Ikea's Nutid Built-in Microwave: Beautiful, Powerful, Completes The Look
Mar 31, 2010 (Updated Jul 11, 2010)
Review by mithril
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Beautiful, Powerful, and Thoughtfully Designed
Recommend this product?
Almost six months ago, I purchased Ikea's Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven, model number 50142342, on the first day of Ikea's 2010 fall kitchen sale. As I've mentioned in other appliance reviews, this means that by buying 3 appliances from Ikea, I got 20% off that day on everything I purchased for my new kitchen, including the appliances, cabinets, handles, lighting, the works. Ikea runs these kitchen promotions every fall and spring. If you can plan your appliance purchases to coincide with these sales, I highly recommend them. Likewise, I highly recommend this microwave.
Ikea's entire Nutid line of appliances come with a 5-year in-home warranty included in the purchase cost! This alone made me confident enough to buy Ikea for all the appliances I needed. This was the first time I did not use KitchenAid appliances in a renovation.
I could not be happier with my purchase. Even at its full price of $649 (for the white model), the Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven is an incredible value - - the eerily similar KitchenAid version of this microwave retails for $899, $250 more and they don't match Ikea's 5 year warranty! Ikea has obviously used their tremendous buying power and design savvy to come up with efficient, desirable, feature-rich, affordable appliances. I got this microwave for $519 on sale!
Why Buy a $649 Microwave At All When Microwaves Are, In General, Much Less Expensive?
The Nutid oven and microwave are designed to look like a seamless in-wall cooking center and the effect is stunning. If you are considering buying an in-wall conventional oven or an in-wall double combination full-size oven/microwave, then you know that they are extremely expensive but give an integrated, sleek high-end look prized by many.
Before purchasing those expensive appliances, I highly recommend you examine the Nutid line of built-in separates. Using Ikea's Nutid ovens that are relatively inexpensive (compared to the competition), a separate built-in microwave and a built-in oven can achieve the same look and functionality of an integrated multi-oven in-wall appliance at much lower initial and future cost. These units have lower maintenance costs because separates are less expensive to repair or replace than integrated multi-oven units. And do not forget the included 5 year warranty in the purchase price.
So, the answer to why such an expensive microwave is that one pays for both form and function. The Ikea Nutid Built-in Microwave completes the sleek, beautiful look of an in-wall cooking center with the Ikea Nutid conventional wall oven(s). Unfortunately, this model does not offer convection in addition to the microwave function or it would have been even better. If you want this high-end integrated look there is currently no competition near this price point.
Ikea Design - Whirlpool Quality
The odd thing is that this microwave is actually Whirlpool built (as is KitchenAid). So why the huge price differences? As I've noted in my other Ikea appliance reviews, in 2009, Ikea went into the appliance market in an integrated and coordinated way for the first time. All of Ikea's appliances are now designed by them and manufactured to their standards exclusively for them by Whirlpool. Ikea's family of appliances includes different "lines" offering different price points and finishes. As a result, each Ikea appliance may have specifications or attributes that are similar to other quality Whirlpool-made names such as Whirlpool, Whirlpool Gold, and KitchenAid. By balancing features and design elements, Ikea has hit on the perfect balance of high-end appearance and practical features. Sometimes simpler is better and less is more.
Ikea's Nutid line appliances have matching handles and includes appliances priced from Ikea's medium range to their high end. Careful cross-evaluation of offerings from Whirlpool and Ikea's Nutid line specifications has led me to think that the most expensive Nutid appliances are similar to the "better" Whirlpool Gold line (also sometimes seeming to be branded for Sears as Kenmore or Kenmore Elite) with Ikea's design enhancements leaving the finished product nearer KitchenAid's level of high-end look and feel.
