Does OzBargain Have a Favourite Microwave?

My 1980s Panasonic Microwave has finally died after a good 30+ years of use (it was actually the microwave I grew up with) and I'm now in need of a replacement. Having never bought a microwave before, is there anything I should be looking for? We don't plan to cook with it, we just need it for defrosting and re-heating leftovers.

Any solid recommendations? What's the real difference between an $80 Kmart one and a $200 Samsung/Panasonic? I'm guessing they don't come with that stylish woodgrain finish anymore?

Comments

  • +11 votes

    I don't know much about them and I haven't bought one myself however the two most popular recent microwave deals were both LG NeoChef.

    •  

      Thanks, they seem decent based on the comments. I'll do a bit of research.

      • +4 votes

        I just saw in Choice’s June mag LG scores highest for Microwaves. No models mentioned just brands
        LG: 89
        Sharp: 79
        Breville: 77
        Panasonic: 77
        Samsung: 73

        • +6 votes

          Breville just bribed their way in trying to get to be first on the list but that's probably too much to ask. There's no way I'd give Breville a good rank in microwave industry, I bought one from one of the very highly rated deal posted few years back and this thing using old tech or something that make it sound like a jumbo jet flying over your kitchen. Performance wise it's ok but the noise really turn me off. Even a throw away 30 year old panasonic picked up from the kerb won't make that much noise.

          •  

            @lgacb08: Yeah only 2 of 7 Breville were recommended compared to 7 of 7 LG.
            Recommendation is only weighted 10% of the score.

      • +2 votes

        Have owned x2 Sharp inverter microwaves and bought a third for the in-laws. It was great but each only lasted 12-18 months just outside of warranty.

        Wont be buying Sharp again any time soon.

        • +3 votes

          I've had a similar experience. Also performance of the sharp microwaves has degrades quickly

        •  

          Same for me. Bought an expensive steamer with grill with microwave. Microwave broke just after 3 years. In law older model still working even 7 years now. Newer model seems to be rubbish. Bought Panasonic now so hopefully will lasts long time

      •  

        Is your Panasonic made in England? My one is still running, touch wood. If the Panasonic lasted you 30 years, I will go with Panasonic again, but probably it will no longer made in England.

    • +1 vote

      do they only come in black? i would prefer any other colour for a microwave..

      • +8 votes

        WOW

    • +2 votes

      have the LG neo one (all black, smaller size 23l) it's brilliant.. https://www.lg.com/au/microwave-ovens/lg-MS2336DB

      •  

        I got this one a few years ago based on high recommendations here.

        However, I find it takes too long to reheat food. When I compare to the Sharp 1200w inverter at my parent's house, the LG takes 3 minutes to heat the food that the Sharp can do in 1 minute.

        Am I using the LG wrong?

        •  

          Could be because the LG is 1000W (if you got the 23L one).

          •  

            @theguyrules: I just thought since it's a smaller space, it would require less W.

            Anyway, I think I may switch to Sharp due to the high waiting time.

            • +1 vote

              @Hunter14: our office had a Sharp smart inverter and it was awesome, very quick and automatically stopped when the food was heated properly.

              •  

                @theguyrules: That's my experience with sharp too. One minute and bam! your food is nuked.

                It's a shame because I really love the aesthetics of the LG.

    • +1 vote

      Came here to say - love the NeoChefs. Its so quiet , so quiet - that you will have to check twice if its really working or not. And then it plays a beautiful melody once finished. Wife loves it. Only been 3 months, lets see how the life is for this.

      •  

        Can't stand the melody. I often interrupt it.

        LG have advised others there is no way to turn it off.

    •  

      I despise our LG Microwave. Doesn't have a kitchen timer. Basic function of a microwave…

    • +1 vote

      Counter to popular opinion, I don't like the user interface for the Lg Nano chef. A lot of the fine adjustment must be done prior to closing it. Kind of annoying. Decent cooker though once you click the right buttons.

  • +10 votes

    I like that the microwave I have has a button so it doesn't make beepy sounds. I like that feature.

    Also a button to make the clock go away, saving 8w of power.

    In the future I'll buy one without a spinny plate

    •  

      I have has a button so it doesn't make beepy sounds

      Same. I love this feature

      • +7 votes

        Mine plays a tune when it finishes (not just beeps, a beeping tune). Then every 30 seconds after that until you come and get your food. I wish I could murder it sometimes.

        •  

          I found out how disable mine, tech demanding attention gets on my nerve.

