March 24, 2018

Consumer Reports Finds Microwaves Heat Unevenly

Consumer Reports recently tested microwave ovens for even heating, and found that some models failed the test. One of the problems with cooking food in the microwave is that all microwave ovens have hot and cold spots. Food overheats in some areas and under heats in others. That’s just the nature of the appliance.

MicrowaveConsumer Reports found that some new microwave models cook food very unevenly. Some products, such as meatloaf and pot pies, aren’t stirred during cooking, which exacerbates the uneven heating problem.

The organization rates appliances on a scale of “Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor”. No microwave received a “Poor” rating.

The best and worst microwaves tested were:

  • GE Profile JES2251SJSS. This oven received an “Excellent” rating in heating evenness.
  • Panasonic Inverter NN-SD697S (pictured above). This microwave was rated “Excellent” in heating evenness.
  • Panasonic Prestige NN-SD997S. This microwave received an “Excellent” rating in heating evenness.
  • Half Time AAC34-S. This model received a “Fair” rating in heating evenness.
  • Sanyo EM-S9519W. This model received a “Fair” rating in heating evenness.
  • Whirlpool MT4110SP. This oven received a “Fair” rating in heating evenness.

The organization recommends that you only purchase microwave ovens with a heating evenness rating of “Very Good” or “Excellent”, since appliances rated “Good” or lower left more cool spots in the food.

When cooking with a microwave oven, always follow these safety rules:

  • Pay attention to microwave oven wattage. If a recipe is developed in a 1000-watt microwave oven, for instance, but yours is 700 watts, cooking times will be different. Use recipes developed for your microwave oven wattage. If you’re confident in your cooking ability, cook the food longer, and be sure to use a food thermometer.
  • Stir the food as the recipe or package label directs.
  • Observe cooking times carefully.
  • Use a reliable food thermometer to determine the final cooking temperature of the food.
  • Cook the food to the recommended temperature. Most foods, such as casseroles, meatloaf, and ground meats, should be cooked to a final internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Always let the food stand on a solid surface (not a wire rack) after cooking for a minute or two, or as the recipe or package directs. Standing time is crucial, since the food continues to cook after it’s removed from the microwave. Letting the food stand lets the temperature stabilize and come up to the correct temperature, preventing burns and killing bacteria.

Unfortunately, a report at Food and Health Survey found that 39% of consumers don’t follow all cooking directions.


  1. Katrina Brown says:

    The result for Panasonic models came as no surprise to me. So do the 3 models that received ‘Fair’ rating.

    What surprised me is the rating for GE Profile JES2251SJSS. I wonder how it receives the uniform heating without the so-called ‘Inverter’ technology. I guess I’ll have to give it a try to find out.

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