Different Types Of Microwave Ovens

8 Different Types Of Microwave Ovens (With Advantages And Disadvantages)

When I started looking at this topic I had no idea how many different types of microwave ovens you could actually buy. The amount of information available blew my mind, and I had no idea what the differences were. I’ve compiled this post to help you figure out which of these microwaves will be best for you.

So what are the different types of microwave ovens? The solo microwave is your most basic type. An inverter microwave uses a different power source, a flatbed microwave has no turntable, and grill and convection microwaves add extra cooking methods. Microwaves can be placed on the countertop, over the range or built-in to kitchen cupboards.

I’ve gone into much more detail below about each of the different kinds of microwaves you can buy. I’ve looked at the types of food you can cook, price, capacity, features and much more. Read on to see which type of microwave is right for you.

8 Different Types Of Microwave Ovens and Their Cooking Features

Table of Contents

Solo Microwave Oven

Like I said, when I first started looking at the different types of microwave ovens on the market today, I had no idea there would be so many.

I didn’t even know that a regular microwave is technically called a solo microwave oven. As I’ve got more into cooking, and taken to buying more appliances for my kitchen, I’ve learned so much.

A regular or solo microwave oven is really the kind that most people have in their kitchen. They just don’t know that this is what it’s called. They also, like me, probably don’t really know there are so many other types of microwave.

So let’s start looking at the different types of microwave ovens by talking about the solo microwave.

How Does A Solo Microwave Oven Work?

When I started looking into microwaves, it was like an actual history lesson. I have actually written a much longer post about solo microwave ovens, and also about something called a magnetron. Researching for both of these posts taught me so much. I learned about the history of the microwave oven and it’s links to winning World War 2 believe it or not.

So how exactly does a solo or regular microwave oven work? This is important, because how a solo microwave oven works is at the core of how all microwaves cook food.

Not surprisingly microwave ovens use something called microwave technology. A microwave has inside of it something called a cavity magnetron. This magnetron charges electrons which are then passed from a cathode to an anode. It doesn’t really matter what these are. I have no idea either as I’m not a scientist!

Running all the way underneath the magnetron is a powerful magnet. It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this is partly where it gets its name from.

The magnet is there to affect the movement of the electrons. As they pass over the magnet they are forced to move in a circular direction. As they fly around inside the magnetron they pass over holes or cavities. This is where the cavity part of the name cavity magnetron comes from.

As they pass over these cavities, the electrons start to resonate inside of them. This creates microwaves. Once created they are then funnelled into the cooking compartment of a microwave through something called a waveguide.

How Does A Solo Microwave Cook Food?

So now we know how a regular microwave works in terms of its power source. How then does it use these microwaves to cook food? When the microwaves enter the cooking compartment they bounce around inside. They are reflected by the inside surfaces of the microwave.

When food or liquid is added, it absorbs these microwaves. Once absorbed, the microwaves cause the water molecules in the food or liquid to vibrate. The more water molecules the higher the level of vibration.

These vibrations cause heat to be generated, which in turn cooks the food. The higher a food or liquid is in water content, the faster the food will cook.

Due to the direction of the microwaves bouncing around inside of the cooking compartment food, not all areas of the cooking chamber will receive the same amounts of microwaves.

This means that food can be left with cold spots. What I mean by this is that some parts of the food would not be cooked. To get around this, regular microwaves have something called a turntable.

This rotating glass plate ensures that all areas of the food absorb roughly the same amount of microwaves. This goes some way to even out the cooking process.

What Can You Cook With A Solo Microwave Oven?

With a solo microwave oven you have the ability to heat, reheat and defrost huge amount of foods. This is I guess the same with all of the different types of microwave ovens you can buy. Some of them have more features, but these are the ones at the core of a regular microwave.

Cooking With A Solo Microwave

Many people say technically you are just heating food, as opposed to cooking. I would argue against this though, as it is entirely possible to cook some things from scratch.

You can use it to cook easy pasta dishes with a variety of sauces. I’ve made mac and cheese several times and it turns out well. I also like to use it to make scrambled eggs, and this always turns out well too.

You can get cookware to go inside of a microwaves, such as microwave rice cookers and scrambled egg makers too. These definitely help to aid the cooking process.

Cooking things like baked potatoes is quick and easy in a microwave too. I do find that these aren’t quite so good as making them in an oven though. I like to give mine a blast in the microwave to speed up the process, and then finish them off in the oven. This gives the skin a nice crisp texture.

