Microwaves: specifications, types
The higher the volume, the more food can be cooked at once. A microwave oven with a volume of up to 20 liters is suitable for heating one portion. In a model with a volume of more than 28 liters, you can already put a whole pan.
Retro design imitates old kitchen appliances. Retro microwaves are often 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 quite 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 characteristic appearance is fundamentally important to you and you are ready to pay extra for it.
The higher the power of the microwave, the faster the food is heated. The vast majority of models provide the ability to adjust the power. 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, then you can get by with less powerful models.
The main type of control elements in a microwave oven.
— Rotary switches. Mechanical rotary knobs are most often used in the simplest low-cost models: one switch sets the heating power, the other — the operating time (a mechanical timer is built into it). The accuracy of such adjustments is not very high; this is especially true for the operating time (fixed positions can be provided for the power). However, there are also quite advanced microwaves with similar controls — they may provide other ways to use rotary switches, as well as additional controls (for example, buttons).
— Pushbutton switches. Control using buttons, usually, implies the presence of a display — otherwise it would be difficult to control the operation. This option allows you to more accurately set the parameters — in particular, the timer in push-button models is usually electronic; in addition, it is well suited for models with built-in recipes, special modes, etc. Therefore, buttons, usually, are a sign of a model with advanced features, the functionality of which is not limited to constant heating at a certain power.
— Rotary switches with sensors. Control including both rotary switches and sensors. The main features of both are described above; here we note that such control, as well as “purely touch”, is found mainly in fairly advanced models. At the same time, rotary knobs, on the one hand, 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 clean. Therefore, this option has not received much distribution.
— Touch. Another type of control, similar to the button described above, with one difference — the role of the buttons in this case is played by sensors that respond to touch, and not to pressing. Touchpads look more advanced than pushbuttons, are easier to operate, and have no protruding parts, making them less dirty and easier to clean. The disadvantage of sensors can be called a higher cost, which is why this option is found mainly in expensive models.
— Recessed switches with sensors. Recessed are a variation of the rotary switches described above, in which the knobs, as the name suggests, can be recessed into the control panel. Usually, recessed handles 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. This gives the unit a neat appearance, reduces the places where dirt can accumulate, and makes the front panel easier to clean. And touch control (see above) complements the style of the device and underlines its premium performance doubly.
The presence in the design of the microwave of a turntable (glass disk), on which a dish is installed for heating or cooking. The swivel design allows you to heat food evenly. At the same time, there are solutions without a table at all — a smooth flat bottom is easier to clean. In this case, no additional energy is spent on rotation, which also favorably affects the noise level.
The larger the diameter of the table, the larger dishes can be used in the oven. This parameter directly depends on the volume of the microwave oven.
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.
— Cooking for a couple. The possibility of using a microwave oven as a double boiler. For this, the corresponding accessories are included in the scope of supply.
— Inverter. Inverter technology provides better and more uniform heating. In such ovens, the heater constantly operates at the power set by the user (whereas in the absence of an inverter, the heating power is regulated by periodically turning the heater on / off, and heating occurs in “jumps”). This function will be especially useful for those who plan to use the microwave oven for cooking complex dishes.
— Grill. Device for cooking in the heat — 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). In this case, 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.
— Own program. The ability to create your own modes of operation and make changes to existing ones. Only advanced and, therefore, expensive models have such an opportunity.
— Defrost mode. The presence of this mode allows you to quickly defrost food without overheating and unnecessary hassle.
— Au...to warm up. A function that allows you to automate the process of heating cooked food as much as possible: just set the type and weight of the product, and the microwave will choose the optimal time and power for heating it.
— Auto cooking. In this case, the microwave oven itself 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 which product is defrosted and set its weight. Next, the microwave oven will automatically select the most optimal defrosting mode and its duration.
— Deodorizer. An operating mode 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.
— Delay 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 program so that it ends at the most convenient time: for example, by the time you wake up or return from work.
Opening direction of the microwave oven door.
— Side. The classic option is 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 (non-embedded) microwaves. As a rule, microwave ovens with a side door opening have a volume no higher than average, up to 25 liters. The fact is that horizontal doors tend to sag, and doors in long and wide microwave ovens will sag especially strongly.
— Folding. Opening the door forward is similar to a conventional oven. It is used mainly in embedded technology, as well as in some high-end free-standing devices. Hinged doors are typical for large and roomy microwave ovens, with a working chamber volume of 23-25 liters and more. The hinges of the flap are not subject to sagging, as is the case with large microwave ovens with a side 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.
— Pen. 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 just need to pull it by the handle, overcoming the resistance of the spring latch. The handle on the door is mainly equipped with roomy microwaves, as well as models with a hinged 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 sash 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 lateral door stroke. 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.
— Enamel. The most inexpensive and common type of internal coating. At the same time, although the strength and reliability of enamel is generally sufficient for most cases, this material does not tolerate high temperatures, is relatively easily damaged and prone to sticking of small pieces of food and splashes, which makes cleaning difficult. As a result, enamel is used mainly in inexpensive microwave ovens.
— Acrylic. Another fairly inexpensive material; not as widespread as enamel, but mainly due to the fact that it appeared relatively recently. Actually, the main and in fact the 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 a solid appearance, the steel coating also has good strength and ability to withstand high temperatures, and it is easy to clean. This 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 its hardness, ceramics resist scratches very well, and food particles practically do not stick to it. This makes these coatings very easy to clean. Their main disadvantage is fragility.
— Non-stick. This term may refer to various types of s...pecial coatings that prevent food from sticking. The best known option is Teflon. This material has excellent non-stick properties, it is easy to clean, but requires careful handling, because. 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 strong heating, Teflon really 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 non-stick materials that are more heat resistant are usually used.
Cleaning the inside of the microwave oven with hot steam. To do this, a container with water is placed inside and a special program is turned on. The resulting steam softens even old dirt, and after processing, they are easily removed with a regular rag or sponge.
The presence of the display makes it easier to handle the microwave oven, allowing you to show information about the time, mode, etc. on it. It is found mainly in electronically controlled models, however mechanical ones can also contain a display. And advanced solutions can be equipped not with a classic LED display, but with a more advanced TFT display that can display not only letters and numbers, but also images
The ability to control the microwave remotely via the Internet.
The specific control method may be different: some models use an application that needs to be installed on a smartphone or tablet, while others use a regular 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 download a “preparation” for a dish in the morning, and when you leave work, launch a cooking program via the Internet, and get a ready-made hot dish by the time you return home.
Also note that such control usually allows not only to issue commands, but also to receive notifications. In particular, the device can report the progress of the program, readiness, various problems, etc.
A very important feature for those users who have children. 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, this or that model is manufactured. Despite the fact that most of the capacities are concentrated in China, European factories for the production of household appliances have not disappeared. And certain 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 still the stereotype of a reliable European assembly is present in us. 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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