by Christopher Jones
When it comes to preparing delicious meals and exotic dishes in your kitchen, the important thing to take into consideration first would be the quality of your oven.
The thing is if you're oven is lacking in the department of quality and energy efficiency, you can easily end up with a machine that not only wouldn't be able to cook your food, but also waste quite a bit of energy along the way, too.
There's another problem with ovens, in general.
Typically, they only have one function, which is providing for you space where you can roast your meat and veggies without having to start a huge bonfire every time you want to prepare some dinner. Throw in a couple of timers and fancy switches, and you get your average modern-day oven to build.
Now, while this lack of functionality outside of their main purpose doesn't make these contraptions bad per se, having an oven model that you could use for some other purposes can be a great way to kill two birds with one stone in the kitchen.
In this article, we're going to talk about oven 'n' microwave combos - curious contraptions that combine the functionality of an oven and a microwave, so that you don't have to buy these two essential kitchen appliances separately. We've prepared a list of the 10 best products in this particular department, so you can see exactly what products you like.
Also, we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions and prepared a brief buying guide for those folks who have never owned one of these contraptions.
Right then folks here's the deal.
When it comes to the material oven-microwave combos are made
less steel, but a bunch of plastic with soft rubber. That said, you should always look for models with housing made out of stainless steel ( and perhaps with a special non-stick coating for the inside of the oven ), because this material will be able to withstand a lot of pressure, so you can rest assured it will be able to survive a nuclear disaster. ( Not literally, but stainless steel is quite sturdy. )
Microwave ovens aren't toys and even though they may look harmless enough, they can pose quite a danger for anyone who doesn't know how to handle them.
The thing is the high temperatures that these contraptions can generate mean the difference between safe handling and scorching your fingers on the handle if it's too hot.
So, if you don't know how these machines work or have kids, you may want to look for a model with a safety lock, as this will prevent any accidents from happening.
One of the best advantages these microwaves have over the ordinary ovens is that they often come with different power settings you can choose from.
What's more, many microwave-oven combos even come with various preset settings you can use to prepare some quick meals or snacks such as popcorn or bagels. For the rest, the power settings will help you determine how much heat intensity you need to cook, roast, or otherwise prepare something.
Virtually all modern-day microwave + oven combos come with easy-to-read and easy-to-use displays, so you can pick the specific mode of functioning you need to cook something.
On the other hand, these displays often allow you to set other parameters, as well, such as the temperature of the heater, or the clock.
Such as defrosting or setting up timers can also be useful in the kitchen when it comes to using these contraptions.
For example, the child lock is important if you have kids and they tend to touch everything willy-nilly. A timer can help you go and do other chores while your food is preparing, and a defrosting option can cut the meal preparation time, because you don't have to wait around until the meat you've unpackaged thaws, for example. You can just chuck it in the microwave, then set the thawing feature on, and go do something else.
Made out of durable stainless steel, this model from Panasonic was built to last, so you won't have to worry about buying spare parts in case something goes wrong with this one.
As the title suggests itself, this model is designed to be placed on the countertop, so it won't be taking too much space in your kitchen. That said, you can rest assured that with this model, you get all the functionality of a proper wall oven, as well as of a microwave oven.
For example, to make the preparation of frozen goods easier, the folks at Panasonic built in a special Defrost function inside this contraption. This means you can insert a frozen turkey inside this microwave without waiting around for it to defrost first. Saves time, and it starts the cooking process immediately.
Other interesting features include a child lock, a timer, as well as 14 different preset menu items you can choose from.
Coming from the famous Japanese manufacturer, this Toshiba model represents a sturdy and feature-rich microwave oven you can use for a wide variety of cooking purposes. It comes with a preprogrammed menu containing 6 entries including those for preparing, potatoes, popcorn, pizza, and some other popular foods.
When it comes to starting this thing up, the heat-up time is fairly quick, so it won't take you more than 1 to 6 minutes to get it going. Once you do, you'll have some 900 Watts of power at your disposal together with 10 power settings, so you can make whatever meal you so desire with ease.
Also, to give you more convenience, the folks at Toshiba decided to build in a clock as well as a kitchen timer to help you have some idea about how long your meals are taking to prepare. On top of this, you get an easy-to-read LED screen, a control panel, as well as a glass turntable.
Equipped with an interior oven light to let you know how the cooking process is coming along, this contraption from Breville represents a great solution for personal use and for people who like preset modes they can rely on in cooking.
Namely, these 10 functions include making bagels, baking, roasting, broiling, making pizza, cookies, and other commonly-prepared foods and dishes. Thanks to the size of this cooker, you don't even have to cut the longer pieces of pastry in two, such as bagels, for example.
The secret to excellent functionality of this contraption would be that it works on the principle of convection ovens, meaning that it ejects the cold air from the oven while keeping the hot air circulating inside the oven, thus cooking the food faster and more efficiently.
