Our over-the-counter microwave that came with the house finally broke down one day. It stopped heating up food, even though the exhaust fan still worked. It was time to get a new microwave.
Recommend this product?
The previous microwave came with the house, lasting a good 10 years. It was a GE microwave, so i decided that if the last microwave lasted 10 years, it must be safe to get another GE microwave and hope it lasts another 10 years.
When shopping for over-the-counter microwaves, there are a few special considerations to take in account that you would not consider in counter top microwaves.
First, you have to consider the venting method. Do you want a microwave that vents back into the room or into an exhaust? Make sure the model that you get supports what you want. I have an exhaust vent installed over the microwave at the house, so this model worked well for me.
Second, decide if you want a convection oven as well as a microwave oven. There are different schools of thought on what's important for you. This model is NOT a convection oven.
Then there are the normal types of microwave features: power rating, size inside the microwave (in cubic feet), turntable toggle on/off, one touch controls, sensor cooking, and the like.
This microwave comes with a two speed exhaust fan. It was important to me to have two settings, one that is slower and less noisy, but a high setting that will quickly vent out any smoke over the cooking surface.
Probably the biggest feature for me though was not function, but instead form. This microwave is stylish, has a comfortable handle, and matches the rest of the kitchen. I know it sounds vain, but when you shop for microwaves, you begin to realize that all microwaves work pretty much the same. Sure there are some that have higher power ratings so you don't have to cook things for as long to heat them up. And sure, there are some microwaves that have fancy settings that help you microwave foods without thinking about how long you should microwave them for (sensor cooking, which I'll get to in a bit). But for me, the way I use a microwave is pretty simple. I put food into it, I put in a time, and then I let it go.
That being said, the microwave performs its job quite well. I usually use one of three buttons on the microwave. The quick 1-minute setting, 2-minute setting, and the Add 30 Seconds button. The only pet peeve I have with this microwave is that once you hit any of these quick buttons, there is a delay before it will register another button push. So, for example, if I wanted to microwave something for 1 minute 30 seconds, I would push the 1 button, then I would have to wait a couple of seconds before I can push the Add 30 seconds button. After the first button pause, every key press thereafter is immediately registered.
Sensor cooking is a special feature where you put food into the microwave and just click sensor cooking. The microwave will try to figure out how best to cook the item and will automatically stop itself after it thinks whatever item in the microwave is done cooking. I've tried this a few times and it's been reasonably good on drinks in cups, but when it comes to other foods, it tends to be really hit or miss on the food item. I've used the button because it's a novelty, but I do not trust it to warm the food to the right temperature.
The light comes with two settings to illuminate the cooking surface and it works well. There's also a night light option.
There is a timer built into the microwave. It can only go up to 99 minutes, so if you are planning to use the timer for your Thanksgiving turkey, you better have a small turkey.
The microwave is a little loud when running. If you can test it out at the store first to see if the noise is something that will bother you. It is louder than my old counter top microwave, but not noticeably louder.
The finish of the microwave is wonderful and operating the door simply involves pulling on the handle. Construction of the microwave is solid. Even though the outside finish is stainless steel, this microwave does not attract fingerprints in the same way that the stainless steel refrigerator does. Still, you will need to clean the exterior of the microwave the same way as you would any stainless steel product, get a special cleaner.
Installation of the microwave is relatively easy. The instructions are clear and the unit comes with a mounting bracket. I was hoping that my old bracket would work with this model, but it didn't. It is definitely a two person job to install the microwave over the counter, but installation is easy and can be done easily with a power drill.
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