The power of a microwave is rated by the wattage number and is typically labeled somewhere on the front or inside the door of the microwave. The higher wattage number the more powerful the microwave is. For example, there is a big difference when making popcorn in a 700 watt microwave versus making it in an 1100 watt microwave. What took on average of 4 1/2 minutes is now finished within 3 minutes. While this can save you a bundle of time, many who upgraded to the 1100 watt microwave are dissatisfied with their results.
Similar to the popcorn example, the dissatisfaction in many cases is simply because the food is not all cooked evenly or is burned. This is a problem that can be fixed by adjusting the setting however. Because the majority of microwaves now include a preset popcorn button, it does not even know the size of the popcorn bag that you are placing inside to be popped. Some specialty popcorn instruct you to pop the bag for a specified period of time, remove and add specialty sauce or flavoring, and then resuming the microwave for another one or two minutes. This can be quite challenging with a higher wattage microwave.
When choosing a microwave you should take into consideration what you commonly are going to use it for. Whether you upgrade from a low to high wattage or downgrade to from a high to low wattage microwave, there will be a learning curve.
In the user manual you will find many great tips and basic instructions for cook times. Here you can read what preset functions are available on your model and the many other features that are offered.
The cooking cycles of microwaves enable them to regulate the heat and wattage consistently just as if you were baking in your oven or grilling outdoors. This gives you more options when choosing different power levels and cooking features.