Commercial kitchens have needs that are different from those of domestic kitchens. Heating and preparing food in a busy commercial kitchen requires a specially made commercial microwave oven. A commercial microwave oven can handle all the tasks that are too heavy to be performed by a regular run of the mill domestic microwave.
Buying the best commercial microwave oven can be a tricky task because consumers often don’t know what exactly to look for. Buying the best commercial microwave oven requires some knowledge of all the nuances and the features that are necessary for a functional commercial microwave oven.
In this buying guide we will examine all the different all the different factors that are important and required in considering the purchase of a commercial microwave oven. We will also look at what makes a best commercial microwave oven by taking an in depth look at the top 5 commercial microwave oven units in the market.
Commercial Microwave Oven Categories by Power
Most commercial microwave oven units are categorized by their cooking power according to the number of watts they have as output energy. There are three main categories; the Light-duty cooking power, Medium-duty cooking power and the heavy-duty cooking power commercial microwave oven.
Light-duty Cooking Power
Light-duty cooking power ovens are the ones with the lowest possible power output for a commercial microwave oven at around a 1000 watts. However, being on the lower end of the commercial microwave oven power category, doesn’t make these ovens weak by any means. A 1000 watt output commercial microwave oven is still many times better and more powerful than a regular old domestic microwave oven.
As the name of the category suggests, these ovens are designed to be used in the lightest load commercial kitchens where there is less work. For a small sized business, these types of ovens are best suited and can easily accomplish the task.
Medium-duty Cooking Power
This category of a commercial microwave oven usually has a moderately powerful output of around 1200-2000 watts. These are the most commonly bought and used commercial microwave oven units for most commercial food businesses. These ovens fare well in coffee shops, bakeries, sandwich shops and medium sized restaurants that get a healthy amount of traffic by customers on a daily basis. If you’re looking for something more durable than a light-duty oven and less expensive than a heavy-duty oven, this type of oven is your best bet without being too heavy on the pocket.
Heavy-duty Cooking Power
These are the most powerful of all commercial microwave oven units at an output of around 2000-3000 watts. This type of commercial microwave oven works best in extremely busy cafes and restaurants that frequently need to heat up their entrées and appetizers for each order. These ovens are much sturdier and durable than any other type of commercial microwave oven and are best for both heavy usage and long term usage.
Factors to Consider While Buying a Commercial Microwave Oven
The number of watts and cooking power is the main category you need to pick from when you begin your search for the best commercial microwave oven. However there are some other very important factors that you need to look into before you buy your own commercial microwave oven.
Type of Food
This is the single biggest factor you need to consider after looking at the wattage of your commercial microwave oven. Different types of commercial microwave oven are more suited to different types of food. If you need a commercial microwave oven just for maintaining heat on your food or for a light reheating of freshly cooked food, then you might want to consider a light-duty commercial microwave oven.
If your usage for the commercial microwave oven will be light then you also won’t need to opt for those ovens that come with too many complicated controls. However, if you will be using the oven for heating large batches of food, and different kinds of food categories like frozen food then you might want to consider a more sophisticated model. The types of food you want to heat in your commercial microwave oven will also dictate the types of controls you’ll be looking for and the timer options.
Size of the Oven
Most commercial ovens are countertop microwave oven units that come in different sizes. Again, the type of food and the sort of containers you’ll be heating those foods in will also dictate your choice of a good countertop microwave oven. If your kitchen is very crowded and there is less space for a countertop microwave oven, then you might want to go for a smaller sized model.
However, if you have plenty of space in your kitchen for countertop microwave oven, then you can get a larger microwave oven. Getting a large sized countertop microwave oven will also be good if you frequently heat food in large casserole dishes and pots and pans. Larger kitchens often have bigger containers of food that need to be defrosted and heated immediately, so they require larger sized countertop microwave oven units.
Usually the time a countertop microwave oven takes to cook your food is related to the number of watts it has for output. Higher wattage countertop microwave oven units heat food much quicker than lower wattage ones, which means even their lower heat settings will give a much thorough and fast heating. Another thing to look at is the heating timer options a countertop microwave oven gives you. Some ovens have very basic timer settings that don’t give you much of a choice when it comes to heating a large variety of foods.
If you’re looking for a countertop microwave oven that can heat a diverse group of foods, then you will need an oven with a more wide range of heating timer options. If your food types will be pretty straightforward and limited to one or two categories, then a countertop microwave oven with lesser timer options will also suffice.
Difficulty of Operation & Maintenance
While it may be tempting to buy an industrial microwave with a lot of settings and fancy features, one must look at the requirement of their commercial kitchen as well. If your kitchen is a very busy and you have to run around constantly to prepare orders, then simplicity and ease of use in an industrial microwave would be best for you. This way you can easily operate your microwave with a touch and go system instead of making mistakes in a hurry. However, if you absolutely need the extra features and settings, then try to get an industrial microwave that has extra features with easy accessibility and operation.
How easy an industrial microwave oven is to clean and maintain also factors into its ease of operation. If you’re getting a microwave that is too difficult to clean up and keep spotless, while operating a very busy commercial kitchen, then you will have a lot of issues. There are some industrial microwave ovens in the market the come with removable splash guards and trays that make cleaning them very easy and take the load off your shoulders. So if you run a very busy kitchen, you should consider those types of ovens.
Some Extra Features to Look Out For In an Industrial Microwave
Now that we’ve examined the main factors to look out for in a professional microwave, there are some extra features as well that you might want to consider.
Type of Controls
There are two main types of controls, digital and manual. Manual controls usually just consist of a knob of a dial timer which you rotate to your desired cooking time to operate. However, some of the newest and best commercial microwave oven units come with digital type controls. These consist of touch screen soft keys that are sometimes even custom programmable and much more advanced. Whether you want to make use of the digital or the manual type controls depends on your comfort level and the comfort and operational knowledge of your staff.
