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BRIANA: We’ll call this one “Defend the Downward Trend”: The microwave is a kitchen staple, but Jessica alerted me to the news that its sales in the U.S. have been flagging for almost a decade. How do you feel about microwaves? Are you attached to your “science oven” or are you more into toaster ovens? Do you think they’re an ugly waste of kitchen real estate or would you be lost without one?

Would  you miss your microwave?

FARIMA: I am a stove/toaster oven girl. I can’t remember the last time I used a microwave  — I’ve even switched to making popcorn on the stove (It’s so much tastier than microwaveable popcorn!) If it wasn’t built in, I would definitely get rid of it!

KERI: I’ll be the first to admit that I mostly just use my microwave for heating up water for tea in the morning. If I didn’t have it, I guess I’d just move right along to the stove. Plus, this year, I finally learned to pop popcorn over the stove. (Farima’s right: SO much tastier and healthier, too!) Wait, why do I have a microwave again? Oh wait, I steam vegetables in there, too. It has a purpose!

KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE: I’m with Farima. Ours came with the house and I rarely use it. I say take it out and bring back the appliance garage.

ALYSSA: I feel like the microwave is something you think you don’t need until all of a sudden you need it. It gets a bad rap for all the unhealthy “healthy” frozen meals it nukes, but it’s also a lifesaver if you’re short on time. I’ll use it if I want to steam veggies in a hurry and can’t wait for the water to boil on the stove — not all of us have an Electrolux, Kelly Ripa.

DAVID HAYNES: I’m a dude, so I think you can guess where I line up. I don’t cook so much as I “warm.” I’d be climbing the walls without the microwave. And I’ve seen some design suggestions for squirreling them away in a walk-in pantry or some such. Nope. Mine stays front and center.

NANCY FIRE, Design Director of HGTV HOME: I agree with Farima on all counts…especially when it comes to popcorn. Seriously, I would get rid of our microwave because I hardly use it. I too am a toaster girl at heart!

KAYLA: Microwaves are hideous, but they get the job done quick. Plus, I don’t have the patience to wait for my ancient oven to heat up to warm leftovers. When I get a “real” home, I’ll opt for a toaster oven, but until then I’m happy with my college-style microwave.

LILI: I think our toaster oven gets more use than our real oven. It’s fancy so you can set the temperature and use it like a real stove in a tenth of the time. So I agree, I’m toaster oven all the way. Though I did just heat up leftover Chinese in the microwave last night…

JESSICA: At my old house the roommates and I mostly used it as a glorified breadbox/clock. Now that I’m [further] down South, I only got a microwave as of Christmas. It wasn’t bad and half the time I didn’t even notice…that is, until those days when you come home, you’re tired and there’s nothing you want more than to stuff your face with anything and go to sleep — almost impossible to do if you have to wait 25 minutes to warm up your scrappy burrito leftovers. Also, I don’t think I “get” toaster ovens? They make me really anxious and my first “use” of one was in the game The Sims. Summary: I’d rather have a Margaritaville.

WATSON HAWKINS: I still use a microwave to warm up a coffee mug and refrigerated leftovers, but primarily it sits on the counter because it just…won’t…break, which would give us the excuse we’re looking for to toss it. We did, however, invest less than $125 for the bad boy pictured, a Panasonic that uses infrared light to cook food 40% faster than conventional coils — plus it heats up instantly, which means super-fast cinnamon toast.

Do you like microwaves or prefer toaster ovens? Vote now on HGTV's blog!

Panasonic FlashXpress™ Toaster Oven with Double Infrared Heating

It’s been a godsend for our 3-year-old frozen-chicken-nugget connoisseur and it puts a nice crisp on the edges of day-old pizza that a microwave could only dream of doing. One more plus: it has a small countertop footprint — crucial for our tight kitchen — but it’s roomy inside if we’re looking to bake.

LIZ: I love my toaster oven very, very much. Who wants to eat microwaved pizza? Not this gal. However…I’ll always have a microwave because leftover chili just isn’t the same when you have to spend 20 minutes heating it on the stove. My dad actually uses his microwave to speed the cooking time of very delicious things, like macaroni and cheese and barbecued chicken. The key is, only partially cook said item, then finish it in the oven or on the grill. Personally, I’m probably not going to break out any microwave cookbooks, so I wish there was an option for a super-tiny (not to mention more attractive), plate-sized version.

KAYLA: I agree. The whole point of leftovers is enjoy a night off from cooking/waiting for something to cook. Microwave serves the “I want food NOW” purpose.

MARIANNE: I “bake” sweet potatoes in the microwave at least two nights a week. After working all day I just can’t wait for the hour it takes to bake them in the oven.

