Microwaves have become an essential part of our kitchens due to their speed and convenience. They are great at reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen foods and cooking ready meals and vegetables.
Let Smeg's microwave buyers guide help you find the best microwave option to suit your needs.
The microwave was invented by accident. In 1945, a Raytheon engineer named Percy Spencer was working on an active radar set when he noticed that the chocolate in his pocket was starting to melt, shortly after the microwave was born!
These microwaves have the added bonus of a grill, which can be used on its own or together with the microwave depending on your requirements.
The benefit of grilling is that it allows you to brown and crisp foods and enhance their flavour.
Not only can these be used as standard microwaves, but combination microwaves also have the ability to circulate air and heat. This means that they are used as a convection oven, a microwave or combined to take advantage of cooking with impressive time savings.
While conventional microwaves deliver power in bursts (you'll often hear the microwave cutting in and out), inverter technology uses a constant power level during the whole cooking process.
The benefits of using Inverter technology include more precise temperature control, preservation of nutrients and vitamins and 30% quicker results vs a standard microwave.
Smeg's Galileo SpeedwaveXL ovens combine the speed of microwaves with traditional cooking for even browning results and save up to 40% of cooking time. SpeedwaveXL ovens are among the largest microwave ovens ever with a full-sized cavity.
Our home economist talks about these exciting new ovens in our video here.
A freestanding microwave is a great choice if you have a spacious kitchen with plenty of worktop space. They can be easily moved around, making them ideal for any kitchen changes, such as moving or remodelling.
For those who have fitted kitchens, built-in microwaves are ideal since they complement the integrated appearance and produce a streamlined finish. They also don't take up any worktop space!
Some of the most common places to put a microwave in the kitchen are; on a worktop (if it's freestanding), in an empty cabinet so that it is kept out of sight, or built into a wall unit - most practically above a wall oven so all cooking appliances are kept together and your microwave is at the perfect height.
You should also consider how easy it will be to access the microwave in your chosen location, whether you can safely remove items from it, and whether you want the microwave to be on display or not.
Here are a few features to keep an eye out for when selecting your microwave.
A microwave's power is measured in Watts. The higher the wattage, the quicker your food cooks. Microwaves typically range in power between 800W to 1100W.
Microwaves can get messy but are easily wiped clean after use thanks to their internal design. Compact combination microwave ovens have an easy clean enamel interior which makes it harder for dirt to adhere to, preventing build-up.
These ovens offer microwaves, steam and conventional cooking, so you'll have all the technologies you could ever need, all in one appliance. The added benefit of steam produces moist, delicate dishes.
Traditional microwaves have a turntable that rotates your food to ensure even cooking, whereas flatbed microwaves use a different technology that evenly distributes heat without the need for a turntable. Without the need for a turntable, flatbed microwaves provide extra cooking space and are easier to clean.
This is a great feature to have on a microwave. When you don't have the time to spare to manually thaw your food, this function speeds up the process. Some even allow you to add the weight and type of food you are defrosting for extra precision.
What size microwave do you need?
There are a wide range of microwave sizes available - consult the technical drawing for dimensions to ensure suitability in your home. You should consider the internal capacity size too - for example, if you are looking for a family microwave, a capacity of 25 litres or more would be ideal.
Small - 15 - 20 litres
Medium - 25- 30 litres
Large - 32 litres or above
Should you opt for a turntable or flatbed?
A flatbed microwave provides extra space, is simple to clean and offers more even cooking, but they do tend to cost more than models with a traditional turntable design, so weigh up cost implications vs possible usage to help decide the best option for you.
Is a microwave cheaper to run than an oven?
Yes, they use less energy (typically no more than 1,500 watts), and because they only heat the food itself they are more efficient. Microwaves reach their temperature almost instantly so food is cooked quicker as no pre-heating is needed.
Did you know that Smeg has a dedicated support website which is full of useful information about our products, including a quick start guide to using a microwave to how to register your warranty?