Microwave ovens tend to be a staple in all kitchens. When it comes to choosing one, though, things can get challenging.
A quick look on the market shows you that there are normal microwave ovens and inverter microwave ovens. The latter claim to have superior performance, but is this true, or is it only a marketing hoax?
I’ve put many inverter and non-inverter microwaves to test to find it out. This guide will tell you why an inverter microwave oven is the best choice and which is the best microwave with inverter technology you can find.
What is an Inverter Microwave Oven?
An inverter microwave oven is a microwave oven equipped with inverter technology. This technology allows the oven’s magnetron (the component generating the microwaves) to run continuously while only alternating the amount of radiation based on the cooking temperature required for your selected setting.
The constant power level not only improves cooking performance but also prolongs the oven’s lifespan.
Another advantage is the minimal current fluctuation on the circuit. Because the oven uses constant power from the start to the finish of a cooking cycle, any changes in temperature won’t require additional surge power.
While this may not seem important at first, you’ll notice the difference if you want to plug in another appliance on the same circuit while your microwave is in use.
Why is it important to have inverter technology in a microwave oven?
Having inverter technology in a microwave is important for several reasons. In a nutshell, though, the inverter technology enables more precise temperature control and avoids the formation of hot spots. Thanks to even cooking, you won’t end up with partially thawed foods or overcooked areas.
Inverter microwave advantages and disadvantages
Even cooking: Because the inverter technology enables the magnetron to run continuously, it prevents hot spots and cooks food evenly. Defrosting is also faster and even, so you won’t have to worry about your food remaining partially frozen.
Faster cooking times: Not only will an inverter microwave oven cook better, but it will also cook faster. In most cases, you can do more with less power.
Energy efficiency: Faster cooking times mean more than having your meal ready quicker; they also mean your oven needs less energy to cook your meal, which means lower electricity bills.
Price: Inverter microwaves are generally more expensive than conventional microwave ovens.
Regular microwave vs. inverter microwave: What’s the difference?
I mentioned that inverter microwaves are more efficient than conventional ones and conventional ones are cheaper, but what exactly is the difference between the two?
It all comes down to the way the magnetron works.
In a conventional microwave, the magnetron always works at full power. In other words, if your microwave outputs 1,000 watts, the magnetron will always output 1,000 watts. To adjust the power to your selected setting, the motherboard will turn the magnetron on and off at set intervals.
However, the microwave’s turntable doesn’t stop when the magnetron stops. Because of this, the oven might not be able to heat the food evenly.
This creates problems in both cooking and defrosting; your meals may find overcooked and undercooked pieces of food in the same dish, or your frozen meal may come out only partially thawed.
Using another appliance on the same circuit when your oven is in use may also be impossible because the magnetron determines a surge in power each time it turns on.
In an inverter microwave, the magnetron is capable of adjusting the power level to match the selected setting. The component doesn’t turn on and off throughout the cooking cycle, ensuring even cooking with no hot spots.
Because the magnetron doesn’t switch on and off constantly, you may be able to use another appliance on the same circuit even when your microwave oven is in use (provided the circuit has sufficient amperage). The oven’s lifespan is also longer.
How to choose an Inverter Microwave?
What do you plan to do with your microwave oven? Do you need it for fast heating and defrosting only? About 800-950 watts may suffice.
Do you want to cook elaborate meals or look for a smart inverter microwave oven that can also bake and roast? Look for power of at least 1,000 watts.
Where do you want to place your oven? If counter space is not an issue, opt for a countertop model. An over-the-range unit can help you save counter space. You could also opt for a built-in microwave oven or a microwave drawer if you want to give your kitchen a streamlined design.
Consider the size of your family when choosing. A small capacity below one cubic foot is perfect for one or two persons. If your household has more than three members, choose a unit that has at least one cubic foot of capacity.
Another thing you may want to decide is whether or not you want a turntable. If you decide against a flatbed microwave, consider one with a turntable off function that would allow you to use it with rectangular trays or pans. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to use your oven with smaller-size trays.
The brand is almost always a guarantee of quality. Among the best inverter microwave brands, I can mention Panasonic, Toshiba, LG, and Galanz.
