If you were to ask families about one single household appliance, above all else, that has made life a whole lot easier for them, the clear response would be a microwave for seniors in the family.
Even if the elder generation hasn’t exactly adapted to all the technological inventions in and out of the kitchen, one utility they have certainly welcomed is the ubiquitous microwave. At an age where just going through your daily routine and staying active can be an immense challenge, simplifying cooking for seniors with easy to use microwaves is a great gift.
Just as most new-age appliances are becoming more and more difficult to decipher for the elder lot, microwaves have also been getting increasingly hard for seniors to get accustomed to. With multiple pre-set programs, dual racks, and auto-cook buttons, the mechanisms in many microwaves are no longer simple.
Having said that, there’s also a crop of simple microwave ovens in the market that are apt for families with one or more senior members operating the appliance on a daily basis. If yours is one of many such homes, surely you must have designed everything the house tohelp accommodate your elderly loved ones.
Why leave microwaves out of the picture?
Give your elders the comfort of using a microwave that’s simple, easy and tailor-made for their age. To make the choice easier for you, we are all set to review the four best microwaves for seniors to give your loved ones the confidence to operate appliances on their own and lead an independent life.
Microwaves for Elderly Members of the Family
Before we jump into reviewing our four simple microwaves ovens for the day, let’s take a moment to analyze what actually goes into making a good microwave for seniors? As ardent technology loyalists, we tend to bask in all the extravagances our appliances bestow upon us without taking a step back to acknowledge these features may actually be extremely difficult for the elders among us to operate. Some things that should suit their needs include:
- Easy to read controls
- A compact and light body
- Microwaves with knobs
- Simple display mechanisms
- Loud alert sounds
- Big button microwaves to prevent accidental entries and programs
- Doors that are easy to open
So if you’re wondering what to give your grandparents this Christmas, the following microwave reviews should help you out. Let’s dive right in!
This simple microwave oven is very easy to use and operate, making it a favorite not only with seniors but also with college dorm students and bachelors living in compact studio apartments. It comes with the following features:
- 6 cubic feet capacity
- 65-inch turntable size
- 6 power levels
- Timer capped at a maximum of 30 minutes
- Basic mechanical dial control
- 700-watt power capacity
- Push button door opening mechanism
- Defrost functionality
Weighing a little over 25 pounds and measuring 19.5 x 15 x 12 inches, this microwave definitely makes the cut in terms of its physical dimensions. A shiny black exterior is simple to maintain and goes with almost all interiors.
Microwaves with knobs are a big hit with seniors and this one has two – one for the power level and one for time. This is one fairly straightforward appliance that includes no fancy programs or autocook features. If you’re looking for a simple swing and start control, this microwave does the trick. This also works well for people with visual impairments or blurry vision due to old age.
A 0.6 cubic feet capacity and 9.65-inch turntable are ideal for the portion sizes that seniors usually consume. One great feature is the maximum time level of 30 minutes which rules out erroneous time entries and guards against the machine burning out since elders will sometimes turn microwaves on and forget about them.
A drawback is that it has exhaust vents on the upper surface and hence cant be shelf-mounted. It must be placed on a countertop.
Let’s sum up the pros and cons of the Impecca CM0674 Countertop Microwave Oven.
- Simple and easy to use microwave
- Knob style controls ideal for old age and visual impairments
- Light-weight compact appliance
- Ideal turntable size for small meals
- Maximum time limit of 30 minutes
- Cannot be mounted on a shelf – only countertop
- Generates a loud grinding noise over time
Next up we have another modest and straightforward countertop microwave from Westinghouse. This simple microwave oven is handy for making easy snacks, heating up food and comes in a beautiful all-black or all-white exterior that goes with all kitchen decors. Let’s dive into its list of features first.
- 6 cubic capacity
- 6 pre-built power levels for various styles of cooking
- Defrost capabilities
- 5-inch glass turntable which is dishwasher safe
- 600W power capacity
Measuring 17.75 x 12.5 x 10.25 Inches and weighing a little over 23 pounds, this microwave is a smaller microwave in comparison to the Impecca reviewed above. It is a simple microwave with knobs for power and time controls. These rotary dials enable even visually impaired individuals to use the microwave easily.
There are a total of six power levels and the time setting runs up to a maximum of 30 minutes. This control mechanism is ideal for the elderly who sometimes accidentally punch in a very high time setting on digital controls. The door handle is sturdy and supports the pull and push opening system well.
The interiors are made of simple smooth finish plastic that’s easy to wipe down.
