OTGs and microwave ovens have become quite common over last few years. Since both are used for cooking, there is lot of confusion regarding their uses and advantages.
In this article, we will explain all the key features and the differences between the two. This will help you take an informed buying decision.
What is an OTG?
An Oven, Toaster, Grill (OTG) is a modified and smaller version of traditional and charcoal ovens. Thus, you can use it to bake, toast and grill.
It is equipped with nickel / chromium heat coils on the roof and the bottom surface of the oven. Usually, you have the choice to heat up either of the coils. These coils heat the compartment and fan spreads the heat inside the oven
Unlike traditional ovens, it requires less time to start cooking as no setting up is required. However, it takes more time as compared to microwave ovens to completely cook dishes. OTG is prefect for professionals who only want to bake, grill or toast.
You can make baked bread, cake, grilled cottage cheese (paneer), kulcha, chicken kebab, sandwich toast etc.
What is a Microwave Oven?
Microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves to heat food. These oven are of many types, but convection microwave ovens are most popular these are multipurpose ovens that can not only bake, grill and toast but can also reheat, defrost and cook other dishes. Convection microwave ovens are perfect for households as they are easy to handle, are fast and are quite multipurpose.
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Difference between Microwave and OTG
|OTG||Convection Microwave Oven|
|Auto Cook Menu||Not available||Available|
|Heating Method||Nickel / Chromium coils||Electromagnetic waves|
|Heat distribution||Less even||More even|
|Container material||Metal, glass, silicone, ceramic||Glass, silicone and ceramic only|
|Ideal for||Professional bakers who only want to bake, grill, and toast||Household purposes- simple baking, reheating, defrosting|
|Portability||Easier to move as it is lighter in weight||More difficult to move around|
|Lifespan||Short – medium||Medium – long|
How to choose between Microwave and OTG?
Below are the factors that you should consider before buying an OTG or a microwave oven.
Type of Food
One of the most important factors while choosing between the two is what type of food you want to prepare. In an OTG, you can make baked breads, cakes, grilled cottage cheese (paneer), kulcha, chicken kebabs, sandwich toast, roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, veg kebabs, baked cookies etc. In a microwave oven, you can make all of these plus you can cook regular dishes such as sambhar, biryani, fried rice, kheer etc.
Time To Prepare Food
Microwave ovens usually require no more than 5 minutes to cook food and even less time to reheat. This is because heating in microwave ovens takes place with the help of electromagnetic radiations.
However, an OTG takes at least 15 minutes to bake or grill. This is because heating takes place through heating metal coils. Metals take time to heat and more time to transfer this heat to food, thus overall time take is significantly more.
Microwave oven work by producing microwave radiations. Producing these waves require good amount of energy. However, OTG works by heating up the metal coils / rods, which is relatively power efficient process. Also, microwaves are more bulky and can cook more food as compared to OTGs. This adds to the power consumption.
Preheating ovens become essential when you have to bake food items to prevent under-browning. It also cooks food faster. This preheating time in a microwave oven in around 5 minutes. However, an OTG takes around 15 minutes if you have to cook something like chips, and it can even take 20 minutes if you have to cook something like roasted chicken or granola.
Thus, OTG takes more time to preheat as compared to microwave oven.
Microwave ovens are costlier than OTGs. This is because microwave ovens are more sophisticated machines that produce radiation to heat up the food. Producing these waves and properly insulating the oven to protect the user require technology that is typically not present in an OTG.
OTG comes with body that houses heating coils, fans, grill, electrical wiring among other things, thus keeping the overall costs low.
Starting price of convectional microwave ovens is at least three times as compared to OTGS. Pricing of OTGs start from less than three thousand rupees, while basic convectional microwave ovens come at eight to nine thousand.
As discussed earlier, OTGs are best for professionals. Keeping this in mind, the OTGs usually come in higher capacities and larger OTGs can even have capacity of more than 60 litres. On the other hand, convectional microwave ovens usually come in capacity range of 20 to 32 litre range. While Solo microwave ovens are even smaller. On top of this, roasting area in microwave ovens is even smaller. This makes it ideal only for roasting smaller meals.
In OTGs and microwave ovens, highest temperature is usually in the range of 200 – 250 degrees. Basically, there is not much difference between high temperatures. However, in a microwave oven, you can set temperature almost precisely based on your cooking / heating requirement. However, since the OTG has limited functionality, it comes with predefined temperature settings and thus, the user does not have to worry about setting up temperature. On top of this, you can change the temperature manually as well when needed.
