May 15

Which Type Of Microwave Oven Is Best For Home Use?


Author: Cornelia Suehr and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

When you visit an appliance store to purchase a brand new microwave (see ‘How to Remove Microwave‘ to find out how to get rid of the old one), there can be so many to choose from. Nowadays, there are different types of microwaves. But when all you want is just one, you can help but ask which type of microwave oven is best for home use?

Well, here is one thing a sales rep won’t tell you, a convection oven is best for home use. Fine. There is a lot of great microwave oven out there. Performing cooking tasks like defrosting and reheating.

But the fore-mentioned tasks are not enough to do justice to the myriad possibilities of home cooking. When cooking at home, be it for family or self, there are options like Mac and cheese, Lasagna, roasted beef, Pasta, Pork ribs, Poached eggs, Pastries, and so on.

Convection ovens offer features and functions to achieve these. But first, let see what others have to offer.

Also Read: When did microwave oven become popular?

Which Type Of A Microwave Oven Is Best For Home Use?

There are three main types of microwaves out there.

  1. Regular / Solo Microwave
  2. Grill Microwave
  3. Convection Microwave

Regular/Solo Microwave

A solo microwave oven is a simple microwave oven that performs simple tasks like defrosting, reheating, and cooking. They possess the usual magnetron – the component that produces microwave heat

Hence these microwave ovens heat the food using a singular method i.e generate microwaves and that is it. They do not have any other auxiliary method of cooking.

Compared to the other types of microwave ovens, a solo microwave is cheaper and easier to clean (see here how to remove the stains naturally, too). They can not grill either can they be used to bake. A solo microwave oven comes in different sizes and colors. These are the most common types of microwave ovens – check out our Hamilton Beach 1000 Watt Microwave post.

Grill Microwave

Which Type Of Microwave Oven Is Best For Home Use

A grill microwave oven is a type of conventional microwave oven that has additional features for grilling processes. The microwave oven features a heating element just a normal oven would do.

For those who are partial to grilled meat, fish, or veggies, this is a good choice. With less smoke and a small space, you can enjoy your smoky flavored meal – learn how to get the odor out of your microwave here.

They can also be quite cheap with prices ranging from $85 to $600 depending on capacity, energy usage, size, and some other functions (see the mute function).

Compared to regular ovens, they are quite rare.

Convection Microwave

Convection quick oven
Convection microwave oven circulates heat inside

Convection ovens feature an in-built fan system – the convection feature helps to blow hot air around the interior of the microwave ovens.

Thanks to this, the microwave oven heats up the food from all directions, though some food, like grapes, is best avoided being heated in a microwave.

Microwave Oven Vibrates
Regular Microwave oven vibrates molecules inside the food traveling ONLY in a single direction. Image Source: Scientific American

A regular oven with a Magnetron and a Wave-Guide only transmits microwaves in a single direction. Therefore, only the food that is caught within the vicinity of the microwave tends to heat up. This is the reason we have the turntable that rotates the food around (see also the case of a microwave turntable that turns when the door is open).

A Convection oven solves this issue by making sure the hot air inside the chamber blows quickly so that it reaches all corners of the food – see ‘How Does a Convection Microwave Oven Work?’ post.

Therefore, a convection oven, in essence, promotes quick and even results

The addition of this feature has opened a whole new window of possibility for microwave cooking. Cooking activities like baking, broiling and grilling can all be carried out with this, though you can still prepare microwave food without a microwave oven. Some new ovens also feature microwave sensor cooking that uses temperature and humidity sensors inside the microwave to determine when the food is ready. 

They are quite expensive compared to the other types of microwave ovens with a price of at least $300 – check out ‘Convection Oven vs Microwave’. But it is important to consider the benefits they offer.

Also Read: How Does a Microwave Oven Work?

What Size of Microwave Oven is Most Suitable for Home Use?

Now that you know the size, it is worth talking about the size as well. Some sizes are suitable for home while others are not.

Also Read: How to Measure Cubic Feet of Microwave


Apart from the types of microwave ovens, determinants like size can also help you to choose the best microwave ovens suitable for your needs. Small-sized microwave ovens have an oven capacity of about 0.5-1.0 cubic feet and are applicable for melting butter, heating a cup of coffee, etc.

These have a turntable diameter of about 10″ and hence they are suitable for, say, placing something the size of a small pizza.

Although, a microwave oven with a small capacity usually has the lowest watts of heating power hence they cook food slower. It can serve food for about 2-3 people at once.

This countertop oven is the best microwave for small apartments and offices with limited counter space whereby the requirements are limited only to heating small food items instead of preparing dinners and complex recipes.

Also Read: Best Microwaves for Small Apartment


A medium-sized microwave is the most suitable size of a microwave for home use. It can serve food for about 3-5 people at once. They are ideal for homes.

These ovens have a capacity of about 1.1-1.6 CU FT and have a 12-14 inch turntable diameter enough to fit 12 inches to14-inch dinner plates. Hence, these are quite ideal for an average family, for cooking dinners, and for home chefs.

These are large enough to defrost a whole chicken and to reheat frozen food. Compared to a small-sized microwave oven, there is an increase in watts. Therefore, food cooks at a much faster rate and also more consistently as compared to smaller ones.

Also Read: Best Midsize Countertop Microwave


Large capacity microwave ovens are expensive, these kitchen appliances generally have a higher wattage rating and can serve more than 5 people.

A large oven has a capacity higher than 1.6 Cubic Feet, generally in the range of 2.0 – 2.2 cubic feet with a turntable diameter of about 16″ – large enough for extra-large pizza and other large dishes.