Reheating With A Solo Microwave

Probably the thing I love most about a microwave is the ability to reheat food. I’m always really busy, and don’t always have time during the week to cook meals from scratch. I like to make more food than I need and then just use it the next day too. I either take it into work to reheat there, or just put it in the fridge for the next night.

I’m also a big fan of takeaway, especially pizza. It’s easy enough to just stick this in the microwave the next day for a few seconds and your dinner for the night is ready. For some reason I always find that food like this reheated the next day tastes even better. Perhaps that’s just me though!

Defrosting With A Solo Microwave

Another amazing feature that comes with all of the different types of microwave ovens is the ability to defrost food. While you can do this quicker with some of the other microwaves on the list, you can still do this fairly quickly with a regular microwave.

Like I said above, I like to make food in batches to use later. It’s super easy to just take this out of the freezer and defrost in the microwave. If you have a reasonably powerful microwave you can do this fairly quickly and easily.

I often make food like spaghetti bolognese and just defrost and then heat in my microwave. It always tastes great made this way and it’s super quick and easy.

How Much Does A Solo Microwave Cost?

So here I’m talking specifically about solo or regular microwave ovens. Some of the other types I’m talking about below can and do cost way more.

That’s not to say there isn’t still a huge variance in price between solo microwaves at the lower and higher end of the markets. When looking to buy one you will be thinking about how much space you have in your kitchen, and how big you need the cooking space to be inside.

You will also need to think about how powerful you need it to be, and what added features you want to go with it too.

In terms of price range when I was looking on Amazon I found that you can pay as little as around $60 and as much as $1000. Now for sure this is a huge difference here. It’s all about what you need from a microwave, and I guess how much you have or are willing to spend.

The microwave below is one of the cheapest I found available on Amazon. Sure it’s quite small, and perhaps doesn’t have a lot of the features that other microwaves do. But if your kitchen is quite small, or you are just cooking for one person then it may be fine to buy something at this end of the market.

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At the other end of the price range is something like the microwave pictured below. Now this is a commercial grade microwave, and not many people are going to need a microwave of this size and with this many features in their kitchen. It is good to see what is out there at the top end of the market.

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Capacity Of A Solo Microwave

The capacity of a solo or regular microwave can vary greatly. Obviously the larger the cooking capacity your microwave has, the more space it will take up in the kitchen.

Generally speaking a bigger microwave is going to cost more too, although this is not always the case. You can get smaller microwaves with more features that will cost more than bigger microwaves with a lot less.

The size or capacity of a microwave oven is measured in something called cubic litres. So here the capacity of the cooking compartment is measured in volume, as opposed to dimensions.

The cooking capacity of regular microwave ovens ranges from around 13 litres to 42 litres. A regular family sized microwave oven will be around 25 litres in capacity.

When you are deciding size to buy you need to take into account the size of the plates or cookware you are going to use in your microwave. Make sure the turntable is wide enough and the microwave is deep enough to fit what you want to use.

You can do this by simply measuring the height and diameter of your plates and cookware. You can then compare this to the dimensions of the cooking chamber and size of glass turntable plate.

There are many microwaves that come with a turntable plate diameter of around 25cm which is more than likely too small for your average dinner plate. These tend to be about 27cm in diameter.

Larger microwaves will have turntables up to around 34 or 35cm in diameter.

Features Of A Solo Microwave

Different types of microwave ovens certainly come with a variety of features, and some are shared between them. Here I am just talking about the features of solo microwaves.

Obviously I have said that you can heat, reheat and defrost with a regular microwave oven. Solo microwaves do also come with other features too.

At the most basic level you can adjust the power levels of your microwave to take into account the kind of food being cooked. Lower power can be set for foods that require less power and are more delicate.

Some higher end solo microwaves also come with auto-cook programs. The beauty of this is that the microwave will work out the required cooking time based on the type and weight of food being placed in the microwave.

You can set programs for things like vegetables, popcorn, pizza and much more.

Some microwaves come with child locks to prevent children from opening a microwave. This is ideal if you have young children round who are simply too young to be allowed to do this.

Multi-step programs are also available on some microwaves. What this allows you to do is set a program where your microwave can defrost frozen food, and then switch to cooking mode. This allows you to just set it away cooking and move on to something else. It’s a really useful feature.

