HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What are you cooking today? Tell us about it

Microwave Advice- Which and From Where?

scott123 Nov 16, 2009 04:05 AM

My vintage Samsung 1100 W microwave is finally dying on me. I can't defrost anything in it without adding a cup of water along with it. On non frozen foods, it's really weak- I have to wait a few minutes for it to warm a cup of soup.

I took a look at Walmart, and the models that were in the price range I was looking to spend were either too weak (I'm thinking 1200ish- I want something with oomph, but, I have an old house with lots of receptacles on the same circuit, so I can't go too high), or the brand was Emerson, which I've never really trusted.

I'd like to spend somewhere in the $75 realm. No frills/extras/stainless steel. Just a really basic 1200 W microwave.

I'm looking for recommendations on which model to get and where to get it. I'm in the NY metro area, if anyone has local leads.

  1. bushwickgirl Nov 17, 2009 10:16 PM

    I wonder how easy it is these days to get a no frills/extras 1200w MW. Seems like they all have that popcorn button; mine has a pizza button, of all things, a beverage button, and many functions I would never use, unless I was cooking soley with a microwave, which I'm not. I don't use it for much more than re-heating, melting butter or chocolate, warming milk, steaming vegetables, those sorts of things, but I would miss it if it wasn't there.

    I have a 1100w GE, bought it last year from PC Richards in Brooklyn for $80. Model #JES1142SJ 04. It is stainless (I know you're not looking for stainless) but I seem to remember it came in other finishes. I'm sure this model can be had at other retailers.
    Wattage-wise, it's quite zippy; aside from that, I bought GE because of prior good experience with that brand. I have owned Sharp and recommend that brand also. I have a feeling Sharp makes higher wattage machines so you might look in that direction.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl
      scott123 Nov 18, 2009 03:50 AM

      Thanks for your reply. I've scoured most of the other local retailers (Best Buy, Target, BB&B, etc), but forgot PC Richards. Great call.

      Since I posted this thread, I did a little more research on my Samsung. Even though the back of the unit has a label that says 1.1 kw (1100 watts), when I googled the model number it comes up as 700 watts.

      So THAT's good news- anything above 700 will show me the faster cooking times that I'm looking for. I can cease my somewhat unrealistic quest for a cheap 1200 model and go for the much more common 1100 version (or maybe even 1000).

      From reading all the reviews, it seems that, like most things, they don't make things like they used to. GE, in particular, seems to be having quality control issues (broken latch, interior discoloration).

      Now that I have more leeway in my wattage, my quest is for the most reliable machine- at any price.

      1. re: scott123
        bushwickgirl Nov 18, 2009 06:50 AM

        Well, I haven't noticed or exerienced any issues with my GE, but I've only had it for 16 months so it's still in it's infancy. I do find the stainless steel exterior easy to clean and rather attractive.
        The first GE I had lasted for about 13 years, it was a small 700w model and I beat the hell out of it, used it for everything (stews, pasta, eggs, etc.) for a few years while I didn't have a stove.
        "From reading all the reviews, it seems that, like most things, they don't make things like they used to. GE, in particular, seems to be having quality control issues (broken latch, interior discoloration)"-seems like that's the way of many things these days, I agree.
        FYI, I'm not touting PC Richards as the ultimate retailer but they did have a big selection of microwaves. Yes, and as alkapal wrote, I would check Sears too.
        Happy Hunting.

    2. alkapal Nov 18, 2009 05:37 AM

      sears kenmore brand is very reliable and a good value.

      Show Hidden Posts