Why do most microwaves open from the right to the left?

  • Why do all of the microwaves that are used in our houses opening from the right side to left side? I've never seen any that do the opposite. I called LG company and asked them why and I got an answer in a week by email indicating that the first design that they did was in this structure and style.

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    @wim I have never seen one of those in the U.S.

    @MonkeyZeus, they're mostly used in restaurant or expensive houses

    I think microwaves should have automatic doors that close when they start cooking, and open when they stop. I see no benefit in having the door closed when cooking is not actually in progress.

    @DavidWallace What if I leave the micro on and go away of the room, and someone puts something in front of it (lets say waiting to be heated), an automatic opening could be "dangerous".

    I wondered this myself too, already. It's quite a pain in our kitchen where the microwave is installed on the far right of a shelf and when opening it the door is in the way of putting something in or getting something out.

    @Alvaro I was imagining doors that slide open, or possibly even open like an iris. I wasn't imagining doors that hinge outwards like the current generation of microwave doors do.

    @CandiedOrange See my previous comment.

    @DavidWallace That sort of door would be difficult to shield effectively.

    @DavidWallace *"I see no benefit in having the door closed when cooking is not actually in progress."* Adopt a couple of sheddy cats and see if your feeling on that changes!

    Might as well argue that all cupboard doors should be left open at all times. Or why give cupboards doors at all?

    We have a Siemens microwave that opens from the left, because it fits better with place in the kitchen (it is on the right of one of the walls). It was not so easy to find. There is also a similar Bosch microwave. I think they are essentially the same but with a different exterior design. This is in Europe, I don't know if they are available in other parts of the world.

    My parents have an extra-wide microwave that you can open from either side. Just not both at once (not that I tried very hard...)

    @Devin Must be nice to be unconscientious enough to actually buy one of those. From the looks of those pictures I am starting to wonder if your definition of microwave is the same as OP's. Most of those seem to be convection ovens or "toaster ovens" as the pragmatic people would call it.

    I recall that early microwaves opened from the top like the old oven. But when the interlock failed and it killed someone opening it, they decided to not aim the beam at the operator’s head.

    I instantly checked my microwave after reading this question.

  • Because the control panel is on the right.

    Microwaves have the controls on the right to favour right handed people (similar to the placement of control panels on pre 1990's televisions.)

    Placing the hinge on the right would make for a very awkward design as it would be near the middle. If you wanted to stir your food and adjust the controls at the same time, you would find the door bashing into your arm. Having it on the left means it is at one end of the equipment, so when the door is open there is no obstruction for an operator moving between controls and food.

    I would say one thing goes together with the other. The control is on the right + the door opens from the right for right handed. For left handed it would be left control + door opening from left to right.

    From a technical point of view, this is probably the correct answer. If in doubt, go to your microwave, and imagine the door opening left to right (with controls on the right). The right side of the door would collide with the control zone, so you wouldn't be able to open the door. Thus: the hinge has to be on the most external side. After that, it's just a numbers game: 90% of people is right handed, so... controls on the right.

    Do you normally use the controls without first shutting the door? My microwave actually resets the clock when I close the door so it's not even possible (unless it's just the time remaining when I opened the door).

    *"... mirroring the placement of control panels ..."* does this mean control panels are on opposite side as older TV's? Shouldn't this say "... duplicating the placement of control panels ..."?

    This answer, as written, boils down to "they are laid out how they are because they have the layout they have"; if the hinge was on the right, the control panel could go on the left, problem solved. With some tweaking, it could answer the related question of why they don't have *easily reversible* doors, like many refrigerators do. Converting a microwave would be more like converting a car dashboard between left- and right-hand drive: it would require significant rearrangement of components.

    Who stirs their food and adjusts the microwave controls at the same time?

    In addition to the open door being awkward if the hinge were next to the control panel, you'd also have to either separate the door release mechanism from the control panel (so that it was next to the latch) or have a long series of levers running from the control panel side of the door to the latch side of the door (increasing the chances of a part breaking). The fact that most microwaves (especially early microwaves) have a mechanical release for the door constrains your options quite a bit.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM