Woman heating her salad in her new microwave oven.

Beginner Guide To The Pros And Cons Of Microwave Ovens

Personally, I have experienced the pros and cons of microwave ovens. I can honestly say the convenience far out ways the dangers. As a working mom, I just don’t have time to always think about what I am going to make for supper as I’m running out the door in the mornings. At that time of the day my mental capacity is the same like if you ask me: 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Me: Look, I’m just trying to make it to Friday…

So, yeah, quick, easy and practical is the order of the day when you run a household. Hats off to anyone who does manage to run a modern home without one, do you have a unicorn too?

Is a microwave essential?

I remember when my microwave broke and I had to be without because, well, money doesn’t grow on trees so we had to wait till month end. I had to defrost foodstuff using hot water which took forever when I had to make lunch for kids or supper for the family. 

Having my family moan about how hungry they are and that I’m taking so long with the meal really was incredibly fun. I really get fuzzy feelings as my tween and teen sigh constantly as they ask for the umpteenth time when the food will be ready.

Then it came to heating left overs, we felt as if we were making the food from scratch because it just took so long to heat through and evenly. Also, I make coffee, I want to drink the coffee but said coffee has to stand. As I run to do a million things at once and when I eventually get to the coffee, what remains is a cup of sad liquid, not the life-changing elixir it once was. 

Needless to say, having a microwave in my household is essential.

Lady adjusting the settings on her new microwave oven.

Do you have a microwave in your home? If so, do you think it is an essential household item? Or is it overrated? Below I will explore briefly the pros and cons of microwave ovens (even though you can clearly see that I am biased) and let you decide for yourself.

Pros of microwave ovens

Microwaves are one of the most popular appliances in homes across the globe. They are often seen as a necessity, especially for those who lead busy lives. However, there are some people who believe that microwaves are overrated and not worth the hassle. So, what do you think? Let’s take a closer look…

Microwaves are quick and convenient

This is probably the most common reason why people choose to use microwaves. They can heat up food in a matter of seconds, which is ideal for those who are always on the go.

Microwaves are easy to use

They are very user-friendly and don’t require any special skills to operate. In my household, everyone uses our microwave for different reasons, from my 10-year-old son (heating his cold porridge) to my 14-year-old daughter (heating a bean bag to keep her warm). 

Microwaves are affordable

A microwave oven is one of the most budget-friendly kitchen appliances on the market.

Microwaves are available in a variety of sizes

Microwaves are available in a range of sizes to suit any kitchen space.

A microwave that has been installed above a gas stove in a kitchen.

Cons of microwave ovens

There are others that consider microwave ovens as non-essential and prefer the old-school ways of living. Some people do not want the hassle of tech and dealing with rust in a microwave. Below are a few other things to consider:

Food becomes dry and soggy

The food placed in a microwave oven is heated by the water present in the food. This tends to result in dry or soggy food e.g. try heating up a slice of frozen bread. The food texture may also be affected by this type of heating. 

Limited with the choice of containers

To heat food in a microwave, you need to use containers that are deemed to be microwave-safe. This restricts you to plastic-type containers, and based on the size of your microwave oven, may also limit the amount of food you can heat up during a heating cycle.

Not a versatile kitchen appliance

Your choice of food making is very limited with a microwave oven. For example, you cannot make roti’s to eat with Indian curry or to bake a delicious cake. You will also be limited when trying to brown meat surfaces, as microwaves are designed for quick heating, rather than deep cooking.

Guy trying out his microwave oven by preparing to cook a pizza.

FAQ: Pros and cons of microwave ovens

What are the 3 things you should not put in a microwave?

Aluminum Foil – the foil, which also acts as the metal will react to the metal of the microwave, reflecting not as a mirror but as a micro-wave (you see what I did there), by causing sparks and damaging your appliance.

Uncovered Foods – foods that are not covered will detonate and cause an explosion of flavors, but not in a good way. Food that is allowed to simmer without being covered will always make a mess. Unless you are using a convection microwave oven, it is best to always have food covered.

Clothing Items – damp items will always be the death of me, but it is never wise (trust me) to shove it in a microwave. Clothing should never be put in a microwave because that is not what the appliance was designed to do.

What are the 3 common problems with microwaves?

Light bulb not working – there is the possibility of the light bulb being fused or faulty, make sure this is not your light-bulb moment. On a serious note, this could indicate a loose connection on your mainboard or just a simple maintenance swop out.

Plate not spinning – below the plate is a motor that is responsible for rotating the food contents during heating cycles. If the plate is no longer rotating, this could indicate a faulty motor. It is not a complicated procedure, however, for safety reasons, it would be best to have this checked or repaired by an electrical technician.

Buttons no longer works – this is an indication of a faulty touchpad or control board. Again, best to have this seen by an electrical technician.

Are microwave ovens safe?

When used in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines, then yes, microwaves can be regarded as a safe appliances [1]. They are designed to last for about 10 years, so if you have one older than that, then it is best not to be in the same room while reheating your food. 

Technician repairing a faulty microwave oven.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I believe that microwaves are an essential household item because of the convenience they offer. However, I understand that there are some drawbacks to using them e.g. using aluminum cookware inside a microwave. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use a microwave is up to the individual. 

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of microwave ovens. I hope this has helped clear up some misconceptions and given you food for thought (pun intended). So go forth and make the best decision for your own kitchen – whether that means ditching your microwave or keeping it around for popcorn emergencies. And remember, if all else fails, there’s always takeout.

So, what do you think? Is a microwave an essential household item or overrated? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Charlene Gallant

Charlene is a lover of good food. She enjoys nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and sharing her favourite recipes with her readers. She also enjoys reading a good book.

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