Westinghouse WCM11100 Review
Consumers buy this 1.1-cubic foot, 1,000-watt model for everyday needs, like reheating leftovers, and not for features they won't use.
Today's busy consumers demand speed and convenience in the kitchen. Cue cheap microwave ovens, which excel at defrosting and reheating foods and popping bags of corn. If these and a few other simple tasks are the primary reasons for using one, the best budget microwaves won't disappoint. Cheapism.com surveyed the market and read scores of reviews to identify midsize countertop models costing less than $100 that meet expectations for features, thorough cooking or heating, and ease of use.
Pros: For the price, the Westinghouse WMC11100 (starting at $78), delivers value. Reviews on sites such as BestBuy.com say it's roomy enough to hold full-size dishes and heats and defrosts with plenty of oomph. The 1,000 watts powering this midsize countertop microwave oven are sufficient for warming up frozen dinners in the allotted time, according to one review on Amazon, despite package recommendations to use at least 1,100 watts. Users like the no-frills simplicity that doesn't demand a whole lot of thinking, the ability to change preprogrammed times or heat multiple cups of coffee or tea, and a size that fits most anywhere. The Westinghouse WMC11100 garners a solid 4 or 5 stars on Amazon, Walmart.com, and BestBuy.com.
Cons: The biggest complaints about the Westinghouse WCM11100 concern two missing features: express buttons, which would let consumers press 1, say, and instantly get one minute of cooking, and a time-add button for 30 or 60 extra seconds. The absence of the latter is so irritating to some reviewers that they seem ready to ditch the unit. Reports surface here and there about problems with build quality, notably bubbling of the plastic over the keypad and untimely demise, occasionally right out of the box.
Features: The Westinghouse WCM11100 is a 1.1-cubic-foot microwave oven that runs on 1,000 watts of power and holds a round turntable measuring 12.5 inches across. There are 10 power levels, six one-touch buttons (potato, popcorn, pizza, beverage, frozen food, reheat), and a speed button for defrost and another for defrosting by weight. Users also can choose specific cook times. The door is controlled with a push button that can be locked for child safety. The digital clock/timer is an LED display. The footprint of this oven is a bit larger than comparable units, measuring 21.3 x 16 x 11.8 inches, and it has a total weight slightly exceeding 35 pounds. It's backed by a one-year warranty and comes in white, black, and stainless steel.
Takeaway: There's nothing special about this model, but scores of satisfied users don't hanker for anything special -- they just want an appliance that reheats, defrosts, and cooks up a few treats, and the Westinghouse WCM11100 does just that.
Pros: Considering the price, frugal consumers who expect a microwave oven to do more than just reheat food are surprised at the features and performance of the Frigidaire FFCM1134L (starting at $93; available on Amazon). Boasting 4.2 stars out of 5 from over 1,200 reviewers at AJ Madison, this midsize countertop model scores points for a turntable that can accommodate a normal-size plate or baking dish, along with express-time and 30-second buttons. The auto defrost does the job without any hiccups, note reviews on Amazon, and food generally heats or cooks as prescribed. That goes for thick slabs of bacon as well as kernels of corn. Some users also say the quality and performance exceed that of other models they have owned, particularly in terms of speed and even results.
Cons: The Frigidaire FFCM1134L is not without its faults. Reviews on the company site and elsewhere grumble about the absence of a light when the door opens and others fret about loud noises due to what they consider to be flimsy build quality. Plenty of users complain that the 23 touchpad buttons are hard to read, and some report that the life expectancy is weeks or months. One review says the microwave oven randomly stops before time has expired, requiring another push of a button.
Features: This is a 1.1-cubic-foot model with 1,100 watts and a 12.5-inch turntable. There are several one-touch buttons (popcorn, beverage, potato, fresh vegetable, reheat), buttons for defrost and auto cook, and 10 power levels. Users can add 30 seconds in increments, choose a multi-stage cooking option that shifts power levels midstream, and defrost by time or weight. The clock/timer displays with an LED readout, and the door can be locked to keep kids safe. The Frigidaire FFCM1134L weighs just over 27 pounds and measures about 20.3 x 14.8 x 12 inches on the outside. It comes in white, black, and stainless steel and is backed by a one-year warranty.
Takeaway: A bit more complicated than other budget microwave ovens, the option-rich Frigidaire FFCM1134L is a good deal for the price. Its performance hits the mark.
