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Microwaves 

Microwaves: specifications, types

Capacity

The higher the capacity, the more food can be cooked at once. A microwave oven with a volume of up to 20 litres is suitable for heating one plate. In a model with a volume of more than 28 litres, you can already put a whole pan.

Design

The retro design imitates old kitchen appliances. Retro microwaves often are equipped with unusual, frilly-shaped parts; brass, bronze and other similar materials are widely used in them. At the same time, in terms of functionality, such models are modern and match the classic microwave ovens. Note that retro design is not cheap, so it makes sense to pay attention to such models only if the appearance is fundamentally important and you are ready to pay extra for it.

Power

The higher the power of the microwave, the faster the food is heated. The vast majority of models provide the ability to adjust it. It is believed that for comfortable cooking you need to purchase a model with a power of at least 900 watts. If you plan to use the microwave oven exclusively for heating food, you can get by with less powerful models.

Controls

The main type of control elements in a microwave oven.

— Rotary knobs. Mechanical rotary knobs most often are used in the simplest low-cost models: one knob sets the heating power, and the other — the operating time. The accuracy of such adjustments is not very high; this is especially true for the operating time. However, there are also quite advanced microwaves with similar controls — they may provide other ways to use rotary knobs, as well as additional controls (for example, buttons).

— Push-buttons. Control using buttons, usually, implies the presence of a display — otherwise, it would be difficult to control the operation. This option allows you to set the parameters more accurately — in particular, the timer in push-button models is usually electronic. In addition, it is well-suited for models with predefined recipes, special modes, etc. Therefore, buttons are a sign of a model with advanced features, the functionality of which is not limited to constant heating at a certain power.

— Rotary knobs + touch controls. Controls include both rotary knobs and touch controls. The main features of both are described above. Such controls, as well as purely touch controls, are found mainly in fairly advanced models. On the one hand, rotary knobs are more convenient for some tasks (for example, adjusting power or selecting an operating mode). On the other hand, they somewhat complicate the design of the control panel and make it difficult to cle...an. Therefore, this option has not received much popularity.

— Touch controls. Another type of control, similar to the buttons described above, with one difference — the role of the buttons, in this case, is played by touch sensors. Touch controls look more advanced than push-buttons, are easier to operate, and have no protruding parts, making them less dirty and easier to clean. The disadvantage of touch controls can be called a higher cost, which is why this option is found mainly in expensive models.

— Pop-out knobs + touch controls. Pop-out knobs are a variation of the rotary knobs described above, in which the knobs can be recessed into the control panel. Usually, pop-out knobs are designed to stay outside only during the direct setting of the operating mode. And for the time when the oven is not in use or works in one mode, they can be hidden. It gives the unit a neat appearance, reduces the places where dirt can accumulate, and makes the front panel easier to clean. And touch controls complement the style of the device and underline its premium performance.

Turntable

The presence in the design of the microwave of a turntable (glass disk), on which a dish is installed for heating or cooking. The rotation allows you to heat food evenly. At the same time, there are solutions without a turn table at all — a smooth flat bottom is easier to clean. In this case, no additional energy is spent on rotation, which favourably affects the noise level.

Turntable diameter

The larger the diameter of the table, the larger dishes can be used in the oven. This spec directly depends on the volume of the microwave oven.

Power levels

It is the number of fixed power levels provided in the design of the microwave. The more such levels, the wider the capabilities of the device because different tasks require different heating intensities.

Features

— Steamer. The possibility of using a microwave oven as a steamer. For this, the corresponding accessories are included in the box of supply.

— Inverter. Inverter technology provides better and more uniform heating. In such ovens, the heater operates at the power set by the user constantly. Whereas in the absence of the inverter, the heating power is regulated by periodically turning the heater on/off. This function will be useful for those who plan to use the microwave oven for cooking complex dishes.

— Grill. Device for cooking, for example, frying meat. In microwave ovens, the grill usually has the form of a separate heating element installed in the working chamber (most often from above). Usually, it is possible to use the grill both separately and in combination with microwaves.

— Convection. Microwave ovens with convection are equipped with an additional heating element and a special fan, the task of which is to evenly distribute heated air, which results in some analogue of an oven. Convection microwave ovens cook more evenly.

— Custom programme. The ability to create your modes of operation and make changes to existing ones. Only advanced and, therefore, expensive models have such an ability.

— Defrost. The presence of this mode allows you to quickly defrost food without overheating and unnecessary hassle.

— Autoheat. It is a function that allows you to automate the process of heating cooked food....Just set the type and weight of the product, and the microwave will choose the optimal time and power for heating it.

— Autocooking. In this case, the microwave oven determines the best mode, the most suitable power and the optimal cooking time. The user only needs to indicate the products used and their weight.

— Auto-defrost. The function is useful when defrosting food — you need to specify what product is defrosted and set its weight. Next, the microwave oven will automatically select the most optimal defrosting mode and duration.

— Deodorizer. An operating mode is designed to eliminate unwanted odours in the microwave oven, which can affect the taste of the dishes being cooked. Usually, manufacturers recommend using the deodorizer after cooking foods with a strong smell, as well as in case of strong smoke.