          • +6 votes

            @QuickdraW: well damn yall are fancy, mine just springs up to let me know, or if it smells like burning.. or when the fire alarm goes on

            edit - why tf was i thinking of a toaster when i wrote that comment ..

        •  

          If it's an LG you can turn it off. Google is your friend. You have to redo it any time it loses power though.

        • +1 vote

          Mine too, now my parrot likes making the microwave sound as well.

    • +1 vote

      That actually sounds like a decent function!

    •  

      Which model do you have if you don't mind?
      That is perfect and I didn't know it was a thing!

      • +3 votes

        Samsung

        Zoom in to see the sound button above the start button

        •  

          Awesome, thank you!
          Also seems the neochef has it as well.
          I've been out of the game too long

        • +1 vote

          Cool we have the same microwave

        • +1 vote

          Wait you can turn off the sound and clock?! I just tried the sound. I don’t like it. Is the clock the eco button? It always comes back on?

          I have this microwave and quite like it. It’s melt and soften butter/choc settings are good.

          •  

            @jjjaar: Eco mode turns the display off but is disabled as soon as you open the door.

            •  

              @MS Paint: Is there another setting that permanently stops the clock?

    • +1 vote

      In the future I'll buy one without a spinny plate

      One would hope they have improved in the last 6 or 7 years.

      I bought a flatbed Panasonic, and it was rubbish. Cold spots all over. Cooking individual things like party pies, you'd get burny ones, and cold ones. Fixed it by turning the plate 4 times during cooking.

      Went back to a spinner.

      •  

        :o

  • +1 vote

    LG 42L 1200W NeoChef Inverter Microwave (MS4266OBS) https://www.thegoodguys.com.au/lg-42l-1200w-neochef-inverter...

    If you like there's a model without the jog wheel. I find the jog wheel very useful though. It lets you add or subtract time from a cook - while the plate is spinning.

    •  

      Do you know if this microwave can be muted?

      • +1 vote

        I haven't done it myself but the internet tells me that yes, it can be muted.

  • +6 votes

    What's the real difference between an $80 Kmart one and a $200 Samsung/Panasonic?

    About 15 years service life…..

  • +14 votes

    I have a Panasonic Flatbed - https://www.amazon.com.au/Panasonic-NN-SF574SQPQ-Microwave-S...

    I love it. The best thing about it is that is has no rotating plate. Everything sits on the base and it makes it super easy to clean. And, because it doesnt spin, there is more room for things that wont get caught as they rotate around.

    •  

      Does it have a way to stop it from making beepy noises?

    •  

      Yep, second this. Great microwave, with the absence of a plate, makes cleaning a breeze.

    • +1 vote

      I have the superceded version of this which looks identical. Panasonic seems to change the model every year or so without making changes.

      Anyway, I really rate it.

      27L may sound small but you can fit quite a bit in without the turntable.

      Only thing I hope they changed is the light. Shockingly dim.

      Other than the lights, it's fantastic.

    •  

      Yep, I've ordered several of these for my workplace over the years, excellent bit of gear. Only problem is you can't press the start button to immediately cook for 30 seconds or a minute like all the other microwaves I've used.

    •  

      Another vote here for the flatbed, we upgraded to this a couple of years ago and love it - highly rate it, good even heat every time.

  • +23 votes

    What's the real difference between an $80 Kmart one and a $200 Samsung/Panasonic?

    $120

    • +3 votes

      OzMath champ.

      • +2 votes

        Head to your local Centrelink for the OzMeth champ

        • +10 votes

          Head to New Zealand for the UzMith Chemp

  • +3 votes

    I like one with an inverter.
    Medium is actually medium power, rather than oscillating high/off.

  • +1 vote
    •  

      possibly not the exact same model, but very similar one I inherited. I doubt I would have paid extra for a convection microwave but I use it heaps for baking. Much better temperature control than my gas oven. I do a awesome 8 hour @ 120C baked cheesecake.

    •  

      Yeah you can't get those anymore unfortunately.

  •  

    I can voucher for Sharp microwaves.

    Parents owned one for close to 15 years and it died.

    Replaced with a cheapo one and it was really weak and died not long after purchase.

    I forked out $200 for a Sharp R350YS 4 years ago and it's still good as new and is really powerful.

    A big reason I chose this was not only because it was a brand they trusted, but also a lot of microwaves nowadays have knobs or some other mechanism which would make it more difficult for an older person to use, especially those who can't read English. In this case it's just dial pad and start button.

