Microwave technology has been part of our lives for more than half a century since the microwave oven was accidentally invented by Percy Spencer in 1946. But it took another 20 years for the microwave oven to become reasonably affordable as well as reasonably sized. Since then, we’ve seen quite a few leaps in the actual technology being used in microwave ovens and now have quite a few options to pick from. But which microwave to buy?
There are standalone microwave ovens and others like Grill Microwave Ovens, Convections Microwave Ovens and Oven Toaster Grills (OTG) as well. So how does one technology distinguish itself from the other? Let’s explore that now, shall we?
What is a convection microwave oven?
Almost all of us must’ve used a microwave at least once, either at home or at work. We know it’s most basic function is to re-heat food that may have gone cold but there are few other things that it can also do.
But how does a microwave oven heat your food? Without getting too technical, it suffices to say that (as the name suggests) a microwave oven uses energy from radio-frequency waves (or ‘micro’ waves) to heat the contents kept inside. It targets water and fat content specifically, from the centre-outward.
A convection microwave uses this as well as another clever piece of tech to heat your food. The oven, in this method, uses a heating element and a fan to move hot air around the oven which is equivalent to a regular oven but a bit more efficient because the hot air helps to heat up all exposed parts of the food and you get a more uniform heat.
Does this makes convection microwave ovens better?
The answer to this question really depends on what you want to achieve from your microwave oven. If it’s only re-heating food you seek, then no. A convection microwave will only help if you either have a lot of meat to heat in little time (and get it heated evenly) or if you love baking.
In other scenarios, there aren’t many practical advantages that a convection microwave offers. However, if you can afford one, it makes sense to go for a convection microwave – simply because the evenness with which it can heat up your food. But that’s as far as it can go.
If you wish to go a step further and even grill the food, you’ll need to buy an Oven Toaster Grill, popularly referred to as OTG. Below is a helpful chart explaining which microwave will help you cook what kind of food.
|Solo Microwave Ovens||Grill Microwave Ovens||Convection Microwave Ovens|
|Functions||Heat, Defrost, Cook||Heat, Defrost, Cook, Grill||Heat, Defrost, Cook, Grill, Bake|
|Limitations||Cannot be used for grilling or baking||Can be used for grilling but not for baking||Can be used for baking but not grilling|
|Best suited for||Popping corn, defrosting meat, reheating pizza, basic cooking||Grilling tikkas, kebabs and vegetables||Baking cakes, cookies and quiches, roasting meat|
Select the one on how you cook
Although it’s easy to be convinced that better features makes for a better product, it won’t be of any use if you only want to make it do basic things. You don’t buy a Ferrari to do your daily chores, do you? It’s the same philosophy for buying pretty much anything of value and especially when deciding which microwave to buy.
For particular materials, define the conditions under which microwaves provide uniform, stable processing. These may be developed through appropriate numerical modeling techniques and should be presented as processing charts that contain information on material properties, processing conditions, and specimen size and geometry. This modeling requires characterization of the thermal and physical properties of materials, including thermal conductivity and diffusivity, thermal expansion, and the temperature-dependent dielectric properties. Hybrid heating schemes, in which traditional heating is augmented with microwave heat, should be considered.
Emphasize research work that facilitates the transition of developmental processes to production scale. This may include materials property characterization, process simulation, control schemes, equipment prototyping, and pilot-scale production.