Trying to decide on a new countertop 2.2CF Microwave

Apr 12, 2019
Ok, so our old 25-or-so year old Microwave is really performing pretty poorly, parts of food aver overcooked while others are still partially frozen. Time for it to go.

The old microwave was a Sharp 700@att 1.6 Cubit Feet countertop with dimensions of roughly 18L x 24W x 14.5H on the outside.

I have been trying to find a decent countertop (most of them these days seem to be "Above the Range" type) and have been having issues trying to find a good reliable one.

Originally I wanted a convection microwave, but there are almost no countertop ones, and the ones that do exist max out at around 1.2CF and cost more than double most of the top-of-the-line countertop ones... and are generally an afterthought lacking features that the over-the-range models have.

So I guess I am just going to go with a non-convection countertop, preferably a model that is 1200+ Watts and has 2.2 cubic feet of interior room.

Seemed like my only choices for ones with an inverter were Panasonic and Samsung, and I hated some of the newer models that instead of a number-pad have a dial you need to turn or other silly method to enter the time other than just a dialpad.

So my first choice was the Panasonic NN-SN736B. I ordered one, and wasn't too happy. The front screen of the door actually fell off it's holder while putting it up, I don't know if this was a fault of the microwave design or that particular model since the box was a little banged up when it arrived, I returned it. It was apparently being sold by a third party and was their last one.... so I wouldn't be surprised if that one was a little sketchy. I was considered getting another one from somewhere else, but also was looking into other models.

I was looking at the Panasonic NN-SN966S, which seemed to be better than the previous one in just about every way.... but then I saw this review:

The part where they mentioned "According to some customers, this microwave has a very short “life expectancy” as it tends to develop mechanical issues from 5 to 9 months of consistent use." I don't know how true this is, which is why I am asking. Consumer Reports also claimed the "Predicted reliability" of all the Panasonic models I looked at was just "good"... which is pretty much a low score for that site.

And then many recommend the Panasonic NN-SE985S, but on top of it costing significantly more than the other two, it's display is a mess. It doesn't seem to have numbers OR a dial, just odd characters, I hate that. There is also the issue of reliability.

So can anybody give me any hints or suggestions? Are Panasonic and Samsung really the only ones with Inverters? Are Panasonic really not reliable? Do I basically have no good options if I want a countertop convection that's not smaller than my old 1.6CF microwave? Any suggestions for a good one that has an inverter, is 2.2Cubic Feet, 1200 watts, and uses a numberpad to enter the time?

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