Microwave ovens have become a popular kitchen appliance in India. The busy and demanding work life does not provide enough time for cooking for most people. Microwave ovens particularly beneficial to such people and families as it can reduce their cooking time and efforts. This article details the working principle of microwave ovens, different types of microwave ovens, considerations before buying them, and reviews the best microwave oven available in the Indian market.
How Microwave Oven Works?
Microwave ovens use the microwave for cooking food. Microwaves produced by an electronic tube called a magnetron. Once you switch on the oven, microwaves produced by the magnetron and dispersed inside the oven. There is a stirrer fan which regulates the microwave inside the oven and regulates heat uniformly. These microwaves reflected back by the metal cavities of the oven and absorbed by the food. Water molecules vibrate upon absorbing microwave energy and molecular friction results in heating of the food which cooks it.
Different Types of Microwave Ovens
There are different types of microwave ovens available in the market. Based on functions and the nature of cooking allowed, microwave ovens further classified into the following different types:
Solo Microwave Oven
Solo microwave ovens entry-level and most basic ovens which come with microwave only option. Using this oven, you can cook, defrost, and reheat your food easily. It comes with multiple power levels and temperature settings for efficient functioning. However, you cannot do grilling and baking using the solo microwave oven as it does not support those cooking functions. Solo microwave ovens best for small families or bachelors who want a microwave oven for basic cooking and food reheating purposes. It is also cost-effective compared to other types of microwave ovens available in the market. It is also a smaller in capacity.
Grill Microwave Oven
Grill microwave ovens similar to solo microwave ovens with added grilling function and features added to them. These microwave ovens come with a heating coil that lets you grill, toast, and roast different food items. You can easily grill and roast food items like vegetables, chicken, paneer, meat, etc. You can use both the microwave and grilling function simultaneously for preparing delicious food. There is a grill plate or metal rack which can be used for preparing tikka and kebabs in the grill microwave oven. Grill microwave ovens though cannot be used for baking purposes. These microwave ovens moderately priced and ideal for small families. They have moderate power consumption too and offer good value for money.
Convection Microwave Oven
Convection microwave ovens the most feature-packed of all the microwave ovens available in the market. They provide a great blend of regular microwave and convection oven. You can perform all different range of cooking functions using convection microwave ovens. It can be used for baking, grilling, heating, and defrosting. Convection microwave ovens come with an inbuilt fan that circulates the hot air evenly inside it while cooking which ensures better and more consistent cooking. It also has magnetron and heating elements that help to make the food crispier and brown. This kind of microwave ovens is best suited for large families and for users who do regular baking. It is comparatively pricey than the solo and grill microwave ovens.
Is Microwave Oven Cooking Harming Your Health?
Despite the ease and functionalities offered by microwave ovens, concerns have been raised on its harmful effects on your health. Experts claim that cooking the food in the microwave destroys all the major nutrients and decreases the health benefits of the food drastically. Some studies have shown that cancer-causing compounds -heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA)- produced by cooking protein-rich food like meat and fish in microwave ovens. HCA is more likely to be formed when the meat is cooked for longer at a higher temperature. It is important to have the correct temperature and cooking time while preparing food in microwave ovens for maintaining their nutritive value.
What to Look for in a Convection Microwave Oven?
You should consider the following factors before buying a microwave oven:
The first factor to consider while buying a microwave oven is to assess your cooking requirements. If you are not likely to use the microwave oven for baking, then there is no need for you to spend extra on buying a convection microwave oven. You should buy it only if you will be regularly using it for baking purposes. Similarly grilling microwave ovens should also be purchased only if you plan to use it for grilling, roasting, and toasting food items. If the only use of microwave oven to you is for simple cooking functions and reheating food items, then solo microwave ovens the best choice for you.
The capacity of a microwave oven is an important consideration for buying it. Microwave Capacity signifies the space available inside it and is measured in liters (L). Choosing the right capacity helps you to save time and power consumption too. If you have a large family and buy a smaller capacity microwave oven, then it will have limited utility as you will find it difficult to cook for the entire family at once. Bachelors can opt for a capacity of 15 liters. A family of 2-4 members can choose the capacity of 21-30 liters if they plan to use the oven for cooking, defrosting, grilling, and baking. Larger families of 6 or more members can choose a microwave oven with a capacity above 32 liters.
The power of a microwave oven is measured in watts. The higher the wattage of a microwave oven, the faster it will cook food. You should consider the power of the oven depending upon your planned usage of it. Most microwave ovens in the market have power in the range of 600watts-1,500 watts. If you plan to use the oven regularly for cooking and have a large family, then you should consider buying a higher wattage device. It will speed up your cooking time and will not result in overheating due to auto-off options.
You also need to consider that higher wattage microwave ovens will also lead to greater electricity consumption and higher electricity bills. You should check the energy efficiency ratings of the microwave oven before buying it. It is denoted on the front as a number of stars. Higher the number of stars, the more energy-efficient the microwave oven is.
