing cabinetry of your kitchen, away from the gas stove. This not only saves your counter space but allows extra space for multiple people to cook together.

Since they get permanently installed in the cabinetry, replacing them can be a difficult task. Moreover, you need a professional for installation or replacement, which can add to your investment.

Built-in microwave ovens tend to be more expensive than the regular countertop or over-the-range models. These are available in different sizes and wattages.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can you bake in a Standard/Solo Microwave? 

A solo microwave oven is ideal for normal cooking, reheating, or defrosting. Manufacturers do not recommend baking in it. If you still want to try, you can. But it will not guarantee good results and will even create hotspots. A convection oven or convection OTG is the best option for professional baking and roasting results.

2. Can you use metal in a Convection Microwave?

It is highly advisable to avoid using a metal pan or tray in a convection microwave. This is because the metallic base restricts the microwaves from penetrating the food, resulting in improperly cooked food.

Conclusion

To conclude, each type of microwave oven is adept at performing its prescribed functions. What you want to choose is entirely the individual’s choice based on what it is that he or she is looking for.

I hope this article discussed in-depth all three types of microwaves. Write to us in the comments section below if you find it helpful. Also, let us know what type of device you own and share your experience with us.

Leave a comment if you need more information or have more inputs to add. We would be happy to hear and learn from you.

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