Buyer’s Guide to Microwave and Toaster Ovens

Microwave and toaster ovens both offer convenient methods of countertop cooking at a reasonable price. They are easy to re-locate and can use a regular electrical outlet as well. The following guide provides tips on purchasing one or both of these appliances…

Some features and characteristics of microwave ovens which differ from one model to the next are the size, wattage, turntable, and preset buttons. Microwaves with a higher wattage cook food more quickly, but are more expensive. 1600+ watt microwave ovens are usually referred to as “commercial” and are commonly used in cafeterias and convenience stores. Some foods have separate instructions for high-wattage microwaves, but keep in mind that foods may be overcooked if standard directions are followed in a very high-wattage unit. Most microwaves have a digital display; a few older units have analog controls. A useful feature built into some microwaves is the rotating turntable. Microwave ovens with this feature eliminate the need to rotate food manually, which also reduces wear on the buttons used to stop and start the microwave (as well as its door). Space-saving units which can be installed above a counter or electric stovetop are also available.

PRICE: Microwave and toaster ovens can both be purchased for under $60 new. Toaster ovens are less expensive, but the difference between the cheapest toaster oven and microwave listed on Wal-Mart’s website is only about $18. Purchasing a toaster oven over the internet can be considered, but the potential for buying a microwave online is limited by its weight and size. However, it may be worth checking eBay.com for a microwave if you live in or near a large city – some sellers let people in the local area pick up their item directly instead of paying for shipping.

BUSINESSES: If you need to purchase a microwave oven which is going to be made available to customers and/or employees in a business, you may want to look for a model which only has a row of buttons with different preset amounts of time listed on them. This style of microwave eliminates the need for people to learn how to use it, reducing the amount of time it is occupied with each person. If a high-wattage microwave oven is to be used, you may want to put up a notice advising users that the microwave will cook foods more quickly than lower-wattage units they may be familiar with.

FOOD INSTRUCTIONS: While most frozen foods provide directions for microwaves and conventional ovens (and most canned food has instructions for both stovetops and microwaves), there are some exceptions for both types. A few also have directions for using a toaster oven, but not many. It is usually faster to heat food in a microwave than a conventional or toaster oven. Some foods indicate the wattage of the microwave which was used to develop their instructions – for example, Banquet Macaroni and Cheese has directions developed using an 1100-watt microwave, so a higher or lower wattage unit may take a different amount of time to heat the food thoroughly enough. Foods which are designed to be easily portable (some types of soup, ravioli, beans, etc. in special containers) have directions both for commercial/high-wattage microwave ovens and lower-wattage units.

COMBINATION UNITS: Combination units which combine a toaster and/or toaster oven with a microwave are available, and combined toaster-oven/coffee-makers can be found as well. Browsing some eBay listings, I even came across a device made by Technosonic with a coffee maker, toaster oven, grill, and AM/FM radio built in. Purchasing a combination unit such as this may be cost-effective if you need to buy multiple small appliances at the same time.

BUYING USED: While toaster ovens are inexpensive enough that you probably don’t need to consider purchasing a unit which is used (unless, perhaps if it is almost new and in very good condition), buying a used microwave can provide substantial savings. However, before purchasing a used microwave oven you should check to make sure its internal light works, the buttons haven’t worn out, and the door closes securely. If it has a turntable, make sure it functions as well.

SHOPPING: Microwaves and toaster ovens can be purchased at a wide variety of locations, especially department stores. Some grocery stores sell toaster ovens. Used microwaves are most commonly found at garage sales and used merchandise stores. Kenmore and Panasonic both manufacture toaster ovens and microwaves.

Considering the above-mentioned factors should help you more easily choose the appropriate microwave or toaster oven for your home or business.

Cuisinart HSM-70 Stand Mixer Review

The Cuisinart HSM-70 is a combination hand/stand mixer. The unit offers 220 watts of mixing power. You can find this model for an average price of $80. Keep reading to learn about some of the features that it offers.

The Cuisinart HSM-70 is fitted with a digital LED display. You can turn the unit on or off as well as operate it at seven different mixing speeds. Your chosen speed is shown on the display.

The Cuisinart HSM-70 offers 220 watts of mixing power. The unit also has a SmoothStart feature. This feature consists of three low mixing speeds to gradually start the unit up. This helps prevent splattering so that your countertop stays clean.

The stand included with the Cuisinart HSM-70 has a tilt-back head. This allows you to remove the stainless steel bowl more easily. There is also a button that enables you to release the hand mixer from the stand conveniently.

The Cuisinart HSM-70 stand mixer is packaged with a stainless steel bowl. It offers a capacity of 3.5 quarts.

The Cuisinart HSM-70 hand/stand mixer is packaged with an assortment of useful accessories. They include two dough hooks, a set of flat mixing beaters, and a chef’s whisk. The beaters are designed to spin the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. You’re also provided with a combination instruction/recipe booklet. The unit is backed by a three year limited warranty.

The Cuisinart HSM-70 hand/stand mixer offers seven different mixing speeds. It shows your chosen speed on the digital LED display. The stand also has a tilt-back head so that you can remove the bowl with ease. This stainless steel bowl has a maximum capacity of 3.5 quarts. You’re also provided with a set of flat mixing beaters, two dough hooks, and a chef’s whisk.

L’Equip Dehydrator Review

L’equip has produced many different models of dehydrators and they are all specific in their appearance and functions. Let us examine a common L’equip dehydrator:

L’Equip Dehydrator

L’equip dehydrator motor power

All the L’equip dehydrators have a 500+ (W) motor power. This is more than enough power for drying your food quickly and efficiently. There’s no food that this dehydrator cannot dry within a few hours!

Ability to upgrade trays

While you only get a few (5-6) trays along with the dehydrator, there’s an option for upgrading to up to 20 trays! This is one of the best aspects of L’equip food dehydrators. The trays have a square shape and are organized in a tower-like construction that expands in height as you add more trays. They are very easy to remove, clean and maintain (completely dishwasher safe), and they don’t contain any unknown plastics (BPA free).

Energy consumption

Every L’equip dehydrator has a very low energy consumption, which is very important because the food takes a couple of hours to dry, and you don’t want huge electric bills.

This is a great thing with expandable units, as they don’t waste energy and heat up any unused space. Instead, the energy is only spent on the trays containing the actual food.

Easy to clean and maintain

As mentioned before, all the trays from the dehydrator can be very easily removed and cleaned using a dishwasher (too high temperatures might damage the trays though).

Not too large and not too loud…

Of course, since the L’equip food dehydrator is stackable, its size is obviously going to depend on the number of trays. However, standard measures are 17 by 11-4/5 by 10-1/2 inches. Size can be a deceiving thing – make sure you have enough room to place one of these before you actually go ahead and make a purchase.

All dehydrators make a certain amount of noise while active (they are not microwaves), but most people get used to this fast. Luckily, the L’equip dehydrator is relatively silent.

Heat regulation

Heat regulation is ensured by a thermostat which can be easily adjusted from 93 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This enables you to regulate the pace and intensity yourself.

Price and warranty

Compared to other contestants in its class, this dehydrator blows everyone away with its quality/price ratio! An Excalibur dehydrator with similar performance might cost you up to twice as much (just for the sake of comparison).

If you buy the L’equip dehydrator via Amazon, you will also get an amazing 12-year warranty! This tells you about the confidence of the L’equip dehydrator manufacturers.

All in all – this product is a great buy and highly recommended.

Source: del.icio.us.com/best-food-dehydrator