Which smart microwaves are best?
Microwave ovens are commonly enjoyed for their flexibility and affordability. However, the microwaves of today are very different from the ones in the 1940s when they were invented. Some modern microwaves have advanced sensor technology and can be used via smartphone app or voice command. With a handsome and versatile unit like the Sharp ZSMC1449FS 1.4 Cubic Foot Smart Countertop Microwave Oven gracing your countertop, you can enjoy top-level microwave cooking at will.
What to know before you buy a smart microwave
Countertop vs. over-the-range microwaves
Choosing the right microwave can make or break your culinary experience. While built-in units and over-the-range microwave ovens offer considerable savings on space, they cannot be easily removed or relocated. They are also generally more expensive than countertop units.
As such, it is very important to consider what kind of microwave will work best for your kitchen. For instance, trying to mount a countertop-specific microwave will create issues like lack of clearance and obstructed ventilation, so always check beforehand.
Hands-free operation and precise settings make a microwave easy to use
Owning a smart microwave provides several notable advantages. For example, some models come with the ability to adjust the unit’s controls via a smartphone app and take voice commands through Amazon Alexa.
On the other hand, some smart microwave ovens focus their technological efforts on providing an exceptional cooking experience. They do this through precise temperature controls, humidity sensors and more. While some units offer both fully hands-free operating and advanced cooking technology, you should always consider what the unit can actually provide before purchasing.
Overall size and power usage requirements
A properly sized microwave can greatly improve even the smallest kitchens, but it can only do so if it can actually accommodate your cooking vessels. For example, while a smart microwave with an interior capacity of 1.6 cubic feet can comfortably hold a 15-inch casserole baking dish, a microwave oven with 1.4 cubic feet can only hold a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish.
While smart microwaves are very convenient, they can use considerable amounts of electricity both when in use and when idle. If you are concerned about your new microwave increasing your bills, look for a model with features like Energy Saver or Eco Mode. This significantly reduces your overall power consumption.
What to look for in a quality smart microwave
The ability to incorporate virtual assistants
While the definition of exactly what constitutes “smart” technology can vary widely, most people would likely associate the phrase with the ability to connect to the internet. For those smart microwaves with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can enjoy a wide range of hands-free cooking commands along with the full utility of Amazon’s Alexa.
For instance, by instructing your smart microwave with Alexa to “defrost a pound of ground beef,” the microwave will activate itself for a preset amount of time and power level. In fact, there are over 70 cooking-related commands that users can use with an Amazon Echo device.
Smart sensor technology and preset functions
Some users are more interested in the overall quality of the food produced than the ability to do so with voice commands. If you’re a foodie, you might be interested in a unit able to adjust cooking levels midcycle based on data from humidity sensors.
By being able to detect the ambient levels of humidity in the food being cooked, a smart microwave can determine whether to keep cooking based on the amount of remaining water. Smart microwaves also offer features like sensor reheat, one-touch programs for maximum convenience and even preset menus.
Built with high-quality materials and designed to be user-friendly
Before you decide to purchase your new smart microwave, consider how long the unit will hold up to repeated usage. Even with some impressive technology included, any microwave is only as good as the materials used in its construction.
Look for models that come in an attractive stainless steel finish that cleans easily with a damp cloth and is damage resistant. Look also for user-friendly options like a child safety lock, the ability to mute the alarm and clear LED displays.
How much you can expect to spend on a smart microwave
Depending on your budget and any desired features, a quality smart microwave can cost between $150-$234.
Smart microwave FAQ
How does a smart microwave actually work?
A. A smart microwave works by connecting to your home wireless network, which allows you to control the device with your voice or via smartphone app. Some even have bar code scanners for downloading information such as recipes and meal plans.
How can I tell if I need a new microwave?
A. Warning signs include under- or overcooked food, the door failing to create a proper seal and any burning smells, sparks or smoke.
What are the best smart microwaves to buy?
Top smart microwave
What you need to know: This handsome and versatile smart microwave is easy to use for people of all ages.
What you’ll love: This unit features the ability to cook completely hands-free with over 70 different Alexa cooking commands. There are also six sensor presets that make adjustments automatically as needed. The microwave is certified by Certified for Humans for its convenience and ease of use.
What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with the unit failing within a year or two of purchase.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top smart microwave for the money
What you need to know: This affordable smart microwave offers an impressive array of features for the price.
What you’ll love: It features the ability to control the setting via Alexa voice commands and through the companion smartphone app. The microwave also has a humidity sensor for automatic cooking adjustments, a sound on/off button to avoid waking housemates and preset menus.
What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with being unable to connect the unit to Wi-Fi or Alexa.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This smart microwave is great for the discerning home cook who prefers things to be perfect.
What you’ll love: This microwave offers Inverter Precision Cooking Technology for consistent textures and even temperatures. This technology also prevents the loss of nutrients through overcooking. In addition, the Inverter defrost function allows you to defrost items by weight without experiencing cooked edges, including poultry, meat and seafood.
What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with the unit’s computer programming and excessive operating noise.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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