Worried that flatbed microwaves don’t work as effectively as turntable microwaves? I’ve good news!
My first-hand research found that flatbed microwaves work effectively in cooking a variety of ingredients and meals and in some cases are better than traditional turntable microwaves.
Flatbed microwaves also have some additional benefits when compared to the traditional microwaves commonly found in kitchens across the USA.
In this article, I’ll be explaining the difference between flatbed and traditional microwave technology and giving you my favourite flatbed microwave appliances for you to choose from.
How Flatbed Microwaves Work?
A flatbed microwave uses a rotating antenna which is situated at the base of the appliance to distribute microwaves across the appliance’s interior.
This rotating antenna replaces the turntable you might see in a traditional microwave and allows for more space internally for larger meals among other key benefits.
The Difference Between Turntable Microwaves And Flatbed Microwaves
A turntable microwave uses the turntable at the bottom of the appliance to help circulate the microwaves evenly across the ingredients inside.
Meanwhile, a flatbed microwave uses new technology to evenly emit microwaves across the food inside the appliance without the need of a turntable.
Therefore, a microwave interior does not have to rotate to cook food when using a flatbed microwave.
Types Of Flatbed Microwaves
There are three different types of flatbed microwaves; solo, combo and grill. Here’s a little about each;
Solo Flatbed Microwave – Solo flatbed microwaves are limited in functions and tend to offer the basic; defrost, heat and reheat options. However, as they are more limited they also tend to be more affordable. These are great if you’re simply looking for a basic large, reliable microwave for your kitchen.
Combination Microwaves – These appliances unsurprisingly offer a combination of different features which can be used either independently or together to cook food by; reheating, roasting, crisping, browning and grilling food.
Combination microwaves are a great addition to any kitchen especially when cooking a vast number of ingredients either as part of weekly meal preparation or for special events such as thanksgiving and Christmas.
Again, unsurprisingly these appliances also cost significantly more than solo flatbed microwaves and range from $500 to $2,500 depending on the manufacturer, appliance size, model, and other advanced technologies included.
Grill Microwaves – Perhaps the least common type of flatbed microwave is the grill microwave. These appliances act much like a solo microwave and also include a grilling function.
These are more expensive than solo microwaves but often cheaper than the combination methods given the fact they have slightly more versatility when compared to solo microwaves.
Are Flatbed Microwaves Worth The Money?
In my opinion, flatbed microwaves can be worth the money. Although it depends on how much you use and rely on a microwave as to whether or not you should invest the extra money to purchase a flatbed microwave instead of (or at all) when compared to a traditional turntable microwave.
Advantages Of A Flatbed Microwave
Some advantages of a flatbed microwave include;
Increased Cooking Capacity – As there’s no turntable in a flatbed microwave and therefore no need for the additional space for the food to turn there’s an increased cooking capacity.
You’ll also find a range of different sizes so if you’re short on counter space you can buy a smaller one, or if you have a larger family to feed then you can often buy a larger capacity model.
Easy To Clean – A wider opening and no removable internal parks make cleaning the interior of a flatbed microwave relatively easy when compared to a traditional microwave and indeed some other kitchen appliances.
Evenly Cooked Food – Flatbed microwaves boast new technology which is proven to cook food more evenly than traditional turntable microwaves.
Durability – The most common cause of damage with a turntable microwave is the plate being damaged during the cooking process. As there is no turntable situated inside a flatbed microwave the machine tends to be more durable and require fewer replacement parts.
Disadvantages Of A Flatbed Microwave
Expensive – As these microwaves include relatively new technology they do tend to cost more money than turntable microwaves. Although these costs can be mitigated by purchasing the appliance in the sales or limiting the additional features included.
Should You Buy A Turntable Microwave Or A Flatbed Microwave?
If you don’t use a microwave often then it may not be worth the additional cost to invest in a flatbed microwave unless you really hate cleaning your turntable microwave.
However, if you have a large family or use a microwave regularly to cook ingredients then I’d suggest investing the extra amount of money in a flatbed microwave which is larger, easier to clean and more durable.
Best Flatbed Microwaves
Here are some of my favourite flatbed microwaves on the market right now;
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S
This microwave is available in three sizes; 0.9 cubic feet, 1.2 cubic feet and 1.3 cubic feet. The power wattage varies depending on the size (1.2 cubic feet uses 1200 watt for example).
The microwave is made of stainless steel which is one of the most food safe materials available on the market and is incredibly easily to clean.
This Panasonic flatbed microwave NN-SN686S also uses inverter technology with advanced turbo defrost which is a patented technology.
This technology is designed to generate a seamless stream of power consistently without overcooking the food.
All of this technology also helps this microwave to be one of the most energy-efficient microwaves on the market today.
This Toshiba flatbed microwave also comes in two sizes; 1.2 cubic feet and a 1.3 cubic feet. Again, the exact power wattage for each machine varies slightly depending on the size.
This microwave is also made from durable and lightweight stainless steel and is well known as being incredibly easy to clean both inside and out.
The Toshiba EM131A5C-SS has a number of pre-set cooking features and power settings.
These are designed to help you cook different ingredients including pizza, potatoes and vegetables with ease.
This flatbed microwave also has a dedicated ECO model which helps significantly reduce energy consumption (around 50% when compared to the main power settings).
One of the most affordable flatbed microwaves is the Toshiba EM925A5A-BS which is available in just one size, a 0.9 cubic-feet.
Given the small size this microwave requires just 900 watts and has a voltage of 120V~ 60Hz.
However, despite the affordability of this microwave it still comes with a one-touch start and six pre-programmed settings specifically designed for foods such as popcorn, potatoes and pizza.
The Toshiba EM925A5A-BS has a one year warranty however, an additional warranty can be purchased from some retailers.
How To Save Money On A Flatbed Microwave
There are a number of ways you can look to save money when purchasing a flatbed microwave, or even a traditional turntable microwave. These include;
Buying Second Hand – You could look to buy the appliance second hand. The majority of second-hand appliances retail for around 50% less than the original RRP and while Smeg appliances tend to hold their value slightly more it’s still a sure-fire way to save money.
Buying The Floor Model – You can also ask for the floor model, in certain stores, they’ll have a floor model or demo appliance which is used to help incentivize people to purchase the item.
When new models are released or stores are redesigned these models are often sold off with a discount of between 10% to 25%. While this is often a ‘right place, right time scenario’ it’s something to consider during your search.
Buy During Specialist Sales – You could aim to buy the appliance during Black Friday or during the Boxing Day sales. In this case, you’ll still be buying a new appliance but may save up to 25% as a result.
The problem with this solution is that you may be waiting months for your new appliance (i.e. if you’re looking to replace your refrigerator in June then November is a number of months away, will your fridge last this long or has it already stopped working).
Buy Using Coupon Codes – Finally, if you have to buy your kitchen appliances brand new and are unable to wait for the sales then I suggest shopping around and using coupon codes where possible.
The majority of stores will offer a ‘best price guarantee’ so you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible retail price.
On top of this, you can use coupon codes which are advertised on the site, directly delivered to your inbox or found online through the likes of Honey to save anything up to 30%.
How To Use A Flatbed Microwave
You use a flatbed microwave in a similar way to how you use a traditional turntable microwave.
However, in this instance, there isn’t a turntable plate to set your food onto. Instead, you’ll place the food directly onto the bottom of the interior of the machine.
You can adjust the settings of the machine to provide the power required and set the timer to the desired cooking time required before closing the microwave door and setting the process in action.
The exact process may vary between manufacturers and models so be sure to reference the microwave manual prior to use.