From reheating leftover meals to the likes of cooking, baking, roasting and grilling foods, there are many things you can do with a microwave oven. Of course, that depends on its respective functionality, types and price range. But one thing’s for sure, a microwave oven is a versatile kitchen appliance that's convenient for home and office use.
So, you have decided to take the leap and buy a microwave oven. But before you spend your hard-earned money, there are few important things you need to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right microwave oven. In other words, no microwave oven is created equal.
a) Types of Microwaves
There are generally three major types of microwave ovens available in the market. First and foremost is the countertop microwave. You commonly see them on display in many departmental stores and electronic shops. These countertop varieties are generally affordable, even though they can come with a premium price tag due to their performance yet small size.
The other two are known as built-in and over-the-range microwaves, both of which typically require a professional installer.
Usually, either of these types is more suitable for those who own a big home. One way or the other, you don’t have to sacrifice your counter space in the kitchen. Then again, these two microwaves are quite rare in Malaysia itself. Therefore, our list is limited to countertops that can still do just as great.
b) Microwave Wattage
Good microwaves require a good amount of power. If you pick a model that has a minimum power of 1,000 watts and above, the microwave can help to cook your food quickly and efficiently. However, if you choose a microwave oven that has 700 watts or below, you have to make do with slower cooking time and uneven cooking results.
So, the general rule of thumb is that the higher the wattage, the quicker the cooking time you get to benefit from a microwave oven. Of course, a higher-wattage microwave oven usually means you might have to spend more.
c) Know Your Oven Capacity
Every microwave oven has its own capacity level, which is measured in litres. The capacity of an oven is generally served as a guide on the amount of food you can cook at one go. Depending on your family size and usage, here’s a recommendation guide on microwave capacity for your reference:
i) Solo Microwave (2-4 members, ideal capacity between 15L to 20L)
ii) Solo Microwave (4-6 members, ideal capacity between 25L to 30L)
iii) Grill/Convection Microwave (2-4 members, ideal capacity between 21L to 30L)
iv) Grill/Convection Microwave (4-6 members, ideal capacity from 32L and above)
Depending on the model and price range, there are plenty of features you can expect from a microwave oven. Here are some of them:
- Auto Cook
As the name suggests, this feature helps to simplify your cooking or dish type with just the push of the designated button. By using the auto cook function, you don’t even need to set time and configure the right power.
Some microwave ovens have both auto and adjustable defrost functions while others come with a single defrost feature. Either way, this feature comes in handy for defrosting and heating frozen packaged food such as mixed vegetables, meat, fries and fish fillets straight out from the freezer.
Certain microwave ovens come equipped with a convection fan, which is typically built into the back of the unit. The general function of a convection fan is to help circulate the heat around the food so it can cook faster and more evenly. Depending on the model and your budget, you will find some microwaves have more than one convection fans. For that, it usually comes with a higher price tag.
- Child Lock
If you have kids at home, it would be wise to invest in a microwave oven that comes with a Child Lock feature. Think of it as an assurance that keeps your kids’ hands or fingers from accidentally touching a microwave in operation.
Now that we have covered some of the things that you need to know about the microwave oven, here are some of the best microwave ovens in Malaysia to watch out for.
add_circle20 power levels for quick and efficient microwave cooking
add_circleConvection function to evenly distribute heat around microwave for uniform cooking
add_circleFeatures microwave cooking with convection and grill to better cook meals more efficiently and to lock in nutrients and flavour
add_circleCarousell turntable eliminates any hot or cold spots
add_circleSteam function to let you cook fish, meat, and dumplings to perfection
add_circleChild safety function
remove_circleInconvenient control buttons that contain small prints that may be difficult to read
Why It's Our Top Pick:
"Here’s a value-for-money microwave oven from Sharp that packs plenty of features. At this price point, it's worth every penny for the features you're getting; multiple steam settings that accompany the usual reheat and defrost functions. It even comes with a child lock. This no-frills microwave oven gets the job done and is a great option for those on a budget."
