Microwaves are loved for their ability to heat almost any kind of food in minutes. They can be used to boil hot water for tea or coffee, melt cheese, pop popcorn, steam vegetables, reheat spaghetti and heat almost any other type of food. They're so versatile, chances are you use one several times a day.

Microwave ovens use microwaves to heat food. Microwaves are radio waves sent at a 2.4 gigahertz frequency. When these microwaves are sent through food, the water, fat and other ingredients in the food absorb the energy and convert it into heat.

Unlike a conventional oven, a microwave oven doesn't get hot inside while cooking food. This also prevents it from browning foods. Cookware used to heat food must be microwave safe, and not metal, which can cause a fire in a microwave.

Microwaves come in a variety of sizes:
  • Compact microwaves are small and portable, making them a great option for college students and people with small kitchen spaces.
  • Mid-size microwaves can fit enough food inside for a family.
  • Full-size microwaves can fit enough food inside to cook a meal for a larger family. These are great for those who use the microwave to cook regularly.
  • Over-the-range microwaves free up counter space with their placement on the wall above the stovetop. Over-the-range microwaves come with built-in ventilation and lights for the stove below.