— Temperature sensor. A sensor that allows you to determine the temperature of the food being cooked. This feature makes it much easier to monitor the cooking process. However, it is not cheap.

— Delayed start timer. With this function, you can pre-load the ingredients for cooking or ready-made food for heating into the microwave and set the time for the automatic start of the programme so that it ends at the most convenient time. For example, by the time you wake up or return from work.

Door opening

The opening direction of the microwave oven door.

- Sideward. It is the classic option to open the door to the side (usually to the left, so that it is convenient to unload/load dishes with your right hand). It is found in the vast majority of free-standing microwaves. As a rule, microwave ovens with a sideward door opening have a volume no higher than average, up to 25 litres. It is because horizontal doors tend to sag, and doors in long and wide microwave ovens will sag especially strongly.

- Downward. Opening the door forward is similar to a conventional oven. It is used mainly in built-in devices, as well as in some free-standing devices. Downward opening doors are typical for large and capacious microwave ovens, with a working chamber volume of 23-25 litres and more. The hinges of the door are not subject to sagging, as is the case with large microwave ovens with a sideward opening of the door. In advanced models, the hinged door is often equipped with a mechanical, gas or hydraulic spring, which allows the door to be held by a canopy.

Door opens with

- Handle. The door of the built-in microwave oven opens and closes with a handle while fixing in the closed position is provided by a spring latch. To open such a door, you need to pull it by the handle, overcoming the resistance of the spring latch. The handle on the door is common in capacious microwaves, as well as models with a downward opening door.

- Button. The door opening mechanism automatically ejects the door at the push of a button. To close the door back, the user needs to press the edge of the door against the lock. As a rule, the open button is used in built-in microwaves with a capacity not higher than average. The push-button opening mechanism is relevant only for models with a sideward door opening. The button allows you to get rid of the handle, which in some cases can spoil the overall interior of the kitchen, but the weak point of such a mechanism is the lock device itself, which is subject to mechanical wear.

Inner coating

— Enamel. The most inexpensive and common type of internal coating. The strength and reliability of enamel are generally sufficient for most cases. This material does not tolerate high temperatures, is relatively easily damaged and is prone to sticking small pieces of food and splashes, which makes cleaning difficult. As a result, the enamel is used mainly in inexpensive microwave ovens.

— Acrylic. Another fairly inexpensive material. It is not as widespread as enamel, but mainly because it appeared relatively recently. The main and only advantage of such a coating is its low cost. At the same time, it is not durable and does not tolerate strong heat, which is why it is used mainly in low-power models with a basic set of features.

- Stainless steel. In addition to its solid appearance, the steel coating has good strength and the ability to withstand high temperatures, and it is easy to clean. It is one of the best options if you plan to use the built-in grill extensively. In general, models with such a coating are noticeably more expensive than enamel ones, but this is due not so much to the coating as to more advanced features.

— Ceramics. Due to their hardness, ceramics resist scratches very well, and food particles practically do not stick to them. It makes these coatings very easy to clean. Their main disadvantage is fragility.

- Non-stick. This term may refer to various types of special coatings that prevent food from stick...ing. The best-known option is Teflon. This material has excellent non-stick properties. It is easy to clean but requires careful handling because it scratches easily. At the same time, it is believed that scratches lead to the release of harmful substances. Although, there is no unambiguous evidence for this. But with high heating, Teflon breaks down with the formation of harmful substances. However, in a microwave oven, such heating of the coating is almost impossible to achieve; and where there is such a possibility (for example, in models with a powerful grill), other heat-resistant non-stick materials are usually used.

Steam cleaning

The inside of the microwave oven is cleaned with hot steam. A container with water is placed inside, and a steam programme is turned on. The resulting steam softens even old dirt, and after processing, it is removed with a regular rag or sponge easily.

Display

The presence of the display makes it easier to handle the microwave oven, allowing you to show information about the time, mode, etc. It is present mainly in electronically controlled models. However, mechanical ones can also have a display. And advanced models can be equipped not with a classic LED display but with a TFT display that can display not only letters and numbers but also images.

Control via Internet

The ability to control the microwave remotely via the Internet.

The control method may be different: some models use an application that needs to be installed on a smartphone or tablet, while others use a web page that can be opened in any browser. These details should be clarified separately. Anyway, this function allows you to access control from anywhere in the world where there is access to the World Wide Web. For example, you can load food for a dish in the morning, and when you leave work, launch a cooking programme via the Internet, and get a ready-made hot dish by the time you return home.

Note that such control usually allows not only issuing commands but also receiving notifications. In particular, the device can report the progress of the programme, readiness, various problems, etc.

Child lock

A very important feature for those users who have children. It allows you to block the device from playful children's hands, thereby avoiding many dangerous situations. The way to disable the lock is chosen in such a way that only an adult can do it.

Country of origin

The country in which, according to the manufacturer, the model is manufactured. Even though most of the capacities are located in China, European factories for the production of household appliances have not disappeared. And some models can be produced on them. In general, such a division into a Chinese or European factory should not particularly affect the quality of products but the stereotype of a reliable European assembly is present. However, it is possible that the model may have a country of manufacture, for example, Poland, and in the store, under the same article, you will meet China.
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