Advantages Of Solo Microwave Ovens

  • Ability To heat Food Quickly
  • Easy To Clean
  • Availability Of Timers
  • Easy Reheating Of Food
  • Safely Defrosts Food
  • Variable Heat Settings

Disadvantages Of Solo Microwave Ovens

  • Can Dry Out Food If Overcooked
  • Can Leave Some Foods Soggy If Overheated
  • Lack Of Versatility In Cooking Style
  • Not All Containers And Cookware Is Safe To Use In A Microwave
  • High Energy Consumption

Grill Microwave Oven

So what of the other different types of microwave ovens available today. The first of these I will take a look at is the grill microwave oven.

I’m going to be honest and say that until I started looking specifically at microwaves, I didn’t even know this type existed. So what is a grill microwave oven?

This requires much less of an explanation than the above for a solo microwave. This is because it still relies on the way a regular microwave works for a large part of the cooking process. In the most basic of senses it is a microwave that combines the conventional method of microwave cooking with a grill element.

So you will still have a cooking chamber that is filled with microwaves, and these will still be absorbed by the food or liquid. But in addition to this you have a grill element, and most usually a rack to place food onto.

How Does A Grill Microwave Oven Work?

So the grill oven works by providing cooking via microwaves as in a regular microwave oven, and cooking with a grill plate, not surprisingly just like with a grill.

Now when I discussed the disadvantages of a regular microwave above, I mentioned that overcooking some foods can make them become soggy. This is where the grill microwave changes things up.

Using the grill element you can cook foods to become brown and crisp. The great thing about the grill microwave is that you can do this quickly, more than likely much quicker than if you were just grilling.

You can use the regular functionality to cook food whilst also grilling the food to become much firmer or crisper. So cooking things like burgers or bacon in the grill microwave will have a much different outcome than with a regular microwave.

What Can You Cook With A Grill Microwave Oven?

The great thing about the different types of microwave ovens I am talking about is that you get to cook all of the things you would in a regular microwave. It’s just that each of the different microwaves can cook a large amount of other things in a much better way.

So all of the things I have mentioned above such as fluffy rice, scrambled eggs and baked potatoes are all possible in a grill microwave. It’s just that this type will cook some of them more the way you would like, and you can even add things that you wouldn’t normally use a microwave for.

Things I would recommend to cook using your grill microwave would include meats such as burgers and bacon. This type of microwave is also great for making grilled sandwiches or toasties.

Baked potatoes in the grill microwave will have a much crispier skin. Like I said I usually blast these in the microwave and the stick them in the oven. With a grill microwave you don’t need to do this. You can get that crisp skin without having to put it in the oven.

The grill microwave is also great for cooking vegetables that are much firmer and less soggy, and pasta dishes too.

I would also use this to cook pizzas. Even just reheating pizza with a grill microwave will improve this. The pizza can be cooked to have a much firmer and crispier texture.

How Much Does A Grill Microwave Cost?

Obviously the addition of a grill to a regular microwave oven is going to push the price up quite a bit. Is it worth the extra price?

This really depends on how much you are going to use a grill microwave. I think the answer is yes and you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to buy one.

As with all appliances, there are budget models and models at the higher end of the market. With a higher priced model you are ultimately paying for more power and more features.

If you have a smaller kitchen or don’t need so many features, a lower priced model may be the way to go.

Looking on Amazon and on a few other sites, you can expect to pay somewhere between $100 and $300 dollars for a grill microwave.

At the bottom end of the market I found this Faberware Grill Microwave pictured below. It does lack the features of some of the more expensive models, but it will get the job done and it has a ton of great reviews on Amazon.

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At the other end of the market I found this Panasonic NN-GN68K Grill Microwave. The grill on this microwave is slightly different, in that it infrared technology in the grill to brown and crisp food.

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Capacity Of A Grill Microwave

When I talked about the capacity of a regular microwave oven I said that it is measured in cubic litres, rather than specifically in height and width dimensions.

It is the same for all of the different types of microwave ovens I am looking at here. What you do need to factor in when looking at the capacity of a grill microwave is the fact that the grill element and rack will take up extra space.

So if you have measured out the height of your cooking containers or cookware, you will want to factor in for the grill which also takes up space. You will probably buy slightly bigger than you would for a regular microwave because of this.