Prices of microwave ovens between a wide range of Rs 5,000-Rs 20,000. This wide price range is due to different features available or unavailable in ovens. You should list down the features and functionalities required from the microwave oven and accordingly decide the type of oven you want to buy. Always fix a budget and try to identify the best oven in that budget. You can inquire about various deals and discounts on the oven from the dealers. Buying a microwave oven online is also a good idea as you will be getting discounts and exciting offers.
A microwave oven is a long-term investment that you will not be replaced regularly. Hence, it is important to purchase an oven which comes with a warranty which ensures you are covered against any damages and repairs to be made to it during the warranty period. You should always try to purchase the oven from a reputed brand as they offer high-quality products with a warranty. Warranty is also an indicator of product quality and the manufacturer’s confidence in their ovens.
In addition to the above-mentioned features, you should check the other features which are being offered. Some of the key other features which you should consider while buying a microwave oven are as follows:
Auto-cook feature is an added advantage as it allows you to cook a variety of dishes automatically and with ease. You need to select the type of dish that has to be cooked and the oven automatically adjusts the power and cooking time.
The auto-defrost feature allows you to select the type and weight of the food to be defrosted in the oven.
Pre-heat is an important feature for people who will be using the oven for baking and grilling regularly. This feature allows you to pre-heat the oven before putting the food inside it. This helps to reduce the cooking time and power consumption. It also results in better and consistent cooking.
Rotisserie feature is particularly helpful for people who love to cook and eat grilled and roasted food.
Child lock is an important feature to look for in ovens as it ensures the safety of your children. It prevents children from opening the microwave oven while it is cooking and eliminates the chances of any mishaps.
The control panel in the microwave oven lets you select pre-set programs and cooking times. Some ovens come with single touch control while others have mechanical buttons.
- Keep Warm:
This feature keeps your food warm for longer time periods until you serve it. It is particularly helpful for bread and main course food items.
4 Best Microwave Oven Reviewed
You can consider buying from any of the below-mentioned microwave ovens:
1. IFB 23BC4 23-Liter Convection Microwave Oven
IFB is a well-known and highly reputed brand in home appliances. This convection microwave oven from IFB is one of the best ovens in the Indian market currently.
- It has a 23 liters capacity which is best for small and medium-sized Indian families.
- IFB Microwave oven comes with 10 power levels and can provide a maximum temperature of 200 degrees.
- It has an aut0-defrost feature that defrosts food based on its type and weight.
- This oven comes with 10 different temperature levels depending on the type of food being cooked.
- The cavity made of stainless steel and there is a nice LED display that makes it elegant and stylish.
- The oven has a 1-year warranty on the overall product and 3 years warranty for important items like magnetron and cavity.
- You can purchase this oven for Rs 14,291.
2. LG 28-Liter Convection Microwave Oven
This 28-liter convection microwave oven from LG has the following key features:
- It has a capacity of 28 liters which is sufficient to cover medium-sized families.
- LG Microwave oven has a power of 3100 watts which helps you to prepare food quickly.
- It is made of stainless-steel cavity which ensures better reflection and uniformity of heat inside. This leads to quicker and better cooking of the food.
- The highlight of this oven is its unique diet fry feature which lets you make popular Indian snacks like samosas, pakora, etc. in minimal oil.
- The auto-cook feature comes with 251 cooking options and 175 Indian recipes.
- It uses a quartz heater which reduces any chances of hand injury while cooking.
- The oven comes with a 1-year warranty and is available in the market for Rs 15,899.
3. Morphy Richards 23-Liter Convection Microwave Oven
It’s a trusted name in home appliances. This microwave oven from Morphy Richards specially designed considering the Indian consumers and perfect for a medium-sized family consisting of 3-4 members.
- It is made of stainless steel which makes it rust and stains free. This also makes cleaning this oven a lot easier.
- It comes with a high-speed fan that distributes the heat evenly inside the cavity and helps in uniform and better cooking.
- There is a cooking alarm which notifies you once the cooking is complete.
- It also comes with auto-defrost and child lock features which increases its utility.
- It has 5 power levels depending upon the type of heating you need for cooking.
- The oven comes with an overheat sensor which makes it turn off automatically in case of any malfunctioning while cooking.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty and is priced at Rs 9,499.
4. Electrolux C23J101-BB-CG Microwave Oven
This microwave oven perfect for small-sized Indian families on a budget. It comes with the following key features:
- This microwave oven from Electrolux has the 23-liter capacity and 1350 watts of power.
- It comes with a special tandoori heater which lets you cook delicious tandoori dishes.
- You get access to 501 pre-programmed auto-cook menus to prepare a wide variety of dishes.
- This oven provides you a constant level of power and uniform heating inside which eliminates any overcooked edges and cold spots in the food. The nutritive value of the food remains intact due to uniform heating while cooking.
- The oven comes with a 3-year warranty which is quite decent.