First things first, it has a medium-sized 20L capacity that can fit most dishes. There’s also a 255mm turntable that automatically rotates the food inside and cooks it evenly while eliminating hot or cold spots.
On the right side of the oven, you’ll find a few buttons for handy functions like defrosting frozen foods like fries, or mixed vegetables either by 'time defrost' or 'weight defrost'.
There are also 6 presets that allows you to prepare different foods. Those who love to steam their food will find this microwave useful as you'll be able to steam dumplings, fish, rice, and vegetables -- all with one touch of a button apart from the usual; Reheat and Dinner Plate functions.
The Child Lock is a thoughtful safety feature that prevents accidents. Finally, there’s the LED panel which displays clear and easy-to-read timing.
Some users pointed out the lack of assorted pre-programmed functions to cook different foods. In the case of this model, the function leans more on the singular different types of steaming. But if you look past this minor inconvenience, it remains a good buy for those who do not want to spend a fortune on a microwave oven.
Simplify cooking with the Toshiba Microwave Oven With Grill ER-SGS20(K)MY.
This microwave oven features an easy to use touch control panel with 9 auto cooking menu options that include potatoes, popcorn, frozen pizza, and the usual weight defrost and time defrost, among other presets.
There’s a child safety lock so you won’t have to worry for your family’s safety, especially if you have kids who may let their curiosity get the best of them and try and tamper with the settings.
With a 20L capacity, it’s pretty small but it does save storage space. Users are pleased that they are able to grill food with the push of a button.
Cooking a family lunch or dinner has been never been this easy and convenient with the Sharp R954AST convection-type microwave oven. Given its larger build and 42L capacity, it’s also made suitable for baking purposes regardless of sizes and heights (yes, your dream of making taller baked goods are possible as well).
This oven allows you to adjust a wide temperature range, between 140°C to 230°C. With a bigger sized turntable measuring 345mm, you can use this oven to bake a 6” round pizza or roast a whole chicken.
Some of the highlights of this oven include 10 auto menus, an easy-to-read LED display as well as a simple-to-use tact dial type that enables you to control the temperature and timing smoothly. As with other Sharp models, this one also features a Child Lock to prevent your kid’s itchy fingers from interfering with the oven-cooking process.
The overall stainless steel finishing looks both classy and elegant, making it a seamless fit for any modern kitchen.
This oven does indeed make your life easier but its downside is its hefty price tag that might be too expensive for the average household.
If the Sharp R954AST model is too big for your home kitchen, here’s the smaller version that features a 32L capacity and more or less the same features you get from its bigger brother.
This includes 10 auto menu, a Child Lock system, the rotating knob-style tact dial control panel and LED display. It also has the same classy stainless steel finishing. The Sharp R854AST’s inclusion of the energy-saving mode helps to conserve energy as well as reduce your long-term running costs. This is especially true if you are relying heavily on the oven to do your cooking or baking.
Speaking of baking, you can use it to bake the likes of cookies, cupcakes and cakes in general. For the latter, keep in mind that, unlike the R954AST model, this one isn’t made suitable for the taller or bigger size. Other common things you can do with this oven include reheating your leftover meal, grilling, steaming and yes, even toasting bread as well.
Despite all the good stuff, the Sharp R854AST is still not that cheap. However, if your budget allows it, this one is undoubtedly a good buy for a long-term investment. Users say it works well and are satisfied with its quality.
Small but mighty, the Panasonic NN-ST25JBMPQ packs a wealth of features for an otherwise 20L capacity oven in a similar category.
First off, it has 9 auto cooking menus that make your cooking simpler and convenient. This includes everything from baking bread and potatoes to heating/reheating hot beverages as well as cooking vegetables and fish.
Some of the other highlights to look out for include a 30-second setting, which allows you to set a faster cooking time without having to fiddle with any other settings. It also has an auto-defrost setting that comes in handy for thawing the likes of frozen bread, cake or mixed vegetables.
