The two factors that should influence your purchase decision are wattage and projected use. As a rule, the higher the wattage of the microwave, the faster it will cook and/or reheat the food. Be sure the microwave you buy will be powerful enough to meet your needs.
Wattage: What wattage do I need?
The higher the wattage of a microwave, the faster it will cook and/or reheat. The wattage level you need depends upon: how you usually use your microwave, (to reheat, cook or defrost), how often you use your microwave and how quickly you need it to operate. We've offered some guidelines:
1000-watt (120 volt) These microwaves are best suited for reheating food, such as rolls or sandwiches, in a small to medium-size operation where you will use the microwave less than a dozen times a day. The controls on this type of oven tend to be simple with few, if any, programmable features. The 800 and 900-watt units are very price-competitive but may not operate quickly enough for a fast-paced foodservice operation that relies heavily on microwave use. BigTray recommends the Panasonic NE-1054.
1200-watt (120 volt) These units will take less time to cook and/or reheat food and are recommended for fast food or larger operations where microwave use is several times a day. 1000 and 1200-watt units also often come standard with additional features, such as programmable memory pads and multiple power levels. BigTray recommends the Panasonic NE-1258.
1700-watt to 2700-watt (208/240 volt)* These units are very powerful and are recommended for large chain units and high volume operations. BigTray recommends the Panasonic NE-1757.
* It's important to note that units operating at 1700 watts or above require higher voltage.
Pans: Can the pans I use help my microwave to cook faster?
Although some of the larger microwaves accept stainless steel pans, the microwaves themselves will not penetrate the pan as efficiently and product will be heated more slowly as a result.