Features Of A Grill Microwave

There’s not really too much to say here about features. It really speaks for itself. A grill microwave comes with all of the same features as a regular microwave oven.

You can heat, reheat and defrost food. You can set timers and make use of different cooking programs. Heat levels are adjustable too just as with regular microwaves.

The added extra with a grill microwave is obviously that you can use the grill either independently or at the same time as the microwave part of the appliance.

Advantages Of Grill Microwave Ovens

  • Ability To Grill Food
  • Faster Cooking Time
  • Saves on Washing Up

Disadvantages Of Grill Microwave Ovens

  • Cost
  • Added Weight
  • Still Can’t bake Or Roast Food

Convection Microwave Oven

So on to another of the different types of microwave ovens I found when researching. The convection microwave oven! If you thought the addition of a grill to a microwave was exciting, the convection microwave takes this even further.

How Does A Convection Microwave Oven Work?

So what is a convection microwave and how does it work? Well just as with a grill microwave, a convection microwave takes existing microwave technology to cook food. There are still microwaves created by a magnetron.

These are still sent into the cooking chamber by a waveguide and they still bounce around inside of the microwave. They are absorbed by food and excite water molecules, heating them to cook food.

The obvious addition to this traditional microwave cooking is that you also have a convection element to cooking food. This type of microwave basically combines a regular microwave with a convection oven.

A convection oven basically works by creating hot air that is then circulated round the oven by a fan. Rather than the food just sitting in a heated cooking compartment like in a regular oven, the hot air is blown onto the food causing it to be browned and crisped.

So in a convection microwave, food is cooked in two ways. Firstly it is cooked like a regular microwave, with the use of microwaves to excite water molecules.

Secondly, the heating element inside this microwave heats up the air in the cooking compartment, which is then blown around and onto the food using a fan.

What Can You Cook With A Convection Microwave Oven?

As with a grill microwave, you can cook all of the same things in a convection microwave that you can with a regular one. Similarly some things you can cook even better, and you can add a lot more foods to be cooked as well.

There is no way I would attempt to roast a full chicken in a regular microwave. However, if the cooking compartment is big enough then you can definitely do this in a convection microwave. The chicken will be fully cooked, and the outside nicely roasted.

Pizzas will cook extremely well in a convection microwave. The pizza can be fully cooked in here. Unlike a regular microwave you can cook a pizza that will have that firm, crisp texture to it.

You can also do all kinds of baking with a convection microwave oven. Again combining traditional microwave cooking with the convection method will allow you to bake reasonably quickly. You will be able to make cakes and cookies and all kinds of other things that are cooked perfectly due to the extra heat.

how Much Does A Convection Microwave Cost?

As with a grill microwave oven, you can expect to pay quite a bit more for a convection microwave than for a regular one. The reason for this is an obvious one.

With more components and greater technology, it simply costs more to manufacture convection microwaves. What you do get for the extra price though is effectively two appliances in one.

If you are looking to replace your microwave and don’t already have a convection oven then this might be right for you. It’s a cheaper option than buying a convection oven for sure.

In terms of a price range for convection microwaves, I found them ranging from somewhere around $200 at the lower end to around $700 at the higher end of the market.

The Toshiba EC042A5C-SS in the picture below is a convection microwave oven at the lower end of the market. It doesn’t have as many features as some of the more expensive models, but it does have a load of great reviews on Amazon.

If you are looking for something smaller but still want the benefits of convection cooking in your microwave, then this one might be right for you.

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The Dacor DMW2420S pictured below is a convection microwave at the higher end of the market. If you are serious about cooking, and have the money to spend, you may want to consider something like this.

It works well as a countertop microwave if you have the space, and can also be fitted as a built in microwave.

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Capacity Of A Convection Microwave

As with all microwaves, the capacity of a convection microwave is measured in cubic litres. As I talked about with the grill microwave, the additional cooking elements in a convection microwave will make you want to think a little more carefully about size.

Whilst it provides the ability to cook more than one dish at once with the addition of the rack, this does impact on space.

To fit in the regular cookware or containers you use in a regular microwave, you may want to add a little extra space to account for the rack if you are using the convection element regularly too. This could mean adding a little more onto the price because of this.

Features Of A Convection Microwave

A convection microwave comes with all of the same features a regular microwave does. You can heat, reheat and defrost food as you can with all of the different types of microwave ovens you can buy.

