Do Microwave Ovens Need A Turntable? (Pros And Cons)

Image of a microwave oven with a turntable inside it

Microwave ovens are useful as they can heat up or cook food quickly without needing time to warm up. Some microwave ovens have many features for different cooking methods. But do microwave ovens need a turntable?

Microwave ovens don’t need a turntable. The ones that can come without turntables are called Flatbed Microwaves. These microwaves can heat up and cook food effectively. They have a rotating motor that drives the stirring blades under the flatbed, which distributes the waves evenly to heat the food.

Do note that there are microwave ovens nowadays that come with or without turntables depending on your preference. Before deciding which microwave is best for you, you should look and the pros and cons of both.

Why Do Microwave Ovens Have Turntables?

A turntable is used to prevent hot and cold spots caused by microwave interferences when food is warmed up.

It helps to know why a microwave needs a turntable to rotate the food; it is good to know how it works.

A microwave oven releases microwaves that reflect off the metal surfaces on the inner cavity. It then hits the surface of the food, which absorbs the microwave.

In a microwave oven, there is interference with the different waves.

When this happens, they form a resultant wave which can be a standing wave or one whose intensity is different from the parent wave.

If waves interfere with each other constructively, this can result in a wave whose energy increases and amplitude doubles.

When this happens, a hot spot is created in the microwave ovens cavity, which warms up the food.

If the microwaves interfere destructively, this can result in a cold spot. This is because there is no net radiation which won’t warm the food up.

These are waves that fall in the two extremes; some waves fall in the middle of these.

The microwaves then interact with the uncooked foods liquid molecules.

A microwave is basically a standing wave with a low frequency which is why it needs to move.

Its ability to control the food’s movement helps to distribute the waves evenly.

The movement is achieved with the rotating plates, which allows the food to cook uniformly.

Can A Microwave Work Without A Spinning Turntable?

Microwave ovens that are made without turntables are still able to reheat food efficiently.

A microwave oven with a turntable has a rotating motor that drives the glass plate. This is needed to ensure the food is heated up evenly.

Microwaves with turntables that have been removed will not work as efficiently because of no movement.

If it can’t move, the heat will not be distributed evenly, resulting in hot and cold spots.

However, it can still be used if there is no turntable and the glass door is not damaged.

It can still work if you heat the food for a few seconds and then pause to turn the container manually to promote even cooking or heating.

There is a function on some microwaves to stop the rotation of the turntable. This function can be useful if the container or dish you put into the microwave is too big.

If it is too big and the turntable rotates, it will not work correctly and fall out of place and cause a mess.

When this happens, and the rotation needs to be stopped, it is essential to move the dish manually; otherwise, the food will not heat up evenly.

Related Further Reading:

Do All Microwave Ovens Have Turntables?

The first microwave was built with a turntable between 1964 and 1966. Microwave oven technology has advanced since then.

Not all microwave ovens have turntables nowadays.

Two common types of microwave ovens can be purchased, with and without a turntable.

A microwave without a turntable is known as a Flatbed Microwave.

The rotating motor in a microwave oven with no turntable drives the hidden stirring blades found under the flatbed.

The rotating antenna replaces the turntable, and it is located on the base of the microwave oven.

The stirring blades in this type of microwave oven are essential to distribute the microwaves to the food evenly.

This helps ensure that the food is heated up evenly without having to spin it on a turntable.

Are Flatbed Microwaves Better Than Turntable Microwaves?

Microwave ovens with or without a turntable have their pros and cons.

Before making the decision on which is better for you, it is important to look at both models’ advantages and disadvantages.

Turntable Microwaves

The pros of a turntable microwave are:

  • Cost: The cost of this type of microwave isn’t expensive compared to flatbed microwaves. This is an affordable appliance that can still do the job.
  • Even Cooking: The turntable in this microwave oven helps to guarantee your food will be heated adequately.

The cons to having a turntable microwave are:

  • Capacity: There is limited space for larger dishes or dishes of different sizes to correctly fit in a turntable microwave. When putting a dish that doesn’t fit correctly in this microwave oven, the turntable can fall out of place, which can cause a mess.
  • Cleaning: A turntable microwave is harder to clean as the parts need to be removed to wash correctly. There are also little areas that are difficult to clean properly.

Interesting Further Reading:

Flatbed Microwaves

There are three types of Flatbed Microwaves:

  1. Solo,
  2. Combination, and
  3. Grill flatbed microwaves.

A solo flatbed microwave is very simple; it only has basic heating, defrosting, and reheating options. These are the most affordable microwaves in the flatbed range.

A combination flatbed microwave has more variety of features that can work in combination with each other or on their own.

These features include reheating, grilling, browning, and crisping food.

These appliances are more expensive but are very useful and can be used similarly to an oven.

These are advantageous when you need to cook many ingredients at a time for a meal.

A grill flatbed microwave is similar to a solo microwave, but it includes the feature for grilling.

These sit between a solo and combination flatbed microwave in terms of price.

The pros of having a Flatbed Microwave are:

  • Capacity: The inside of this microwave oven is more spacious, and it has a larger cooking volume and more flexibility. This is beneficial when you need to fit a larger container, more than one dish, or a container with an awkward shape inside your microwave oven. There are also different size flatbed microwaves that you can buy depending on how much space you have in your kitchen or what size microwave you need.
  • Cleaning: It is much easier to clean without the turntable or rotating motor, which is a big plus. You won’t need to remove the turntable to clean it individually or clean the rest of the microwave. There will be little to no splash or mess caused by the food being rotated to warm it up.
  • Even Cooking: A flatbed microwave oven helps cook and heat food more evenly than one with a turntable. However, It’s this isn’t always the case. Some turntable microwaves can perform better than flatbed models.
  • Durability: Turntable microwaves can get damaged very quickly due to the turntable breaking during cooking or cleaning. The flatbed microwave has fewer loose parts that can be broken and need to be replaced.

The cons of buying a Flatbed Microwave include:

  • Cost: The Flatbed Microwave can cost a lot more compared to one with a turntable. It is pricey because it is relatively new and the technology is more advanced. Even though it is more expensive, the convenience and reliability of this technology will be worth it.

Purchasing a Flatbed Microwave will be worth it if you frequently use a microwave in your household.

It can also be useful to have a Flatbed Microwave in commercial places such as workplaces, restaurants, or schools.

It is the best option in these scenarios as it won’t need to be cleaned as often, and it’s easier and quicker to clean.

However, it is essential to look at different Flatbed Microwave products to ensure you get a good model.

Some models are erratic and don’t heat food well, while others work better.


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