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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Which Microwave is Best for Senior Citizens



Your standard turntable microwave, a necessity in the kitchen.
Your standard turntable microwave, a necessity in the kitchen.

The elderly have always had a strange and almost legendary affiliation with microwaves. The most obvious story is about that 90-year-old woman who put her pet dog in the microwave to dry it off. Of course, the dog exploded, traumatizing the lady and bursting the story into urban legend status. And it’s just that. This isn’t a true story, but it is something that comes to mind when we think of senior citizens and microwaves. Nowadays we know better. Even the most elderly person on the planet is aware of how a microwave works.

In the beginning.…

It was in 1947 that Raytheon released the first commercially available microwave oven. It was huge, about 1.8 m tall and 750 lbs. By modern economic standards, it would have cost the equivalent of $53,000.

Thankfully, microwaves have come a long way since the late 40s. Having said that, electrical devices in general can be a bit of a mystery to grandma. She’s an expert at knitting, and she can mill her own grain for hours on end. But, the microwave market is a confusing place, even for younger folks.

An era of the most modern conveniences!
An era of the most modern conveniences!


The problem is that even the youthful mess up with microwaves at times. A small piece of aluminum wire on a chicken may find its way in and send sparks flying, scaring the life out of the user. This could be a fatal fright to an elderly person with a pacemaker.

Certain foods may take longer or shorter periods of time to cook in the microwave, too. It’s a strange to cook, if you think about it, and doing it wrong could lead to a smoky mess or an undercooked piece of meat, making them quite ill.

A lot of these problems can be remedied by taking some time to show your elderly relatives how to safely use these devices. That reminds me, isn’t it about time you dropped in for a visit, anyway?

Once the technical stuff is out of the way, however, a microwave oven is an incredibly convenient and versatile device for anyone who needs hassle-free meal preparation. Senior citizens are often unable to cook for themselves, making the microwave oven the ideal solution. But, which is the best microwave for them?

The Best Microwaves

Commercial Chef

The Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven is conveniently sized at 0.6 cubic feet, meaning it won’t take up a lot of space on the countertop. It’s ideal for senior citizens because of its basic design and control features. A lot of them are living in smaller apartments, which are easier for them to maintain, so space is an important consideration.

The fewer features, the easier it is to use and fewer complications will arise. Over-complicating the matter will frustrate your aging parent or grandparent, who may feel that they are losing their independence.

Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic Feet, 600 Watt, White, CHM660W

They won’t want a complicated piece of technology enhancing this feeling. The Commercial Chef microwave is a simple and easy piece of kitchen equipment that won’t frustrate them.

See the Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary 600 Watt Microwave at Amazon

All you need to do is turn the cooking dial, turn the timer dial, and leave it. Once you hear the beep, your food is ready. The only issue is that sometimes the microwave needs a little more time than usual to heat food. Otherwise, this is an ideal microwave for the elderly.

A timer microwave doesn't have all those overly-complicated menus and screens.
A timer microwave doesn’t have all those overly-complicated menus and screens.


Next is the Daewoo KOR6L15 Manual Microwave Oven, 700-watt Microwave. It has five different power levels for cooking different foods, and it also comes with a dual wave system, ideal for uniform heating and cooking.

These features offer more variety when it comes to the cooking process. On top of that, it has a 35-minute dual speed timer for faster, more convenient cooking. It has a very simple design, engineered with elderly people in mind.

Because of the extra feature, it’s a little more expensive than other basic microwaves, but these added features will offer more independence to your aging parent or grandparent because they will have different ways to cook with the microwave.


Lastly, there’s the Westinghouse WCM660W 600W Counter Top Microwave Oven. This is an advanced yet simply designed microwave.

As previously mentioned, inappropriate cooking levels can be a threat to the well-being of the elderly, by way of undercooking their food. This microwave comes with six power levels, from low to high, including a defrost setting.

Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic Feet, 600 Watt, White, CHM660W

See the Westinghouse WCM660W 600 Watt Counter Top Microwave Oven at Amazon

It also has a striking black on white design, making the controls much easier to see for the visually-impaired. It’s a very basic microwave, but it’s probably the best basic microwave around, and definitely the most ideal for a senior citizen.

Looking for a microwave for a loved one dealing with dementia?
I’ve got a list of microwaves just for them.

What features you should consider

Essentially, you need to consider the user-friendly features of a microwave when purchasing one for a senior citizen. It needs to be simple, but functional. Remember that accessibility is the most important feature. Also, do a few test runs alongside them first. Pops will understand it easily enough, and soon will gain a much more independence in the home.

If you or someone you love has arthritis, head on over here to learn about which garlic press is best for arthritis pain.

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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