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A Guide To Buying Commercial Microwave Ovens

21 Jun 2022, 1:51 PM

A guide to buying commercial microwave ovens

Commercial microwave ovens are one of the most important catering appliances for busy restaurants and cafes, which is why it's so important to do plenty of research before investing in one. In this guide, we'll explain what features to look out for when buying a new commercial microwave and help you choose the ideal model for your catering business.

Differences between domestic and commercial microwave ovens

Domestic and commercial microwave ovens might look very similar, but they differ greatly when it comes to power and function. Like all restaurant equipment, commercial microwaves are used far more heavily and often for larger volumes of food than domestic microwaves. They must therefore be significantly more powerful and durable. Commercial microwaves tend to be larger and less aesthetically pleasing in design than domestic varieties because they prioritise form over function. They tend to be easier to clean and more sturdily built to ensure a long lifespan.

Many commercial microwaves ovens do not have a turntable. Turntables in domestic microwaves help to ensure more even distribution of the microwaves to heat food, but they're susceptible to failure and are difficult to clean. Commercial microwaves instead use a 'stirrer' system in which the microwave energy is varied in focus to better distribute it.

Power and capacity of commercial microwave ovens

We often associate higher power with faster cooking when discussing microwave ovens, but this isn't necessarily the case. Capacity and power are linked, with larger microwaves usually requiring higher power in order to rapidly heat larger volumes of food. For this reason it's difficult to directly compare microwaves by power rating. A 1000w microwave might be capable of cooking food just as quickly as a 3000w microwave if it is dealing with a smaller volume of food.

Low power microwaves are those in the range of 1000w to 1400w. Medium power is those between 1500w and 1800w. High power is those between 1900w and 3000w. When choosing a power rating, consider how much food you plan to be cooking at once and how quickly you need to be cooking it. Businesses that use the microwave often and for very large volumes of food, particularly if they are striving to turn around orders very quickly, will benefit from a high power microwave.

Microwave oven capacity is defined in litres. Generally speaking, the higher the power of a commercial microwave, the larger its capacity will be. Higher powered microwaves do not penetrate the microwaves deeper into the food, but they do heat the top portion of the food more quickly than low power models. This heat is then conducted throughout the rest of the food. High powered microwaves are therefore generally designed for high capacity and speed.

If you'll be reheating large containers of liquid or soft food, such as soup, sauce or mashed potatoes, or you'll be cooking big and bulky items, a large capacity and high powered microwave are ideal. If your commercial microwave is set to be used primarily for cooking or reheating small portions, a medium-capacity model with low to medium power will be sufficient.

Magnetrons in commercial microwaves

Magnetrons are the devices that emit microwaves in microwave ovens. Low power microwave ovens tend to have just one magnetron, while high power models usually have two, one on the top and one on the bottom to maximise even microwave penetration. Top range and very heavy-duty models might have up to four magnetrons. The number of magnetrons may be important to consider if you're looking for rapid cooking speeds.

Benefits of cavity liners in microwaves

Some commercial microwave ovens have removable liners for the inside cavity. This makes it really easy to clean them because food spatters hit the liner rather than the walls of the cavity itself. The liner can simply be removed and washed in a sink or dishwasher rather than scrubbing the inside of the microwave itself. Cavity liners can also help to protect the walls of the microwave oven from damage.

Microwaves with manual dials vs electronic touch buttons

Manual dials tend to be incredibly easy to use so that the microwave can be set to work quickly and easily. However, electronic touch buttons tend to offer more accurate timings which are adjustable right down to the second in order to ensure more consistent cooking results. Plus, many of these touch button microwaves have programmable functions which allow you to set up a variety of defined cooking programs to suit different foods or dishes. This can help you to save time and cut down on user error; simply put the food into the microwave, select the right program and let the microwave do the work.

Programmable, touch button microwaves tend to be more complex and time-consuming to set up than dial microwaves. Plus, they're usually significantly more expensive. However, for chain restaurants that require excellent rates of consistency with minimal training needed for staff, they're an excellent investment and can save time and money in the long run.

Commercial microwave oven warranties

Catering appliances and restaurant equipment are expensive, so it's important to check that your investment in a microwave oven is protected with a decent warranty. This gives you peace of mind that if anything goes wrong with the microwave during the warranty period, it will be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer. Keep in mind that domestic microwave ovens are not suitable for commercial use and therefore any warranty or guarantee will be void if you use a domestic microwave in a professional kitchen. That's why it's so important to purchase a suitable commercial microwave oven when equipping your commercial kitchen.

Check out our range of commercial microwave ovens

We stock a wide variety of microwave ovens from leading brands such as Samsung, Buffalo, Panasonic, Caterlite, Menumaster and True Refrigeration. With a wide range of capacities and power ratings available and both dial and programmable models to choose from, you're sure to find a commercial microwave oven that meets the unique demands of your professional kitchen.

Explore our full range of commercial microwaves
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