    I think the model is discontinued by now from a Google search but this seems to be its successor.

  •  

    Anyone using Panasonic NN-SD38HSQPQ? Looking forward to buying a smaller sized one. The paint of my current old Panasonic is peeling away ever since my partner burned some food inside.

  •  

    LG or Sharp.

    •  

      Got the Sharp and the lamp breaks at 5 months mark, then the transformer die at 18months marks, with 1 year warranty Sharp had fixed both for free.

      But I wouldn't buy Sharp any more.

  •  

    For mine it depends on the usefulness of the controls/display and what you are used to…seeing the tendency to one location-focused "rays" in mine a "spinny thing" is essential IMO….a Sharp for me…..don't expect another 30 years from a modern microwave! Spend 200-300 IMHO on whatever brand.

  • +1 vote

    I just bought a Panasonic. But really they all basically have the same functions…its just a machine that goes PING

  • +2 votes

    If your 80s Panasonic had a woodgrain cabinet…. Was it a Genius model with convection? That was top of the line then. It came with an excellent hardcover recipe book too. They were fantastic for roasting meats while saving on electricity. A bit of waste if only used it for reheating and defrosting.

    •  

      My parents' Genius lasted from 1985 to 2018. The microwave itself stopped working but convection worked.

      It was also like most Panasonic items in 1980s Australia, branded as "National".

  • +4 votes

    "What's the real difference between an $80 Kmart one and a $200 Samsung/Panasonic?"

    The real difference will be who actually manufactures it. The Kmart one (and other super cheapies) will almost certainly be made my Galanz. The other ones are almost certainly made by Midea. Under the hood, all Mideas will likely be virtually identical, but they are also better quality than Galanz (in my experience).

    You "may" be able to find a Samsung or LG (or maybe Sharp?) made by those companies, but even that is unlikely at the lower price range.

  • +1 vote

    Brand microwaves are hundreds of dollars and often run out of parts, models, etc. If you're not spending a lot, enjoy your brand low quality microwave which will get issues.

    Plus, microwaves come with a warranty of 1 or 2 year?

    I just stick with a kmart microwave with convection. Lasts many years and here's why:

    Compare:
    $250 brand microwave that has 2 year warranty
    Vs
    $100 kmart microwave that has 1 year warranty

    If they both die shortly after warranty, then clearly Kmart, despite being shit, is better value.

    If all those LG, Samsung, etc brands were so sure of their quality, they would have 5+ year warranties! Buyer beware.

    • +2 votes

      yeah but the features aren't comparable. Those more expensive ones often have more features, so you're not comparing apples with apples in this situation.

      Size of the microwave, the technology for heating, whether it needs to rotate, can you remove the beeping sound, other functions etc. these are all worth it if you cook very often.

      • +1 vote

        I was talking about in terms of value. If you want specific features, be prepared to pay for the privilege

  • +2 votes

    Does OzBargain Have a Favourite Microwave?

    There is a Sanyo in the OzBargain tea room…

  •  

    If you reheat frozen foods I would say get a 1000w microwave as most instructions base heating times on this.

  •  

    I love my Electrolux microwave. It is discontinued, but this is the newer model
    https://www.appliancesonline.com.au/product/electrolux-emf25...

  • +4 votes

    I hate the models that have the cool down thing after you use it. So much unnecessary noise once I have used it!

    •  

      don't think the Kmart one has that.

      •  

        yep Kmart doesn't have it.
        Kmart replaced Sanyo which died after 3 years use. Sanyo had the noisy cool down.

        •  

          my old microwave had noisy cool down, I usually just left it open for awhile.
          one thing the kmart does that's annoying, say you stop with 10secs to go or whatever - usually you can press stop again to clear the remaining time. But no, there is a different 'reset' button. Seems a bit stupid. Pressing stop again does nothing.

          •  

            @bohn: yeah. i always do that to. press the stop to reset!

            There's a few things about design which is not as nice/easy to use as Sanyo but it think the Kmart gets the job done so I am pretty happy for it given that it it was less than half the price of equivalent branded model

  •  

    Got this guy couple of years ago https://www.thegoodguys.com.au/lg-42l-1200w-neochef-inverter... via eBay deals.

    Have seen good reviews and also top rated in Choice (if that matters). It is an inverter microwave, so a plus.

  •  

    In a similar boat. I just bought a microwave convection oven from Kmart - have never tried one previously. They are $129 delivered and apparently the convection mode works similar to an air fryer. Not keen on air fryer due to bench space required.

