6 Energy-Efficient Convection Microwave Ovens For Small Kitchens


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In the search for the most energy-efficient cooktop (read more here) for his 420-square-foot apartment in New York City, TreeHugger founder Graham Hill faced a somewhat simple choice in terms of efficiency -- induction cooktops proved to be far more efficient than gas or electric.

But what about the oven? Research quickly proved the most efficient route is most likely downsizing from a full-sized oven to a dual microwave/convection oven.

The goal, as part of Graham's LifeEdited apartment renovation project, is to find a clean design that visually jives with the cooktop, yet at the same time helps keep the 'net zero footprint' goal in sight. The six convection microwave oven models here do just that. Have you seen or created better solutions? Let us know in the comments.

Microwaves and Convection Ovens Consume Less Energy

Microwaves use a lot fewer watts than a small toaster-style oven, and also use less energy than full-sized ovens. Using the microwave for heating and re-heating of daily food is a way to save energy and money.

Some meals, especially during holidays and entertaining, however, will require real baking, so the combination of microwave in concert with convection for bigger meals, for baking, cooking 'slow food,' and broiling helps cover all needs. Since it is a 'tiny' kitchen and the microwave/convection oven must visually match with the cooktop, 24" is the maximum width for the duo. That narrows the options.

In fact, though nearly everybody cooks, "energy-efficient oven" isn't a real market segment. Though ovens are the mainstay (and main energy-users) in the kitchen alongside the fridge and in most cases, the dishwasher, EnergyStar doesn't treat them as a category or give recommendations.

Thus the choices for efficient cooking in tiny homes aren't exactly bountiful. Amazingly, Graham's choice of a 24" combo convection and microwave is seen by the industry as more or less an add-on to another full-sized oven most people put below this unit.

Where are the rocket stoves for the small home? Or biomass cookstoves for the mainstream, efficient kitchen?

Below are the 24" options -- most ovens will be wider when a "trim kit" is added, but for Graham's criteria, no trim will be used, and the microwave/convection unit itself must stay under 25" wide, while also be able to bake a birthday cake and fit a regular-sized roasting pan.

1. Miele H 4042 BM

The Miele H 4024 BM Micro/Convection oven. Photo credit: Miele.The Miele H 4042 BM 23" and 7/16" microwave/convection oven is sleek in stainless-steel, and has absolutely no problems melding visually with the most likely choices for induction cooktops.Pros: Sports a 1,000-watt microwave, true 'European' convection, and good looks. Will accommodate a 13" by 9" by 2" cake pan and regular-sized roasting pans. Because of the top handle, has the most oven-like feel of all the options.Cons: Cadillac pricing.Price: Around $2,045.

2. Bosch HMB 8050

The Bosch HMB 8050. Photo credit: Bosch.This Bosch HMB 8050 combination microwave and convection oven at 23 7/8" also comes in black, but in either stainless-steel or black it doesn't have quite the pizazz of the Miele. Visually, it seems more like a microwave than an oven.Pros: Comparable strength (1000-watt microwave) for less than half the price of the Miele. Bosch promises fully popped bag popcorn by entering bag size. Takes a 13" cake pan or roasting pan.Cons: With the 'trim kit' shown here, the oven will be either 27" or 30" wide.Price: $700.

3. Viking DMOC/VMOC 205

The Viking DMOC/VMOC 205 Micro Convection Hood. Photo credit: Viking.The Viking Convection Microwave Oven says that cooking times may be faster in its DMOC/VMOC small ovens using ConvecBake and ConvecBroil features than it would be with the company's regular ovens.Pros: There are a rainbow of candy colors to choose from with the VMOC 205. Also, the design says a bit more 'oven' than 'microwave.'Cons: Viking recently discontinued this model, though plenty of stock remains available from a variety of vendors.Price: About $1,100.

4. Sharp R-930CS

The Sharp R-930CS. Photo credit: Sharp.The Sharp R-930CS is the least expensive option. Generally sold as a countertop unit, the R-930CS can also be built in.Pros: Affordable. According to Sharp it "browns, bakes, broils and crisps," provides perfect popcorn, and accommodates a 13" birthday cake pan and regular roasting pan. The microwave is 900 watts. Extra racks allow two-level baking.Cons: While it can be a built-in, its style says 'microwave' only.Price: Around $500.

5. Dacor DCM24

The Dacor DCM24. Photo credit: Dacor.Dacor's DCM24 is in the middle of the pack. It has a 900-watt microwave, and also a rack insert to allow two separate food items to be baked at once.Pros: It's middle-of-the-road pricing.Cons: It has that same 'microwave' feeling as the Sharp.Price: Approximately $730.

6. Wolf MWC24

The Wolf MWC24. Photo credit: Wolf.The Wolf MWC24 is an all black, 24" convection oven and 900-watt microwave.Pros: Might be nice to purchase the induction cooktop and the microwave/convection oven from the same vendor.Cons: These last three choices are all so similar visually it is hard to tell them apart. Could they even be from the same original equipment manufacturer?Price: Approximately $730.Like this story? Follow A.K. Streeter on Twitter.More on Life Edited
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