Pros: Users get good performance for a very modest price with the Magic Chef HMD1110 (starting at $70). Several reviewers report buying this countertop microwave oven to replace a costlier model that broke down after a short time and say they won't feel ripped off even if this one doesn't last long. Other qualities also draw consumers to the Magic Chef HMD1110. It includes all the convenience features people want and need and it's sized right for singles or small families, users say. One reviewer notes on Amazon that it accommodates a 13-by-9-inch baking pan, albeit one without handles. Reviews on Home Depot's website, where the Magic Chef HMD1110 has collected an average of 4.1 stars out of 5 from more than 450 reviews, say it heats well, pops popcorn adequately, cooks evenly, and is a breeze to operate. One consumer who initially purchased the appliance to heat coffee now uses it for many different foods, and others comment appreciatively that the machine beeps a mere three times at the end of a cycle rather than droning on.
Cons: Complaints about the Magic Chef HMD 1110 are relatively mild. Several reviews grumble about sticking doors after a few months of use. And a few say it starts developing cracks in the bottom about a year or so into its active life. Concerns about durability crop up here and there, but all in all, the spin on this appliance is quite positive.
Features: The Magic Chef HMD1110 powers up its 1.1 cubic feet of interior space with 1,000 watts and offers users 10 power levels. There are four one-touch cooking buttons (popcorn, pizza, beverage, and dinner plate) and five auto-cook options (bread, soup, baked potato, and fresh and frozen vegetables). Users can choose to defrost by weight or time and add 30 seconds to cook times in increments. The exterior dimensions measure about 20.3 x 14.8 x 12 inches and the weight is just shy of 30 pounds. The oven includes a child safety lock, comes with a one-year warranty, and is available with a white or black finish.
Takeaway: The Magic Chef HMD1110 is one of the cheapest 1,000-watt microwave ovens around and works better than consumers might expect for the price.
Pros: This may not be an appliance consumers love, but reviewers say the Danby DMW111K (starting at $70; available on Amazon) is easy to use, features all the right functions, boasts a small footprint, is easy to clean, and does its job for a low price. Consumers posting reviews on Walmart.com generally express pleasant surprise at the value. They say this midsize countertop model is well constructed and gets hot enough to cook foods quickly. It earns a solid 4 stars out of 5 from over 150 reviewers.
Cons: The Danby DMW111K is the butt of a few of the usual complaints about durability and noise. Some users report fluctuations in power level and units that die after several months. Others assert it's just too loud during operation. One gripe in reviews on Walmart.com and the Home Depot website concerns the push button for the door, which some users say is hard to press or occasionally sticks. A few report that the housing is thin and dents easily.
Features: Like many midsize microwave ovens, the Danby DMW111K cooks with 1,000 watts of power and has a capacity of 1.1 cubic feet. There are six one-touch cooking options -- popcorn, potato, pizza, frozen vegetable, beverage, and dinner plate -- and 10 power levels. Express buttons let users set the time from 1 to 6 minutes and add time in 30-second increments. Users also can choose to defrost by time or weight. This model features a clear glass turntable, an LED timer and clock, and a child safety lock. It measures about 20.2 x 15.6 x 12 inches on the outside and weighs 32 pounds. It carries a one-year warranty and comes in black, white, and stainless steel finishes. The sleeker, "designer" stainless steel model sells for slightly more.
Takeaway: A good, basic, reliable microwave, the Danby DMW111K is large enough to take care of leftovers and other microwave needs for a small family.
Pros: The Sunbeam SGB8901 (starting at $50; available on Amazon) is best suited for users with a small kitchen and/or no need for special features. It's fine for reheating leftovers and warming up frozen dinners, but reviewers generally considered this a "starter" microwave oven. They say it's very user-friendly. One consumer tells of buying a unit at a thrift store and figuring out how to use it without a manual. The Sunbeam SGB8901 garners lukewarm support in reviews on Target.com and Amazon, where the pro faction says it's plenty hot, leaves no cold spots, and is priced right. Others note it fits where space is limited and heats as well as a more powerful appliance.
Cons: Disgruntled users are quite pointed in their comments. They write about fires and sparks, burning odors, total breakdowns, and various malfunctions (display dies, interior light fails, interior walls chip, etc.) within a few months of even intermittent use. There are also more than a few reviews that ding the Sunbeam SGB8901 for producing only partially cooked food, although that complaint pales in comparison to reports that this appliance is a potential fire hazard.
Features: Just at the cusp of a midsize model, the Sunbeam SGB8901's capacity is 0.9 cubic feet. It runs on 900 watts and features 10 power levels, as well as speed defrost, cooking by weight, a button to add time in 1-minute increments, defrosting by weight, and preset buttons for popcorn, potato, pizza, beverage, frozen dinner, reheat, fresh and frozen vegetables, and soup. The exterior measures 19 x 15.5 x 11 inches and the microwave weighs about 30 pounds. This model has a child lock and handle, rather than a push-open door, and comes only in black.
Takeaway: The low price of the Sunbeam SGB8901 holds great appeal but fails to compensate for an apparent lack of staying power and potential safety risk.