A microwave oven has many benefits that maximize one’s kitchen tasks beyond reheating. Both residential and commercial kitchens can become much more efficient when a microwave oven is used appropriately. But if the standard models are not enough to accommodate your needs, will a high-wattage microwave do?
Check the pros and cons of a high-wattage microwave before buying:
PRO: High Wattage Means High Power
Watts refers to how much electricity something uses per hour. In Science, 1 watt is equal to 1 Joule of energy used per second. When it comes to microwave ovens and other electric kitchen appliances, watts matter a LOT.
Generally, the number of watts your microwave uses affects how quickly and efficiently it can cook your food. So the higher wattage a microwave is designed for, the better it will work.
- A standard 600- to 700-watt microwave oven cooks slower and may sometimes cook unevenly.
- A more heavy-duty 1,000-watt microwave oven cooks faster and more evenly.
So how “high” is “high wattage”?
If you’re cooking for a family of 3-4 people, then standard residential microwaves in the 600 to 800 wattage range should be enough. But if you’re cooking for a big family, or in a commercial kitchen, then go bigger and higher in wattage.
Microwaves come in different wattages, so it makes sense to only buy based on your kitchen needs. Here’s a quick guide:
600- to 800-watt microwave ovens
The most affordable ones in the market. They are designed for reheating, cooking instant meals, bringing leftover food back to life, and cooking quick snacks from scratch.
Note that most recipes that call for a microwave refer to an 800-watt oven. As such, if you buy something with a lower wattage, you’ll spend more time cooking in it than the recipe states.
800- to 1000-watt microwave ovens
Mid-ranged ovens that are designed for quick reheating. It can boil water in a flash and cook meat and other raw food from scratch without fear of being underdone.
There’s a chance your food could burn with this much power, which is why microwave ovens with 800 to 1000 wattage are built-in with settings that keep food from burning.
1000- to 1200-watt microwave ovens
In this range of microwave ovens, they are powerful enough to work similar to convection ovens.
Industrial-grade microwaves that are used in restaurants and other commercial settings are powered by 1000 watts or higher.
CON: High Power Means High Consumption
When you choose 1000-watt or higher, the microwave oven will consume more power. There is no going around this, even if you buy an eco-friendly or inverter model.
The bigger-sized and higher wattage a microwave oven is, the higher power it tends to consume.
If you’ll be using this high-powered microwave for a restaurant, then it could serve its purpose. But if you’re planning to use it to reheat food or drink at home, then it might be a little overpowered for your needs.
PRO: Reliable, Well-Cooked Meals
The problem with lower-wattage microwave ovens is that there is a tendency to cook food unevenly. There are several reasons why this happens, but they usually fall on these two reasons:
- Cold zones – Sometimes, waves inside the microwave hit each other and cancel each other out. When this happens, the waves create a cold zone and that spot won’t have any heat created. This happens and even the most modern microwave technology cannot do anything to stop it. As such, the rotating plate is there to help with uneven amounts of heat. Placing the food incorrectly or a broken plate that no longer spins could cause your food to sit in the cold zone. A higher wattage microwave experiences fewer cold zones because of the bigger-sized plate and higher power.
- Different food densities – Different ingredients in a meal absorb energy differently. This is why reheating an apple pie means the apple filling gets heated first before its crust. The reason for this uneven cooking is that the apple filling has higher amounts of water, which tends to absorb the microwave energy at a higher rate, than the pie crust (which has lower water content). A bigger microwave oven usually solves this because it has higher energy than your standard microwaves.
CON: Bigger,Higher-Watt Microwaves Are More Expensive
Another downside to choosing higher-wattage microwave ovens is the price.
Generally, microwaves with higher wattages are not only bigger in size, but they also come with bigger price tags.
As such, if you’re on a budget and are shopping for a high-watt oven, note that it will be challenging to find an affordable model in this wattage range.
To Buy or Not to Buy High-Watt Microwave Ovens
The answer boils down to two things: how you use your microwave oven (is it for business or a restaurant kitchen), and your budget (how much can you afford to invest).