When buying a microwave, there are various designs to choose from. From compact solo styles to built-in combination models, there are plenty of options out there.
It’s always a good idea to consider what will work best for your home and what you’ll be cooking most of the time. Do you need a compact model or one with plenty of space?
One important factor to weigh up is whether you need a turntable or flatbed appliance. Is the flatbed microwave better than a turntable microwave?
The answer will depend on what you plan to use the microwave for and the much you’re willing to spend.
We’ve taken a look at the benefits and cons of flatbed and turntable microwave designs to help you make an informed buying decision.
What are Flatbed Microwaves?
A flatbed microwave uses technology to evenly distribute microwaves across the food in the microwave without using a turntable.
Although a little more expensive than turntable microwaves, flatbed microwaves are more common as they are easy to clean and cook food more evenly than their counterparts.
If you have a big family and regularly cook using a microwave, investing in a flatbed microwave is an excellent idea.
How Does a Flatbed Microwave Work?
A flatbed microwave uses an antenna situated at the unit’s base to distribute microwaves across the microwave’s interior.
The extra space provides greater versatility and enables you to place dishes of any shape without worrying that these plates might hit the side of the appliance during rotation.
The rotating antenna replaces the turntable (usually present in a conventional microwave) and allows more internal space for larger meals.
Advantages of a Flatbed Microwave
- Increased cooking capacity
Since there’s no turntable in a flatbed microwave, there’s an increased cooking capacity. The extra space that this model gives you enables you to cook larger portions than in a turntable model.
These models are also available in a variety of sizes, meaning that if you have limited counter space, you can buy a smaller one. And if you have a large family to feed, you can get a larger model.
- Evenly cooked food
Flatbed microwaves use technology that helps cook food more evenly than traditional models. You’ll rarely come across burnt or undercooked meals when using this model.
- Easy to clean
Flatbed models have a wider opening that makes cleaning the interior relatively easy compared to a conventional microwave.
Turntable plates get damaged easily during the cooking process, meaning that turntable models have a shorter lifespan.
Since flatbed models don’t come with a turntable, they tend to be more durable and require only a few replacement parts.
Disadvantages of Flatbed Microwaves
Flatbed microwaves come with a higher price tag than turntable models. This is because they come with new technology and more advanced features.
What are Turntable Microwaves?
Turntable microwave ovens are microwaves with a glass tray on a plastic ring. This tray constantly rotates during any cooking session.
The turntable rotates the food steadily for thorough and even heating.
How Does a Turntable Microwave Work?
Turntable microwave ovens use a circular glass plate to rotate food steadily to ensure that even cooking food takes place.
The rotation helps to eliminate hot or cold spots in your food. It ensures that each portion of your food gets the same amount of microwave energy.
By rotating that food, the turntable theoretically cuts down on the number of times you need to stir and reheat your food.
Some turntable microwaves feature an on/off switch that enables you to use the appliance with or without rotation.
Advantages of Turntable Microwave Ovens
- Cook food evenly
The main advantage of turntable microwaves is that they cook food evenly. And you won’t pay a hefty price like you would with a flatbed microwave.
With a turntable microwave, you’re sure that you are guaranteed an even cooking experience because of the rotating plate.
- Available in Different Styles and Sizes
Unlike flatbed microwaves that are limited in style and size, it’s easy to get a turntable model of a style of your choice.
Turntables come in different sizes as well, and getting one to fit your limited space or to prepare enough food for your large family is very easy.
- Less expensive
Turntable microwaves come at a relatively lower price when compared to flatbed models. You can get a compact turntable microwave for as low as $70, something that is almost impossible with flatbeds.
Disadvantages of a Turntable Microwave
- Limited choices of microwave utensils
Larger plates and oddly shaped containers may not fit in a turntable microwave. And when they do, they may be able to turn without hitting the sides of the unit.
- Plate can get off track
The turntable glass plate can get off track, and if it has a plate full of liquid such as soup or a creamy sauce, it can even spill out.
So, is a Flatbed Microwave Better than a Turntable?
Yes, although both types work great, the flatbed model takes the crown. It’s more spacious, easy to clean, cooks food more evenly, and has a longer life span.
If you have a larger family, this model will help you cook enough meals for them at a go. Although a little expensive, these models are worth giving a try.
Are microwaves with turntables better?
Microwaves with a turntable help to cook your food more evenly, unlike with flatbed microwaves, where should there be mishaps with technology, you might not get even cooking results.
Which microwave type is the best?
Flatbed microwaves are the best as they boast several advantages, including ease of cleaning, even cooking, larger capacity, and durability.
What is a microwave without a turntable called?
A microwave without a turntable is called a flatbed microwave oven.
What is a flatbed inverter microwave?
A flatbed inverter microwave oven is a flatbed microwave with built-in inverter technology.
What is the difference between a turntable microwave and a flatbed?
A turntable microwave oven comes with a glass turntable plate that rotates food for even cooking, while a flatbed microwave features no turntable(source).
How do you clean a flatbed microwave?
To clean a flatbed microwave, place 2 tablespoons of vinegar/lemon in a small bowl of water. Put the bowl into the microwave and run it on high heat for about 3 minutes.
Leave the door closed for about 5 minutes for the steam to loosen the residue.
What happens if you use a turntable microwave without a turntable?
Should you use a turntable microwave without a turntable, chances are you’ll suffer from food poisoning. This is because some portions of the food remain unheated or uncooked. And if the food came straight from the refrigerator, the cold spots can encourage the spread of bacteria.
Are flatbed microwaves worth it?
Yes, flatbed microwaves are worth going for. They have enough capacity to help you prepare meals in bulk, cook food more evenly, have a longer lifespan, and are easy to clean.
Does food need to spin in a microwave?
No, if the microwave has flatbed technology, food doesn’t need to spin for it to heat evenly. The technology helps distribute heat evenly across the unit’s interior for even heating results.
Can I use a microwave without a glass door?
Avoid using a microwave without a glass door as much as possible. If the door screen is missing, the chances are, microwaves will escape and cause severe burns.
Both flatbed and turntable microwave models work excellently to ensure that you get even cooking results. The model to settle for will depend on your needs, preferences, family size, and your budget.
If you have a larger family, a flatbed makes a better choice as it’s more spacious. Go for the turntable model if interested in a compact and budget-friendly microwave.