Buying Guide Commercial microwave & combination microwave ovens
So what is the difference between a microwave oven and a combination microwave oven? Put simply, a standard microwave-only oven is used to perform essential cooking functions such as safely re-heating frozen or chilled foods in a matter of seconds, whereas a combination microwave oven combines several cooking functions in one compact table top appliance, making it one of the most versatile pieces of catering equipment in a professional kitchen.
Combination Microwave ovens can handle almost every cooking requirement – from performing the simplest reheat/defrost tasks as a normal microwave, to conventional cooking methods with results produced in microwave speeds. Combi’s can be used as a stand alone appliance or alongside a microwave oven for greater efficiency and throughput – use in this way makes regular menu changes possible, which keeps your business abreast and even ahead of the latest menu trends and food styles. Most ovens operate from a single 13 amp supply and are easily operated with sophisticated results being possible within both skilled and non-skilled operations. Features can include manual operation or in some cases unique pre-programme options which save valuable time and ensure food quality and consistency.
Microwave ovens, although not as versatile are still increasing in popularity due to their flexibility and sheer speed, and especially in the convenience and forecourt sector where hot food-to-go is growing. Microwave technology reduces wastage and waiting times and their small footprints make them ideal where space is at a premium, but don’t be fooled by size, the commercial microwave is packed with power.
Commercial models are graded light, medium, heavy duty and extra heavy duty and to make your decision easier we detail the duty rating beside each featured model. These commercial models are built to a very high specification, making them faster, more efficient and extremely hard wearing in comparison to their domestic counterparts. It cannot be stressed enough that domestic microwaves are not suitable for commercial use – they won’t withstand the constant use. In time, the performance will fall off and lead to longer reheat/cook times than anticipated, causing undercooking, a potential health risk.
Maestrowave, Sharp and Panasonic are always enhancing the performance and features packed into these commercial ovens to ensure that the latest customer demands can be met. Also, don’t forget the CPS (Cavity Protection System) which is available exclusively for Sharp, Maestrowave and Panasonic models, an invaluable cavity liner which protects the interior of your microwave from damage caused by food deposits – helping to prolong the life of the microwave, reducing repair bills and down time caused by breakdowns.
** Tips for buying Commercial Microwave & Combination Microwave Ovens **
Combination microwave oven or Microwave oven?
If the appliance is to be used for reheating and defrosting general foods then a standard commercial microwave should suffice. For reheating meat and pastry and cooking any sort of food products, then a combination microwave oven is advised. If limited on workspace, look for models that are stackable or that can be wall mounted.Choose the right power of oven
Choose one with sufficient power, but just as importantly, don’t over specify. If the ovens microwave output is too low you can be frustrated by delays, and if too high it will be difficult to judge the timing of small portions and may lead to overcooking and wastage. The microwave oven wattage determines the maximum speed of the reheat or cooking process. The minimum output for commercial use should be 1000 watts with the most popular being 1200, 1500 and 1900 watts.Build quality and reliability
Take a close look at the build quality - don’t be fooled by cheaper imports. Choose a leading brand as they have established a good reputation for quality, reliability and genuine service back up which in a commercial situation is absolutely crucial.Operational features
Look for: high quality stainless steel; control functions that are responsive and have a positive feel during operation. In a combination microwave – accelerated cooking, regeneration and rapid defrost functions; rapid cool down facility, invaluable when needing to switch from oven or combination mode to defrost or microwave. Some latest models also incorporate Menu Creation Software for the ease of updating your ever evolving food menus! Additionally in a microwave - double quantity facility, which calculates multi portion requirements automaticallyExpert Advice
R H Hall has over 30 years experience in the foodservice industry and when it comes to microwaves we really should be your first choice. We grew up with microwave oven technology, this is where our company started back in 1978! We would be pleased to answer any questions you have and offer 100% expert, unbiased advice.
R H Hall are accredited members of the MTA (Microwave Technology Association)