What are Best Microwaves for Seniors or Elderly?


What’s a microwave for elderly or senior citizens? What is it about microwaves that confuse the Baby Boomer generation and earlier? The microwave for seniors is those that have dials or work as simply as possible, so as not to confuse any generation before Millennials and Gen Z.

Also, what’s the best microwave for seniors? Keep on reading to find out. To clue you in, it’s the microwaves with the retro look that have more dials than touchpad buttons so as not to confuse the old-timers out there.

Buying Guide for Microwaves for Senior Citizens or the Elderly

When searching for microwaves for senior citizens, there are a couple of things for you to remember. First off, they should have simple dials or knobs and a retro look reminiscent of the 1950s to 1960s microwaves.

Secondly, you can also go through the voice activation or command route. A smart microwave with Alexa or Amazon Echo can assist the elderly in microwaving anything by talking to the device rather than operating its touchpad.

Why Are Microwaves Preferred Over Stoves and Ovens for Senior Use?

Here are the reasons why microwaves are preferred overcooking with stoves or baking with ovens as far as seniors are concerned.

  • You need to be watchful around a stove.
  • Unless the timer is set, the oven won’t ring when cooking is over.
  • They’re less likely to burn themselves when handling hot oven pans.
  • Microwaves ensure faster cleanup and the use of fewer dishes, plates, and pans.
  • Microwaves make a sound and turn off when they’re done microwaving something.
  • The open flame of an LPG stove or the hot oil of a pan could burn senior citizens with motor problems or tremors.
  • Ovens take longer to cook food, so it’s easier for the elderly to turn the appliance off (especially the memory impaired).

With that in mind, how does one know which microwave for seniors to use when there are so many models and types of microwaves out there?

Microwaves for Seniors or Elderly
Microwaves for Seniors or Elderly

What Should You Look for When Choosing a Microwave for Seniors?

Here are all the things you should search for when choosing a microwave for the elderly.

  • Simple Controls: Look for microwaves with knobs or dials that are easy to use. Many retro microwaves have this scheme. Preferably, get a microwave with controls that don’t require a lot of expertise, pressure, or resistance to turn on or activate.

Some microwaves have buttons on a flat screen or “touch screen”, like those found in smartphones. This can be difficult for seniors with bad eyesight to work with because they can’t tell when a button has been pushed fully or not.

  • Large Displays: Your microwave for the elderly should have a large, easy-to-read display with clear lettering they can see even if they’re nearsighted or farsighted. Many senior citizens prefer models with big bold black print on a white surface.

There should be color contrast with the lettering to ensure visibility. Avoid microwaves with small writing on dark or glossy surfaces. This can be hard to decipher for seniors to the point of confusion.

  • Pull-Style Handle: Your microwave door of choice should have a pull-style handle. The handle makes it easier for the elderly to open the door instead of pushing the large button found in many standard microwaves to pop the door open.

It can be difficult for seniors to pop such doors open with the button, particularly if they’re suffering from arthritis and similar issues.

  • Push-Button Door: Sometimes, the push-button door is better for the senior instead of the pull-style one. It depends on the physical condition or personal preference of the elder in question. Some might find pushing a button easier on their joints than pulling.

You can even find microwaves that have large handles and push-button configurations at the same time, allowing your arthritic elderly to have the option between pulling and pushing.

  • Auto Sensor and Presets: You can prevent the elderly from burning and overcooking by investing in an auto shut-off sensor feature that monitors vapor content in the unit’s interior. This adjusts the cooking time as required.

You don’t have to deal with the guesswork regarding how much time is required to reheating a meal. This ensures even temperatures throughout the dishes and prevents mouth burns from overcooking your food for too long and too unevenly.

  • Timer and Presets: You can use the 1 minute or 30-second timer button to heat food for half a minute to 60 seconds on high. This also decreases the risk of meal overcooking. You can also use presets or cooking modes to safeguard your elderly from overheated dishes.

Presets are a boon for the elderly because they won’t have to estimate the amount of microwaving time needed to cook or reheat a meal. There should also be fewer buttons to press while overcooking or burning is avoided.

  • Retro Microwaves: Search for microwaves with retro dial designs from the 1950s and 1960s because many from the Baby Boomer generation onwards are most familiar with such retro designs compared to the smart device microwaves of the 21st

Otherwise, look for units with easy-to-use and limited programmable modes so as not to confuse the senior. Some microwaves even enable you, the caretaker or relative, to preprogram settings for them.

  • Alarms: The bells and whistles of the microwave—loud dings or beeps when the food is done—are quite beneficial for the elderly who have memory issues or are hard of hearing. They serve as reminders when the food is done.

If the alarm is not loud enough they might miss getting the meal they microwaved. A louder alarm might be a turn off for other families, but for the elderly, they’re actually the perfect type of microwave for them.

  • Size and Footprint: How big should the microwave be for the elderly? Because the elderly live in smaller spaces, you might need to consider the amount of countertop real estate. They might need extra space for their other devices or might have limited space regardless.