Some homes may find these useful but not all, after all, you will need a large kitchen countertop space. Plus, since they are expensive and bulky, you will need to gauge your requirements carefully.

While large ovens are generally ideal for commercial applications, if you love cooking large meals for your family, then this size may appeal to you for home use as well.

Suitable Microwave Feature and Functions for Home Use

Besides the sizes and types, there is also the type of technology that you may want to look into.

Inverter Technology

Inverter Microwave Ovens
Inverter technology encourages seamless power delivery, which in turn promises even heating. Source: Panasonic

Microwave ovens that use inverter technology are game-changers. This feature changes the whole method of power supply that provides heat for cooking.

A conventional microwave oven works through the use of a transformer. This transformer steps the electricity up or down to get a stable amount of current that allows the magnetron to produce a microwave which is used for cooking.

This leads to rising and fall in temperature which could cause food to cook unevenly, be partly undercooked, and so on. This is not so for the inverter microwave since the power supply is stable.

Also Read: What is the Difference Between Convection and Inverter Microwave?

Cooking Presets

The addition of pre-programmed cooking presets to a microwave oven is a big bonus. As it renders most recipes useless at the end of the day. One of the major setbacks of convection microwaves is the need to modify recipes.

But when you have cooking presets like reheat food, toast, broil, bake, roast, etc. You are on your way to preparing the perfect meal always. Other features like control panel types (see SE error on Samsung models), stainless steel, baking dish, child-lock features, timer, auto cook, express cook, auto defrost, grill function, rotisserie, keep warm features should also be considered.

Suitable Power Rating for a Microwave Oven for Home Use

Finally, one of the biggest considerations for microwave ovens is the power rating or watts of cooking power. The power rating, to a great extent, defines how consistently and how quickly will heat your food evenly with less cooking time. The higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time.

Low Power

Basic oven
A 700 watt is a basic and compact microwave oven. Source: AmazonBasics 700 Watt 0.7 CU FT microwave oven.

Low-watt microwave oven range in power rating from 700 watts to 900 watts of power. These ovens have an interior capacity ranging from 0.7 – 0.9 Cu FT and hence are suitable only for the most limited use such as in offices or in small apartments.

Low power microwave ovens generally get negative reviews from the customers because they take longer than usual to heat food (see also if these microwaves last longer).

As such, the buyers should beware of the fact that you cannot expect a low-powered microwave oven to cook as fast as a high-powered one.

You may also notice bits and patches of food that are not entirely heated properly. This especially happens when you load up more food than small microwaves are capable of heating up at a given time.

It is wise to therefore stick only to small portion of food.

They are not the most ideal for a typical home kitchen.

Also Read: Best 700 Watt Microwave Ovens

Medium Power

These are generally the most ideal microwave ovens for home use. The range in power from 1000 Watt – 1100 Watt.

A power like this ensures both consistency, and well as faster cooking times. You may also take note of the fact that high-powered microwave ovens are generally more expensive.

The higher the power rating, the more expensive the model would be.

The medium power microwave ovens strike the perfect balance between quality results as well as value for money.

Also Read: Best 1000 Watt Microwave Oven

High Power

High power microwave ovens have a power rating of 1200 W or higher.

They have the best consistency and cooking times. If you want to save time and if you hate finding patches of unheated food on your dinner plate, then a high-powered microwave could be your answer.

Unfortunately, high-powered microwave ovens are generally expensive. While you can find them in a myriad of sizes you will note that they are more expensive than their same-size counterparts.

Also Read: Best 1200 Watt Microwave Oven


This article addressed the question of which types of microwave ovens are best for home use. We looked at various parameters to decide on what makes a microwave oven enough for home use. Also, in another article, we go over the different types of containers and materials such as ceramic, for example, that you can use for cooking inside a microwave, as well as how to test dishware if there aren’t any labels included.

While the needs and requirements may differ from person to person, generally we believe that a convection microwave oven with about 1100W of power rating, midsize, and convection technology may work best for typical home use. They do wear out with time, though, so make sure to check out our tips on how to make a microwave last longer. One piece of advice you’ve probably heard before is to avoid putting objects made of metal in a microwave.

But in all honesty, the choices for buying a microwave are many, and you are sure to find out one that will particularly suit your needs perfectly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.What types of a microwaves should I buy?

There are a few things you should consider when purchasing a microwave: the size of the unit, the features it has, and how much power it has.

If you're looking for a small microwave to use in a dorm room or office, a countertop model is a good option. If you need a larger microwave, consider a built-in model that will fit into your cabinets.

Some microwaves come with special features, like convection cooking or sensor cooking.

2.What is the Difference between convection ovens and microwave ovens?

The convection ovens use fans to circulate the air within the ovens to equalize the temperature. While microwave ovens are great for uniform reheating, cooking, and defrosting, a convection microwave is great for grilling, baking, roasting, browning, and crisping foods.

3.What is the difference between microwave ovens and toaster?

The main difference between microwave ovens and toasters is that microwave ovens cook by heating the water in food, while toasters cook by heating the air around the food.

4. Is air fryer the same as convection ovens?

Air fryers and convection ovens are two different types of appliances. Air fryer microwave use hot air to cook food, while convection ovens use a fan to circulate hot air around the food. Both appliances can cook food quickly and evenly, but they have different benefits. Air fryers are smaller and more compact, making them a good choice for small kitchens. Convection ovens are larger and can cook more food at once.

5. Is microwave  bad for health?

Using microwaves is a safe (see also if old ovens are safe), effective, and highly convenient cooking method. There isn't a piece of evidence that they do harm — and a few evidence shows that microwaves are better than other cooking methods at preserving nutrients.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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