Ovens and microwaves are both useful in the kitchen. But depending on its usage, there’s a difference between both of them. People often get confused about their usage and can’t decide which one to buy.
Although they both can perform certain similar functions, their working mechanism is different. It’s the reason that some of the functions are performed better in the microwave, and some are the specialty of ovens.
Knowing these differences will allow you to make a better buying decision. So, let’s dig into it to find out the main difference between microwave and oven.
Difference Between Microwave and Oven
Microwaves and ovens both can cook and reheat food. While ovens are always a preferred choice for baking, some ovens (combination ovens) can also bake and come with various other features.
Ovens may consume more energy, but they are more versatile. Although there’s no right or wrong when choosing between these two appliances, it’s always better to use both of them in combination.
Conventional Oven’s Working Mechanism
Ovens are not a new concept. Its history dates back to ancient times when stones or brick ovens were used, and wood or coal acted as a fuel to cook bread, cookies, grill, or roast the food.
The modern-day ovens are nothing but the improvement to wood ovens, and they work on the same principle. But instead of wood or coal, they employ coils known as heating elements.
When the electricity passes through it, the coils get heated, which results in heating the surrounding air. A fan rotates the hot air, which in turn heats food and cooks it.
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Microwave Ovens Working Mechanism
Microwave ovens were invented in 1946 but gained popularity in the 1970s. A microwave heats the food through radiation, just like the sun radiations heats our face.
The microwave has a device called “magnetron,” which produces microwave radiation (waves).
These microwaves bounce or reflect within the shiny chamber of the microwave and get absorbed in the food. The water molecules in food vibrate and heat the food.
Now that we have understood the difference between their working mechanisms. Let’s explore more differences to clarify all other confusions.
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Ovens are more versatile and can cook, roast, grill. They are also used for baking delicious food.
Contrary to that, microwaves have certain limitations. You can’t bake, brown, and grill in any solo microwave oven. It’s great for reheating, thawing frozen food, and making simple recipes.
Can All Microwaves Bake and Grill?
You must have seen people baking and grilling in the microwave. So, how do they do it?
The answer is they use a combination oven which can grill and bake too. You just have to use the convection setting for baking.
A combination microwave ovens have heating elements and fans just like conventional ovens to bake and cook. And they also use microwave radiation for reheating, defrosting, and microwaving.
Similarly, another category of microwaves is grill microwave, which we can use to grill the food, giving it a barbeque effect. Unlike solo microwaves, these can also brown and crisp the top layer.
In terms of energy, microwaves are more efficient than simple ovens. Microwaves’ low energy consumption results in a lower cost of electricity bills.
The traditional conventional oven takes more time to cook the food, whereas microwave ovens are faster with no need for pre-heating.
Ease of Use
Microwaves are easy to use as compared to ovens. It has auto cook or preset options. You will only need to select that option, place your food in it, and it will be ready. You won’t have to worry about time and temperature setting.
In ovens, you have to manually set the temperature and time according to your food which is difficult for a new cook.
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Ease of Cleaning
Microwaves are just like a small empty rectangular box, so they are really easy to clean from inside and outside.
Just like microwaves, ovens also get grease and food build-up. Some ovens have a self-cleaning feature where it locks itself and heats the interior cavity to the extent that grease loosens from the walls and food debris burns and turns into ashes.
However, it is a dangerous method, and the surrounding area will smell like burned and charred food.
Ovens that don’t have “self-cleaning” options can be cleaned via steam cleaners or any other oven cleaning solution. Both types of microwave ovens are difficult to clean as compared to microwaves.
Ovens are pricey as compared to microwave ovens. In microwaves, there are also categories, and the prices vary according to the versatile function it performs. For example, the best combination microwave oven costs more than a simple microwave.
- Must read our extensive guide to choose a right microwave oven for best decision making.
Options and Features
Ovens do not have many features and options, whereas microwaves have various options like pre-heat setting, defrosting, auto cook, and many others.
Use of Utensils
Ceramics, Microwave safe plastics, glass pots and plates can be used in the microwave.
In ovens, you can use steel, ceramics, oven-safe glass, cast iron. But don’t use any skillet with wooden handles as they pose the threat of catching fire.
We hope that we cleared all the differences. So, you can benefit from both of them, depending on your needs.