Therefore, you should get microwaves that can fit at least one or two dinner plates for microwaving. Take into consideration how many meals they require cooking or reheating per day.

  • Power or Wattage: Naturally, the power or wattage of the microwave is also important when shopping for microwaves for the elderly. The higher the wattage, the faster and more evenly you’ll reheat or cook food. Paying extra for more power is worth it for our senior citizens.

Read more: The 900-Watt Microwave vs. The 1,100-Watt Microwave: Who Wins?

The wattage range of microwaves can go from 600 watts to 1.2 kilowatts. However, the higher the wattage the bigger the microwave tends to be. You need to do a balancing act between how big your microwave can get, and how fast and even you want the appliance to cook food.

To be clear, 700-watt or 800-watt microwaves are serviceable units that might cook food more gradually but it’s still better and safer than a stove or oven.

You may also like: What are the Best Microwaves for Blind Person Use?

Reviews for the 7 Best Microwaves for Seniors or Elderly

Here are the best microwaves for seniors renowned for their user-friendliness, retro design, user interface, and utility.

1.  The Best Microwave for the Blind or the Vision Impaired

Features:

Power900 watts
Power Levels6
Capacity0.9 cubic feet
Size13 x 21 x 17 inches
Weight29.3 pounds
MaterialPlastic, metal,  and glass
User InterfaceRotary dials
InstallationCountertop (free standing)

The Commercial Chef CHMH900B6C is a 0.9 cubic foot countertop microwave. It’s constructed of metal shielding from the inside and plastic from the outside that’s colored black, it’s compact, and it has rotary control that assists the blind or vision impaired elders in finding the right cooking time.

Commercial Chef CHMH900B6C 0.9 Cubic Foot Countertop Microwave
Commercial Chef CHMH900B6C 0.9 Cubic Foot Countertop Microwave

It’s compact at 13 x 21 x 17 inches, its interior is spacious at 0.9 cubic feet capacity, and it’s more powerful than the average microwave at 900 watts. It’s also quick at cooking at 900 watts with 6 power levels to boot.

Its basic rotary dials work well for the vision-impaired or the blind in setting the time or temperature. However, it’s not made of more durable stainless steel. There are reports of the device not lasting long (only half a year).

2.  Voice-Activated Microwave Allows Seniors Control by Talking to Alexa

Features:

Power700 watts
Power Levels10
Capacity0.7 cubic feet
Size17.3 x 14.1 x 10.1 inches
Weight21.9 pounds
MaterialStainless steel and glass
User InterfaceNumerical keypad and Alexa voice commands
InstallationCountertop

As for the Amazon Basics or AmazonBasics Microwave, get the one with the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) in order to make it easy for your senior citizen or his or her caretaker to use the microwave. This device can sync with Amazon’s Alexa in order to control it with voice commands.

Amazon Basics Microwave bundle with Echo Dot
Amazon Basics Microwave bundle with Echo Dot

It’s a compact microwave that can fit on any countertop. Its stainless steel construction ensures long-lasting durability. Alexa is so smart that it can always add various presets for your senior’s convenience. The device can work without Wi-Fi too (you can choose between syncing with Alexa or Wi-Fi).

You can automatically do things like order popcorn or take advantage of Amazon Dash Replenishment tech as well. Alas, the flat keypad isn’t senior-friendly. It also takes forever to heat anything at only 700 watts of power.

3.  A Compact and User-Friendly Rotary Dial Microwave That Seniors Can Use

Features:

Power600 watts
Power Levels6
Capacity0.6 cubic feet
Size17.75 x 12.5 x 10.25 inches
Weight23.1 pounds
Material18-8 steel and glass
User InterfaceRotary dials
InstallationCountertop

Regarding the Commercial Chef CHM660W, it’s a white countertop small microwave oven with a 9.5-inch turntable (for 9.5-inch plates). It has a nostalgic and simple design akin to the other Commercial Chef device but this time it’s smaller and more affordable.

 Commercial Chef Countertop Small Microwave Oven, 9.5 Inch
Commercial Chef Countertop Small Microwave Oven, 9.5 Inch

It also comes with senior-friendly features like automatic shut-off and simple timing intervals between 1 to 30 minutes.  Fair warning though—it’s a tight fit with its 0.6 cubic feet of interior capacity.

It’s easy to operate and has a small, compact design. It has a 9.5-inch removable dishwasher-safe turntable. It also has 6 cooking power levels to easily cook different meals. It is up to a 30-minute timer is used for defrosting and cooking purposes.

However, at least one unit caught on fire. Its smallness limits food options too.

4.  The Safest Microwave That Prevents Accidental Entry of Longer Cooking Times

Features:

Power700 watts
Power Levels6
Capacity0.6 cubic feet
Size19.5 x 14.4 x 12 inches
Weight25.4 pounds
MaterialStainless steel and glass
User InterfaceRotary dials and buttons
InstallationCountertop

The impeccable and highly rated Impecca CM0674 shares the same capacity and power level as the Commercial Chef CHM660W. However, it’s more highly rated among the users on Amazon because of its more sophisticated and elegant construction.

