What is a Dial Microwave?

A Dial microwave is an old-style kitchen appliance. The one with knobs! Back in those days, microwaves just had a few features. One or two knobs for reheating the food or boiling water. Back then, many homemakers found this microwave to be the best. Until now, they feel so. In this post, we’ll learn everything about dial microwaves.

As you dive deep into the post, you will learn features, how to use them,  the difference between touchpad & dials, which is better – keypad membrane vs dial knobs, and more. So, let’s get started with this quick post.

What is a Dial microwave?

What is a Dial microwave

A microwave with dial is an appliance having circular olden-style knobs.

It looks more like a retro-style microwave. These microwaves are a simple style appliance of olden days. As time passed by, brands innovated touchpad controlled microwaves. Many liked it and many disliked it too.

There are two kinds of groups using microwaves with dials. Some say that they use the microwave with dial only for reheating or boiling. Either they reheat last night’s dishes to eat hot & warm food. Or else, in the morning, they boil water to feel its warmness and drink it.

Say, old people aren’t very familiar with technologies. There are several menus on the microwave. You can bake cakes & muffins, cook pizzas, boil soups, grill sandwiches or chicken, and more. Old people aren’t used to it.

Yet, it’s been observed that younger generations prefer multi-featured touchpad microwaves. On the other hand, older generations prefer the microwave with dial control.

Also, there is one more category. These people say that they are just not interested in other microwave functions. Many say that they never use additional microwave functions. They like to move dials as and when they need to boil water, melt chocolate, or reheat pizza. These people find these simple features easier!

After a time, many microwave brands considered these customer needs & choices. They now manufacture both styles of appliances. Rotary dial microwave ovens and Digital touchpad microwave.

How do you use a Dial microwave?

The Turn Dial microwave is a simple product with minimal needful functions. One can effortlessly use them.

Generally, there are two dials present on any microwave. The one dial is for the timer and another for power. For instance, you can set a timer for say, 15, 20, 40 minutes or 1 hour. Also, you can set the power from 100W, 400W, 800W, to 1000W. You can operate these dials by rotating them. They move either in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. 

What are the features of a Dial microwave?

What are the features of a Dial microwave

Many consumers say dial microwaves to be analog appliances. However, it’s not the right thing to say! The reason being many modern microwaves also have dials.

Furthermore, let’s look over the features of turn dial microwaves.

Low watt power

Many dial microwaves have low wattage between 700 to 1200 Watts. It’s low as compared to new ones.

Low watt power means added heating time! Yet, it means lower energy bills and more savings too.

Consider these pros & cons and choose the appliance wisely.

Clockwise & Anticlockwise

The dials move in a circular direction. They either operate clockwise or anticlockwise. As you move it clockwise, the time & temperature setting increases. On the other hand, if you move it anti-clockwise, the time & temperature setting reverses or decreases.

Single or Double dials

Some microwaves have either a single dial or a double. Mostly, single dial microwaves come without a glass turntable. Such single-dial appliances are generally suitable for restaurants, catering businesses, and large commercial kitchens.

As it comes without a turntable, cleaning the appliance inside is easy! Yet, you must choose the right appliance that best fits your needs & comfort.

Model design

These appliances are pretty easy & minimal in design. Many consumers loved them because of the model design.

They say that an appliance must have minimal buttons to select. It eases the use. On the other side, more buttons just complicates the task. It diminishes the end-user experience. 

Generally, these microwaves have a start button & two dials. As you click the Start button, the appliance is ready to operate. After that, you can slide the food dish inside the appliance. Circle the dial. You need to set the timer & power settings wisely. Doing so, you will get the perfect hot food.

Dial microwave uses

These appliances are suitable for simple heating use. If you’ve lesser uses with microwaves, these appliances will suit your needs.

People who have lesser microwave needs use it for 3 purposes. Either they defrost the food, reheat leftovers or coffee, or boil water.