As with all kitchen appliances, commercial microwave oven units also come with different kinds of warranty coverages. If you’re looking for a durable and long lasting oven that you’ll be using in your kitchen for a long time, it is better to get extended warranty coverage ovens. However, if you are certain you won’t be using the oven regularly and it won’t be incurring too much damage then lower warranties will also suffice.
Not many commercial microwave oven units come with invertor technology. Invertor system ovens basically help you save a lot more power and give you greater consistency in heating your food. So if you’re looking for the best commercial microwave oven, then getting one with an invertor system will definitely be to your advantage.
Having a turntable in a professional microwave is a very relative requirement. If you microwave has top or side wall energy feed then you will need a turntable to rotate your food so that it can get an even cooking. However, if your oven has a bottom energy feed then you don’t need a turntable as your food will get an even distribution of heat and be cooked properly. Invertor system ovens don’t require a turntable because invertor technology enables heat to spread out consistently and uniformly through the food.
The Top 5 Best Commercial Microwave Oven Units
There is a large variety of commercial microwaves available in the market. Although they are more or less similar, each unit has a special defining feature that makes it unique and able to suit a large variety of commercial kitchen needs. Here are the five best commercial microwave oven units in the market:
The Complete Package: Panasonic NE-1054F
The Panasonic NE-1054F is one of the best commercial microwave oven units. The Panasonic NE-1054F is a special microwave oven because instead of having one or two outstanding features, this oven has a plethora of features all perfectly wrapped into a single package. This is the oven you should consider when you are unsure of which type of commercial microwave oven variant to opt for.
This oven has great bottom feed heating technology that heats your food up in a hurry without having to turn it around manually by hand between intervals. This oven delivers what it promises with efficient and quick heating of the food with a highly spacious capacity of over .8 cubic feet.
- Affordable price
- Braille supported keys
- Hard to read control panel
- Loud beeping
- Noisy door
- Option for changing beeping tones
- NSF approved
- Self diagnostic feature
The Powerful Choice: Panasonic NE-1025F
The Panasonic NE-1025F is another one of the best commercial microwave oven units by Panasonic. The Panasonic NE-1025F is a powerful and strong microwave oven perfectly designed to handle the load of a medium sized commercial kitchen. This oven has a 1000 watts of power and a bottom energy feed that heats up even the toughest food in seconds.
The easy dial knob keeps it simple. The parts of this oven come with a promise of durability and it has a stainless steel interior that adds to its durability. This oven is best suited for those commercial kitchens that are looking for a strong microwave oven but within a reasonable and affordable price range.
- Rust and stain proof body
- Easy to use dial
- Reference guide for heating time
- Big and chunky design
- Not enough special features
- Easy to use and maintain
Simplicity Without Compromise: Sharp Electronics R-21LCF
It is important to mention the Sharp Electronics R-21LCF when discussing the best commercial microwave oven. The Sharp Electronics R-21LCF focuses on maintaining that comfortable simplicity we all look for in our modern kitchen appliances. However, the simplicity of this oven doesn’t distract from its quality and functionality.
It has a soft touch key control panel that has all the basic necessary functions for quickly heating food. This is one of the few commercial quality microwave ovens that comes with internal splash guards that can easily be removed. This makes cleaning the oven incredibly easy which is a very necessary requirement for a commercial kitchen that can end up with a lot of unruly mess.
- Stainless steel interior & exterior
- Removable splash covers
- Auto cancel timer option
- Heavy in weight
- No time display panel
- Large space of 1 cubic feet
King of Commercial Cooking: Panasonic NN-SN966S
When it comes to the highest quality oven, the Panasonic NN-SN966S is the best commercial microwave oven in the market. This oven is truly the king of all commercial ovens with its streamlined features and professional functions. This oven sets itself apart from others with its innovative invertor system technology.
This technology not only saves you a lot of electricity, reduces chances of a fire, but also maintains an even heat throughout the cycle, thoroughly heating your whole meal. The Panasonic NN-SN966S also comes with a cutting edge sensor technology that senses when your food is “done” on its own without you having to check up on it again and again. This oven required minimal attention and handling and does most of the work for you.
- Even cooking
- Heats faster
- 1250 watts power
- WiFi interference
- Large capacity of 2.2 cubic feet
The Master of Design & Maintenance: Amana RMS10DS
The last best commercial microwave oven on this list is the Amana RMS10DS, which is masterfully designed. The Amana RMS10DS has an ergonomic design that optimizes functionality of the commercial oven. It comes with an ergonomic easy grab handle and a clear see through glass door for convenience. This oven is also your best bet if you’re looking for a commercial grade oven that isn’t an absolute hassle to clean up after a heating cycle.
The Amana RMS10DS also comes with a unique ceramic shelf design which prevents unruly food crumbs from lodging themselves into the nooks and crannies of the oven. This design makes it super easy to clean food pieces out.
- Stainless steel body prevents rust
- Has extra lights on the inside for visibility
- Crumb proof interior
- Limited 6 minute timer
- Stylish look for trendy kitchen
Buying any form of appliance for a commercial use always changes the game and trusted common sense logic doesn’t always work. Microwave ovens are a less noticed, but very important part of a commercial kitchen. Determining the best commercial microwave oven can be made easy if you know which factors to look for. The most important things to watch out for are the wattage and the capacity of the microwave. Picking a microwave to fit the needs of your commercial kitchen can make an immense difference at the end of the day, so choose wisely!
Don’t forget to buy warranty for your new Commercial Microwave Oven
Buying warranty for kitchen supplies is always a good idea. We have written an article on which warranty to buy to fit your needs. You can read our article right here.