NANCY FIRE, Design Director of HGTV HOME: Not an everyday fan of the microwave, [but I] found this pizza maker combo appliance that could make the microwave a bit more interesting, especially for those late night snacks.

Do you like microwaves or prefer toaster ovens? Vote now on HGTV's blog!

Daewoo Pizza Maker and Microwave Oven Combo

We’ve gotten heated about microwaves, now tell us what YOU think:


56 Responses

  1. Arlene says:

    Along with my computer, I count my microwave oven as the two greatest inventions of my lifetime! Using the microwave as a tool (defrosting frozen dishes, meats, etc.) is an incredible benefit! I melt butter or chocolate for recipes requiring them; I make simple syrup for my home-made iced tea as well as bake potatoes in 1/10th the time as a regular oven. Cooking for one? So much easier with a microwave oven for leftovers. Oh, and making a cup of hot chocolate milk? Quick and delicious!

  2. Cindi says:

    I make EVERYTHING in my microwave. I burnt out my oven, then my microwave the other day, so bought a toaster oven until I get the oven fixed, it doesn't even come close so I'll be using it to cook Polymer Clay after my oven is working again, hopefully it does a better job with that than it does with food. I totally panicked when my microwave went out though, until I realized I had an extra in the garage. I use the stovetop some, mainly to boil eggs and pasta, I only use the oven for meats & seafood mainly, and to heat up pizza, whatever needs to be brown, or crisp. I make just about everything else in the microwave, including squash, baked potatoes, warm up fast food if I don't get home in time, I just shove the whole bag in there. I boil water for tea, and heat up cold coffee, and warm up and melt butter on my blueberry muffins for breakfast. I make bacon and eggs, well, as I said, just about everything. I live alone so don't want to mess around for hours cooking, so I live by the creed 'dinner in 10 minutes or less', so would quite probably starve without it, since cooking is just not my thing.

  3. GrammaBear says:

    Microwaves are great for cooking vegetables, defrosting meats and sauces, drying herbs, warming breads in 20 seconds, softening butter sticks (5 to 10 seconds), "baking" potatoes or yams (4 min for the 1st potato and add 2 min for each additional and be sure to make small cuts in the skins first). We also use ours to warm a cup of coffee that has gone cold or for boiling a cup of water in a hurry. I don't know what I would have done, as a working mom, without my microwave. I would often leave plates of dinner for our kids to enjoy when they got home from sports. Please don't start a trend to get rid of microwaves or make them sound un-cool.

    • Carolann says:

      I Agree GrammaBear!!!! I use mine to cook my white potatoes till they are kind of soft then I toss them in a 400 degree oven till the skins are crunchy. I also do this with my sweet potatoes but just get them nice and brown.

  4. Vivien says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of those big paragraphs above. I could never be without my microwave. I do all of those things above mentioned and then some. They're so great for those cook-in-the-bag frozen vegetables. Great flavor! And for steaming squash and such. And baked potatoes. I could never wait for a conventional oven to heat up and then bake the potato for an hour. Who came up with that one?? Just kidding. But I have never heard of anyone who has one who wants to do away with it. Where did that come from. As far as I'm concerned, they (microwaves) are here to stay–FOREVER! And, yes, I do use my conventional oven for meats, poultry, fish, etc. and baking cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies, casserole dishes. But this is 2014! Let's don't go back to the horse and buggy days.

  5. Marcia says:

    I just had mine taken down from on top of my stove and replaced it with a stanless steel range hood. For some reason Men said that microwaves HAD to go over the stove. For us short people this is a danger of being burned by something hot every time we use it. NOT GOOD.

    • janevir says:

      I did the same thing. Granted, the previous owner of our home installed it at an incorrect (and very unsafe) height above the gas range, which also made it difficult to get covers on and off the pots. However, that issue helped me decide that I really only use my microwave for reheating and a few other things that don't demand the space above the stove. So it is now off to the side on a hutch with the cookbooks and other seldom-used items. When I turn my laundry room into a walk-in pantry, it's going in there. Can't wait!

  6. Marcella says:

    I bought my first microwave over 40 years ago mainly to cook baked potatoes. I had been using a toaster oven to bake them with a hamburger steak for my dinner most nights which took an hour. I had that Panasonic for 22 years. I'll never be without a mirco. I also still use a toaster oven, mainly for meats. I live alone again and it is simpler, easier and cleaner this way. When I cooked for three or four people I learned to make meatloaf, bread pudding, cook bacon, scalloped potatoes in the micro which turned out better than doing it the old fashioned way.

  7. JetQueen says:

    I have always had TWO micros to work with. 'Nuff said!

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Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...


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