Buyer's Guide \ Microwaves \ How to Choose a Microwave

How to Choose a Microwave

Are you thinking of buying a new microwave for the growing needs of your family? Whether you’re remodelling the kitchen, moving to a new place, replacing an older, worn-out model, or buying a microwave for the first time, you need the best appliance that will fit the designated space.
Your new microwave has to meet your needs and requirements, but if you have doubts, don’t worry, as we’ve compiled a microwave buying guide for your convenience.
 

Table of contents

 

Intro

1
The microwave oven is one of the essential kitchen appliances. It reheats food quicker than stovetops and is perfect when you need a hot meal in a pinch. Newer models can be similar to convection ovens in features and capabilities and can become centrepieces of a modern kitchen. For people that have strict schedules, a good microwave is a real timesaver.
A microwave radiates energy waves to make water molecules vibrate, which in turn heats the food. If you want to learn more about how a microwave works, check out our How a Microwave Works article.
 

Find the Right Microwave Size

2
Before you go and grab the first microwave from your local appliance store, you need to find out what size will be right for you. Microwaves come in various sizes, and the perfect fit for you will be determined by your kitchen’s available space and your family’s size.
Microwave sizes are specified in litres (or cubic feet). A model will usually have a number displayed somewhere on its specification. An abbreviation that says “35L” means the internal size of the microwave is 35 litres. The common sizes available are 20 to 62L (0.7 to 2.2 cu ft). Smaller ones can usually handle dinner plates, while bulkier microwaves can fit larger dishes that better suit your cooking needs.
Another factor when it comes to microwave size is counter space. A small microwave oven would typically measure approximately 44 x 25 x 35cm (17.3 x 10 x 14 inches) in width, height, and depth, respectively, so make sure you’ve set aside adequate space for the microwave in the kitchen. If the microwave is built-in, you’ll need to provide accurate specifications to the contractor building the counters and installing appliances.

The size of the microwave will also be dependent on the frequency and ways you’re using it. If you have a sizeable family or lots of people over, a larger microwave will be able to heat up, cook, or defrost larger dishes and items.

Need to know more about microwave sizing? Find the microwave that fits your kitchen and your needs with our handy Guide to Microwave Sizes.

 

Select the Best Microwave for Your Kitchen

3
There are three main microwave types: countertop, over-the-range, and built-in microwaves.

Countertop Microwaves

Countertop microwaves are the easiest to install. Simply plop them on a flat surface, leave a little room for ventilation, and plug them into an outlet. Some countertop models can be converted into built-in microwaves using special trim kits. They are often smaller since they have to compete with other countertop appliances for space.

Choose the simple convenience of countertop microwaves from Whirlpool and KitchenAid brands

Explore these versatile models that give you the freedom to plug in and get started.

Built-In Microwaves

Built-in microwaves are installed in a wall or between cabinets, much like regular wall ovens. They are an excellent way to save some kitchen space and come in a variety of sizes and power levels, but they tend to be more powerful, expensive, and bigger than countertop models. Moreover, they often require professional installation, which can further increase the cost.

Save counter space and streamline your kitchen design with these built-in microwaves from KitchenAid and JennAir brands

Explore power levels, sizes and styles to choose a built-in that suits your kitchen.
You can learn more about the differences between the various types in our comparison of Built-In Vs. Countertop Microwaves.

Over-the-Range Microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves are technically a type of built-in model if you think about it. However, these models are installed above the oven range, replacing the hood. They often have a dual function since they provide ventilation for the range. They are usually low-profile, to further save space above the cooktop, but have a roomy interior for wide dishes.

Apart from installation types, microwaves come in two distinct operational types: regular microwaves and convection microwave ovens.

Save countertop space with over-the-range microwaves from Whirlpool, Maytag and KitchenAid brands

A microwave vent combo is a popular solution for many kitchens because it saves space by fitting conveniently above the stove.
 

Choose the Microwave Features You Need

4
Once you’ve decided on your microwave style and size, you need to think about the additional features. A more basic model will be better on the budget, but a lack of options might mean you won’t be able to do everything you want in the kitchen.
Additions such as defrosting, broiling, and pre-programmed settings can make a huge difference in cooking times and food preparation.
Some novelty systems also use smart home technology to connect the microwave to the local network and operate it remotely. A smart microwave is a perfect fit for the tech-savvy, modern family that wants to have control of every appliance in one place.
Once you’ve settled on features, it’s important to take a look at the appearance of the microwave. A model with large buttons will help you find the features needed, whereas a microwave with flush control panels is easier to clean, as there is less space for dirt to get lodged.
 

What Microwave Wattage Do I Need?

5
Microwave wattage refers to power output. Models with higher wattage will heat the food faster. Most models range between 600 and 1200W, but the convection models are also equipped with heating elements for additional functions like baking and broiling.
For most purposes, a 900 to 1000W microwave will be able to heat up your food relatively quickly and can defrost and cook as well. Less powerful models might struggle with larger items or heating evenly.
While higher wattage will mean faster cooking, more power, and larger size, it often comes at an increased cost. However, if you have a larger family, the investment is often worth it.
 

The Best Microwave for You

6
Whatever your budget and needs, there is a perfect appliance out there that will suit your kitchen and your family. This quick microwave buying guide will help you choose the ideal product. Consider the installation costs of various microwave types and what purpose the microwave serves in the kitchen. No matter what you decide, the Whirlpool family of brands has a vast selection of models to choose from that will serve you well.
Whirlpool kitchen suite savings event
Did you find the article helpful?
You already voted!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Whirlpool kitchen suite savings event

Share this article

This will come in handy.

Get monthly answers to household challenges, and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*

Popular Articles

Gas vs. Electric Dryers

When the time comes to buy a new dryer, you have some decisions to make as far as features and design options but, choosing your

How to Buy a Dryer: The Full Guide

Table of Contents Planning considerations Decide on Your Preferred Set-up Washer and dryer sets can be installed in one of two ways. You can position

5% OFF

your next Whirlpool®, Maytag® or KitchenAid® purchase.

Great tips, great savings

Sign up for our newsletter to get helpful tips and tricks around the home, and enjoy 5% off until December 31, 2023* your next Whirlpool®, Maytag®, or KitchenAid® purchase.
*Ends December 31, 2023, 11:59PM EST. Discount applied before taxes and shipping, in cart at time of purchase between November 16, 2022 and December 31, 2023. Offer not applicable on previous purchases Offer valid for one-time use on qualifying major and countertop appliances Canadian order on Whirlpool.ca, Maytag.ca and KitchenAid.ca purchases only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Offer subject to change, without notice. No cash value and non-transferable. Excludes accessories, parts, water filters, commercial and Pro Line® appliances.
By closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our Privacy Notice unless you have disabled them.

Ask Our Experts

If our troubleshooting guides are not helping, it’s best to connect with qualified professionals to service your appliance.

You can contact our trusted partner, The Appliance Pros, if you need service for a Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana or Inglis appliance.

If you have a question about a specific product, please contact your appliance manufacturer.
For the following brands, you can use the form below and one of our experts will reach out to you with an answer within 48 hours: Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana, Gladiator, Everydrop, Affresh, Inglis.