Why Do Microwaves Spin? Why Do Some Microwaves Not Spin?

Have you ever wondered why microwaves spin? Can’t the gadgets cook food without rotating? Why do some microwaves spin while others do not? You will get answers to these questions right now. Here is a straightforward answer to why microwaves spin! 

Microwaves spin to expose all your food spots to even heating. Due to low frequencies in the gadget, heat waves cannot spread evenly, so your food needs regular flipping. You can’t do that manually, yet you must rotate the plate. Or else some portions stay cold while others stay hot. So far, the only design that works is a spinning bed. 

Though that’s the case, not all microwaves spin. I will tell you about ovens that do not spin. The gadgets have a technique that radiates evenly in the cooking chamber. This design eliminates cold patches in your food. So, every portion cooks without rotating and within timelines. Stay here and enjoy this exciting topic!

Why Do Some Microwaves Not Spin?

Though many features help you to define the microwave types, you will easily spot a spinning and a non-spinning one. Before you decide to take one home, your major concern will be why some spin while others do not. 

The most common is the spinning model, which has a traditional turntable that turns until the end of the cooking time. The non-rotating category also has only a bed/rack that does not turn. It is a flatbed design hence the name flatbed microwaves. The similarity is that the frequency is equal, regardless of design. 

Microwaves that do not spin (also flatbeds) use different technology to distribute heat. They have reflectors, fans, rotating antennas, and other mechanisms that ensure hot air moves around the food. That ensures additional heat and even cooking.

That answers your questions why some microwaves do not spin! It is not an error but a unique design that uses different technology to distribute waves in the cavity. They have no bulky turntables, and most are large commercial ovens with heavy usage.

The manufacturers prefer this design to limit breakages, wear and tear, and spillage. Also, the ovens accommodate large and irregular dishes, so they are great for hotels and other busy institutions.

How Non-Spinning/Flatbed Microwaves Work?

Instead of a rotating turntable, the high-efficiency flatbed models have a spinning antenna that operates under the ceramic bottom of the oven. The unit emits consistent microwaves that bounce in the cavity and spread at different angles, thus cooking through your food with constant heat.

And like the regular microwave, the glass door has a metallic grid to contain the waves in the cavity.

The flatbed microwaves have the technology to eliminate cold patches or uncooked portions in your food, even if they do not turn. You don’t have to flip your food to expose the underside to heat when cooking. 

 Also, the ovens that do not have turntables offer more space to accommodate more food. Cleaning a non-spinning microwave is easy as there is no need to take apart the turntable. 


  • Rotating antenna
  • The ovens do not turntables
  • Food doesn’t spin
  • Have a spacious cavity to hold larger plates and more food.

Is It Bad If The Microwave Doesn’t Spin?

Spinning is a traditional design in most microwaves, but you will still get the non-spinning/flatbed ovens in some homes. The ovens mostly fit in busy kitchens such as hospitals and hotels. Though they have existed since the evolution of microwaves, microwaves without spin have more advanced heating technology. The old models had fans, but today, flatbeds have rotating antennas that enable heat wave motions. 

But there are microwaves with a spinning or turntable design. If they do not spin, they have a mechanical or electrical issue. It is bad if such microwaves do not spin. If it is the flatbed design, it is not bad if the microwave doesn’t spin. So, find out more about the specifications of your machine to determine if it is an error that is causing it not to spin or if it is its design.  

I will especially delve into a turntable microwave that doesn’t spin. The traditional microwave has a turntable feature that is supposed to rotate when cooking. The motion exposes the entire dish to radiating waves. That way, you don’t get cold patches in your food. 

If the turntable stops spinning, that is a bad sign in your oven. It signifies some damaged parts, such as a broken coupler, tray support, roller guide, or an obstruction that is stopping motion. 

 Causes Of A Turntable In Your Microwave Not Spinning

Broken Coupler Drive

The coupler drive in your microwave enables the turntable to rotate. You may need to check the unit if your microwave is not spinning. It could be dirt, or a broken one will require replacement. Remove the turntable and check if any spills harden up and cause a sticky situation.

