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Microwave Ovens

We continue to be amazed at the falling cost of a microwave oven. A small countertop model with electronic controls can be bought for under $40. We remain equally amazed at the high cost for the "over the range" models. Here are some tips for picking out a microwave that is right for you and your home:

  • Make sure the controls are electronic (very few microwaves still use mechanical timers)
  • Pick the right size for your needs. Most people will never cook a whole thanksgiving turkey (or eight dishes concurrently) in their oven, so buying one of the largest models can usually be avoided (in addition to the cost, they also take up more valuable kitchen space). Ours is a 1.0 cubic foot and works fine for two people; for a family, you might want a larger model.
  • Choose the type: countertop, over the countertop (sacrifices cabinet space for countertop space, which is usually more desirable), over the range (with a built in fan hood), or built-in.
  • Power: look for 900-1000 watts; the higher power models will cook faster but use more energy.
  • Other features to consider: combination with convection or conventional

    cooking (speeds cooking, browns the food); sensor probes to accurately measure cooking; turntable to rotate food during cooking; and (yes!) a volume control.

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