You can set timers, and you have different programs and heat settings available. How many depends on the amount you are willing to pay.

The obvious added feature with this microwave is its ability to use convection heat. Combining this with all of the above features really opens up microwave cooking, making your appliance much more versatile.

Advantages Of Convection Microwave Ovens

  • Ability To Cook Food Faster
  • Food Cooked More Evenly
  • Can Cook Multiple Dishes At Once
  • Wider Variety Of Foods That Can Be Cooked
  • A Lot Cheaper To Buy Than A Decent Convection Oven
  • Saves On Having To Use Two Different Appliances

Disadvantages Of Convection Microwave Ovens

  • No Bottom Element To Brown And Crisp The Bottom Of Foods
  • More Difficult To Clean Than A Regular Microwave
  • More Expensive Than A Regular Microwave

Inverter Microwave Oven

Of all of the different types of microwave ovens on the market today the inverter microwave is the one I found the most interesting. This is due to the way an inverter microwave is powered.

Unlike some of the other microwaves I have talked about here such as a grill microwave or convection microwave, there are no additional cooking elements in an inverter microwave.

You can’t grill food, or brown or crisp it. An inverter microwave is much closer in terms of features to a regular microwave oven. The only real difference lies in the way power is created at the source.

How Does An Inverter Microwave Oven Work?

Both regular microwave ovens and inverter microwave ovens use magnetrons to create microwaves, that are funnelled into the cooking chamber via a waveguide.  In a regular or solo microwave, power is supplied by something called a transformer.

It might sound odd, but this transformer is only capable of supplying full power or no power to the microwave. So it’s fine if your microwave is set to full power for say 10 minutes.

The transformer will pump out full power to the microwave, and it will cook on full power for a full 10 minutes. What if you want to set your microwave to 50% power for 10 minutes?

Well if this is the case, the microwave will alternate between full cooking power and no cooking power for 10 minutes. So you would get one minute full power, then one minute no power and so on until the cooking cycle is finished.

An inverter microwave is quite different from this. Instead of a transformer, an inverter microwave oven uses an inversion circuit to supply power. Instead of having to cycle on and off from full to no power, an inversion circuit is able to provide a steady and constant stream of power at whatever level you want.

So it could cook at 50% of power for a full 10 minutes, rather than going between full and no power. With the consistent and constant stream of power, food can be cooked more evenly, with less cold spots in certain areas of the food being cooked.

What Can You Cook With An Inversion Microwave Oven?

There really is very little to no difference in what you can cook between a regular and inverter microwave. You can cook everything in an inverter microwave oven that you can in a regular microwave. It’s just that you will see more even cooking of food, with less cold spots.

How Much Does An Invert Microwave Cost?

As with any appliance, if it has more complicated technology, it is going to cost more. It is exactly the same with an inverter microwave oven. You can expect to pay a fair bit more for one of these than for a regular microwave. It does however come with advantages, and if you are a regular microwave user, you may want to invest the extra when you are looking to buy a new microwave.

In looking around I found that at the cheaper end of the market you can pay around $140 for an inverter microwave. At the opposite end you can pay up to around $550. This will buy you a really great inverter microwave.

The Panasonic NN-SN686S Inverter Microwave pictured below is aimed at people on a budget who still want to buy an inverter microwave. It is still more expensive than a regular lower end of the market microwave, but is a good buy if you want an inverter microwave without breaking the bank.

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The Panasonic NN-SN966S pictured below is at the higher end of the market. You may only want to spend this much if an inverter microwave is something you will use really regularly, or if you are often cooking for large groups of people.

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Capacity Of A Convection Microwave

There really isn’t much to say here in terms of capacity that is any different than for a regular microwave oven. As already stated, the capacity is measured in cubic litres.

When looking to buy an inverter microwave you really just need to make sure the physical dimensions are going to be large enough for the cookware you will be using. When looking to buy, all manufactures will list the dimensions of the inside cooking areas. Just check that these are big enough to fit in what you need.

Features Of A Convection Microwave

Again the features of an inverter microwave are going to be pretty similar to those of a regular microwave. You can heat, reheat and defrost food. It would be fair to say that this will be done with more consistency, with food cooked more evenly.

You can however ultimately do the same things with both. An inverter microwave will come with all of the same timers and programs as a regular microwave.

