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CNET First Look
Microwave buying guideIn the market for a new microwave? Here's what you need to know.
Hi. I'm Megan Wollerton for CNET, here to bring you a microwave buying guide. So, one of the first things you wanna think about when you're deciding to buy a new microwave is where you're going to put it. There are three main options. The most popular type of microwave is a Countertop Microwave, like this one here. This is by far the easiest type of microwave to install. You just plug it into an outlet and you can put it anywhere on your counter. The second most popular type of microwave is the Over-the-Range Microwave. It's pretty self explanatory but it sits over your range and actually doubles as an oven hood. The third type of microwave is a custom built-in job that can go anywhere from drawers to cabinets. The next thing you wanna think about is what size microwave you should get. This isn't only important when you're deciding if it will fit on your countertop or above your range but also if the food you cook regularly will fit. The sizes can range anywhere from under a cubic foot to above 2 cubic feet, but most microwaves sit somewhere in the middle around 1-1/2 cubic feet. If you're still not sure what size microwave would work best in your kitchen, you can always bring in a plate or bowl that you use regularly just to make sure that it will fit. Another thing that's pretty important to consider is the wattage. That's the amount of power that's running to your microwave. The wattage can range anywhere from around 600 to 1200 and sometimes over. Generally, the more wattage your microwave has, the more quickly and evenly it will cook your food. Now, let's talk about the basic features that most microwaves have. That includes the popcorn setting and potato setting, a reheat, defrost. Most microwaves today have those presets and they're really easy to use. Some of the more expensive models though are getting a bit more fancy. Some of them incorporate convection heating or even inverter heating. Another neat feature that some microwaves have today is the censor. The censor detects the amount of moisture in the foot and it will decide when it's done automatically. As far as style, microwaves generally come in white, black or stainless steel finish. Some of them are incorporating LCD dials and screens but it's still pretty uncommon. As far as price, microwaves can vary widely from say $50 on up to $5,000 for a custom built-in microwave. For 50 bucks, you're gonna get a really basic microwave but for 5 grand, you better expect something really fancy. Unfortunately, microwave technology is still pretty simple. There isn't much as far as smart technology or WiFi connectivity like we're seeing in some other appliances today. This has been a microwave buying guide, I'm Megan Wollerton.