What is an inverter microwave? Who makes them? Should you get one? We've got answers!
First, we'll answer a question with a question: Do you know how the typical microwave's defrost or low power settings work? Maybe you have a 1,000 watt microwave and can set it to 50% power to defrost something. However, a typical microwave with a magnetron can't actually operate at less than 100% power. So it will cycle on and off, intermittently cooking at 100% power then 0% power. This is not ideal for items that need to be cooked on low power in a moist environment and is part of the reason why defrosting takes so long and often results in cooked edges.
Inverter microwaves use an inverter instead of a magnetic coil or transformer, and this allows them to adjust the power supply so when you input 50% power, you're actually getting a consistent 50% power throughout the cooking process. This helps the food heat more evenly and faster than a traditional microwave could. This type of microwave is more efficient so it will cook things more quickly, too.
You can expect an inverter microwave to defrost things faster and more evenly, and offer faster cooking times in general. So if you often find yourself defrosting meats and other items in the microwave, an inverter microwave might be a great idea. But who offers them?
Watch Our Microwave Buyer's Guide Video for More Info on Choosing a New Microwave!
Brands With Inverter Microwave Technology
Panasonic was one of the first to offer inverter technology and patented it. Along with LG, they are the most well-known options for inverter microwaves. GE Appliances offers inverter defrost on some models. KitchenAid offered inverter microwaves with "OptimaWave technology" a few years ago, and their parent company Whirlpool briefly offered some microwaves with AccuWave technology. Both have ceased production, so LG and Panasonic currently dominate this market.
LG advertises their inverter microwaves more heavily as their Neochef line of microwaves, which might explain why they are so popular. The Neochef models range from about $159 up to $299, and are all countertop models. They range from 0.9 cubic feet up to 2.0 cubic feet, and also feature LG's EasyClean interior with an anti-bacterial coating, a hexagonal six-point turntable that offers greater stability, bright interior LED lighting, and a sleek modern design. As you can see, the Neochef line has a lot to offer in addition to the LG Smart Inverter technology! Click here to shop LG's Neochef microwaves.
If you are looking for an over the range inverter microwave, Panasonic offers a few options starting at about $599 as of this writing. Panasonic's countertop models start at a similar price range as the LG options, and trim kits are also available for a built-in look. The LG inverter microwave models are only available in countertop configurations, but in our opinion they have a sleeker design than the Panasonic models for a more modern look.
So, in summary...
Inverter microwaves are actually better at defrosting and provide faster cooking - it's not just marketing hype!
LG offers reasonably priced countertop models starting at $159
Panasonic offers countertop and over the range models, with countertop models starting at around $155 and over the range models starting at $599
We hope this helped you discover more information on inverter microwaves and decide if they are right for you! Leave us a comment below - We'd love to hear from you!