Advantages Of Inverter Microwave Ovens

  • Food Will Be Cooked More Evenly
  • Food Will Be Cooked More Quickly
  • Inverter Microwaves Are More Energy Efficient
  • Food Defrosted Much More Evenly
  • Lighter In Weight Than Regular Microwaves

Disadvantages Of Inverter Microwave Ovens

  • Quite A Bit More Expensive Than Regular Microwave Ovens

Flatbed Microwave Oven

The flatbed microwave is another of the different types of microwave ovens that I simply didn’t realise existed. Like the inverter microwave it has many similarities to the regular microwave oven. It still uses microwaves to cook food, but not exactly in the same way as a solo microwave does. The difference here is the way in which they are funnelled or transferred into the cooking chamber.

How Does A Flatbed Microwave Oven Work?

So as I said a flatbed microwave still uses microwaves to cook food. These are still created using a magnetron in just the same way.

Unlike the inverter microwave, a flatbed microwave still relies on a transformer for the generation of power. This means that power will cycle on and off like in a regular microwave if the power level is set to anything less than full.

The two main differences here with a flatbed microwave oven in comparison to a regular microwave is that it doesn’t have a turntable to spin food, and that the waveguide is positioned in a different place.

In a flatbed microwave the waveguide sits underneath the cooking chamber. In a regular microwave this is positioned on one of the inside walls of the cooking chamber. The waveguide or antenna in the flatbed microwave oven rotates constantly while it sends microwaves into the cooking chamber.

The reason a regular microwave has a rotating turntable is that due to the way microwaves are dispersed into the cooking chamber, they are unable to reach all parts of the foods being cooked.

When they bounce around inside the microwave, reflected by the surfaces, they do so at such an angle that they are not absorbed by all parts of the food. In order for this to happen, the food needs to be rotated inside of the cooking chamber.

To get around this problem, a flatbed microwave instead rotates the waveguide constantly under the cooking chamber. This allows the microwaves to bounce around inside of the cooking chamber at a different angle. This ensures that they are absorbed by all areas of the food as the waveguide rotates.

What Can You Cook With A Flatbed Microwave Oven?

A flatbed microwave oven will still cook all of the same foods as a regular microwave oven. Unlike a grill microwave or a convection microwave, nothing is really changed with the cooking method.

There are no extra elements added, and so you can’t expect to see any differences to the way in which food can be cooked.

It won’t be browned or crisped, and will really have the same consistency and tastes as food cooked in a regular microwave.

How Much Does A Flatbed Microwave Cost?

As with the other different types of microwave ovens mentioned, a flatbed microwave is going to cost more than a regular microwave. Again with the added technology used to build this type of microwave, the price goes up. You can expect to get a decent flatbed microwave for somewhere around $200-$250.

The Panasonic Flatbed Microwave pictured below is a very good option. It’s not outrageously expensive, and comes with a whole range of features.

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Capacity Of A Flatbed Microwave

One of the things I love about the flatbed microwave is the added space it provides. For starters you save space simply by not having a turntable in the cooking chamber. This instantly leads to a bigger cooking capacity.

On top of this you don’t need to worry about the additional space needed for the turning of food. This means that you can use larger containers that would be either too big or the wrong shape to turn around in a regular microwave.

With the additional cooking space, and the fact that you don’t need to worry about food turning, it is possible to cook more than one dish at a time in a flatbed microwave.

This increased cooking capacity is definitely a big positive when thinking about weather a flatbed microwave is right for you.

Features Of A Flatbed Microwave

A flatbed microwave really only differs from a regular microwave in the way microwaves enter the cooking compartment. As a result they bounce around at different angles, and are absorbed by food without the need to use a turntable.

Apart from this they are really the same as regular microwaves. So you can heat, reheat and defrost food just the same. You can also take advantage of all of the same programs, timers and features as with a regular microwave oven.

Advantages Of Flatbed Microwave Ovens

  • Larger Cooking Capacity Than A Regular Or Solo Microwave
  • Ability To Cook More Than One Dish Or Food At The Same Time
  • Due To The Way Food Is Cooked This Is Done More Evenly
  • Easier To Clean Than A Regular Microwave Oven Due To Lack Of Turntable

Disadvantages Of Flatbed Microwave Ovens

  • The Only Real Drawback Over A Regular Microwave Is The Increased Cost

Countertop Microwave Oven

A countertop microwave requires a different explanation to the other different types of microwave ovens we have seen so far. A countertop microwave is exactly what it says really. It is a standalone appliance that sits on a countertop in your kitchen.

