Choosing an oven can be very confusing due to the different types of ovens available in the market. Microwave is short for microwave ovens. It performs simple reheating and defrosting tasks. Then, there are other versatile ovens that perform a variety of cooking tasks.
This article explains what exactly a microwave is and how it differs from other ovens.
What is Microwave?
As the name suggests, a microwave oven uses microwave radiation to heat and cook food. Unlike other ovens, it does not generate heat using traditional heating elements. It generates microwaves using a component called ‘magnetron’. The microwaves vibrate the water molecules in the food and generate heat.
The microwave oven does not heat the whole space, but only the food. With this, you can reheat and defrost your food quickly. Since it vibrates water molecules in the food to generate heat, reheating food with high water content is even faster. However, it takes a longer time to cook food.
The microwave oven is ideally suited for heating and defrosting food. It is simple and easy to operate a microwave oven. Even the basic models come with many user-friendly functions. Furthermore, it is safe and very hygienic to heat food in a microwave oven.
You can not bake, grill, or roast using this oven. Moreover, the food does not heat evenly. You can not make the food crisp or heat food in large batches.
Types of Ovens
Apart from the microwave oven, there are two other types of ovens. They are conventional and convection ovens.
1. Conventional Ovens
Conventional ovens are very versatile in nature. You can use them to bake, grill, and toast. These ovens use metals, electric current, or wood to generate heat. They have two heating elements to heat the air inside the chamber and cook food.
They come with a temperature gauge using which you can change the temperature while cooking different food. This oven heats the food from the bottom-up. Hence, you have to open the oven in-between and flip the food while heating it.
The conventional ovens have a large capacity. You can cook large batches of food at the same time. They heat the entire oven chamber, rather than just the food. This will cook the food evenly.
The major drawback of conventional ovens is their high price. Moreover, it is difficult to clean the oven chamber.
2. Convection Ovens
The convection ovens are an upgraded version of the conventional ovens. Similar to conventional ones, you can bake, grill, and toast using this oven.
The main advantage is that they come with a fan and exhaust system. The fan distributes heat evenly throughout the oven chamber. Hence, you do not have to flip the food while cooking. It cooks the food evenly.
They improve the roasting, crisping, and browning of the food. The cooking is also faster using these ovens. You can quickly preheat your food as well as run long baking cycles.
These days, many conventional ovens come with a convection setting. When you choose the setting, it activates the fan and exhaust system. If you want to get a crispy layer, then you can opt for this setting.
Microwave vs Oven
|How it heats?||Microwaves vibrate water|
molecules to generate heat
|Generates heat using
a heating element
|Power source||Electricity||Electricity or gas|
|Heat distribution||Heats only the food||Distributes heat throughout
|Best suited for||Heating and defrosting||Baking, grilling, browning,
Frequently Asked Questions?
A microwave oven vibrates the water molecules to generate heat and cook food. When you cover the food with an air-tight container, it is difficult to generate heat. It will result in uneven cooking of the food.
No, heating the food using a microwave does not destroy nutrients present in the food. We suggest you use a small amount of water with a microwave to heat your food. If the water content is more, it will heat and evaporate the water along with the nutrients.
A conventional oven uses heating elements to heat the air inside the chamber and cook food. It is good for baking, grilling, toasting, and browning.
A regular oven, also known as a conventional oven, heats food from the bottom-up. It uses a stationary heat source to heat the air inside the chamber. A convection oven uses a fan and exhaust system to distribute the heat evenly throughout the chamber.
A fan and an exhaust system come with a convection oven. However, these days, a lot of conventional ovens also have a fan. You only have to choose the convection setting to activate the fan and exhaustion system.
A convection oven is better than a conventional oven in terms of even heat distribution and faster cooking. It also produces an improved crisping, roasting, and browning of the food.
Yes, you can turn off the fan in a convection fan. Most convection models come with an on/off feature to activate the fan and exhaust system. The same applies to conventional ovens as well.
The microwave is an entry-level oven that lets you reheat and defrost food at an affordable cost. It is sufficient for your basic heating needs. If you want something more versatile, then you have to opt for conventional or convection ovens. However, you should spend extra money on them.
If you have any queries or doubts, let us know using the comment section below. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments section.