  1. Damaged Tray support

The tray support is where the glass plate lies in the microwave. It has rollers that allow smooth rotation around the coupler. If the rollers or one of the guides breaks, your oven will not spin. Replace the damaged tray support with a new one.

2. Broken Motor

The motor rotates and powers the turntable. Parts of the unit may jam and stop the spinning process. The motor is not visible in the microwave cavity. It is beneath the coupler, so you must take apart the oven to access the feature. Call your tech if you need the tools or knowledge to open your machine. It will take him a few minutes to replace the broken motor.

3. Obstruction And Overloading

Could there be food chunks that are stuck under the turntable? The pieces won’t allow turning. Also, stuffing large pieces of food in the oven will cause an overload or limit the rotating space. A whole turkey in your microwave may not allow the turntable to spin. Your food will touch the cavity and exert pressure on the coupler if heavy. Overloading can damage the rotating parts.

Do All Microwaves Have To Spin?

As I said earlier, there are two categories of microwave designs. This guide bases the classification on the spinning/turntable and non-spinning/flatbed types. Whether it is a flatbed or turntable design, the frequencies are similar (2.45 GHz). You can roast, toast, make coffee, bake, and cook.    

So, microwaves do not have to spin. Like the spinning microwaves, the non-spinning ones are designed by the manufacturer but operate without any motion. You can choose any of the designs; spinning/turntable and non-spinning/flatbed ovens. 

Each has pros and cons, but the choice depends on the application. Mostly, turntables are common in regular kitchen spaces. Their sizes are small and fit in the cabinet design and regular countertops. In the past, flatbeds used to work better on large kitchens with expansive countertops. 

But that’s history, and there are now regular countertop flatbed microwaves. Many users opt for gadgets over traditional turntable microwaves due to several benefits.

Benefits of non-spinning/flatbed microwaves

  • Additional features: Flatbed microwaves have unique features, such as inverter technology with improved temperature controls. Such technology enhances cooking methods to bake, steam, or grill.
  • Easy cleaning: Cleaning a flatbed microwave cavity is a breeze. You do not have to remove the turntable. 
  • Quiet operation: Turntables make a horrible noise when rotating, so you will enjoy the flatbed quieter operation. 
  • No spill: Food is stagnant, so it doesn’t spill over.
  • No fragile parts: Flatbed microwaves have no glass plates, so fewer breakages exist.
  • Spacious cavity: The cooking cavity is more spacious, so your casseroles fit better. These ovens even fit square/oblong/rectangular dishware, so the shape is perfect.
  • Perfect heat distribution: The ovens have a perfect heat distribution with high-tech cavity structures. With reflectors and rotating antennae, food cooks in less time using less energy.

Any gadget that has benefits has drawbacks. So, before you make up your mind between a flatbed and a turntable, have a look at the cons.

Cons of flatbed microwaves

  • Cost: The high cost of acquiring a flatbed microwave is a major drawback. One of the reasons for the high pricing is extra features such as the inverter technology.
  • Size: Generally, flatbeds are bigger than traditional microwaves, but the manufacturers are tailoring the design to fit regular kitchens and cabinets.
  • Availability: Hunting for a Flatbed microwave oven is not a leisure walk in the park. The gadgets have less supply and a limited option for many users. The trend will change, and manufacturers will fill the consumer gap between turntables and flatbeds.
  • Complex operations: If upgrading to a flatbed microwave, you must learn about its operations again. The time, temperature, troubleshooting processes, and other crucial features, but it is a worthy course.

I will be doing injustice without comparing the spinning and non-spinning microwaves. Take your time to compare the two by learning the pros and cons of turntable microwaves.

Benefits of turntable microwaves

  • Easy to operate: A glance at your microwave oven reveals a straightforward gadget in terms of operation. The user interface is smooth, and you have all the troubleshooting tips.
  • Inexpensive: You need not lose an arm and a tooth to get a turntable microwave oven. Depending on the features, you can even get one below $100.
  • Availability: If you are determined, walking into your appliance store will leave you with a turntable microwave. The ovens are readily available in many stores.

Drawbacks of turntable microwaves

  • More energy consumption: Rotating the turntable requires more energy in the motor. The oven rotates throughout the cooking, hence using more energy. 
  • Uneven heat distribution: Sometimes, the turntable microwave does not guarantee good results. You may get to bite some cold patches in your food.  

