Convection Innovation: How to Choose the Best Convection Microwave for Versatile Cooking

Tired of the limited capabilities of traditional microwave ovens? Then it might be time to upgrade to a convection microwave for serious cooking versatility.

Convection microwaves combine speedy microwave technology with convection oven-like air circulation to bake, roast, and broil foods in addition to reheating. This allows you to cook everything from whole chickens to pizza, cake, and more with convection microwave models.

However, all convection microwaves are not created equal. This comprehensive guide will explore the benefits of convection microwaves, top-rated models, key features to look for, installation and use considerations, and shopping tips to help you choose the perfect convection microwave for your cooking needs.

What Makes Convection Microwaves So Special?

Convection microwaves have some unique advantages over traditional solo microwave ovens:

  • Mimics traditional oven cooking – The internal fan circulates hot air to crisp, brown, and bake food with the same results you’d expect from a standard oven.
  • Faster cooking times – Convection technology often cooks up to 30-50% faster than conventional ovens.
  • No preheating required – Foods cook immediately, unlike an oven that requires preheating first.
  • Versatility – With options to bake, roast, broil, defrost, reheat, and microwave cook, you gain numerous cooking modes.
  • Multi-stage cooking – Program sequences like microwaving then baking for built-in convenience.

For serious cookingcapabilities beyond just reheating, a convection microwave is the clear choice.

The Top 5 Convection Microwaves to Consider

After extensive product research, here are my top recommended convection microwave models:

1. Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven and Microwave

  • Dimensions: 20.87 x 17.32 x 11.22 in
  • Capacity: 1.2 cu ft
  • Power: 1850W
  • Cooking Modes: Microwave, convection bake, convection broil, combination

With its brushed stainless steel finish and intuitive dial controls, the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Oven looks great on any countertop while providing incredible versatility. The built-in probe and presets for frozen foods add convenience.

2. Toshiba Smart Countertop Microwave Oven

  • Dimensions: 21.2 x 19.2 x 14 in
  • Capacity: 1.5 cu ft
  • Power: 1100W
  • Cooking Modes: 10 modes including air fry, convection bake, broil

Toshiba’s smart microwave features easy one-touch chef menu options and built-in sensor technology to automatically adjust cook times. The sleek black stainless steel design houses plenty of interior capacity.

3. Panasonic Microwave Oven with FlashXpress Broiler

  • Dimensions: 23 x 19.8 x 14.8 in
  • Capacity: 1.6 cu ft
  • Power: 1300W
  • Cooking Modes: Inverter convection, turbo broil, healthy air fry

This Panasonic model accelerates cooking with a 1300W inverter microwave and uses patented cyclonic wave technology for consistency. It earns rave reviews for the flash broil’s crispy results similar to outdoor grilling.

4. Breville Quick Touch Convection Microwave

  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 17.5 x 12.8 in
  • Capacity: 1.0 cu ft
  • Power: 1100W
  • Cooking Modes: Convection, air fry, sensor IQ, auto menu

Breville’s convection microwave stands out for its modern LCD interface and one-touch cooking options. Features like the pizza mode, sensor IQ cooking, and auto adjust power tailor cooking times perfectly.

5. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Convection Microwave Oven

  • Dimensions: 23.9 x 20.5 x 14.0 in
  • Capacity: 1.2 cu ft
  • Power: 1000W
  • Cooking Modes: Microwave, convection, sensor cook, one-touch smart modes

For shoppers on a budget, this affordable Toshiba convection microwave still boasts plenty of presets and auto menus as well as a sleek black stainless steel exterior. The price is right for the solid performance.

Key Features and Considerations for Convection Microwaves

Keep the following performance factors in mind when selecting a convection microwave:

  • Size and capacity – Look for at least 1.0 to 1.5 cu ft interior capacity. Measure your counter space.
  • Power – 1100W+ for fast cooking and reheating. Higher watt convection microwaves cost more but cook quicker.
  • Convection technology – Ensure true convection heating, not just a fan. Look for multiple convection modes.
  • Cooking modes – The more the better – air fry, broil, bake/roast, pizza, and presets add functionality.
  • Controls – Intuitive dials or touchpads should be easy to program and read.
  • Durability – Stainless steel housing prevents dents and rust. Tempered glass doors are shatter-resistant.
  • Warranty – Look for at least 1 year, ideally 2-5 years for parts and labor.