The inside walls of the oven also feature a special non-stick coating which is there to ensure that sticky fumes and small pieces of food don't get stuck to them. ( These can be tough to get rid of later on, so this non-stick surface can truly be a lifesaver. )
Packing some 850 Watts of power, this microwave model from Sharp represents the best possible contraption to use for small cooking tasks, although it has more than enough heating potential to tackle even some of the medium ones, too.
The display on this unit comes in two colors, has seven digits, and it is easy to use no matter your 'expertise' level when it comes to over-the-range convection microwaves, so to speak.
This thing also comes with a stainless-steel interior together with a light that is there to shine upon the meal you've placed inside it. This way, you can have a clearer idea of how your cooking process is coming along and whether or not you need to add something. ( More water, sauce, or something other - depending on what you're preparing. )
To make sure none that this model continues working like a clockwork for many years to come, the folks at Sharp built in a decent exhaust system inside of this model, so you can rest assured that all the fumes will exit this contraption on time - before they can get stuck to the inside walls. ( Which can be difficult to clean up afterward. )
Last but not least, as our entry number 5, we've got yet another model from Sharp. This contraption differs from the one above mainly in its power rating, although its design has been altered and there are some interesting new features with this model.
Namely, instead of the 950 Watts the model above had, this contraption from Sharp has 1,000 Watts of sheer heating power, so you can rest assured that you'd be able to use this thing for even the most demanding cooking tasks.
This microwave oven can be opened in two ways - by using the handle like you would a fridge, or by pressing a button. So, whichever way you feel like opening it, the folks at Sharp made sure that you can do it quickly and safely. (Which is especially important if the cooking process was long and the entire contraption has gotten quite hot.)
Generally speaking, since glass top stoves have their tops made out of, well, glass - you mustn't place anything on them that can potentially damage the surface below.
For example, cast iron pots 'n' pans, roughly-made steel pieces of cutlery, or anything that has the potential to scratch the glass surface. Also, cookware with rounded bottom may not be the best choice, because of the uneven heat distribution.
When it comes to how different microwave brands are pitted against each other, the most commonly used parameter would be how often the appliances made by each brand are sent back for service.
According to that metric, the best microwaves tend to be made by Whirlpool, GE, Samsung, and Bosch.
As the names of these curious contraptions suggest themselves, these microwave oven combinations use the main mode of operation of microwaves and then they also use some aspects of a conventional oven to make the cooking experience better-rounded, so to speak.
For example, in addition to the energy of microwaves themselves, you also get the hot air treatment that you'd get from an oven - which you can use to make your cooking, roasting, and browning tasks easier and faster.
Yes, you can - but you will need to turn on the specific mode for it.
The thing is microwave and convection oven combinations typically com with functionality for both the typical microwaving tasks and the functionality for specific oven-related tasks.
For example, you won't be able to cook using the microwave function, but you will if you turn on the oven setting you have.
While ordinary microwaves can only be used for simple cooking tasks and heating food, complex microwave 'n' oven combos often allow you to cook more complex foods and use more advanced cooking techniques such as roasting, broiling, and so on.
That said, you will have to buy a microwave combination oven to get the best of both worlds because a common microwave won't do the trick. So, yes, microwave combination ovens are worth it - if you have the money to buy them.
While microwave ovens aren't bad per se, convection oven + microwave combinations are a better solution simply because you get more cooking options to choose from.
The thing is, attempting the microwave some food that can only be prepared using roasting or some other way, you run the risk of undercooking it, which would not make it very healthy to eat.
On the other hand, a convection oven gives you more options to work with, and some foods can only be cooked in a convection oven, as the microwave ovens are not strong enough. So, the answer is 'yes' - for certain foods.
Yes, you can.
You need to be careful about how you do it, though. Here's the rub - a convection microwave can be a great contraption to use aluminum foil in, but you need to make sure that your food is covered properly and that you don't cover it all the way - because that can prevent the gases from escaping the oven.
As long as the type of glass the bowl is made out of is heat-resistant and made for cooking, the answer is 'yes, you can.'
Glass cookware represents a great solution for cooking in convection mode, so you won't have any problems using it in your convection-microwave oven.
All in all, if you want to have the best of both the world of microwave ovens and that of regular wall-mounted ovens, getting a wall oven microwave combo can be a great solution for you. We hope this article helped you understand the potential of this combination a little bit better and wish you an easy and no-hassle purchase if you do decide to go for it.
About Christopher Jones
Chris is an avid traveler and a gastronome.
He used to live for years in Europe and has far reached many unheard-of corners in Asia.
While at it, he never stopped looking for top local foods to try them out.
His favorite motto is "how can one live well, travel well, and work well without having good food every time?"
Chris received his MBA at University of San Francisco at the age of 24.