No matter the size of a kitchen or how many state of the art appliances you’ll find in it, odds are you’ll find a microwave. In fact, this appliance is one of the most essential items in any home. When purchasing a home or renovating a kitchen, defining a functional and aesthetically pleasing space for this appliance is a must-do step for many homeowners.
Before plunging into massive lists of appliances with all sorts of functions and features, it’s essential to note how often the appliance will be used in your home, your budget, and product maintenance. Whether you need to upgrade an old device or start from scratch, you probably have an array of questions running through your brain. What should you budget for a new appliance? What tech specs should you consider? How much space can you allot in your kitchen? Do you have enough counter space? Is this appliance energy saving or energy zapping? And most of all, is the unit easy to clean and maintain? Regardless, the absolute first step in choosing the right microwave is to choose an appliance that best fits your lifestyle and budget.
After all, a great microwave that totally suits your needs and lifestyle will simplify your daily routine. From cooking and reheating savory leftovers to entertaining and snacking, a microwave is an essential kitchen tool for many homeowners. By and large, the best microwave will be one that you actually use!
A microwave, even with frequent use and proper maintenance, should last for years. With regular cleaning and usage, a microwave will be an intrinsic addition to any home.
To get the best bang for your buck and the best product for your personal home style, it’s important to consider a bevy of appliance options. We organized the best tips for microwave shopping and the top options for you to consider.
How Often Will I Use a Microwave?
Before nailing down a budget, homeowners should have a thoughtful and honest reflection on exactly how often this appliance will be in use. Homeowners might be looking to replace or upgrade an existing appliance or need a secondary unit for an entertainment zone such as a wet bar or gaming den. Whether it’s several times a day every day, or merely a handful of times a month, take note of how frequently the product is expected to be in use.
So, take note of where you’ll place the microwave and what you project its demands will be.
What’s my Budget?
No matter what new appliance you’re considering for your home, small or big-ticket purchases, it’s vital to lock down a budget before browsing for products. Take stock of what you consider must-have tech specifications, features, and functions and align those with your finances. If there’s any wiggle room for unexpected expenses (such as upgrade features or longer warranties), add those in, too.
Prices for microwaves can range from under $60 for basic and budget-friendly functionality to over $250 dollars for higher wattage and sophisticated functionality.
What Size Works Best in my Home?
Now that you established where and how often the appliance will be used, it’s best to go over sizing options for placement and optimal usage. Make sure to measure how much kitchen space you can afford to lose. Standard microwaves start at half a cubic foot and can hold a 10 inch plate, but units can range from 1 to 2 feet.
What Type of Microwave Best Fits my Lifestyle? What Wattage is Ideal for Me?
There are three microwave styles to consider: built-in, over-the-range, and countertop. Built-in and over-the-range units are the most customizable and can cost more, depending on personal style and renovation designs. Countertop microwaves are one of the most common and classic product styles and they are more wallet-friendly.
What it comes down to is design sensibilities and actual function and space in a home. For example, homeowners with smaller spaces, low square footage and counter space, might opt for products that offer multi uses like convection ovens. Multipurpose and multifunctional appliances are especially attractive for first time homebuyers with tighter budgets.
Ample kitchen space? Other folks might consider a built-in unit to tie appliances, countertops, and counter spaces together, while keeping sightlines clean and crisp.
As for wattage, the higher the wattage, the more power and heat the unit produces. Essentially, the more wattage a microwave can harness, the faster food cooks or reheats. Microwaves at a standard 700 wattage can still pack a punch with auto menus, eco modes, power levels, and timers. Keep in mind, more watts means more money from your budget. However, there’s a sensible balance to strike between wattage and price for all homeowners.
Name Those Must-Have Microwave Features
Microwaves can be a form of technology all on their own. Beyond programmed food modes and cook time settings, energy saving functions and smart tech or Wi-Fi capabilities are also cool key features. Other clever elements depend on your home and family size, such as child-proof controls, audio features and large buttons for better hearing and visibility. Even small details like light up buttons and customizable sounds make a world of difference.
All in all, the tips and ideas outlined above will help homeowners pinpoint the totally-right microwave. Browse the vast array of options and use the guide to check all the right boxes for your style and home. Browse more home inspiration and lifestyle tips, or follow us on social media!
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.