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Jan 22, 2014 09:01 AM

microwave... how many kilo-whackers!?!

Current microwave is about 7 years old, cost WELL under $100, but is showing signs of "age". The little ring-thingie that turns the glass plate on turn table... starting to wear away at paint on bottom?? It's a GE with 2450 MHz... whatever the HECK that means??

One we have at school was brought in by another teacher... from a yard sale for something like $10. Haven't explored how many hecto-smackers it has but it heats things up HOT & FAST. Something that takes about 2.5 minutes to heat up at home (say soup or chili) is HOT in less than 2 minutes.

Will probably keep what I have for a while, or until it does anything "funny". When it needs to be replaced, will NOT be with a "Cadillac"... no budget for that.

Any recommendation... especially in the area of power?!?

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  1. All I know is that the really small ones don't have as much power. The measurement you want to consider is watts. The more watts, the more powerful.

    When I started with micros in the late 70s, a really powerful one used 700 watts. Now you can get much more powerful ones. When I last bought one, I noticed that quality had declined. I wouldn't spend more than I had to, but some ovens do have nice features, such as a vegetable and rice program.

    Be sure to get a turntable. That is a must.

    1. Amazon has plenty of microwave ovens listed from less than $50 and up. 900 to 1000 watts is plenty although you could go to 1200 watts without stressing your kitchen wiring. If you ever plan to microwave a turkey, then you need to consider how many cubic feet the oven has - otherwise don't bother. The 2450 MHz is simply the frequency of the microwaves that the oven uses to cook the food and is really nothing for you to worry about.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kagemusha49

        SO what does 2450 MHz actually mean??

        1. re: kseiverd

          Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation - just like light and radio waves. This radiation travels at the speed of light or 300,000 km/sec (186,000 miles/second). 2450MHz is the frequency of the microwave radiation and also means that the microwave radiation has a wavelength of about 1.25 millimeters.

          1. re: kagemusha49

            SO how many watts should I look for in potential replacement??

          2. re: kseiverd

            As mentioned, 2450MHz is the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) used to excite the molecules of the stuff you're heating.
            M is mega (million)
            Hz is Hertz, but stands for cycles per second (it *used* to by cps - cycles per second, but renamed Hertz in honour of radio pioneer Heinrich Hertz)
            So, 2450MHz translates to radio frequency 2450 million cycles per second.
            (Similarly, WAVY FM broadcasts on 95.1MHz (or 95.1 million cycles per second) out of Atlantic city...)

            Slightly off topic, in the early days of microwave communication transmission, technicians would put their hand in front of the antenna as a way of telling if the transmitter was working or not. If his hand warmed up, the transmitter was indeed working (he was microwaving his hand...).

            But as mentioned by others, the frequency is of no importance to the microwave oven consumer - its the power (or watts). Higher the power, stronger the microwave.

        2. I had one of those (1200 watt?) monsters. Samsung I believe. It was great(fast boil-age). but when it finally died, I decided I just never really had used it to it's full potential.

          Bought a tiny little 700 watt GE (do brands even matter anymore?).
          I find it works perfectly well for re-heating a cup of coffee or softening butter for baking. If you do much more than that with your microwave oven it may not meet your expectations.

          1. Before thinking about power one should consider what you presently use your M/Wave for & what you would like to use it for. Popcorn, reheating pizza (using a fry pan w/lid is better as the crust will crisp), softening butter/chocolate? Or defrosting meat or large containers of soups/sauces or poaching or steaming chicken breast/fish & 'baking' potatoes?

            Personally I swear by Panasonic's inverter technology. They can be a bit loud but since they work more efficiently, they run for shorter periods. The inverter part works by adjusting the wattage to time ratios.

            Regular microwaves work by blasting at 100% power in on/off bursts which makes for uneven heating. Setting one at 50% simply runs the power on full for half the time.

            My big complaint with M/Wave cooking in general is to get the most from the space they take in kitchens, they should be used for actual cooking, not just reheating/thawing/popcorn.

            Almost all microwave recipes neglect to cite wattage. 100% at 1600watts will incinerate food that's in a recipe created with a 1000watt oven. If wattages are not mentioned it's worth it to dig deeper to find out.

            Barbara Kafka's "Microwave Gourmet" from 1997 uses a 650-700watt rating standard. Today's machines go way higher in power. If using a recipe from Kafka (Barbara not Franz), I set my 1600watt M/Wave at the 4 power setting (1600 x .4) which gives me approx 640watts. I have made a number of very delicious & easy dishes from that book. Most of which I doubt would have been as successful without the inverter advantage.

            My biggest problem is finding what the rating is for a given recipe. Cook's Illustrated, usually a very reliable source of info never gives wattages. I've been tempted to try a vegetable lasagna that they published which cooks the vegetables in a microwave, on paper towels/coffee filters to remove excess water. Blasting 1/2" cubes of eggplant/zucchini for 10 minutes in my 1600Watt would be suicide & who really wants to re-formulate a recipe that's supposed to save time & clean-up?

            Panasonic hold the patents for inverter M/Waves. They start at about $135 for the small ones. Worth every penny.

            2 Replies
            1. re: seedyone

              Do you have any sense of when the inverter machines came in? Our Panasonic, inherited from my parents, is a 700-watt model; I think it's from the mid- or late 1980s.

              1. re: ellabee

                The answer to my question appears to be 2008 or so.