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A must-have appliance for busy cooks, microwaves do more than just reheat last night’s burrito. With a huge range of styles, sizes and special features, it’s an essential tool that saves you tons of time in the kitchen.
Learn which microwave you need to meet all your culinary demands.
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Shop Over-The-Range Microwaves
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When microwave ovens first hit the market in the 1970s, they were large, energy-hungry appliances that were really only good for reheating leftovers. Today's microwaves are smaller, more powerful, and packed with smart features that make them great for not only reheating, but also for cooking and keeping food warm.
A standard microwave oven uses, you guessed it, microwaves to heat up food. A microwave convection oven, on the other hand, combines the radiant heat of microwave technology with the hot air flow of a convection oven. It's equipped with a fan that circulates the heated air for more even heat distribution, allowing you to grill, brown, and roast foods.
There are 3 main styles of microwaves, each with its own benefits.
Over-the-range microwaves are designed to be installed above your stove and therefore allow you to keep your precious countertop real estate clear. They feature built-in exhaust fans to vent steam and smoke from your stovetop burners.
Countertop microwaves are the most common type out there. Also known as portable or compact microwaves, they're easy to install, and you can take them with you when you move.
Built-in microwaves offer the standard microwave conveniences but with the added bonus of being integrated into a custom cabinet to save valuable countertop space.
If your kitchen space is limited or you just want a basic microwave oven for thawing food and reheating leftovers, opt for a 0.7 to 1.2 cu. ft. model. If you're cooking for the whole family, consider a larger capacity microwave (available in sizes up to 2.2 cu. ft.
In addition to standard preset buttons like “popcorn,” some models offer features like a “Keep Warm” function, which delivers steady but very low power to keep food warm until it's ready to be served. Features such as child lock make your kitchen safer, while options like sensor cooking, delayed start, and multistage cooking expand your cooking possibilities.
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