Specific feature question for in-cabinet microwave

acertainJune 24, 2012

My wife and I are finalizing our appliance choices, and we've left the microwave for last, mostly because we don't care that much. But there are a few features that are important to me, and they are not discernible from product descriptions, so I am turning to you to help me.

We're going to be building the microwave into a 24" cabinet. It doesn't need to be built-in per se, but we would like a version that is able to go in a cabinet and would look good doing so.

The features I care about are:

1) 1-touch on for a specific number of minutes (e.g. punch the number "2" and it comes on for two minutes),

2) Add time while running in 30-second increments, and

3) (This is the one that is impossible to tell) The ability to adjust the power while the unit is running.

That last one is the kicker for me. It drives me nuts when the only way to cook at less than 100% power is to set up a timed cook and set the power before you start the unit.

For example, the Sharp R1214T looks like it might be a nice, reasonably-priced and attractive unit for our kitchen, but from reading the manual, it doesn't appear to have an instant-on (other than possibly for one minute, which isn't the end of the world), and it's not clear that you can adjust the power while the unit is running. (I also don't like that to set the power you have to hit the power button once for each 10% less power you want instead of just punching power and then the power-level from 1-9 or whatever).

It's very frustrating to me that you can get 50 million per-programed recipes in the unit that I can't imagine ever using, but the UI for basic operation is so clunky.

So if you have a in-cabinet microwave that you like, could you check whether you can change the power during cooking and let me know?



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Sophie Wheeler

I don't know of any built in MW other than the Sharp drawer MW that will go into a 24" cabinet. Most need at least a 27" cabinet and then the trim kit provides the needed ventilation and finished look. And I don't know of any MW period (of any variety) that will allow you to adjust MW power settings while in use. As most available MW's simply cycle and off at varying intervals for the % of time rather than actually adjust the power output, they have to be programmed for that and then run, and not change in the middle. There are newer MW's with inverter technology on the market that do adjust the power wattage output of the magnatron instead of just the interval at which it's cycled at full power, but to my knowledge, you cannot change horses in mid stream with them either. I've been retired for a few years though and don't have direct experience with them, so if I'm wrong on that one, I'll happily be corrected.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:53AM
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I'm pretty sure all GE microwaves to allow the power to be adjusted while running. We have a 15-year-old one that does, and I just downloaded the manual for the Spacemaker and it does actually explicitly read, "The power level may also be changed during time countdown." So I guess my inference is that unless it specifically calls it out in the manual, probably it won't.

I know that the power % just controls the cycling time, but I don't see why that would mean you can't change the cycling frequency during cooking.

Any Sharp or Panasonic owners out there that can confirm or deny their microwave's capabilities?

Also, at least on Amazon, the GE microwaves get pretty poor reviews. Should I be concerned?


    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Here is one that I am looking at that may fit the bill for you: Frigidaire FFCM0934LS.

As far as changing the power level, it lets you set it at different levels with the time you select. For instance if you need to cook something at 50% power for 2 minutes and then 100% power for 3 minutes, you set it, and it will change the power level after 2 minutes.

It has I-touch for 1-6 minutes and lets you add time in 30 second increments.

I do not own this microwave yet but it is the front runner because it fits my dimensions, wattage, price and attractiveness needs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frigidaire microwave

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 5:08PM
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holly said she's unaware of any micro that lets you change pwoer settings while in use. The Panasonic countertop micro I picked up at Wal-mart last year allows this, and it also allows for stages to be programmed (3 minutes at 50% followed by 6 minutes at 100% follow by... etc).

Your only option might be to get out there any try them in a showroom. Don't shoot the messenger!

For what it's worth, I dispise the microwave layout you're describing. I prefer finer grained control than 30 second intervals, without having to to hunt for the "time cook" or "timer" or whatever the button just happens to be labeled on that specific model. Want 18 seconds? Press 1 - 8 - Start. But, different strokes for different folks, and really, it's only 5 seconds spent typing in times a day in the end. :)

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:47AM
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I think my old Sharp allowed you to change the power levels, but you had to pause it first.

I've never tried that on my GE. My issue with it is that it does not have a 0 power level. (for recipes that say to hold at 0 power for X minutes.)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:30PM
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