Accessible microwaves: What’s on the market?

Ever wondered what is out there in the retail market when purchasing an accessible microwave?
Recently, we were asked for advice on accessible microwaves, specifically any microwaves that use voice assistance like Alexa. Mark, Community Services Development Manager from our Digital Enablement Team, has some suggestions.

Here in this blog are three types of microwave, priced from budget range, mid-price range to a more expensive option. One is a workaround (the low budget microwave with dials and bumpons), the mid budget example is specifically designed for people living with sight loss (the talking microwave), and the most expensive microwave has been created for everyone (the Alexa controlled microwave).

Please note: Any mentions of specific products are not endorsements. We have not been asked to promote any products for financial benefit.

Budget microwave with bumpons

Microwave with bump ons

We have this solution in our staff kitchen. You need a microwave with basic tactile timer and power dials, and a few, strategically placed, bumpons.
Bumpons are rubber dots (usually) that you can stick on things. Our microwave has tactile markers placed on it to indicate the minutes on the dial and the high-power position. It’s really simple to set up, and it’s simple to learn and use.
You could also use alternative tactile markers such as pieces of Velcro.
A basic microwave can be sourced from many reputable retailers. The bumpons can be purchased from lots of places too, including Amazon and the RNIB.

Talking microwave

This does exactly what it says: talks. Talking microwaves use buttons instead of dials, and functions are announced as you press to enable you to set your preferences including cooking time, power mode and other available settings.
There are a couple of products on the market: a basic talking microwave from RNIB (£215.00), a slightly more advanced talking microwave from Cobolt Systems Ltd (£235.00), and an even more advanced combination oven (which includes microwave functionality)from Cobolt Systems Ltd (£299.95).
Visit the links below to learn more about these products.

RNIB Talking Microwave

Cobolt Systems Ltd Talking Microwave

Cobolt Systems Ltd Talking Combination Oven

Alexa controlled microwave

This is a microwave that’s controlled by your virtual assistant. I must confess, I really struggled to find examples of products to purchase.
The only product I could find is from Toshiba, and it sells on Amazon for a whopping £945.02!

Screenshot from Amazon displaying Alexa activated microwave

The device boasts: hands-free operation – This microwave is integrated with Alexa and using an echo device (not included) brings convenience by allowing hands-free operation by voice command or app control. These things are subjective; someone somewhere will find that feature appealing.

Toshiba Smart microwave oven

Final thoughts

So, there you have it – three options for accessible microwaves which can improve independence in the kitchen for somebody living with sight loss
Question is: which would you go for?
A few years ago, we filmed a video about talking microwaves which you can watch below.

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