Cooking time, sensor, and Technology
Pre-programmed cooking settings and sensor cooking technology can take the guesswork out of the game. Most microwaves nowadays have these settings, so you’re spoilt with choices if you need these functions.
Is the control panel intuitive and easy to use? Are the buttons easy to operate and clean? These are a few other things to control before buying.
Best Microwaves with Inverter Technology
1. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Built-In with Inverter Technology
Panasonic is one of the most popular manufacturers of inverter microwaves – almost all their ovens feature this technology. Thus, if you’re looking for a microwave oven for a larger family, this Panasonic NN model might be it.
The unit features a 2.2 cubic feet capacity, 14 cooking programs, and ten power levels. The 1,250 watts of power are just what you need for fast, effortless cooking and thawing.
Why I love it
This microwave oven is made of stainless steel and boasts solid construction. The brushed finish prevents scratches and blemishes while also making the oven easy to clean.
If you’re short on counter space and would rather integrate the microwave oven in a cabinet, know that this model is compatible with 27-inch and 30-inch trim kits.
Inverter Turbo Defrost
Thawing frozen meals have never been easier. The inverter technology delivers even defrosting without cooking. This feature is particularly important to prevent spoiling meats but also when you want to defrost frozen meals without cooking them.
What could be better
While this inverter oven is intuitive to use, the small buttons are frustrating. The entire control panel design looks a bit dated and could be upgraded.
This unit has sleek yet too-slender feet that tend to slide across the countertop. You might fix the issue with rubber stickers, but it’s still an annoyance.
2. LG LMC0975ASZ 0.9 CF Smart Inverter Countertop Microwave Oven
Perfect for students, singles, and couples, this is perhaps the best compact microwave that features smart inverter microwave technology to cook your foods to perfection. It is compact but impresses with a super-sleek design that looks amazing in all kitchens. A dual control panel – concealed and on the door – as well as the edge-to-edge door design give it a unique appearance.
The oven has a capacity of 0.9 cubic feet and reaches 1,000 watts of power. Ten power levels and 12 cooking programs add all the versatility you might need.
Why I love it
Dual control panel
One of the best features of this unit is the dual control panel that consists of a concealed panel with function buttons and numbers. A minimalist panel on the door allows you to turn the unit on and off or adjust the time with a simple touch.
A unique feature that comes in handy, especially when making hot drinks, is the 6-wheel turntable carousel. You won’t have to worry about the turntable balance or stability, no matter where you place your cup.
Addressing the needs of people with disabilities, this microwave oven is a perfect choice for impaired individuals or the elderly.
What could be better
Hearing a beep at the end of the cooking cycle is nice, but this microwave is loud. It also keeps beeping every ten seconds or so until you get the food out.
While the control panel concept is amazing, the timer plus and minus setting on the door only allows you to increment or decrease the time by 10 seconds. For finer tuning and 1-second adjustments, you’ll have to open the door.
3. Toshiba ML-EM45PIT(BS) Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology
This Toshiba microwave comes as an alternative to the Panasonic NN series – it is only slightly smaller but boasts the same 1,250 watts of power. It suits smaller to mid-sized families, with its 1.6 cubic feet of capacity. Like the Panasonic, it has ten power levels, but it only boasts five pre-programmed cooking settings.
Why I love it
Origin Inverter Technology
The proprietary Invertech technology allows for quicker and better thawing compared to a convection microwave oven. Your food will preserve its texture and flavor.
The smart inverter sensor calculates the cooking time and power automatically based on the selected program, food weight, and the amount of vapor coming out of the food. You’ll never have to worry about overcooking.
Whether you know it or not, microwave ovens consume energy even when they’re not in use. This model minimizes standby power requirements by 50%, reducing your electricity bill.
What could be better
Although the control panel looks intuitive, operating this oven requires a steeper learning curve compared to similar units, majorly due to mislabeled buttons. The instructions aren’t all that intuitive, either.
Control panel sensitivity
Aside from mislabeled buttons, the control panel is also flat and gives no indication as to whether or not you’ve made a selection when pressing a button.
4. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S 1.2 Inverter Microwave
If you like the microwave oven NN series but don’t need a large unit, this one could suit you better. It has similar features to our top pick but a smaller capacity of only 1.2 cubic feet. All other features are very similar, including the 14 cooking programs and ten power levels.
The unit has 1,200 watts of total power, which is more than enough for cooking a variety of meals. Reliable and intuitive to use, it is the best Panasonic inverter microwave for smaller homes.
Why I love it
This microwave oven is one of the most reliable on the market. It is designed to last and is very easy to use.
The oven’s sensor cooking option does much more than cooking. This model also uses a sensor for weight defrosting and reheating.
Would you like to leave your meal in the oven and find it nice and toasty when you get home? The delay start function allows you to do just that.
What could be better
While this microwave oven is built to last, it is made of aluminum instead of stainless steel. For this reason, it is easier to scratch it.
Like its bigger brother, the Panasonic NN-SN686S has small feet made of plastic. They slide easily across surfaces, which can be annoying if you have a polished counter.
5. Galanz ExpressWave GEWWD16S1SV11 Inverter Technology Microwave
Galanz ExpressWave is the last inverter microwave oven on our list. The unit is sleek and stylish – an excellent choice for modern kitchens. It has a countertop design, although you can pair it with trim kits for a built-in installation.
The 1.6 cubic feet microwave boasts ten power levels and up to 1,100 watts of power. The six preselected programs bring a lot of versatility to the table, while the smart inverter technology ensures even cooking.
Why I love it
A mix of digital buttons and a knob make operation a cinch. You can select a pre-programmed setting or customize the cooking power and time to suit your needs.
The sleek microwave oven boasts a brushed stainless steel finish with a black glass door. The control panel maintains the same black glass finish as the door, ensuring design continuity.
While the microwave only has six pre-programmed sensor cooking options, it also features seven different reheat options for faster, easier cooking.
What could be better
The knob feature
The knob is very easy to use, but turning it faster won’t help you set the time faster. Thus, it could take quite a bit of turning if you have to set the timer to ten minutes or more.
Despite the inverter technology, some cooking options are subject to hot spots. This is particularly true for the preset popcorn function.
Best inverter microwave comparison table
|Panasonic NN-SN966S||LG LMC0975ASZ||Toshiba ML-EM45PIT(BS)||Panasonic NN-SN686S||Galanz GEWWD16S1SV11|
|Capacity||2.2 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||1.6 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||1.6 cu. ft.|
|Max power||1,250 watts||1,000 watts||1,250 watts||1,200||1,100|
Inverter Microwave Related Questions
Which microwave brands have inverter technology?
Almost all microwave brands manufacture inverter technology microwaves nowadays. The main players include Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung, Galanz, LG, Commercial Chef, and Magic Chef, to name just a few.
Can you put metal in an inverter microwave?
You should only use microwave-friendly containers with your inverter microwave. You may use metal if the microwave has a convection oven function. However, a conventional microwave doesn’t pair well with metal containers.
What is a cyclonic inverter microwave?
A cyclonic inverter microwave is an inverter microwave oven that radiates energy in a three-dimensional, circular pattern which ensures faster and better cooking. Most cyclonic inverter microwaves are more expensive than standard inverter units.
Is the inverter microwave better?
Inverter microwaves have heating elements that adjust the power level to the setting. In this way, the food is heated faster and better; there is a minimal risk of hot spots, and you won’t risk overcooking your food.
How to unlock the Panasonic inverter microwave?
To unlock your Panasonic inverter microwave, simply press the Stop/Reset button three times. To lock it, press the Start button three times.
How to set the clock on the Panasonic inverter microwave?
To set the clock on your Panasonic microwave oven, press the timer button two times – the Set Time will appear, and the display will start blinking. Use the up and down arrows to set the hour and minutes.
When you’re done, press the timer button again until the colon stops blinking. You’ll have to set the clock again if you unplug the unit or in the case of a blackout.
Inverter microwave ovens are undeniably a better choice compared to conventional microwaves. I hope this guide can help you find the best microwave oven for your home.