This kind of microwave can be compared to built in microwaves and over the range microwaves which I will talk about below. A countertop microwave can be any of the microwaves that I talked about above. You can have a countertop solo microwave, grill, convection, inverter and flatbed microwave.

You can get the most basic of models below $50, and can spend up to $1000 and beyond for a countertop microwave that combines some or all of the cooking technology in the microwaves mentioned above.

If you have a tiny kitchen then you can buy a tiny countertop microwave to fit into this. If you have tons of space and need a bigger microwave, then there are some much larger models on the market.

Advantages of Countertop Microwaves

  • Cheaper Than Over The Range Or Built In Microwaves
  • Easier To replace Than Both Of These Too
  • Can Be Easier To Clean Depending On The Position Of Over The range Or Built In Microwaves

Disadvantages of Countertop Microwaves

  • Takes Up Much More Space Than Over The Range And Built In Microwaves

Over the Range Microwave Oven

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Another of the different types of microwave ovens you can buy is the over the range microwave. An over the range microwave oven does not sit on your kitchen countertop.

Instead it is installed above your range or cooker. They take the place of what would normally be a range hood.

An over the range microwave will usually have its own ventilation system. This means that steam and cooking odours will be taken out of the microwave via a ventilation system.

Again you are not limited to just a regular or solo microwave when buying an over the range microwave. You can have this type of microwave with convection or inverter technology or any of the other types I have talked about.

Advantages Of Over The Range Microwave Ovens

  • Saves On Space By Taking The Microwave Off The Countertop
  • The Addition Of A Vent Reduces Build Up Of Steam And Cooking Smells

Disadvantages Of Over The Range Microwave Ovens

  • Much More Expensive Than Countertop Microwave Ovens
  • They Need To Be Professionally Installed
  • More Difficult And Expensive To Replace than Countertop Microwaves
  • Can Be Difficult To reach For Smaller People Depending On the Height Of Installation
  • If Positioned Too High It Can Be Difficult To Observe Contents When Cooking

Built-in Microwave Oven

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The last of the different types of microwave ovens I am going to look at is the built-in microwave. This is similar to the over the range microwave as it takes the microwave away from the countertop, freeing up space.

Instead of being installed over the hood of your cooker, a built-in microwave can be installed into a cabinet or cupboard space, or even attached to the wall.

Again a built-in microwave could be any of the different types of microwave ovens discussed above. You could have a solo microwave, grill, inverter or convection microwave built into a space in your kitchen.

The obvious benefit again here with a built in microwave is the space that it frees up in your kitchen. If you have enough kitchen cupboard space to accommodate one of these, then it might be a good option. Also if you have some free wall space then you could install it there.

It may be difficult however to fit in one of the bigger models of microwave. If you need a bigger microwave as you are cooking for a large family, this may not be for you. Most built-in microwaves tend to be a little smaller in size.

Advantages Of Built-in Microwave Ovens

  • Can Save A Lot Of Space In Your Kitchen Taking The Appliance Away from the Countertop

Disadvantages Of Built-in Microwave Ovens

  • A Built-In Appliance Like A Microwave Is Going To Cost More Than A Countertop One
  • Will More Than Likely Need To Be Professionally Installed Unless You Are Good At This Kind Of Thing
  • Unless You Have Huge Kitchen Cupboards A Built-In Microwave Is Probably Going To BE Smaller Than A Countertop Microwave


So there you have it. An absolute ton of information on the different types of microwave ovens you can buy today. Who knew there would be 8 different microwaves rather than just the regular microwave you see sitting on a kitchen countertop?

If you just want a regular microwave there are a ton of these to choose from and the price can range drastically depending on the size and amount of functions you need.

For more versatility a grill microwave or convection microwave may be the one for you if you are willing to pay the extra.

If you are looking for more cooking space but don’t want a bigger microwave, you may want to try a flatbed microwave, as this gives you extra space with no turntable needed.

There are also choices of position for your microwave. If you have plenty of space in your kitchen, a countertop microwave may well just do. However if you want to free up some of this space, you could go with an over the range or built-in microwave.

I hope this post has helped you choose from the different types of microwave ovens available today. If you have anything to add then why not leave a comment below? Thanks for reading!

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