So the real difference with these Ikea Nutid appliances is the unique balance of features, design, and price. The Ikea Nutid appliances are just prettier, plain and simple. Following their philosophy of clean lines and ease-of-use, the Nutid line reduces visual clutter and provides high-end look and feel at low-end cost. Available only in white or stainless steel, the Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven features smooth, flat, squared white glass door and control panels, brushed and polished stainless steel trim, handles, and knobs, and simple knob/button controls with a large flush-integrated electronic display. There are no logos, no permanently stuck-on labels, no clutter. Nowhere on the exterior of any of Ikea's Nutid appliances do you see any cluttered reference to the manufacturer - - only the interior serial number plates say "Ikea by Whirlpool". The integrity of the design is unspoiled by what I refer to as corporate acne.
Another example of Ikea's design sensibility is that the Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven (and all other Nutid line appliances) comes with oversized, elegant, brushed stainless steel handles in an Ikea design called Vinna. Vinna handles are relatively inexpensive despite being solid and having a high-end look and feel. They can be purchased separately at Ikea and you can install them on your kitchen cabinets to integrate the look of your appliances with your entire kitchen.
In terms of price, Ikea's Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven does not have much competition - - you simply cannot find an in-wall microwave oven with these features and high-end look anywhere near this price.
All The Features You Want, None of the Bloat
This microwave is incredibly high-end. The appliance exterior is smooth and simple with a front door of white glass that is completely flat and perfectly matches the Nutid built-in oven.
A huge benefit of this microwave versus most other built-ins is the solid, stable, front door that opens downward, operating exactly like the door on a conventional oven. It is useable as a work surface. This makes handling hot foods so much easier and safer, prevents me from dropping hot items on the floor (or myself), and makes so much sense that it is no wonder so many professional microwave ovens are designed this way.
This is a 24" wide microwave and it comes complete with perfectly matching trim and bezel kits so you can install this in a 24", 27", or 30" cabinet to match your other appliances in width. Once installed, the microwave fits perfectly flush to the cabinet with the trim kit white glass extending beyond the cabinet approximately 1/2". There is nowhere for dirt or grease to hide on the exterior of this in-wall microwave. The design is as thoughtful as it is elegant.
If you use Ikea's tall oven cabinet, this microwave oven may be mounted at whatever height suits you best so that you can save your back when taking things in and out of the oven and still maximize remaining space for storage or in-wall regular oven mounting.
The design of this oven matches Ikea's Nutid In-Wall Convection Oven which I mounted directly below this Microwave in a tall Ikea cabinet. The look is of a single, integrated device but without the extra cost (or the concern of repairing a single, complicated unit). To achieve a similar matching look with separates, I would have had to spring for KitchenAid's matching pair and that would have more than doubled my costs for these pieces alone.
Belying its low cost, the Nutid 24" Built-in Microwave Oven has amazing features, some found in very few microwaves:
-professional-style pull down front door provides a safe and solid surface to make getting foods in and out of the microwave easier
-stainless steel interior
-simple controls via 2-Knobs and 2-Button pairs using universal icons for no-brainer use
-knobs push into the unit to keep unit flat when not in use
-control lock to prevent unwanted use of the microwave
-Easy-to-read Electronic Display (fahrenheit or celsius, you choose)
-Internal oven lights are extremely functional and bright and the large viewing window in the door makes checking on food easy
-10 power levels
-manual and automatic controls
-7 auto-cook sensor categories: canned vegetables, cereal, chicken, fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, frozen meals and rice
-6 auto-reheat programs with 6 preset categories: baked goods, beverage, casserole, pizza, soup and sauce
-4 auto-defrost programs for bread, fish/seafood, meat and poultry that adjust microwave emission to the quantity of food
-30-second quick-add button works
-extremely large 15 3/4" diameter glass rotating turntable (dishwasher safe)
-matches wall ovens and comes with bezels for 27" or 30" installation.
-1.4 cu ft capacity
-weighs 72 lbs.
According to Ikea's website, here are the minimum and maximum installation measurements:
Product dimensions Min. width: 23 3/4 "
Max. width: 29 3/4 "
Depth: 21 1/4 "
Height: 18 "
Min. width: 60.4 cm
Max. width: 75.6 cm
Depth: 54.0 cm
Height: 45.6 cm
So What Features Don't You Get?
