The microwave oven, or you may call it “the magical kitchen appliance”, had been introduced to us during the 20th century, with the objective of making our lives much simpler. And since then till now, the microwave oven has been gradually converted into a staple kitchen appliance for its irresistible features, making all of us more or less bound to it.
The emergence of this kitchen appliance has made life easier as it helps to rapidly heat cooked meal, and also cook varieties of dishes at a comparatively lesser time.
Just like most other technologies and appliances with different models and versions out there, even the microwave oven does not belong to only one kind. There are different types of microwaves with differences in colors, models, sizes, and styles in the market to specifically satisfy our requirements. I have included them in my list below.
Different types of Microwave Oven
1. Solo Microwave
Solo is the most basic and elementary kind of microwave. With the help of its radio waves, it rapidly and consistently heats meals within a short period of time. It comes with a single magnetron. Most solo microwaves have defrost option too. Solo microwave ovens are basically optimal for cooking simple meals or just reheating cooked food. You can also make many kinds of dishes with this appliance. Compared to other microwave ovens like grill or convection microwaves, solo microwaves are usually budget friendly and so can be seen in many households.
However, you cannot grill, bake, roast, steam or toast meals in a solo microwave.
2. Microwave with Grill
Just like the solo microwave, the microwave with grill is all the same. Only the grilling accessory is added. If you want to crisp, brown, sear, grill, toast or roast food, then this appliance is optimal for you. The microwave with grilling option has metal racks in its roof with which you can grill meat, vegetables, bread and almost anything. Some come with a grill plate where the plate’s surface is efficiently heated so that you can brown the food laid on the plate. The rotating grill plate provides a uniform grilled texture to your food. You can defrost, reheat, bake or cook with this appliance.
However, the microwave with grill costs more than a solo microwave. It also does not function like a standard convection oven, and therefore is not the optimal choice for baking.
3. Microwave with Steam
Some microwave ovens come with steam functions with which you can enjoy healthy and appetizing steamed food. Steam microwave comes with a reservoir which has to be filled during cooking. The water in the reservoir is heated into steam which allows the food to be cooked. You can steam food such as vegetables, meat, fish, potatoes, etc. You can also bake cake, cookies, meat, mussels and so more.
The steam helps maintain the vitamins and nutrients of the meal. Moreover, food tastes better as its moisture is well preserved. Hence, you can cook or reheat food by not drying out or losing its moisture. It also helps to maintain the color of the food, as well as its flavor while in the process of cooking. Besides preserving, it also enhances the food’s flavor.
On contrary, you cannot brown or grill with a steam microwave, and its temperature range is not extreme. Furthermore, you cannot cook various kinds of dishes with a steam microwave, as you could have cooked with a convection oven.
4. Combinational Microwave
A Wall Oven/ Combo Oven microwave comes with the combination of convection oven, microwave oven and with grilling option. This is just the perfect one if you have been searching for a kitchen appliance with these three properties. A combi microwave is convenient and flexible. This appliance functions by letting its integrated fan evenly circulate hot air around the cavity. It has a drop-down door, and has horizontal wire racks which are often modifiable.
Some combo microwaves come with another added function, which is “steaming”.
Combo wall microwave saves your oven space as it has the functions of three different microwaves.
5. Built-in Microwave
A built-in or integrated microwave is basically designed in such a way that it does not consume too much workspace and evenly fits in within your kitchen units. Built-in microwaves can have any of the features of the above types as listed, and often include combo or steam features. Such an appliance can be precisely integrated into your wall or your kitchen cabinet, thus, freeing up much of your extremely useful kitchen space.
However, it is often tough to find the accurate size or structure of the appliance which would perfectly fit in your cabinet. Also, you would not easily find customized built-in microwaves according to your preferred size and depth. Built-in Microwaves are often confused with Over the range Microwave ovens.
Installing such an appliance could be a tough one and you will need a professional to install it safely and precisely. Such built-in models could be quite costly and you also need to pay some installation fees to the contractor.
Such appliances are not portable and it is extremely a hassle if you ever need replacement. Also, if any portion of the microwave stops functioning, then you would need to replace the entire appliance. Replacing this microwave is not as easy since finding the exact match again could be troublesome.
6. Convection Microwave
Convection microwave comes along with the combined features of a microwave and a convection oven. It has an integrated fan/ blower to let the hot air effectively and evenly circulate around the food and therefore giving it a perfect bake. You can bake cake, bread, pizza and so many delicious dishes in it. You can heat, grill, brown and bake with a convection microwave. It has defrost option too. Its features allow food to be cooked quickly and consistently. Its microwave dimension lets you enjoy rapid cooked food, and its convection dimension provides you with crispy and crusty food.
As a final verdict, I would like to say that it is totally up to you to decide on which microwave oven you should buy. It is completely your choice based on your budget, or specific microwave features and functions, or the types of cuisines you want to make.
Some of my Recommendations
For simpler needs like heating or if you have a limited budget, then you should go for solo microwave.
Go for grill microwave for the ultimate grilled meal.
Choose steam microwave for a healthier cooking and better reheating.
If you have smaller counter space or you are fed up of your giant microwave oven consuming so much of your precious kitchen space, then go for built-in microwaves.
Go for convection or combo microwaves for multi-purpose requirements.