The Pros and Cons of Convection Microwaves

Pros:

  • Unequaled cooking versatility
  • Crispy “fried” dishes, pizza, cookies, cakes, and more
  • Roast chicken, turkey, potatoes with crispy skins
  • Toast bread and bagels evenly without drying
  • Broil steaks, fish, or chops for browning
  • Combine convection and microwave for quick casseroles

Cons:

  • More expensive than traditional microwaves
  • Larger footprint takes up counter space
  • Noisier due to internal fan
  • Higher wattage models can blow circuit breaker if on same line as other appliances
  • Requires more frequent interior cleaning

For most home cooks, the performance benefits are well worth the few drawbacks of convection microwaves.

Convection Microwave Cooking Modes Explained

Modern convection microwaves offer an array of cooking modes:

  • Microwave cooking – Traditional reheating and defrosting
  • Convection bake – For baking casseroles, cakes, cookies, breads
  • Convection roast – Whole birds or roasts with crispy exteriors
  • Broil – Direct top-down high heat browns meats, fish, and veggies
  • Air fry – Uses superheated air for crispy fried results, little or no oil needed
  • Combination modes – Blend convection or broil with microwave power for speed
  • Presets – One-touch buttons for popular foods like pizza, potatoes, popcorn
  • Auto menus – Preprogrammed sensor-adjusted cooking for different food types

With the right settings, you can achieve perfect results. It just takes practice as you learn your new oven.

Installing Your Convection Microwave Oven

Most convection microwaves sit on the counter, but some built-in models are available:

  • For countertops, ensure adequate room on all sides for ventilation.
  • Never block the top and side vents – this can cause overheating.
  • Situate away from edges for safety when door opens.
  • For built-in models, professional installation is strongly advised.
  • Microwave must have external ventilation hood or ductless range hood above.
  • Built-ins require cut-out dimensions per manufacturer instructions for snug fit.

Take particular care to address venting requirements. Never operate a convection microwave without proper overhead ventilation.

Helpful Features to Look For

Today’s convection microwaves offer convenient functionality:

  • Multi-stage cooking sequences different modes and power levels automatically
  • Auto and sensor reheating automatically adjusts time and power based on sensors
  • Defrost settings for frozen meats, bread, and more based on weight
  • Steam cook settings for veggies, fish, grains
  • Keep warm mode holds foods at ideal serving temp
  • Mute button eliminates beeping when programming
  • Delay start function to schedule cooking for later
  • Turntable on-off so you can leave large dishes in place
  • Child safety lock prevents tampering during cooking

Prioritize the features that would be most useful for your cooking needs.

Tips for Purchasing the Perfect Convection Microwave

Follow this advice for choosing the ideal convection microwave:

  • Carefully measure your countertop or cabinet cut-out space
  • Read reviews and watch for complaints about noise levels
  • Test touchpad controls in stores for ease of use
  • Check turntable size fits your dinner plates
  • Consider your current and future cooking needs
  • Verify warranty covers full parts and labor for multiple years
  • Buy from an authorized retailer for best price and service
  • Be realistic – higher wattage means faster cooking
  • Weigh extra features vs added costs to get the best value

Taking time to shop smart means you’ll come home with the perfect cooking partner for years to come!

Your Kitchen Deserves Convection Innovation

I hope this guide has showcased the tremendous possibilities you gain by upgrading to a convection microwave oven. With faster, tastier, and healthier cooking modes, convection microwaves open up a whole new world of meal options. Just be sure to select the right size, power, and features to suit your needs.

Bring convection technology to your kitchen and say goodbye to dried out, disappointing microwave meals. Achieve oven-quality results at the touch of a button. Your inner chef will love the cooking versatility!

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