Obviously, at this price point, some features of the more expensive KitchenAid built-in microwaves must be missing so what are they?
1) Mylar Control Panel: if you are a fan of those control panels without any knobs or buttons where you just push a bubble of plastic to run your oven, look elsewhere. Ikea Nutid ovens (microwave and conventional) use 2 knobs and 2 pairs of buttons. I can't tell you how much I prefer Ikea's design. One thing they don't tell you about those touch panel controls is how they yellow and discolor over the years so they no longer match the white appliance exactly. This oven has none of those plastics. The glass control surfaces wipe clean easily and there is nowhere for dirt to hide.
2) Many Color Choices: Ikea's Nutid microwave comes in white or in stainless steel and that is it. No red, no purple, no bisque. Just the classics. If you're looking for gimmicky, these aren't the appliances for you.
3) Convection Mode: At this price point, many microwaves offer a conventional convection mode. You can even get rangehood convection microwave combos for less money than this unit.
Only you can decide if you simply can't live without the above features. For me, the lower cost, better styling, better warranty, and simple good looks of the Ikea Nutid Built-in Microwave made it a better choice than the KitchenAid for achieving the look and functionality I wanted in a renovated kitchen's in-wall cooking center.
Easy to Use
Less is more, especially when it comes to controlling your appliances. Who wants to be faced with an overwhelming flimsy touchpad full of hard-to-read options that you rarely use?
Ikea has brilliantly reduced all the functions of a modern, sophisticated microwave oven into a control center that uses 2 knobs and 2 pairs buttons and one easy-to-read display. Brilliant. And easy enough for my 80 year old mother to figure out without a manual.
The knobs and buttons are elegant brushed, matte, stainless steel that does not show fingerprints. Very handsome and they have a quality feel, especially as they are fitted on white glass panels, not plastic. The knobs may be pushed to recess into the control panel when not in use. The overall design of the controls matches the Nutid in-wall conventional oven exactly.
The left knob selects the mode. Turn the knob to the indicator you want: Auto-Cook, Auto-Reheat, Auto-Defrost, Manual, Off, Time Set. Very simple.
When you are in manual mode, the right knob adjusts cooking time. So after making your mode selection to the little hand icon (manual, by hand, get it?) with the left knob, use the right knob to adjust the number of seconds, minutes, etc. you want.
When you select an Auto Mode (Auto-Cook, Auto-Reheat, Auto-Defrost), you use the leftmost button of the display to select the Food Class (FC). For example, in Auto-Defrost mode, FC 4 is frozen vegetables. The display changes each time you press the FC button. When you reach the FC you want, use the right knob to dial the quantity, for example, 2 cups of Frozen Vegetables. Press the power button and the microwave does the rest. Don't worry about remembering the food codes... they are thoughtfully listed indelibly on the interior edge of the pull-down microwave door, visible only when you place your items in or out of the oven.
The next button to the left of the large display is the cancel button and it turns off the oven and cancels the cooking timer settings. This is its only function.
The first button to the right of the display is the start button - - simply press this when you are ready for the microwave to do its thing. You can also press this button to add 30 seconds additional to any other mode.
The rightmost button selects the power level, cycling through in 10 unit increments.
This all reads harder than it is to do - - if you can read this review on the internet you can have this oven zapping your food quickly with only a few taps. The oven will beep and tell you when your food is ready to eat and it even has an internal fan to cool itself and dissipate heat build-up around the device when cooking is complete.
Easy to Keep Clean
This microwave's extremely simple design and glass exterior finish make a it a breeze to keep clean. The glass turntable pops in the dishwasher. The stainless steel interior is easy to wipe clean and has no places that trap dirt. The interior of the microwave door is a dark brown painted surface that wipes clean easily and the large front glass viewing window likewise is easily cleaned.
You Do Not Have to Carry It Home
Well, you can carry it home if you want to. The Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven is a cash & carry item at Ikea, meaning that you arrange to buy it in the kitchen department upstairs (all Ikeas are arranged the same way) and then pay for it and go downstairs where it is brought out to you on a dolley from the back warehouse by an Ikea employee.
