Speed Up Cooking with the Best Commercial Microwaves

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In busy restaurant kitchens, long prep and cook times can quickly lead to delayed orders and unhappy customers. Investing in a powerful commercial microwave allows food service businesses to rapidly reheat and cook menu items when needed.

With extra-large capacity cavities and durable construction, commercial microwaves are designed for high usage in cafes, restaurants and catering businesses. In this post, we’ll cover what sets commercial units apart, key purchasing factors, and reviews of the top models recommended for restaurants.

What are Commercial Microwaves?

Commercial microwaves are extra-powerful and heavy duty microwave ovens specifically engineered to meet the demands of busy professional kitchens.

Key features of commercial microwaves include:

  • High power levels – 1500+ watts reduces cook times significantly compared to residential models.
  • Large capacity cavities – over 1.5 cubic feet easily fits standard 18″x26″ sheet pans.
  • Durable stainless steel construction – resists dents, corrosion and heat damage better than residential microwaves.
  • Programmable controls – one-touch programming for consistent, automated cooking.
  • Advanced features – options like multi-stage cooking expand cooking flexibility.
  • High cycling – can operate up to 3000+ hours in restaurants vs 500 hours for home microwaves.

Commercial models provide speed and convenience when reheating ingredients, thawing frozen foods, or finishing cooking prepared dishes. They use significantly more electricity than residential units however.

Key Purchase Considerations for Commercial Microwaves

When investing in a commercial microwave oven, keep these factors in mind:

  • Power – minimum 1500 watts. Higher wattage reduces cook times.
  • Capacity – cavity over 1.5 cubic ft fits standard 18″x26″ sheet pans.
  • Durability – stainless steel exterior and interior resists wear. Solid door.
  • Controls – programmable touch pads for one-touch operation. Stage cooking ability.
  • Safety – door interlocks, temperature monitoring protects users. Check certifications.
  • Ease of cleaning – stainless interior and removable parts/trays prevents buildup.
  • Settings – pre-programmed food buttons simplify reheating. Multi-stage settings expand options.
  • Warranty – at least 1 year on parts and labor for commercial appliance.
  • Brand reputation – established brand with history of commercial appliances.

After comparing many options, we picked the top 4 commercial microwaves suitable for busy restaurant use based on power, capacity, features and durability:

Best Commercial Microwaves Reviewed

1. Amana AMC2030 – $949

With high power and large capacity, this Amana model delivers commercial reheating speeds.

  • Power – 1500 watts
  • Capacity – 2.0 cubic ft
  • Stainless steel interior and exterior
  • 10 programmable food buttons
  • Stage cooking capable
  • Safety – Door interlocks, temperature monitoring
  • Pros – Very powerful, large cavity, affordable
  • **Cons – 1 year warranty, no ceramic interior **
  • Warranty – 1 year parts and labor

2. GE 1.7 Cu Ft Microwave – $1,444

This GE microwave provides ample capacity and smart controls suitable for most restaurants.

  • Power – 1450 watts
  • Capacity – 1.7 cubic ft
  • Stainless exterior, ceramic enamel interior
  • Auto and manual programming
  • Multi-stage cooking
  • Safety – Door interlocks, temperature limiter
  • Pros – Durable ceramic interior, intuitive controls
  • Cons – Lower power than faster models
  • Warranty – 1 year parts and labor

3. Sharp 2R-A2HS Commercial Microwave – $1,495

With high power wattage, this Sharp model provides extremely rapid reheating.

  • Power – 2000 watts
  • Capacity – 1.5 cubic ft
  • Stainless steel interior and exterior
  • 25 programmable food buttons
  • 4 stage cooking
  • Safety – Door interlocks, temperature limiter
  • Pros – Most powerful, high-end features
  • Cons – Lower capacity, expensive
  • Warranty – 1 year parts and labor

4. Panasonic NE-2157 – $679

This budget Panasonic provides ample power and capacity at an affordable price.

  • Power – 1500 watts
  • Capacity – 1.6 cubic ft
  • Stainless exterior, black enamel interior
  • 8 food category buttons
  • 3 stage cooking
  • Safety – Door interlocks, temperature monitoring
  • Pros – Inexpensive, quality Panasonic build
  • Cons – Less durable interior, short warranty
  • Warranty – 180 days parts and labor

Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Microwaves

What power level microwave does a restaurant need?

Minimum 1500 watts. More power speeds reheating considerably. High volume spots benefit from 2000+ watts.

What capacity is best for restaurant microwaves?

Look for at least 1.5 cubic ft cavity to fit standard 18×26” commercial sheet pans.

What features are useful on a commercial microwave?

Pre-programmed food buttons, multi-stage cooking, time entry pads, stage cooking for advanced capabilities.

How durable do commercial microwaves need to be?

Stainless steel construction and commercial grade parts allow them to endure heavy restaurant usage – up to 3000+ hours.

What certifications should commercial microwaves have?

ETL and NSF certifications indicate commercial sanitation compliance and electrical safety.

Are commercial microwaves easy to clean?

Stainless steel interiors resist stains and spills. Removable trays and parts enable thorough cleaning.

Do commercial microwaves need professional installation?

Often yes – may require upgraded electrical supply. Built-in models need mounting and wiring mods.

What accessories are useful for restaurant microwaves?

Extra trays and shelving to expand cooking options. Covers to prevent splatter. Cleaning supplies.

How long do commercial microwaves normally last?

Around 5 years with proper maintenance. Though some last 10+ years in light usage before needing replacement.

How do commercial units differ from residential microwaves?

Much more power, larger cavities, durable build and parts to withstand restaurant usage. More expensive as well.

What are the top microwave brands for restaurants?

Amana, GE, Sharp and Panasonic have the best track records in commercial environments.

What is the typical price range for restaurant microwaves?

$500 to $1500 depending on power, size and features. More than residential models.

Cook and Reheat Quickly With a Commercial Microwave

Investing in a powerful, high capacity commercial microwave oven enables your restaurant to deliver hot, freshly cooked food fast when it matters most. Evaluate power, durability and ease of use when selecting a model suited for your kitchen.

What experience do you have using commercial microwaves in your restaurant or food service industry? Let us know which models have worked best for your needs in the comments below!

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