Why Do Some Microwaves Not Spin?

Though microwaves come in various designs, you can easily single out the spinning and the non-spinning types. The spinning types have a feature known as a turntable. The spinning unit stays in motion throughout the cooking session: that way, every portion of your food cooks. 

But some microwaves do not spin. They do not rotate because the design excludes a turning feature. Food gets hot by waves piercing in all directions. That’s possible through a spinning antenna under the flat cavity which reflects the heat waves to all parts of the oven. 

The antenna is usually on the roof or at the base of the gadget, depending on the model. You cannot see it as it is under a plastic cover. This strategic position allows an even distribution of heat on the food.

Though the oven doesn’t spin, it can heat your food evenly. The design differs from a turntable microwave as its beams reach the cavity through the magnetron tube. You must stop mid-cooking and flip your food when cooking with a turntable. 

Again, microwaves that do not spin have spacious interiors enough to accommodate any dish/plate that fits in, regardless of its shape. You do not have to stop midway to flip your food. Plus, there are no spills as your food stays still until ready.   

Why Do Microwaves Have Mesh?

Microwave ovens have a unique design to contain radiation in the cavity. One feature that ensures that is the metallic mess on the glass window. The ovens have this mesh on the window as a safety feature to bar harmful electromagnetic waves from escaping. 

Your microwave’s grid is visible and is the dotted screen that you see on the door. It has spaced tiny holes that ensure the waves bounce inside the heating compartment. Also, the dotted screen is not translucent, allowing you to peep into the oven and see your food’s cooking progress.    

To understand how this grid/mesh prevents the ovens from radiating to the outside, you need to understand the radiation frequencies and their performance. Microwaves are electromagnetic and radiate at a wavelength range of 300 MHz to 300 GHz. Waves that radiate this frequency range can piece through materials like ceramic glass and plastic.

The goodness is metallic surfaces absorb the waves, hence the metallic grid on the oven’s window. 

Due to the harmful nature of microwaves, designers add metallic mesh to prevent harm and electronic device interference. The metallic material is either stainless steel or aluminum, as these two are conductive and reflect the waves.

If you observe the holes in the mesh, they are tiny. The size is smaller than that of the microwave’s wavelength. That means the waves can’t pass through the holes. 

We would compare this mesh screen to Faraday’s cage, which prevents microwave transmission from the chamber. In a nutshell, microwaves have mesh to allow electromagnetic waves to bounce and stay inside the cavity, so you do not have to worry about your safety when using the machine. The waves cannot reach or harm you even if you stand close to the device!

How Do Microwave Turntables Work?

All microwaves that rotate have a feature known as a turntable. The unit comprises a glass tray with a plastic support ring beneath. Turntables rotate at a constant speed throughout any cooking selection. Sometimes, the unit rotates clockwise, other times anticlockwise. 

To understand how microwave turntables work, you need to understand that the unit uses a combination of electric and magnetic energy (electromagnetism). The combined energy waves penetrate through food and cause molecules to vibrate. 

There is also heat generation throughout the food to accomplish the cooking process. This heat moves in a radiation beam which may heat some parts and leave others cold, so your food needs constant turning. Doing that is a lot of effort. 

A turntable is essential as it rotates the food and eliminates cold spits. It also facilitates even heating. The unit has several features.

Features of a microwave turntable unit;

  1. Circular Glass/Ceramic Plate 

The circular plate is removable and can either be glass or ceramic. It sits on the support for placing your food.

2. Roller Guide

The roller guide has three arms and plastic rollers beneath. It is the rollers that ensure grinding or friction doesn’t happen. The guide rolls around the coupler to ensure the food in the plate gets heated in all spots.

3. Coupler

The circular plate sits on the roller guide. In turn, the roller guide fits in the coupler to drive with the help of the motor.

4. Motor 

The turntable connects to the motor through a coupler. It is a tiny electric engine that rotates the turntable. The motor is not superfast but has a slow and steady motion. It works throughout the cooking process to ensure food turns consistently to expose all spots to even heating.