Help & advice: Buying guide to microwaves
Buying guide to microwaves
Pull off gorgeous meals in a flash with our sophisticated microwaves - they're packed with hassle-saving features from sensor cooking to quick defrost.
Dreaming of stress-free cooking? Homebase's range of microwaves make life easy.
Think what kind of meals you'll be using your microwave for to help you decide on the one that fits in with your lifestyle. Choose between three basic types of microwave:
If you'll only be heating up food or cooking ready meals then a solo microwave is just right for you. Ideal for reheating and defrosting, solo microwaves feature manual or touch controls. Manual controls are fine but don't offer the same level of precision as touch controls. These can set cooking times for as little as 10 seconds.
How about an instant grilled sandwich? If you also want to crisp and brown food, microwaves with grills give you the same delicious results as a standard grill - only quicker! Use the grill on its own or in conjunction with the microwave.
If you love cooking roasts, creating casseroles and baking cakes, go for a versatile combination microwave. On top of all the great microwave features, the combination microwave has a fan-assisted oven to really cut down cooking times for your favourite meals.
Or should we ask how quickly you need your food! Here's how microwave power works. Microwave power ranges from 600 watts to 1100 watts. Generally, the larger the oven, the higher the wattage and the faster it will cook.
Microwave ovens also have a heat category rating from A to E, based on wattage (power). This indicates an oven's ability to heat small food packs or ready meals. Heat category ratings are usually found on the front of a microwave (generally on the door). Most food manufacturers now include a heat category rating on packages to show cooking times for foods when cooked in a microwave at various heat categories.
Microwave ovens come in a host of sizes, from 20 litres to 30 litres. Obviously you need to think about what you'll be cooking - small meals or big family dinners. Bigger models have larger turntables and more interior height to cook more than one dish at a time.
Microwaves aren't just for basic defrosting or reheating anymore! Take your pick from these impressive cooking options...
The microwave is pre-programmed to defrost a certain weight of a number of popular foods. This helps stop food being only partly defrosted.
A selection of power levels offers maximum heating and cooking options. Most models carry five to ten levels that range from defrost to high.
Pre-set programmes cook a range of popular food, from warming a plated meal and cooking a single baked potato to roasting chicken or a joint of meat.
This automatically detects moisture levels in food and adjusts the power levels and cooking time.
An essential feature for any family.
Take a look at microwave-safe trays, dishes or steamers.
- Microwave ovens heat food very quickly so always take care when warming up baby food. Never feed a child food directly from a microwave without first stirring it thoroughly and testing the temperature.
- Microwaves heat food to extremely high temperatures so take care when removing and eating meals directly from your oven.
- Don't use metal or aluminium foil containers when using your oven in the microwave mode. They'll 'arc' (spark) and can damage the machine.
- Running a microwave oven when empty will damage it.
Removable turntables are useful if you need more space to cook larger dishes.
Want a microwave that's easy to clean? Choose one with a ceramic enamel interior.