Here are the pros and cons of the Westinghouse Countertop Rotary Microwave Oven:
- Glass turntable is dishwasher safe
- It is a compact and light-weight machine
- The knob control mechanism is easy to operate
- Interiors are simple to clean
- Maximum 30 minutes time setting
- Good for small portions of food
- It is a countertop appliance, cannot be mounted on a shelf
Next up, we have the Panasonic 1000 Watt Commercial Microwave Oven. Unlike the previous two microwave ovens we reviewed, this one offers a few additional features. Let’s take a look.
- 1000 watt power capacity
- Single dial for time control
- Single power level
- Anti-theft mechanism
- Compact cooking guide on the control panel
- 6-minute timer dial
- Interior light
Measuring 16.6 x 20.1 x 12 inches and weighing 34 pounds, this microwave is certainly a little on the bulky side. The microwave is made using smooth stainless steel and comes with an attractive glossy silver finish. It has a transparent see-through glass door that enables you to monitor how far you are into the cooking process. The door handle is an easy push and pull system that is quite sturdy.
This microwave sports a cooking guide on its control panel directing the user on the number of seconds required for different categories of food and the varying weight of each. Being a Microwave with dials it is extremely easy for the elderly to control the variables. This Panasonic microwave sports a rotating dial for time control which goes up to a maximum of six minutes. The power level, however, cannot be controlled. This microwave comes with a single power level.
While it does not come with a turntable, you can place plates and dishes up to 6 inches in height for your heating requirements. Also, it does not have any defrost setting so you will have to make do with the heating program to slowly thaw your veggies or meat.
We’ve summarized the pros and cons of the Panasonic 1000 Watt Commercial Microwave Oven below.
- Dial control for time setting
- 1000 watt capacity
- Anti-theft mechanism built-in
- See-through microwave oven door
- Easy push/pull door system
- There is no turntable
- Single power level
- No de-frost capabilities
- Slightly bulky and heavy for its features
Our last pick of the day is an easy to use microwave from Magic Chef. This appliance comes with a 0.7 cubic feet capacity and sparkles in a beautiful full-white design. An aesthetic addition to its design is a towel bar handle that adds to the retro look of this appliance.
A compact and simple microwave oven, this one is a common choice for people looking for a no-fuss, stylish and straightforward microwave for seniors, dormitories or bachelor pads. Let’s run through its key features.
Features of the Magic Chef Retro Countertop Microwave Oven
- 7 cubic feet capacity
- 700-watt power capacity
- 7 power levels
- Dual rotary dials for time and power settings
- Loud physical ding sound for alerts
- Glass turntable
- Time setting maxes at 35 minutes
Measuring 12.8 x 17.7 x 10.2 in and weighing 32 pounds, this microwave oven is a lightly heavy but sports a sleek build. The knobs make it easy to operate and the door contains a comfortable push/pull opening mechanism. The interiors have a smooth finish that’s easy to wipe down.
Powered by a modest 700-watt capacity and 0.7 cubic feet capacity, it is ideal for seniors and their limited portion sizes. It doesn’t offer fancy auto cook features that would likely be a hassle for seniors to work with. All in all, it is a fairly good microwave for seniors. Here are its advantages and disadvantages:
- Extremely stylish and attractive design
- 7 power levels
- Loud ding sound for alerts
- Makes a steady sound while heating
- Does not have a defrost setting
- It is a heavy machine
- Cannot be mounted on a shelf
Summary – Making the right choice
While all of the four simple microwave ovens reviewed in this article are excellent appliances for seniors, it is on the basis of your personal requirements that you must narrow it down to one. If de-frosting is a must-have, then you are better off giving the Panasonic and the Magic Chef microwaves a miss. Your are better off with the Westinghouse or the Impecca microwaves.
Having a single power level can be rather restrictive at times, which is where the Panasonic microwave loses out to its three counterparts. Having said that, with a 100-watt capacity, it is slightly more powerful than the other three microwaves. While the other three are all microwaves with knobs, the Panasonic is the only one which sports a round dial for time control. Some users may be more comfortable with a knob rather than a dial.
The Panasonic and Impecca microwaves are also slightly bulkier than the other two. So if space is a concern, you may eliminate these two microwaves from your pool of choices. Another point of contention is the unique anti-theft mechanism of the Panasonic microwave. If your seniors have slightly weakened vision or restricted movement, then this feature will certainly come in handy.
From an aesthetic perspective, the Magic Chef microwave sits prettiest in comparison to the others and is the clear winner on this front. Each microwave has advantages over the other three on some aspect or another. It boils down to the features that are likely to appeal to your seniors and make interaction with their microwave simpler and easier.
Don’t rush into a purchase that you’ll regret a few weeks later. As individuals age, their tolerance for complexity dips significantly. Make sure you invest enough thought into the ease of operation and safety features of the microwave. Choosing the best microwave for seniors will save them from bothering with a replacement for years to come.