Well, if you’re one of these people, dial microwaves are made for you! Firstly, learn for what purpose you’re using the appliance. Is it defrost, reheat, or boiling? Accordingly, you are supposed to set the timer & temperature. Rotate the dial correctly!

Dials along with digital keypads

You don’t just find microwaves with dials in the market. One can find varieties. There are two kinds of microwaves. One has just a microwave dial. Another has a membrane keypad & menu buttons along with dials too. These are the latest ones! So, as and when you rotate a retro dial, you see the cooking time required on the digital screen.

Such features eases the lifestyle in good ways!

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What is tact dial in microwave?

There are a multiple-kinds of control panels. Tact dials are one of them. These dials generally come with low-end models. The retro dials which come with a dial microwave oven!

The advantage is that they are ‘easy to use’ as we’ve seen above! Also, they are good for rough & tough usage. If you’re pretty rough with using appliances, tact dials will save your back many a time! Thanks to its built-in rough & tough nature!

Also, even if it gets dirty at times, it can withstand it. When compared to digital screen keypads, the feather-touch buttons are delicate and require gentle usage. That much ultra-care is not required in case of tact dials! So, you’re safe to play games!

Can a Dial microwave oven cook a programmed food?

Can a Dial microwave oven cook a programmed food

It depends on what kind of food you wish to cook!

Is it a cupcake batter or soup? Well, if it’s a cupcake, your mixture just gets solid while baking. On the other hand, if it’s soup, your liquid mixture heats up & starts to boil.

As you can see, both food recipes are made in different cooking styles. On a Dial microwave, it is not impossible to cook pre-programmed food. To bring an aromatic flavor to food, you need to hit & try! Firstly, ascertain what you’re sliding into the microwave with dial. Accordingly, you are required to set the timer and power settings.

In other words, you need to study temperature and time settings. As well as, you must understand the preheating process for every cuisine. Based on that, you might be able to successfully cook cuisine.

Difference between button keypad and dial knob microwave

Furthermore, let’s learn the difference between a button keypad and a dial knob microwave.


Button Keypad

Dial Knob Microwave

Technology Type



Wattage Limit

1000-2000 Watts

600 – 1200 Watts

Menu Varieties

Many cuisine options like pizza, soup, grill, etc

Best for defrosting, reheating, & boiling

Operates with

Pressing touch-keys

Rotating dials

Requirement of Digital screen


Not a necessary/ Optional

Specific cuisine menu

Can set


Ideal for

Cooking lovers, new generations, techno-savvy homemakers, etc

Old-age people, kids, visually impared people




To conclude, the basic difference is with multi-features. A button keypad consists of several cooking options. On the other hand, a dial has two or just a few cooking options.

Which one is better Touchpad/Button microwaves or Dial microwaves?

Well, it depends on your usage & comfort.

Do you use a microwave almost daily? Would you cook several tempting dishes on it? Will you find it easier to go through multiple menu settings & tap the right key? Do you wish to give a preset timer for specific food dishes? Do you wish your food to get cooked faster? If so, then touchpad/button microwaves are a right choice for you! Go for it.

Do you use a microwave once in a blue moon? Do you just use this appliance for reheating, boiling, or defrosting? Do you easily get irritated seeing several keypad buttons and wish to set the settings in a minute without any hassle? If so, then you must consider buying rotary dial microwave ovens. Trust us, you would never regret the decision later!

So, the bottom line for which is better – touchpad/button microwaves vs Dial microwaves is that ‘choose microwave considering your requirements’.

Final Words

Hope we answered your query regarding ‘what is a Dial microwave’! It is nothing but a microwave with retro tact dials. They are easy-to-operate and come with minimal functions.

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Just a reminder! It’s not like a dial microwave is better and a digital keypad appliance is not so good! Wisely, choose your needs, requirements, likes & dislikes, price budget, & more. After that, you can decide to buy a suitable appliance! Be it anyone – rotary dial microwave ovens or digital ovens.

Moreover, go through this short post written above. You’re sure to get good insights before you buy! So, you do not regret later after purchase.

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