As I continue researching for the perfect microwave I stumbled across the term “Smart Microwaves.” I know that smart anything usually has something to do with the internet and virtual assistants. Since I have a few Amazon Alexa’s when my home, so I began researching and here is what I found.
What is a smart microwave? A smart microwave is a microwave that either connects directly to your Wi-FI network or through a virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa. Smart microwaves have the ability to add additional features like voice commands, smart cooking, and scan-to-cook technology. The purpose of smart microwaves is to make cooking easier by taking away some of the guesswork.
Continue reading to read on smart microwave features, smart products that work with smart microwaves, and the difference in price of smart microwaves.
Smart microwaves explained
Smart microwave features
Smart microwaves are more than just Wi-Fi connectivity and virtual assistants. There are a number of new features that have been added and given the term “Smart” when microwave 2.0 would make more sense.
Below are some of the features included with smart microwaves.
- Virtual Assistants – “Alexa, microwave 1.5 ounces of popcorn.”
- Scan-to-cook technology – scan the barcode (UPC) with your smartphone, the app will find the correct cook time for your product.
- Smart Multi-Sensor – Microwave senses the temperature of the food while it’s cooking
- Remote start – start your meal from anywhere as long as you have the app and the microwave is connected to Wi-Fi
- Keep warm setting – Keeps food warm and ready to serve
- Power saving – the microwave enters low power mode at a period of time
- Enable/ disable rotating turntable – Allows for larger dishes to be
placesin the microwave.
Smart vs dumb microwave
There are serval differences between smart and regular microwaves. In this section, I will discuss a few of those differences.
Normal microwave ovens use a combination of microwaves and metal to convert energy into heat to cook your food. These microwaves work for the time period you set, then a beep notifies you when the food is cooked.
Often normal microwaves can over or under-cook food because the job was simply to create energy for a period of time. More advanced microwaves have preconfigured settings for popular foods like popcorn, drinks, and defrost.
While you can use microwaves for cooking other items, usually I just cook popcorn, minute rice,
Smart microwaves reimagine how you can use a microwave. With smart microwaves, you can tell your microwave the size of your bag of popcorn and it will cook it to perfection.
I am hesitant to cook any type of meat in a normal microwave because of uneven cooking and possible food born illnesses. With smart microwaves, that concern is basically good because of the sensor technology. This technology scans the food to ensure that all of it is cooked evenly.
Another interesting feature of smart microwaves is the ability to scan the UPC and know exactly how long to cook your frozen dinner. Think about the amount of time you can save by having cooking directions set right to your smartphone instead of looking up recipes online.
I wrote a post here, in which I discuss the different ways you can clean a microwave oven. In general, all of the ways to clean a microwave require generating steam and some elbow grease. The process to clean a normal microwave can be long and annoying.
The challenge in cleaning microwaves has changed with new smart microwaves. These new microwaves are made with a different interior that makes cleaning up much easier. Instead of putting in hours of elbow grease and frustration, take a paper towel and wipe away in spills that may occur.
Price is another important consideration when comparing smart and dumb microwaves. The price of a microwave ranges from $50 to $500 but depends on the size, oven capacity, watts, and features. For example, a solo dumb microwave with a 0.7 oven capacity, and 800 watts may cost less than $100
To compare, the AmazonBasics Compact 0.7 cubic feet, 700-watt microwave costs less than $60. This price is inline or cheaper than a number of other microwaves with the same wattage and oven capacity.
Who makes Smart microwaves?
Here is a short list of brands that have smart microwaves:
- General Electric (GE)
Do I need a Smart microwave?
I don’t think you should rush out to the store and buy a smart microwave just yet. There are a few reasons why I think waiting a year or two might make a better experience.
First, smart microwaves don’t work with all virtual assistants. Currently, there are four major smart assistant manufacturers (Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft) and of these four, smart microwaves only work with Amazon. If you already have a Google device, then it is not worth it to buy an Amazon device just for the microwave. In a few years, there will be microwaves that work with every virtual assistant.
Second, there is a limited number of smart microwaves on the market. There are less than 10 smart microwaves on the market. I think it will be better to wait because the more brands working on smart microwaves means better products. Better products mean cheaper or less expensive products.
Third, smart microwaves would be better if there was a freezer/ refrigerator component that can store your food until you need it. This thought is more of a pie in the sky thought but wouldn’t smart microwaves be better if they cam with mini refrigerators that kept the food cold until you requested a cook? Currently, to use a smart microwave remotely, you either have to cook foods that don’t need to be kept cool or place the food in ice in the microwave.
If microwaves are going to be a viable option to ovens, then manufactures need to find a way to keep the peas frozen until I tell Alexa to start cooking them.
Four, how security is your microwave? One of the major concerns with all of these smart products is how secure the product is, and how un-secure the product is making your home Wi-Fi. This concern is based on the encryption technology these products use.
Think of your home Wi-Fi as spokes on a bike. All of the spokes meet in the middle. In this analogy, the middle is your router, and the different spokes are your smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. A criminal will attempt to gain access to your Wi-Fi network through one of your spokes, usually the weakest.
Once a criminal gains access to your network, they can monitor your account for bank logins, social security numbers, or anything that can harm you or your family.
This is why it is so important that each device that connects to the Wi-Fi has a high-level security, and you have a strong username and password on your router.
How to use a Smart microwave?
Before you can say “hey Alexa, cook my popcorn,” there ware a few different things you may need to configure. First, plug your microwave into the wall. Second, you will need to download any apps required for your microwave.
Next, you may need to download an Alexa skill. Basically, An Alexa Skill is a downloadable program or routine that has a specific set of tasks. These tasks can be as easy as beep at 3:00 pm every day, or as complicated as playing a game like “20 questions.”
After you download all of the required apps and skills, check the product manual for additional installation steps. Also, make sure you keep your apps updated because new skills and features are added frequently.
Is a smart microwave worth it?
A smart microwave is only worth it if it costs the same or less than comparable regular microwaves. If the microwave is more expensive than its dumb counterpart, it is not worth the additional expense.
Smart microwave sizes
Smart microwaves come in all sizes and oven capacity. There
To conclude, smart microwaves are more than just connecting to the internet. These microwaves can cook your food better, use less energy, and clean easier. I think you should hold off on buying a smart microwave until features are standardized, there are more products of the market, and the microwaves can do more.
Do you own a smart microwave? In your experience, how does it compare to a dumb microwave? Did I miss anything in my discussion of smart microwaves?
Leave a comment below!
What is a smart inverter microwave?
A smart inverter microwave sends constant energy for the duration of the cook time. This is different than other microwaves because when microwaves cook at lower power levels, they still cook on high for a period of the cook. Smart inverter microwaves aim to change that by cooking at the same temperature for the entire time.
For example, if you cook something at 50% power for 2 minutes, old microwaves will spend half the time cooking on high, and the other half off. Smart inverter microwaves cook the entire 2 minutes at 50% power.