For an appliance that got off to a rocky start, the microwave is a widely used and must-have gadget for many modern kitchens. Over 90 percent of American homes have them, according to House and Garden magazine. The appliance comes in a range of sizes and features but has a relatively short lifespan. Prepare to shop sales to stretch your dollar the furthest when replacing a microwave in your kitchen.
The first commercial microwave was produced in 1954 by the Raytheon Corporation, and the first domestic microwave was released shortly afterwards, in 1967 by Amana. This countertop, 100-watt oven was more technologically advanced than its commercial predecessor, cost under $500 and marked the beginning of acceptance of microwave use in homes.
Microwave ovens have one of the shortest lifespans of among common appliances, about nine years, according to a study by the National Association of Homebuilders. There are a number of parts that can cause a microwave to temporarily malfunction, most commonly, the fuse. But it is the lifespan of the magnetron or transformer, the two devices that regulate the amount of radiation flow for cooking, that impact the longevity of a microwave.
Preparing to Replace
Considering its short lifespan, carefully consider how much the appliance will be used. Think about your likes and dislikes in your current model before purchasing a new one. Consider how easy or difficult it was to clean the parts. If the previous model was difficult to program, look for a more user-friendly model with your purchase. Also, think about the functions of the microwave, whether or not you need more or less in the appliance.
Price Range and Types
Microwave ovens vary in price according to their type and function, as of 2011. Countertop models range in price from $50 to $450. Built-in models are good for kitchens that are short on counter space and range in price from $200 to $1,100 up to $2,000 with a convection feature. Over-the-range microwaves serve double duty also functioning as a vent. Drawer microwaves offer the convenience of keeping food warm plus a modern look with a price tag of $800.