Are Microwaves A Necessary Kitchen Appliance?

Using the Microwave to heat food

In the 1970s and 1980s microwaves were a staple appliance in kitchens across the United States. Today, however, many of us are looking to pair back the number of kitchen gadgets we own and simplify our cooking and dining experience.

As such you may be wondering whether it’s worth buying or replacing that trusty microwave.

Unsurprisingly microwaves aren’t a necessary kitchen appliance. However, they are affordable and a relatively small yet versatile piece of equipment that can reheat leftovers or create hot, tasty meals in a matter of minutes.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to owning a microwave. Having owned one for over ten years here are mine;

The Advantages of Owning a Microwave

There are many advantages to having a microwave, here are some of the ones I’ve experienced over the past decade;

Microwaves Make Reheating Leftovers Is A Breeze

If you’re a fan of leftovers, then you’re a fan of the microwave, especially if like me you overcook at Thanksgiving or and Christmas.

While there are alternatives to reheating food I’ve generally found that the microwave is the quickest and most cost-effective solution 95% of the time.

Of course, in some cases, there might be a slight compromise on the taste when compared to reheating in an oven or the air fryer however, in most cases it’s a compromise I’m more than willing to make.

Microwaves Help To Minimize The Need For Washing Up

Washing pots and pans can be frustrating, however, fear not as your trusty microwave often requires little to no kitchenware which in turn makes cleaning up after a quick snack an absolute breeze!

There Are Dedicated Meals Just For Your Microwave!

Not only can you cook ingredients and reheat leftovers inside the microwave, but you can also cook dedicated meals. That’s because meals have been specifically invented to be cooked inside the appliance.

While they aren’t five-star gourmet, they are certainly quick, easy and affordable on the days where you just need a quick, hassle-free bite to eat.

Microwaves Are An Affordable Kitchen Appliance

Given its versatility and power, the microwave is still an incredibly affordable kitchen appliance often coming up significantly cheaper than alternatives such as an Instant Pot or Air Fryer.

However, not only is the microwave an affordable kitchen appliance to purchase it’s also incredibly cheap to run. This makes the microwave a perfect appliance for students, budget chefs or those looking for an alternative cooking method inside an RV.

Microwaves Are A Small, Yet Powerful Appliance

If you’re cooking in a small space then microwaves are often a great kitchen gadget to have on hand since they are relatively small given their versatility.

This makes them the perfect choice for small studio apartments, student accommodation and RVs.

Microwaves Are Easy To Clean

Microwaves are an absolute breeze to clean both inside and out, which is the absolute opposite experience I have with my many other kitchen appliances such as the Instant Pot, air fryer and oven.

I simply unplug the appliance, wipe the exterior down with a damp sponge before drying it with a clean cloth. Then inside just steam a bowl of water with a slice of lemon and wipe down.

Microwaves Can Defrost Food Quickly

I’m guilty on more than one occasion of forgetting to take food out of the freezer in order for it to naturally defrost overnight or during the day.

However, my trusty microwave comes to the rescue with its defrost setting which allows me to safely and quickly defrost ingredients to use for lunches and dinners.

Microwaves Turn Off Automatically

I’ve accidentally left my oven on multiple times over the past decade. Luckily it’s never led to any serious damage but I can certainly see how it’s possible. However, that’s not the case with a microwave.

That’s because microwaves have a pre-set timer and once that timer has expired (often under 10 minutes) then the microwave stops producing any electricity (other than that to power the clock on the front). As such it’s a relatively safe appliance for the elderly or like me, just the clumsy and forgetful.

The Disadvantages Of Owning A Microwave

You can’t get the good without the bad and the microwave is no different. Here are some of my frustrations as a microwave owner;

Microwaves Take Up Valuable Counter Space

Regardless of how small microwaves are, they are still another appliance sitting on your countertops. While you can hide selected microwaves in well-vented cupboards it’s still another thing to store or that’s in the way when you’re cooking.

Microwaves Heat Food Inconsistantly

Conventional ovens are designed to heat food from the outside in. Microwaves, on the other hand, are designed to heat water, and the water in your meal isn’t always spread equally; therefore, the cooking process can result in uneven heating.

Fat, starch and protein molecules heat more slowly than water molecules, and adding salt to the mix adds to the cooking time. So, while it only takes a short while to transform an ice cube into a frothy, fragrant lunch, expect pockets of molten cheese and ice crystals.

Microwaves Are Ugly

There’s no nice way to say this, but microwaves are an ugly kitchen appliance. This given the fact that they are hard to disguise safely inside a kitchen leaves you looking at an eyesore for as long as it remains.