Impecca CM0674 700-Watts Countertop Microwave Oven
Impecca CM0674 700-Watts Countertop Microwave Oven

Its top dial controls power and its bottom dial controls the time. It’s also much safer due to its 30-minute timer that prevents users from entering a longer cooking time.

It has a simple, basic operation. It dings like a bell or old-timey toaster. It also offers intuitive incremental power and time dials. Its elegant design harkens back to the rotary age of appliances. The 30-minute timer prevents users from cooking food for longer than that.

However, it does a poor job of evacuating moisture. At least one unit only lasted for a month.

5.  A Nostalgic Microwave That Works like Microwaves from the Baby Boomer Generation

Features:

Power800 watts
Power Levels5
Capacity0.9 cubic feet
Size19 x 17.9 x 11 inches
Weight30 pounds
MaterialStainless steel and glass
User InterfaceRotary dials and buttons
InstallationCountertop

The main appeal of the Nostalgia RMO4AQ is in the name. It’s nostalgic in every way possible yet it’s as advanced as the latest smart microwaves out there.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ Retro Large 0.9 Cu Ft, 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven 12 Pre-Programmed Cookin
Nostalgia RMO4AQ Retro Large 0.9 Cu Ft, 800-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven 12 Pre-Programmed Cookin

One surefire way to prevent your grandmother or grandfather from being confused with a 15-button advanced microwave is to get them this retro-style microwave with dials and whatnot. It even goes the extra mile of being retro by being both functionally and aesthetically retro.

You get faster heating at 800 watts. It also possesses an easy-clean interior (special anti-stain coating). Many seniors will appreciate its retro-chic aqua-colored design. It comes with an easy-to-read digital clock and 12 preprogrammed settings.

It offers the best of both worlds with its simple operation and modern deep functionality. However, some units shut down after 6 minutes. There are also complaints regarding sturdiness issues.

6.  A Senior-Friendly Microwave with More Power Levels and Express Cooking Options

Features:

Power700 watts
Power Levels6
Capacity0.7 cubic feet
Size17.5 x 12.5 x 10 inches
Weight23 pounds
MaterialSteel and glass
User InterfaceRotary dials and buttons
InstallationCountertop

 

The COSTWAY Retro Countertop Microwave Oven is made of steel and glass, it has 6 micro power settings, and it has a glass viewing window and turntable. It also has ETL certification that ensures the safeness of the oven.

COSTWAY Retro Countertop Microwave Oven, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W Mechanical Compact Microwave Oven 6 Micro Power Settings
COSTWAY Retro Countertop Microwave Oven, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W Mechanical Compact Microwave Oven 6 Micro Power Settings

What’s more, the express cooking options help out seniors cook without guessing the right setting. For something so simple it also has incredible functionalities, microwaving modes, and depth. The unit offers 360° uniform heating, cool green retro color, and 30 minutes cooking time control.

Easy cleanup is assured from inside and out. Its 6 power levels include low, defrost, mid-low, medium, mid-high, and high. However, it’s as slow as AmazonBasics in heating food. The timer knob won’t work for less than a minute too.

7.  The Best Microwave for Those with Dementia or Memory Problems

Features:

Power1 kilowatt
Power Levels1
Capacity0.8 cubic feet
Size16.56 x 20.13 x 12 inches
Weight34 pounds
MaterialStainless steel and glass
User InterfaceA large dial with the cooking guide below
InstallationCountertop

Outside of senior-friendly usage, the Panasonic NE-1025F Dial Microwave is mostly popular among office break rooms. What this means is that it can take heavy-duty use, and it’s thusly built to last in light of its most popular demographic.

 Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven
Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven

As far as seniors are concerned, it’s been called the most dementia-friendly microwave around. It only has 1 power level yet it can defrost, bake, cook, and reheat based on the amount of time you set it for on the large and simple dial. It even has a 6-minute timer for good measure.

It has an uncomplicated, large dial design, it only has 1 power level for ease of use, and it can defrost, bake, cook, and reheat. It also has a high-power output at 1,000 watts or 1 kilowatt. Grab-and-go ultra-grip handle ensures easy opening and closing.

It’s a dementia-friendly microwave with a 6-minute electronic dial control timer. However, some units have issues with effective heating. Only 1 power level means only 1 mode of cooking.

Verdict

As a standard disclaimer, not all seniors are technological illiterates or Luddites who don’t understand modern technology or at least technology outside of their generation. However, many of them who are unfamiliar with the more modern microwaves might appreciate these retro microwaves.

A simpler microwave is handy in helping out seniors with dementia or Parkinson’s disease to operate the appliance in an unproblematic manner. Simple is best when it comes to seniors dealing with microwave technology.

With that said, the best of the bunch on this list of senior citizen microwaves is Nostalgia RMO4AQ. The second best is Impecca CM0674.

Megan Ann

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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