Microwave ovens are awesome appliances for your kitchen. As well as reheating and defrosting, modern microwaves offer tons of great features to help out budding chefs including options to soften butter, pop popcorn or thaw meat. Two of those features you might be interested in are Inverter Technology or a convection element.
This article is going to compare “inverter microwaves” that come equipped with advanced Inverter Technology with “convection microwaves” that have a built in convection oven heating element. We’ve researched and reviewed the best microwave ovens available to give a comprehensive comparison of these two types of microwaves. Under the microscope are reliability, ease of use, features and of course an in depth treatment of the inverter and convection functions of the respective microwaves.
What’s the difference between inverter microwave vs convection microwave?
Inverter microwave – this is used to describe a microwave that has Inverter Technology. This technology was invented and patented by Panasonic, so most Inverter microwaves come from them.
When normal microwaves run at a low power, for defrosting say, they approximate a 30% power by turning off and then on again repeatedly. You can even hear the magnetron switch on and off while the microwave is running.
On the other hand. Inverter Technology delivers a steady stream of lower power that gives smoother, more consistent heating and reheating that ends up in fewer burnt edges or cool spots in your food.
Convection microwave – this is used to describe a microwave oven that also has a convection heating element, like that found in a traditional oven. This means you have a 2-in-1 appliance that saves space while offering excellent functionality.
The best convection microwaves allow you to use the microwave heating and convection heating at the same time. This is perfect for those foods where the hotter convection element can brown, melt or crisp.
For example, reheating pizza is great in a convection microwave because the dough gets crisped and the cheese gets melted.
Should I get an inverter microwave or convection microwave?
Which type of microwave you choose comes down to your personal circumstances. There are good reasons to get either.
Reasons to get an inverter microwave:
– You do a lot of defrosting or other low power modes
– You care about consistency of heating in your foods
Reasons to get a convection microwave:
– You don’t have an oven / space for an oven
– You want to be able to brown or crisp things that you put in the microwave
Are there any microwaves with both convection and inverter technology?
As of right now, there are no brands that offer both convection and inverter technology in the same microwave oven. Each of these features is highly regarded and comes with an equally high price tag. You’re looking at an extra $100 for either feature on a microwave. I suppose no company has thought there is a market for a microwave with both.
Best Inverter Microwave
The Panasonic line of microwaves is the best choice for inverter technology. These occupy the top end of the market and offer a wide range of bonuses and features including the prized Inverter Technology and its steady stream of consistent heating.
You have a number of choices in capacity or size, your choice depends on how large your kitchen is and how much space you have for a microwave.
Larger microwaves allow you to put larger plates, bowls and dishes and consequently to heat larger amounts of food. Generally speaking, a 1.1 cubic feet is a typical size of a microwave and the largest of the Panasonics goes up to a whopping 2.2 cubic feet. The price goes up, the larger you go.
Unfortunately, Panasonic and other Inverter brands don’t offer smaller budget microwaves.
The models of Microwave offered by Panasonic are:
Panasonic Compact – 1200W / 1.2 cubic feet with 13.4″ turntable
Panasonic NN-SN686S – 1200W / 1.2 cubic feet with 13.4″ turntable
Panasonic NN-SN766S – 1250W / 1.6 cubic feet with 15″ turntable
Panasonic NN-SN966S – 1250W / 2.2 cubic feet with 16.5″ turntable
The Panasonic line has a consistent power output of 1200-1250W whereas normal home microwaves might be 700-900W. This means that whatever Panasonic you choose, you will get high power and blazing fast cooking times. Microwave power works in a linear fashion, so 1250W is almost twice as fast as 700W power.
The Panasonics come with tons of other features. Most notable is the “Genius Sensor” which is their name for sensor reheating, one of the great breakthroughs in modern microwave technology. Basically, you put your food in, select what type of food it is (“bread”, “meat” and so on) and the microwave will automatically heat it.
You don’t need to choose a time or check when it is done. The microwave monitors humidity levels to work out when it is the perfect temperature. Pretty neat.
Other extras are a “Keep Warm” features to take the pain out of keeping gravies, soups or sauces warm while you manage the rest of the meal. “Turbo defrost” for rapid thawing times when you can’t wait.
And little options like a dedicated “soften butter” button that means you can take butter out the fridge and have it ready to be spread with just one button press.
Lastly, Panasonic is a trusted brand when it comes to reliability of their microwave ovens. Reports of breakdowns or other issues are reassuringly rare and it all comes backed up with a 1-year warranty and a 5-year warranty on the magnetron itself. You can buy this with peace of mind knowing you won’t be ruining your weekend having to get it fixed.
Best microwave with convection element
Our choice for the best microwave with a convection element comes from Samsung. A Korean brand, most Samsung microwaves offer this feature as standard.
The Samsung microwave ovens have two modes, one that can be used at the same time as the microwave oven and one the can be used separately.
So you can turn the oven on when reheating foods that need some browning or crisping but you also have the option of using it as a standalone oven.
This comes in very useful in places with small kitchens like dorms, HCOL city apartments or anywhere else where you don’t have space for a dedicated oven.
The models offered by Samsung are:
Samsung MG14H3020CM microwave with grill – 950W with 1.4 cu. ft.
Samsung MG11H2020CT microwave with grill – 1000W with 1.1 cu. ft.
Samsung is a respected brand in the microwave world and with their convection microwaves offer something that’ll come in very useful to a certain type of consumer. Click the link to read more and to find out how to buy.