If you’ve been thinking about investing in a new convection microwave, this Sharp Carousel Convection Microwave review will give you some insight as to whether it is the right choice for you.
We all know that microwaves are an invaluable modern convenience. There’s one in almost every home and, when they break down, we realize just how important they can be. They’re the difference between waiting half an hour for dinner and waiting five minutes. It might not seem like a huge priority, but speed is essential when you’ve got young children or a hectic schedule to keep to.
So, what exactly is a convection microwave? What makes it different from a regular microwave and it is a superior option?
The Sharp Carousel 900-Watt Convection Microwave can be described as something in between an oven and a regular microwave. It uses radio waves to agitate water particles in your food and start the cooking process (just like a microwave), but it also circulates heat like a traditional oven. In other words, it both microwaves and bakes your meals. This can be tricky to understand a first and it is mostly because the purpose of such a device isn’t automatically clear.
What is the benefit of using both heating methods? Why not just choose one or the other? These are important questions and the Sharp Convection Microwave doesn’t do a lot to answer them.
– Straightforward, easy to use settings
– Heat is distributed evenly around the food
– Device heats up fast and cooks safely
– Very small volume/capacity (only suitable for small quantities)
– A wide variety of settings makes remember the main functions harder.
A Question of Speed
The biggest obstacle with any convection microwave (not just this Sharp product) is finding a real reason for it to exist. It cooks food faster than a regular oven, but slower than a microwave. Most homeowners would simply disregard the slower option and head straight for maximum convenience.
There is also the issue of capacity. Commercial convection microwaves are generally very small and this Sharp device is no exception. You wouldn’t be able to cook a large meal in it; certainly not enough food for more than three people.
Ease of Use and Functionality
At least being so small makes the Sharp Carousel 900-Watt Convection Microwave a sleek and compact machine. It can be stored pretty much anywhere in your kitchen or even just left on the counter top. The visual aesthetic is pleasing, with a black and stainless steel exterior. It looks expensive and sturdy.
The control panel is arguably the most important feature. When using one of these convection microwaves, it is essential that you get the settings right. Because you’re combining two entirely different methods of cooking, unlike the ones in our best microwaves ovens review. Ideally, all products should be straightforward and easy to use. Or, they should come with a simple guide to the key settings.
The Sharp Convection Microwave is partly successful in this regard. The pre-settings are indicated in an obvious way and it is easy enough to master the temperature controls. They double up as the number buttons for the convection element of the machine.
On the other hand, there are a lot of buttons to get to grips with here. It doesn’t take long before they all become just a little too confusing. They aren’t clearly divided into convection and microwave mechanisms, which makes it hard to match the right settings to the right ingredients.
Mastering the Microwave
The Sharp microwave cannot operate as fast as a regular one would because it is smaller and uses less power. At a mere 900 watts, it is faster than you might expect, but your own microwave would still do better.
For instance, convection microwaves add around a minute to something like boiling water. It can also take longer to complete minor tasks like heating up a piece of pie. It might not sound like a massive delay, but it is likely to frustrate most homeowners and send them back to conventional methods of cooking.
Interestingly, we found that the pre-settings weren’t as accurate or valuable as manual programming. For example, heating a bag of popcorn at the recommended temperature and time simply didn’t work at all. We had to manually add more time to the clock. The same happened with frozen ready meals. They heated up very unevenly and left some parts frozen, while others were like lava.
Maximizing the Power of the Oven
There is a handy recipe book contained within the convection microwave manual. These thirty or so recipes are quite diverse and might be useful if you’ve never handled this method of cooking before. It is quite a surprise to discover just how many ingredients can be cooked using only this device.
As with the convection microwave, though, actually following the recipes is not as great an idea the manual makes it seem. Results were similarly inconsistent. We cooked honey mustard chicken according to the recipe guide, but we had to add more time. It was not safe to eat at the point at which the manual recommended we do so.
The upside is that convection ovens are faster than regular ones. The Sharp Carousel Microwave heats up in a mere eight minutes. It takes around fifteen for a full-size oven to be ready for cooking. We have to confess that pizzas cooked using this method turn out surprisingly tasty. The dough stays perfectly crispy and you’ll never go back to cooking it in the microwave once you taste the difference.
The Bottom Line
The biggest gripe about the Sharp Carousel 900-Watt Convection Microwave is that you can’t trust the pre-settings or recommended settings. They’re almost always inaccurate in some fashion. You’ll either end up with lukewarm food or a burnt meal. On the other hand, if you trust your own judgments and make your own decisions, you’ll get far better results.
Best Price: $300