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Microwave Buying 101 - A Quick Guide

01 August 2017 | Jonathan So

The microwave is a staple household appliance in most homes but it has been relegated simply for heating up food. They are great for reheating leftovers, popping popcorn, and even making quick meals! With so many models and options of microwave ovens in the market, choosing the right one might be easier said than done. There are many factors to take into consideration before you purchase one so in this article, we will help you to determine the unit that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Heating Method

Despite popular belief, not all microwave ovens are made equal. There are generally two types of heating methods used by the microwave ovens today. A conventional microwave oven emits microwaves that perforate through glass and plastic containers to cook the food that is stored within them. A convention microwave, on the other hand, combines basic microwave technology with radiant heat and circuiting hot air to provide additional functions such as roasting, browning, and grilling.

Despite popular belief, not all microwave ovens are made equal.

Thanks to the heating element and a built-in fan to circulate heated air, convection microwave ovens provide more thorough and even cooking, resulting in juicier pot roasts and crustier pizzas. Since convection microwave ovens offer multiple cooking modes in a single device, they will naturally be sold at a higher price.

Type of Microwave Ovens

Home microwave ovens are available in several styles. There are generally three major types of microwaves available in the market today which are countertop, over-the-range, and built-in microwaves.

Countertop Microwave Ovens

Also known as compact or portable microwaves, these models are the smallest, most affordable, and most popular choice amongst Hong Kongite consumers. It can also be installed easily; all you need is a regular electrical outlet. A disadvantage that countertop microwaves bring though is that they will take up kitchen work space.

Over-the-Range Microwaves

As their name suggests, over-the-range (OTR) microwave ovens are specially-designed to be installed above the kitchen range. OTRs today have exhaust fans for venting steam and filtering smoke from a stove’s top burners. Although these models free up counter space, you might be required to remove a cabinet prior to installation. You might need the help of an electrician to help you install the model as well.

Built-in Microwaves

This category includes models designed only to be built into a specific space, usually surrounded by cabinets or built into a wall. Microwave drawers, for example, can be placed under the countertop, removing them from direct line-of-sight. It goes without saying though that these microwaves will require you to renovate a part of your kitchen due to the nature of how it is installed. They are also the costliest out of the three categories mentioned.


One formula you should remember when purchasing microwave ovens is wattage = power. Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. More power also means that the oven is better equipped for cooking entire meals. Most microwaves in the market today sit somewhere between 600-1,200 wattage. Larger and more expensive models tend to have a higher wattage, so you should determine if you want a larger-sized microwave oven or settle for a smaller model.


Last but definitely not least, you should always consider the amount of money you can fork out to buy a microwave oven. It is not realistic to pay a bomb for a top-of-the-line microwave oven with advanced features when all you do with it is just reheating your coffee and thawing frozen pizzas!

Now that you know more about microwaves, why not check out the microwaves below and get yourself one to test your culinary prowess with microwaves from top brands such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Samsung, and so much more!

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