We all love microwaves for their convenience and versatility. It’s a common appliance in many households since whether you have a smaller or larger kitchen space, there’s a model for everyone.
And although all microwaves work great, they aren’t created equal. They come with varying price tags, different styles, sizes and features.
In this guide, we compare two types of microwave ovens – the inverter microwave vs. regular microwave oven.
We will break down for you everything you need to know about the 2 models, from special features to their differences.
Actually, the main difference between an inverter and a regular microwave is the way power is delivered. Inverter microwaves offer a constant flow of power through the cooking process to prevent overheating. In regular microwaves, power is delivered in cycles (switch on and off} to give 100% heat.
Read through to learn more.
What is an Inverter Microwave?
An inverter microwave oven is a microwave that uses an inversion circuit instead of a transformer to supply power. This leads to faster cooking times and evenly cooked food.
How Does an Inverter Microwave Work?
An inverter microwave takes microwave-cooking technology to a higher level. And like regular microwaves, these units use a magnetron to create microwaves.
Inverter microwaves work by defrosting, heating, or reheating food at a constant stream of power for the whole cooking process.
These appliances use inverter technology that continuously provides a controlled power supply to avoid overheating and loss of flavor.
What is a Regular Microwave Oven?
A Regular microwave is the most basic model in the microwave oven industry. Step into most kitchens, and you’ll find this appliance.
Most people have this model because it’s the most budget-friendly microwave oven you can find around. It is ideal for simple cooking and reheating.
How Does a Regular Microwave Work?
A regular microwave has a cavity magnetron that charges electrons and circulates them from anode to cathode. Underneath the magnetron is a powerful magnet that forces the charged electrons to move in a circular direction.
As the charged electrons pass over the cavities, they create waves, which are then funneled into your microwave’s cooking compartment via a waveguide.
The electrons are reflected by the microwave’s cooking wall chamber and penetrate your food.
A comparison Table for Inverter and Regular Microwave Oven
|Feature||Inverter Microwave||Regular Microwave|
|Distribution of power||Steady and constant|
|Switch on and off mode|
of power distribution.
|Energy efficiency||Highly efficient||Wastes a lot of energy.|
|Defrost of frozen food||Food is thawed evenly||Sometimes there are cases|
of cold spots and dry edges.
|Cooking time||Faster cooking time||Slow cooking time|
|Weight||Lightweight||Heavier than the inverter |
|Price||A little expensive||Budget-friendly|
|Food structure after|
|Remains the same||Usually gets damaged|
Comparing an Inverter and Regular Microwave
1. Distribution of Power
As aforementioned, the main difference between an inverter and a regular microwave lies in power distribution.
A regular microwave’s power is supplied via a transformer, which switches the power on/off, giving your food a chance to distribute heat.
For instance, if you set the microwave to deliver medium power, it will go through cycles of producing full power followed by a period of no power to achieve the medium power.
This isn’t the case with inverter microwaves. These models supply power through an inverter circuit, which helps supply a steady and constant percentage of power during the entire cooking time. There’s no cutting in and out.
Therefore, if you set the microwave to deliver medium power, it’ll deliver medium power throughout.
2. Delivery of Heat
In a regular microwave, heat is delivered in circles to give 100% heat. It works on the switch on and off mode (causes power fluctuations) with heavy and low power supply.
On the other hand, heat is supplied in an equal and steady stream with linear power control in an inverter microwave during the cooking process.
3. Energy Efficiency
Regular microwaves waste a lot of energy when cooking between full power and zero power. It also takes a lot of time to get your food ready.
This isn’t the case with inverter microwaves. These models not only cook fast but also more evenly.
The faster the unit cooks, the lesser the energy it uses. This is because consistent power and cooking lead to less cooking time and less use of power.
4. Defrost of Frozen Food
Although regular microwave ovens boast the defrost feature, some complaints like cold spots and dry edges have been reported in the past.
With inverter microwaves, it’s a different case again – and a good one, for that matter. Due to the constant delivery of heat in these units, defrosting of food is more efficient.
The steady stream of power delivered by inverter microwaves helps that the food consistently and faster than with a regular microwave.
5. Flavor of the Food
Due to the on and off the power supply in regular microwaves, chances are, the heat will overcook your food. The results? Burned food edges and loss of flavor.
The regulated power in an inverter microwave prevents overcooking. Your food will be well cooked and flavorful.
6. Nutrients in the Food
Food cooked in a normal microwave will most likely lose nutrients due to overcooking. Imagine steaming your veggies in this oven. Since it cooks slowly, the essential nutrients will be lost by the time your food is ready.
And the inverter microwave overcomes this drawback. Actually, according to Cornel University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, cooking in an inverter microwave enhances the nutrients in the food(1).
Regular microwaves are actually heavy because of the transformer. Don’t be surprised to find that your regular old oven is actually a lot heavier than the inverter model you came across in your local store.
Inverter microwaves are usually lighter as they don’t have a transformer. They are thus easier to move around for cleaning.
Because regular microwave ovens only come with basic features, they are the cheapest models in the microwave oven industry.
Due to the enhanced technology in inverter microwaves, they come with a higher price tag. You should therefore expect to pay more if eyeing this model.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of an inverter microwave?
With an inverter microwave, you can cook faster and more evenly, steam more delicate food without destroying the food’s structure, and enjoy delicious, flavorful, and healthy meals in less time.
An inverter microwave is also energy efficient and lightweight hence easy to move for easy cleaning.
What is the advantage of a regular microwave?
A regular microwave is ideal for daily chores such as cooking, defrosting, and heating. It is also user-friendly and comes at a fair price.
Is an inverter microwave better than a regular microwave?
Yes. Although a little expensive, an inverter microwave is much better than its counterpart. It cooks more evenly, defrosts more evenly, cooks faster, is energy-efficient, lightweight, and easier to clean.
Is an inverter microwave oven worth it?
Yes. It is worth it because it performs better. With an inverter microwave, you get better cooking results, cook in less time, reduce monthly electricity bills and get the chance to enjoy healthy and flavorful delicacies.
Can I use a metal pan in inverter microwaves?
No. you cannot use a metal pan in an inverter microwave because the metal will reflect the microwaves in your oven and cause cooking problems. Also, if you use a pan made of thin metal, the currents can heat the metal and cause a fire.
Although both models will help you heat, reheat, and defrost food, the inverter microwave takes the crown. The unit cooks more evenly, faster, and without wasting much energy.
This doesn’t rule out the regular microwave. If all you need is a microwave that can help you carry out simple tasks like heating coffee and tea, warming food, cooking noodles, among others, it comes in handy.