Appliances make kitchen preparation easier and more efficient; however, the options are vast and could be overwhelming. Let’s break it down:
Microwave: heats food molecules by microwave radiation. Food is heated quickly but a traditional microwave does not bake or brown meat.
Oven: is fueled by electricity or gas and heats from the bottom to roast or bake foods. Additionally, it will heat from the top to broil. The disadvantage is that heat is not uniformed.
Convection Oven: circulates heated air and results in a more even bake.
Convection Microwave Oven: is a combination of a microwave and a convection oven which means that you get a quick even cook that allows for a browning and baking option.
Microwaves are a staple for most households, but the microwave options available are numerous, such as: size, power, and special features – but have you considered a convection (also referred to as “combination”) microwave?
Below are some benefits of a convection microwave
- Energy saver – heating a full size oven takes up a lot of energy and money; however, a convection microwave used the power of an oven but the energy of a microwave. This ultimately means you will get a delicious oven cooked meal up to 3x faster than a traditional oven – saving money and time.
- Quality flavor – Unlike traditional microwaves, when you are cooking with a convection microwave food is cooked from the inside out resulting in a meal that is moist and full of flavor whether you are roasting, baking, broiling, or steaming foods.
- Versatile – A convection microwave can bake, brown, roast, broil, steam, and defrost. It is one of the only appliances you may need in your kitchen.
- Convenient – A convection microwave cooks fast and effectively at high temperatures.
- Perfect for small families as it can accommodate a small roast or a large pizza. Some models have two shelves for more convenience.
- Great for RV – as they are smaller than conventional ovens and easily fit into small spaces. While traveling, you can confidently prepare healthy and delicious meals for your family.
The benefits certainly out the negatives which basically are the fact that they are usually more expensive than a traditional microwave – but remember you are essentially getting two appliances in one.
Some important features to look for in a convection microwave include:
- Visibility. A large viewing window helps you keep an eye on food as it cooks.
- Ease of Use. Controls should be easily accessible and not complicated to understand. You should not have to refer to the manual for every use.
- Easy to clean. Look for smooth clean surface that are easy to clean.
- Automated functions. This function allows you to enter the type of food and then it will automatically calculate the time required to cook a perfect meal.
- Time adjust. This function allows you adjust the programmed time without interrupting the cooking process.
- Delayed start. This function allows you to set a time to start cooking. Keep in mind that you don’t want to leave uncooked food unattended for too long or it will spoil.
- Multi-stage cooking. This feature performs a sequence of tasks such as defrosting and then cooking.
- Kitchen timer. This feature is great for all types of functions such as timing the boiling of a perfectly cooked egg.
- Child safety locking is a feature that is on most convection microwave models.
There are built-in models and freestanding models available:
Built-in models are to be installed by a qualified professional electrician, as is repairing a convection microwave. This model is ideal for kitchens that are on the smaller size, as it will not take up valuable counter space. Additionally, keep in mind that a rear wall should not be behind these ovens as air flow will be reduced and ventilation will be restricted.
Freestanding models of convection microwave should not be placed near conventional ovens and it is not advised to place any type of heavy items on top of the unit.
Regardless of the model you choose, every convection microwave should have 10cm (about 4 inches) clear space on all sides and 15 cm (about 6 inches) clearance at the rear and top for best ventilation.