Worry that your kid might accidentally open the oven door during the cooking process? Thankfully, this oven has a safety Child Lock feature to prevent that from happening. To activate, just press the Start button three times and vice versa to switch off the feature.
Given its compact form factor, this oven is suitable even for those who live in a smaller apartment since it doesn’t take up much of your kitchen counter space. The all-black design brings a sleek and sophisticated look to your kitchen.
The Panasonic NN-ST25JBMPQ comes with an economical price tag too, which is quite reasonable for most average households. A notable setback is the lack of energy-saving mode in this oven but it’s a minor flaw that’s forgivable.
add_circleHas an inverter technology for quicker and perfectly cooked meals
add_circlePowerful steam function
add_circleEffective Grill Tray for perfectly-browned foods
remove_circleThe drop-down door design not for everyone
Beyond its hefty price tag that might prove too costly for some, this 27L oven capacity of the Panasonic NN-DS596B model comes with loads of noteworthy features.
For one, the inverter technology for faster and well-cooked meals. That means if you are roasting beef or chicken, you don’t have to worry about overheating and any loss of the natural flavour.
Not to forget, the inverter technology implemented in the oven helps to maintain the nutrient levels of your food. It’s definitely useful for when you are cooking the likes of broccolis whereby nutrients will remain intact compared to the traditional boiling or steaming method. And that is not all; the Inverter Turbo Defrost ensures your frozen foods such as meat chunks defrosts faster than before.
Then comes the best part of this oven: the steam function. It steams your food quickly while keeping it moist as well as maintaining the natural flavour of the ingredients. All of this is made possible, thanks to its powerful steam injector from the boiler located in the side of the oven. You can also combine your steam cooking with the grill or microwave feature.
Another highlight includes an efficient Grill Tray that heats and brown your food whole without the need to flip it over. This helps minimise the cooking time while ensuring your food cooks faster, without sacrificing the juicy interior and crispy exterior. The grooves located on the surface of the Grill Tray comes in handy to drain off the excess fat during the cooking process.
There are few shortcomings, though. Some users might find the drop-down door a nuisance compared with the more practical side-opening door design. And while the bulky, yet larger build is fine enough for those who have a spacious countertop, it’s not a good idea if you got limited kitchen space.
Remodelling your kitchen and want a built-in microwave? This one is perfect for you!
It’s a nice size with a 28L capacity, not too big or too small, but then again this depends on the amount of space you actually have. Grilling is convenient as this microwave oven is equipped with a grilling rack. With 8 presets that include settings for fish, pasta, and vegetables, meal prep will be quick and easy.
There’s also a child lock for safety purposes.
This model has received positive reviews for its useful dual-function and its 30-second quick start function that allows you to heat up food quickly.
remove_circleThe white design may not for everybody
Here’s a microwave oven with a budget-friendly price for those who don’t want to spend a lot on a kitchen appliance. The Midea MM720CGE model features a 20L capacity, which is suitable for single individuals or small families.
It covers the basic functions, namely the Defrost setting for defrosting frozen foods like mixed vegetables, fries and fillets straight out from the freezer. It uses a convenient push-button door that is easy to open as well. Also, the overall medium-sized build doesn’t take up much space, making it ideal to place even on a small kitchen counter.
Setting the cooking power is easy. All you need to do is turn the power knob located on the upper right side of the oven to your preferred setting: low, medium-low, medium-high or high. Once you are done, the microwave oven will automatically start cooking. Might we add that the oven heats up fast too.
The five temperature settings come in handy especially when you are using them for different purposes. For instance, the medium-low setting is best for making soup stew or softening butter from the fridge. Meanwhile, the medium-high setting is suitable for cooking fish, chicken or meat in the oven.
Given the fact that this is simply a basic microwave oven, it lacks the bells and whistles of a more feature-packed variety such as energy-saving mode and Child Lock feature. However, if you're just looking for the convenience of quick thawing and want something that does the usual heating then this is a perfectly good model for you. Though, the predominantly white exterior is more for an acquired taste since most microwave ovens come in either black or stainless-steel silver.