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The Purchase : Productopia Tips : Microwave

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Get the power. Unless you know your kitchen is one step away from a fuse-popping fiesta, buy the highest-power microwave you can find. Higher watts equals faster cooking. Tests show that wimpy 700-watt models can take as much as twice as long to do the same heating as 1,150-watt competitors.

Choose size wisely. The reduced capacity of some compact models can make for a tight squeeze when using large dishes. Double-check interior measurements before taking the plunge.

Get a turntable. Every microwave oven has regions that don't cook food equally well. If the food remains stationary, it cooks unevenly. A turntable rotates the food, passing various parts of it through the areas of greater and lesser wave activity to help even out cooking.

Buy black. No, we're not making a fashion statement here: The arctic-white-on-white kitchen may be all the rage, but savvy cooks choose dark-colored appliances that hide smudgy fingerprints (or worse!) to keep things looking tidy between cleanups.

Get what you need, but no more. With so many choices from a wide range of manufacturers, it's possible to find the perfect model for your needs. If you only reheat pizza, for example, don't splurge on a super-tricked gourmet model with sensor cooking and multistage programming.

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Push button door open. If the unit will be installed on a flat shelf or be used by children, look for a 'push button to open' door. It will save having to yank hard on the door to open it.

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