Microwaves are one of the success stories of modern kitchen innovation. They allow us to defrost and cook our food in a matter of minutes, all with the push of a button. Since they work by only heating food, but not the air around it, they are also more energy-efficient, and thus cheaper, than ovens.

Microwaves are also able to work very quickly, because they work by heating individual molecules of water and fat throughout the food. This means that heating or cooking food completely takes much less time than other methods.

But there are many different styles of microwave, at all kinds of price points. So how can you choose the one that is most suitable for your routine?

Price is going to be a deciding factor for many prospective buyers. The cheapest option is generally the single function microwave, which provides the basic cooking, heating and defrosting functions that you would expect.

However, for those with a little more money to burn, there are models that come with a built-in grill. The reason for this is that it is not otherwise possible to brown or crisp food in a microwave.

Some types go even further in terms of multiple functions. These are known as combi microwaves, and incorporate a grill and a convection oven, making them a very useful option. However, if you already have a standard oven, the extra bulk of a combi microwave may not be worth it.

The final option is a built-in microwave. These are generally sold with an installation kit, so that you can set them up yourself. They are quite an expensive choice, but they are a great way of freeing up space counter space if this is at a premium. What’s more, they can instantly give your kitchen a highly sophisticated look, especially if you are able to choose a colour and finish that complements your existing decor.

The other thing to consider when choosing a microwave is what extra features are included. A good defrost option is essential for getting the best out of your microwave. Some models also include a feature called “chaos defrost”, which is much less frightening than it sounds. Chaos defrosting means that the food is bombarded with random pulses of energy, helping cut down the time needed even further.

Some microwaves come with accessories that can expand the range of things you can cook, such as egg poachers and vegetable steamers. If you’re keen to get adventurous with your new microwave, these can be really useful tools.

Automatic cooking features can also take a lot of the guesswork out of using the microwave. Machines with the feature are able to weigh the food and accurately calculate how long it will take to cook or defrost. If you feel uncertain about anything, this is a really useful option to have.

This ease of use can also be achieved with a wide range of preset options, which allow you to select a cooking programme that’s perfect for whatever you want to heat or cook.

© Axonn 2015