Portability and Installation
Microwave ovens are smaller, but are heavier in weight. Weight of a microwave oven can be as high as 10 kgs. However, weight of a OTGs can be as low as 2 to 3 kgs, which means they can easily be placed from one location to another. However, they take up more space as compared to microwave ovens since they usually come in higher capacities.
Also, some microwave come with functionality to install in kitchen cabinets. This requires help of professionals and even uninstalling them Is not easy. Cabinet-installable OTGs are not recommended unless for professional use and counter-top, freestanding OTGs are considered the best choice.
Types of Containers
In a microwave oven , you can only use glass or ceramic or silicone. If you use anything else, it can damage the oven. This leaves out most of the steel and aluminium containers that are usually present in Indian households. However, in OTGs, apart from containers such as silicone, OTG-safe glassware, ceramic you can also use containers made of aluminium or even steel. However, we do not recommend using thin aluminium or steel pans as they can stain and warp.
Microwave oven come in smaller capacity and usually come with one tray. This means that as far as cleaning is concerned, it not much of a hassle. You can clean them with lemon water. Many microwave ovens also come with steam clean feature to help in easy cleaning. Most of the microwave ovens come with a removeable glass tray, that can be detached and easily washed in the sink.
OTGs are larger in size and come with many parts such as crumb tray, wire rack, baking tray, rotisserie and kebab rods etc. This leads to more parts to be cleaned. On top of this, it is meant for baking and grilling, which can leave stains on the utensils as well. Therefore, OTGs need more maintenance and proper cleaning.
Ease of Use
OTG panel typically comes with 1. Temperature knob, 2. Mode knob and 3. Timer knob. You can set the temperature with the help of temperature knob. Some of the modes commonly available In OTGs are defrost, toast, toast and grill, baking. This is decent functionality to help you do what OTG is meant for. However you have to do experimental cooking initially to understand right time, temperature, mode as per the type and quantity of dish.
A microwave oven usually comes with touch panel, that is slightly more convenient to use. On top of this, they also come with ‘auto cook menus’, wherein the pre-programmed settings for different types of dishes is already inbuilt. It means that you only have to input the weight, the type of dish, and the oven will heat it based on this programming. This makes microwave ovens slightly more convenient to use.
In microwave oven, the heat penetrates almost all parts of food. This is because the radiation can enter even deep within the dishes. This is one of the best aspects of microwave oven. That’s why they are ideal for reheating as well. However , in OTGs, the heating rods are on top and bottom and heating takes place by heat transfer from these rods. This means that the surface of the food is heated more as compared to other parts of food. That’s why it is not ideal for heating food or cooking other dishes that require even heat distribution.
Home Use vs Professional Use
As discussed, OTGs are great for professional usage since they are ideal for baking cakes, roasting food etc. Since OTGs are specially designed for this purpose, they can give almost perfect baking, grilling and toasting. Microwave ovens on the other hand are ideal for use in homes as they are not as good as OTGs in grilling and toasting. Microwave can be easily used to cooking rice, reheating food etc. It is perfect for users who do not have enough time in their hands and want an additional helping hand apart from gas stoves.
Microwave ovens last longer as compared to OTGs. Microwave ovens have higher lifespan of 10 to 15 years. On the other hand, OTGs have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years.
It is a common misconception that microwave is bad for health. According to FDA (Food and Drugs Authority) of United States, microwave radiations are not bad for health. As per FDA, “Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of food any more than conventional cooking.
In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.”
As far as nutrition is concerned, any form of heating will destroy some nutritional value of food. OTGs lose more nutrition because they take more time for preparation. In some cases, microwave ovens are even considered healthier than regular cooking using gas stoves.
Can I use microwave oven instead of OTG?
Yes, a convectional microwave oven can be used for baking, grilling and toasting- everything an OTG can do. However if you are a professional, then OTG is better because it can perform much better job as compared to microwave oven.
Is OTG healthy as compared to microwave oven?
No, OTG is not healthier than microwave ovens, as they destroy more nutritional value. This is because OTGs take more time to cook, resulting in denaturing of natural nutrients.
How often should I clean OTG and microwave oven?
OTGs should be cleaned after every use. If the OTGs are not cleaned properly, then leftover crumbs can cause smoke and in some cases can even catch fire. Since there is no such problem in microwave oven, it is not necessary to clean them after each and every use.