If you are strong and have a truck or a wagon, you can then load the oven into your truck or station wagon or hatchback and take it home.
This is the one appliance I actually brought home on my own as I needed to go back for it after my delivery since it was backordered. The Ikea employee wheeled the microwave out to me on a dolley and I wheeled it out the SUV and finessed it into the cargo area mysef.
The packaging on this microwave is simply amazing and it comes completely encased in layers of dense cardboard tubes like wood, styrofoam and plastic. There was no damage from my handling it myself. If you can handle the weight of it and the bulk of it, you can get this item home yourself.
Should you want home delivery, just wheel it over to the delivery counter instead of to your car.
Documentation and Installation
The microwave comes with a specification sheet, installation manuals, instruction manuals, and the five year warranty agreement. There is a great deal of packing material and tape to remove from the oven before you can install it and there are many warnings so read them.
If you are using the Ikea tall cabinet for in-wall ovens, simply place the special heavy-weight shelf at the desired height once the cabinet is in position and you know where this microwave is going. Make sure you have the necessary wiring in place for this appliance.
I had an electrician professionally install the microwave oven electric. The oven requires its own dedicated 20 amp 120 volt circuit. The oven comes with a regular plug so your electrician has to install an outlet behind the device inside the cabinet. Your electrician will know what is needed in your area. This is something I recommend everyone leave to a licensed electrician since they know the legal and safety requirements for your installation.
My cabinet installer put the oven in position and attached it as per Ikea's instructions. Pretty much, the oven sits on and attaches to a very heavy duty shelf that Ikea supplies with the cabinet. It also screws directly into the cabinet (which in turn is attached to the wall). The bezel to make the microwave fit in the 30" cabinet was a bit tricky to install but the end result is solid and looks beautifully flush.
Installation Details That May Be Helpful (updated 7/11/2010)
I have received questions from others about the installation process and will try to give some details and tips here. Unfortunately, the instructions for the installation will vary because the microwave can mount in 24", 27", and 30" openings depending on your needs. The bezels/mounting brackets for the 30" openings differ from the others. My installation tips are for my 30" installation only.
The oven itself attaches on the sides to a bracket that affixes inside the Ikea high oven cabinet. You choose the height at which you want to mount the microwave, put a special heavy-duty shelf beneath it, put the microwave in place, plug it in if you will lose access to the outlet once the microwave is mounted, and then screw the mounting brackets into place in the cabinet and the side body of the microwave.
These brackets, in the 30" installation, become the framework for installing the 30" bezel that are like vertical glass rectangles which visually match the front of the microwave and the matching Nutid oven front panels.
When I say the microwave mounts flush, I mean that the microwave and the matching Nutid Wall Oven will be similarly extended from the Ikea high oven cabinet the same fractions of an inch, giving a matching flush mount appearance when situated one atop the other. The slight extension is necessary for the appliance doors to open downward and for the heat vents to clear the cabinet itself. The appliances are no less or more flush than the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Note: My installation does not use the IKEA "oven panel" as a solid board with a cut-out in the shape of the microwave and/or the in-wall convection oven. However, I used the "oven panel" material to make filler pieces that fill in above and below the microwave and the oven with a small strip between the two. In essence, I was mimicking an installation technique used in-store that I found most attractive. More about the oven panels is given below.
If you are missing the larger brackets for installing the Nutid microwave then you can only do a 24" installation. Flat-head screws would need to go from the microwave into the cabinet. I seem to remember special brackets even for this though I discarded them as they were not needed for the 30" cabinet install.
