Do They Make Microwaves Without Turntables?

Easier Cleaning, but Less Consistent Cooking

Microwave ovens have become a modern-day kitchen essential by providing many options in a small box; For its time, it was groundbreaking to be able to instantly reheat a cold meal, make popcorn, or defrost any frozen food with a countertop microwave.

The key to the success of microwaves is in the amount of overall cooking time they have saved.

A microwave turntable fills a vital role in microwaves by providing superior consistency in the heating process of meals compared to those without them. This rotating turntable function allows food to be heated more uniformly. The turntable motor within the microwave rotates the round glass tray (the turntable) - which allows for even heating.

Turntables played a large part in their growth to popularity; The addition of a turntable to microwaves has helped them perform better and cook food more evenly.

Without a turntable, the microwave energy is unable to consistently heat the food - oftentimes resulting in hot and cold spots throughout your food, which is unsatisfactory and can even present food poisoning hazards from undercooked foods.

Cleaning a Microwave with a Turntable

There are advantages offered by having a turntable and disadvantages associated with one; figuring out if you need one can help with your decision when looking for a good microwave.

Microwaves without a turntable are called flatbed microwaves and can cook food evenly through different methods, negating the potential need for an assisting turntable.

Why are Turntables Important?

Microwaves tend to focus on some areas more than others; this is the cause of hot and cold spots in your food.

Microwave cooking was greatly improved with the addition of turntables. Turntables work on rotating your food to distribute the blind spots produced by most microwaves.

A study has remarked on uneven cooking produced by most commercial microwaves and that turntables quickly mend this problem; they work on improving the heat uniformity to offer better-heated foods.

The waves inside a microwave tend to collide with one another and cause interference; the interference causes a new wave with a different potency.

The more potent microwaves have heightened energy which causes hotspots by prolonged contact with the food.

While some microwaves tend to collide and merge, others might repel one another and dispel completely; With no waves, certain spots get far less attention and end up causing cold spots.

A simple rotation of the food at a consistent interval is enough to balance out all the uneven spots caused by the insides of a microwave; by having the food spin around, no areas are influenced heavily by colliding microwaves, and the result is evenly cooked meals.

In the case of the microwave, waves are emitted and then refracted inside the container; as a result, your food heats up from the meal coming into contact with the waves and absorbing them.

Closeup Look at a Microwave Turntable - Note the Wheels on the Bottom to Assist with Rotation of the Food

The magnetron is the main component of a microwave oven, as it produces microwaves; these waves cause water molecules to vibrate and heat the food.

Foods with a high water content heat up more quickly than other foods due to being more affected by microwaves.

The FDA has released a guide describing how to cook with a microwave and includes some safety tips.

The History of Microwaves

In 1945, an engineer by the name of Percy Spencer created the microwave; while he was testing a vacuum tube and noticed an odd occurrence, the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted!

After more experimentation, Spencer realized he could heat foods such as popcorn and eggs; after some tinkering, he created a box for the mechanism and designed the first microwave in history.

Radarange was the first commercial microwave sold to households in 1964.

In 1975 microwaves were making more sales than gas ovens!

The luxury of convenience offered by microwaves was too alluring for many.

Introduction of turntables to microwaves

The addition of turntables to microwaves aided in the marketing efforts of microwaves; turntables promised food was cooked with more uniformity and was better to use.

The addition of the turntable to the microwave was to combat the issue of unevenly cooked food.

One of the first commercially sold microwaves with a turntable, the R-600 was offered by Sharp in Japan as early as 1966.

While the majority of microwaves included a built-in turntable, some did not.

In 1980 a company called Nordic Ware sought to take advantage of the growing rise of microwaves that lacked a turntable; aftermarket turntables such as the Micro-Go-Round added a rotation mechanic to microwaves that lacked the feature.

The product aimed to meet the demand of consumers wanting to equip turntables for all their microwaves; to this day, third-party turntables are still being manufactured and sold.

Is a turntable essential?

There are microwaves designed to function without a turntable, but they are more expensive than traditional microwaves.

A microwave can work fine without a turntable, but you risk facing hot and cold spots in your meals and potentially damaging your microwave.

All microwaves with a turntable are constructed to work with it. It serves as a shield against microwave interference. Using a microwave without the turntable that comes with it runs many risks.

As stated, encountering hotspots in your food may occur. Additionally, it might cause burns if you are not careful. There is also the possibility of your food not being cooked right due to cold spots, resulting in uncooked food.

There is also a high risk of causing damage to the magnetron, the device that generates the microwaves that cook your food.

It is unadvisable to use a microwave without its turntable as it was designed to work with it. Whether it be a broken or faulty turntable, fixing the issue while still small is highly recommended. Repairing a damaged magnetron will be more tricky and expensive.

Can a turntable be repaired?

Depending on the cause of the malfunction, repairing your turntable might be a good option.

If the glass plate breaks during cleaning, finding a replacement for the exact model of your microwave is the only option. Using a cracked glass plate is not recommended as it might be further damaged.

If the glass plate of your turntable looks fine but does not rotate, food might be lodged in it causing a blockage of the mechanism.

After clearing the mechanism of any debris, it should spin if the issue was due to the blockage.

If your turntable fails to spin after clearing it of debris, the motor might be damaged and require repair. Replacing the turntable mechanism is plausible for any DIY’er, but if you don’t feel confident in your skills a professional repair shop is the next best step.

Unfortunately, it maybe cheaper to replace your microwave than repair it. Make certain to get an estimate before deciding to fix a broken microwave.

How to keep your turntable safe

There are a few tips for keeping your turntable safe and preventing accidental damage.

  • Before popping corn, lay a plate above the turntable to reduce the head contact and keep the risk of your glass plate breaking to a minimum.
  • Ensure your turntable is correctly fitted before use, and practice care when adding or removing heavy items from the microwave.
  • Before washing your glass plate, wait until it fully cools down since its last use. Washing your glass plate while it's still hot might cause accidental cracking.

Microwaves without a turntable

Microwaves without a turntable (called flatbed microwaves) have their advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional microwaves with a turntable. With a few pros and cons, you should be better able to draw a conclusion on which suits your needs.

Pros of a flatbed microwave

  • Since the microwave is exempt from a turntable mechanism, there is more room for placing your dishes.
  • You can also place wider dishes and not worry about your plate fitting while spinning.
  • Cleaning your microwave is far easier and less stressful, as you no longer have to worry about damaging your glass plate.

Flatbed microwaves are commonly used in offices for this reason alone, the cleaning process is far easier and faster.

You no longer need to disassemble the turntable and worry about accidentally damaging it. With a flatbed microwave, you can instantly start cleaning.

  • You can expect less splashing of your food as it no longer needs to spin.
  • Fewer parts to worry about
  • More uniform energy distribution

Your microwave is reliant on fewer compartments. The fragile turntable mechanics have been known to damage easily. Your microwave will never be out of order due to a glass plate shattering or tiny motors being clogged.

Since most flatbed microwaves are more advanced, they can cook food more evenly compared to a traditional microwave.

Cons of a flatbed microwave

  • More research is needed during the buying phase
  • More expensive

While some flatbed microwaves arguably function better than traditional turntable microwaves, others don’t. Making a good flatbed microwave requires more research and complex engineering, and not every company has it figured out.

others struggle to cook the food evenly. It’s best to be very careful when purchasing one as one with a turntable might be better.

Flatbed microwaves are more expensive due to the need for further research and engineering required compared to a standard turntable microwave.

Most flatbed microwaves are for professional use, so the cost associated with them is a little higher.

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Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me

I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
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