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Cheap Microwave

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After years of living without one, I’m thinking of getting a microwave. I am, however, pretty darn broke. Target has two on sale right now, a Chefmate and an Emerson. Both 700 watts and 0.7 cubic feet. I live and eat alone, so I think that’ll be big enough for anything I’m likely to cook.

Does anyone here own one of these? They’re the same price, $35. I’d like to feel I’m getting something halfway decent. And does 700 watts sound okay for average use? Or should I hold out for something stronger to go on sale...?

Thanks for any advice.

Uncle Ira

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  1. 700 watts is fine.

    I can't comment about the specific microwaves, but I have found other Emerson appliances to be workhorses that last and last. A friend laughed at one of my Emerson appliances, so I left it to her in my will. It is still going strong and probably will outlast me.

    With microwaves, the extra price is usually for the bells and whistles. I paid nearly $200 for my current microwave and it does cute little things like remembers where the dish was placed. It will always deliver the dish next to the door instead of the back. I really bought it because it could be stand alone or mounted under a cabinet.

    Also, the higher prices go with larger size and power. This is only necessary, IMO, if you are cooking for a large family. They you can put more food in and cook it quicker.

    I don't see the Chefmate on the Target site

    However, the Emerson looks fine

    BTW ... NEVER buy a white microwave ... or any other kitchen appliance ... unless you are filthy rich. White yellows. I had my years living in a basically all white condo .. .it was wearing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      LOL, I have a white GE microwave given to me as a gift several years ago, and it hasn't yellowed.

      I think mine is 0.8 cubic feet, but it is nice to have 1000 or 1100 watts, can't remember which it is. And a turntable. But I'm guessing this kind of set is about double the price of the units you're looking at. We have a really old Sharp at work, probably 15 years old and 700 watts I think, works fine but is slower to heat stuff.

      A microwave is pretty basic these days so I don't think brand matters much. Chefmate is Target's house brand.

    2. You could get 1000 watts in a Sears Kenmore microwave for $35 during a sale. That's what I got a few months ago. Kenmores are a very reliable brand.

      1. there are two reviews on the target web site on the emerson. neither sounds good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfood

          Yikes, you're right. Didn't see those. Actually there are four reviews and none of them good. That's a shame, I always had luck with Emerson products. None of the cheapo microwaves seem very highly rated.

        2. I bought this one a few months ago and I've been thrilled with it. It's 700 watts, .7 cubic feet and I have found it powerful enough and big enough for everything I've wanted to microwave for 2 people.

          1. Don't buy the Chefmate. I had it a year and it died!

            1. for decades i lived with my parent's hand me down microwave. it had one setting - on. and it had a timer. that was it. aside from the fact that it was probably like 500 watts I would sure like to have it back. the one I have now would probably wash the dishes if i could figure out how to set it. i think the instructions were written by a frustrated grad student in quantum mecahnics. having said all that... no, the 700 watts won't be enough. its slow, and the whole point of a microwave is to be fast. get at least 1000 watts, but the simplest model you can find. i suspect if you are paying much under $80 it isnt gonna last long.

              1. I had one of those small microwaves. It worked fine, but I gave it away after a year or so because it was too small for some dishes, and the dial timer was imprecise. I got a medium size Kenmore which has been fine. A "leading consumer magazine," as they say, rates the Kenmore 6325[2] as the best buy amiong medium-size models.