Kristen Hicks on August 23, 2016 0 Comments Table of Contents Watts & Cooking Power Factors to Consider While Shopping Popular Brands for Commercial Griddles Some home microwaves see a fair bit of use, but it’s nothing compared to what your typical commercial microwave gets. Commercial microwaves have to be built for speedy results, frequent use, and long-term durability. Pick the right commercial microwave and it could increase efficiency in your kitchen, expand the possibilities of what types of food you can offer, and add some real convenience to your commercial kitchen, convenience store or corner cafe. If you rush the decision and end up with a bad one, it can slow your staff and customers down, cost you money and time in repairs, or simply won’t work well for the types of food you bought it for. All of which are bad for business. Finding the best commercial microwave for your needs is thus an important decision. This guide will cover the main things you should consider while you browse your options and help you make the best buying decision for your unique situation. Watts & Cooking Power One of the biggest decisions you will need to make while buying a commercial microwave is how powerful you need it to be. Ovens with higher wattage, will be more powerful and cooking times will need to be adjusted to suit various types of food or recipes. The power in which commercial microwaves typically fall into one of three main categories in this regard, these include light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty. Click Here to View All Commercial Microwaves Light-Duty Commercial Microwaves Light-duty commercial microwaves offer 1,000 watts of power. That makes them more powerful than a typical residential microwave, but still puts them on the low end of the power-spectrum for commercial units. The microwaves in this category are best for any businesses that are likely to use their microwave around fifty times a day or less. That could include office break rooms, day cares, small cafes or coffee shops that occasionally warm up pastries or drinks, and convenience stores that sell items that require microwaving. As the option with the least power of the three, these typically cost less than the other types of commercial microwaves, but they won’t stand up as well to frequent use and won’t cook as fast as other units. If you stick with using them less than fifty times a day, they should be okay in terms of durability, but much more than that and you’ll quickly wear them out. Medium-Duty Commercial Microwaves At 1,200-2,000 watts, medium-duty commercial microwaves are a step up from light-duty ones. That means they’re faster, more durable, and recommended for places likely to use the microwave up to 150 times a day. Cafes, coffee shops, and convenience stores that get a lot of traffic will probably want to go for a medium-duty model, and some restaurant kitchens will find them useful for warming up their appetizers or sauces. As you’d expect, these typically cost more than light-duty microwaves and less than heavy-duty ones. Heavy-Duty Commercial Microwaves For any commercial kitchen that expects to use a microwave with consistent frequency, a heavy-duty commercial microwave is in order. These offer 2,000-3,000 watts, even faster cooking times than medium-duty models, and greater durability than either of the either categories. If you expect to use your commercial microwave more than 150 times a day, then a heavy-duty model is going to be the best choice for you. These are often used in high-volume restaurants with fast turnover, commercial kitchens that need a microwave for steaming foods and warming entrees, and large cafeterias that serve a lot of people each meal. Factors to Consider When Buying a Commercial Microwave The power is just one consideration that should help guide your search. You’ve got a number of other factors to keep in mind if you want to find the best commercial microwave for your needs. Food Types The most important question you should work out before buying a commercial microwave is: what will I be using this for? Make up a list items you’ll need the microwave to heat so you can visualize how it will actually be used. This will help you figure out a few crucial pieces of information. First, what functionality does the microwave need to have? If you need it to be useful for steaming vegetables or shrimp, then you need to choose a microwave optimized for that. Next, how frequently will it be used? If you aim to use it for an item that sells like hotcakes at your restaurant, then you need to make sure you get a microwave with the durability to handle that level of use. Additionally, what can you fit inside? If you’ll only be using it to heat smaller items, then you don’t need a microwave that’s all that big. If you’ll need to be able to fit large dishes or food items in it, then you have to get something big enough to accommodate. Your list will help you figure out the right questions to ask so you don’t end up with a machine that’s ill fitted to providing you with what you need. Size The size of your commercial microwave oven needs to be big enough that you can fit any dishes you need to within it, but small enough to fit in the space you have available. Many commercial kitchens are already crowded with various appliances, supplies, and people, so you need to make sure you have a spot identified and cleared for your commercial microwave before you get to the point of buying it so you can be sure to pick a model with dimensions that work. A commercial microwave that will mostly be used to warm pastries and drinks doesn’t need to be very big, but if you ever need it to re-heat or steam items kept in large containers or bags, then you need to be certain you get a commercial microwave that they’ll fit within. If