Ikea uses special thickness panels called oven panels to frame their appliances so that the install looks seamless and matches the door panels and trim on your cabinet in depth and finish. When installed, the oven panels match your door finish but remain flush with the cabinet. Assembling is easy as the high cabinet and oven panels comes with special L-shaped brackets that screw into pre-drilled holes in the oven panel and the interior of the cabinet. I used the method shown in-store and carefully examined their own installations. This meant NOT using any oven panel trim on the sides of the ovens, only above and below them. So instead of using a huge oven panel with two openings cut out in it with a jigsaw, the Nutid microwave and wall oven were mounted one directly above the other, with only and a small trim piece the thickness of a shelf or two separating them by the appliance manufacturer installation guide suggested clearance. Please remember to place the middle separator between the two ovens in position BEFORE you permanently mount the microwave. The filler piece above the microwave and the filler piece below the wall oven are not as critical because I seem to remember you can add them after installing the ovens. Once the installation is complete, the upper and lower filler panels (above the microwave and below the oven) end up being most covered by the cabinet's bottom drawer front and by the cabinet's upper shelving doors.
Remember that you can pick the placement height of this oven with Ikea's system so think about aesthetics and practicality for the height. One word to the wise: if you will be installing this in-wall Ikea microwave directly above another oven, put the other oven in position, determine where the microwave shelf is to go, install the regular oven completely, put in the filler panel for above the oven (mine is a literally a thin strip resting on the oven top that fills the required spacing heat gap between the top of the oven and the microwave shelf) and then install the microwave support shelf above it (this is what your microwave will slide into and sit on). Remember to install your microwave after installing the in-wall conventional oven but BEFORE installing the high cabinet's side external cover panels as the exterior cover panels can be used to hide inadvertent over extension of screws through the side of the cabinet.
The Ikea Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven is easy to live with and is, so far, behaving like a reliable workhorse. Everyone who enters the kitchen comments how attractive the oven and microwave are.
The microwave is powerful and food cooks and heats evenly and quickly. The popcorn mode doesn't burn kernels and seems to get almost all the kernels to pop. The autocook modes make frozen foods and vegetables accurately and easily.
The clock and controls are very easy to see and use. The clear, easily distinguished numbers display in crisp white illumination and the control panel and display matches the Nutid In-Wall Convection Oven exactly.
A Word About the Automatic Cooling Function
I have read reviews on the web about problems with the KitchenAid version of this microwave due to the automatic cooling function, where the machine overheats, turns off and starts cooling in the middle of the cook cycle. My Ikea Nutid microwave does NOT have this problem.
You must install a built-in microwave according to the manufacturer's directions being sure to have over the minimum volume of space and proximity of shelves, etc. placed around the oven. Perhaps because it is correctly installed, I have never experienced anything like this with the Ikea product.
The automatic cooling fan turns on to vent the interior cabinet space around the microwave after cooking is complete. Remember, this oven is built in to a cabinet so that the front looks flush. Heat builds up inside the cabinet when ovens are in use. All built-in microwaves have some type of this cooling function implemented, some manufacturers put this functionality in the installation bezel which is why some of the installation kits are such pricey options. In fact, all built-in ovens whether conventional or microwave, have some fan system for removing heat buildup inside the kitchen cabinet around the oven.
The Ikea Nutid Built-in Microwave's automatic cooling function has been a non-issue so far. It does not interfere with cooking (even on long microwave jobs like 20 minutes for fresh baby carrots). Generally, when it does turn on which is not every time the oven is used, it comes on after they cycle is completed. If I need more cooking time and turn the oven back on for a few more seconds or minutes, the cooling function continues simultaneously.
Though the cooling fan makes things slightly noisier than the oven running without it, the fan is not much worse than the average cooktop exhaust on low. The cooling function is completely automatic and the fan turns itself off once the oven senses normal ambient temperatures in and around the oven.
Very Highly Recommended
The Ikea Nutid Built-in Microwave Oven is an excellent choice and an amazing value when you consider the look and utility of the end result. It is at least $300 less than its nearest competitor yet looks better, works as well, and compares admirably to very similar Whirlpool and KitchenAid products. If you want a high-end, sleek in-wall cooking center, I highly recommend you consider Ikea's Nutid separates whether or not you intend to buy a kitchen at Ikea - - the Nutid is worth a look if you are in the market for a simple, thoughtfully designed built-in microwave oven that coordinates with built-in conventional ovens and throws in an exceptional warranty all at an extremely competitive price.
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Amount Paid (US$): 519
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