    Just waiting for it to be delivered but can post back here once it arrives with an update.

  • +18 votes

    I have always had good experiences with Panasonic up until my last Panasonic microwave. This was one of their fancy "flat bed" microwaves with no turntable. This was without a doubt THE WORST APPLIANCE I HAVE EVER BOUGHT. You would think with the removal of the turntable the number one objective would be to make sure that the microwave still evenly heats the food, right? Well, no, apparently not. This thing would absolutely nuke parts of food producing plasma in which you could perform LHC style experiments to discover new particles, while other parts of the same food a few centimetres away remained ice cold. If you cooked pappadums in it they would literally burn in places while other parts of the same pappadum remained uncooked.

    The light inside this thing was also about 0.001w, so the only way to see what was happening inside was to use the light from the flames shooting from parts of your otherwise frozen food.

    I hate that microwave so much that I have taken the time to post this comment in the hopes of driving customers away from Panasonic. Panasonic should sell the tech to the US military as they have obviously developed the ability to produce a device which can focus microwave radiation on targets down to a few millimetres, while leaving adjacent objects completely untouched.

    We have recently replaced it with an LG Neochef and it's like night and day. The LG is brilliant, cooks evenly, looks great and has buttons that actually make sense. I got a large-ish inverter/sensor one. Of course, it has a turntable to rotate and actually cook your food.

  • +3 votes

    My 2007 $60 Kmart one is still going strong

  • +5 votes

    I got my mum a $220+ Panasonic Genius 1100w a year ago, biggest piece of shit I've ever seen, far worse than a kmart $35 microwave.
    You can't start it with 1 button or add time easily once going and about 30% of the time it just doesn't start at all, the timer ticks down but no power. Took it back to harvey norman and because they couldn't replicate it in store they wouldn't do anything, I'm pretty sure the door closed sensor it dodgy.

    My advise for buying microwaves, all features are pretty much useless, just get one that is the size you want, that you can start/add time easily by pressing one button and if possible get one with a handle on the door you can pull open rather than a button to open that will have your microwave sliding all over the place if you have it on top of a fridge etc.

  • +2 votes

    I was fed up with all the poor reviews for more expensive microwaves so I ended up with the $99 1100w kmart microwave.
    If it doesn't last too long I'll consider my options again then.
    https://www.kmart.com.au/product/34l-microwave/2321301

  •  

    Just had a Panasonic fail. Kept tripping the breaker. Looking up the model it's quite common. Replaced it with a Breville. Let's hope it lasts.

  •  

    I always get a microwave that uses a dial to set the cooking time because it's a little easier than punching several buttons that get worn and harder to press over time. Also if I could rip the beeper out of every microwave in the world I would.

    •  

      You can. It's a Beeper. Desolder it and remove it.

  •  

    I just bought the LG neochef based on good reviews and Ozb popularity.

    I got the smaller 25L model. The larger ones are so big to be on the bench. But at least they look schmick

  •  

    I have the basic model from Target.. it's been 7 years and going strong. It's pretty similar to the basic model of BigW or Kmart.

  •  

    Kmart microwave is pretty good.
    https://www.kmart.com.au/product/34l-microwave/2321301
    Gets the job done.

  •  

    Defintely get an inverter type

  •  

    I had a Samsung hand me down last about 15years before the buttons started to stop working, replaced it with another Samsung recently which looks basically exactly the same.

    https://www.thegoodguys.com.au/samsung-40l-1000w-sensor-micr...

    My only gripe is the light isn't that bright so hard to see whats going on inside.

  •  

    I've got the 42L LG Neochef with the physical touch buttons (not the on glass door, I didn't want that one). Works great, the only issue is that the turntable comes off the spindle a bit easily.

  •  

    We are still using the Panasonic microwave I bought straight after I left school in 1998.

  • +1 vote

    Am using one that one of my friends gave me 5 years ago from target. Does a good job and still going strong. Start narrowing down from capacity, budget and then brand. Unless you’re going for the looks you won’t need to spend a fortune on these given today’s prices.

  •  

    IMO inverter microwaves are far superior to their non inverter counterparts.

    Inverter microwaves are variable power output, where-as non inverter microwaves work at full power all the time and simulate "power level" by cycling on and off.

    I primarily use a microwave for defrosting and reheating only - IMO non inverter microwaves are terrible for this, and inverter microwaves are great.