you get a microwave that’s too small, your best case scenario is that kitchen staff will have to laboriously move food to different containers when the time comes to heat it – which isn’t something any busy kitchen can afford. Frequency of Use You want your commercial microwave to last. No matter what type of cooking appliance you buy, it is imperative that you buy one that is designed to made to withstand the amount of use your kitchen requires, otherwise you’ll wear it out fast. Consider carefully just how often customers tend to buy the items you’ll be warming in your microwave or how often your staff will likely be using it. This will help give you a pretty clear picture of how much work you’ll be making the microwave do. If you find you do need a medium or heavy-duty microwave, spend the extra money now to save you the trouble and cost of repairing it later, or simply having to buy an all new one within just a year or two. Cook Times Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the faster a microwave will cook. If your commercial kitchen moves fast, then you need to get items in and out of the microwave quickly to keep from slowing everything down. In that case, investing in a microwave that offers higher wattage can mean happier customers and a more efficient kitchen. Ease of Use Choosing a commercial microwave that has fast cook times is only one component in making sure the oven doesn’t slow down your kitchen. If using the microwave is at all complex, then the time it takes your staff to figure out the controls can keep your kitchen from running smoothly as well. That’s time that could’ve been spent with your customers. Consider how difficult the microwave will be to use on a daily basis. Can you program all the main uses in so your staff only need to push a button? Do the controls leave any possibility for easy confusion? Will it be a pain to clean? A microwave that’s easy and intuitive will help your busy kitchen stay on track. Features: Digital Controls: Digital controls make it easy to enter in precise details of what you want the microwave to do and see the progress as it works. Programming Options: If there are a few main items you’ll be heating in the microwave, programming options allow you to set up the details for each so all your employees have to do is press a button. This is well worth the investment and something you should strongly consider. Warranty: A warranty lets you know the brand stands behind its product and you won’t have to spend a lot of money dealing with repairs. Convection Oven: Some microwaves come with the added functionality of convection cooking, which cooks foods especially evenly and quickly. Popular Commercial Microwave Brands Commercial microwaves cost enough and need to do enough hard work, that you really don’t want to end up with a lemon that needs frequent repairs or has to be replaced soon after purchase. One of the best ways to increase your chances of going with a commercial microwave that works reliably and has a long life is to make sure you know the brand you go with has a strong reputation. To help steer you in the right direction, we looked at the reviews of several of the top brands selling commercial microwaves. Here’s what customers have to say about each. Amana Click Here to View All Amana Commercial Microwaves Amana sells a wide range of commercial microwaves that have a strong reputation amongst customers. Some reviewers mention past models lasting several decades. Reviews say their commercial microwaves work great, are durable, can handle heavy use, and heat evenly. One model of the many earned less favorable reviews for not lasting long and being complicated to use, but it was in the clear minority. For almost all of their commercial microwaves, you can trust you’re in good hands. Panasonic Panasonic’s commercial microwaves get largely positive reviews from customers who say they work well, can withstand lots of use, and are a good value for the price. Some models get points for being easy to program, others earn complaints for confusing programming. A couple of reviewers also mentioned their microwaves being loud. Most reviews point to Panasonic offering general satisfaction though. Hands-On: Panasonic NN-SN661S Microwave Review Sharp Sharp sells commercial microwaves that get strong reviews from customers. They say the microwaves are built to last, are hearty in the face of frequent use, heat evenly, and are intuitive to figure out. One reviewer mentioned his last Sharp commercial microwave lasting over 10 years before it was time to buy a new one. The overall takeaway from reviews is that they’re hard working machines that have long lives. Solwave Solwave’s commercial microwaves earn positive reviews for being durable, easy to clean, and easy to use. A couple of reviewers were disappointed to get a year or less of use from their microwaves before they started having problems, but they appear to be in the minority. There’s a chance you’ll get a lemon with Solwave, but most customers are satisfied with their purchase. Summit Summit offers a wide range of microwaves for both residential and commercial purposes. While they don’t have as many reviews online as some of the other brands we looked at, the reviews we found were consistently positive. Customers say their microwaves are well made and good for the price. Conclusion A good commercial microwave can keep your kitchen moving fast and ensure your customers get well warmed food every time. While commercial microwaves are just one appliance of many that keep commercial kitchens running effectively, to get the full benefit of a new commercial microwave you should be sure to find one that’s fast enough, powerful enough, and easy enough to use to make things in your kitchen easier and more efficient than ever.