Panasonic Microwaves - 4 Styles
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Panasonic NN-SA651S Product Page/Reviews
Discussions on microwaving invariably invites those paranoid about the technology. Here are some facts:
- It uses non-ionizing radiation which doesn’t mutate the DNA or cause cancer. So there is no comparison with nuclear power plants or atomic bombs.
- It doesn’t cook from inside out as some claim. Microwaves come from outside the food, just like ordinary heat. But it instantly penetrates about 1" into the food cooking the full inch simultaneously. Ordinary heat only cooks the outermost surface, and then slowly transmits heat inward by conduction.
- Microwaving is healthier because it destroys germs more effectively. Because microwaves penetrates deeper and faster, microbes are more quickly killed, i.e. hidden in poultry bones.
- Microwaving preserves nutrients. Because food cooks so quickly and doesn’t normally get hotter than 212F, vitamins are less likely to be destroyed. Furthermore, studies claiming that foods, i.e. milk, are negatively altered have not been replicated.
- Microwaving has never been proven to be harmful. Decades of longitudinal research have NOT shown higher rates of morbidity (illnesses) or mortality (death) among microwave users.
- Yes, you can use metal in the microwave. Small strips of aluminum foil, for example, is often used to shield thin poultry parts from overcooking. And while not recommended, you can use metal containers as long as they’re under 1" tall. I used to cook old TV dinner in their foil containers all the time. Again, it’s not recommended but doable. If you do use any kind of metal, make sure it’s at least 1-2" away from the inner walls of the microwave.
- There is no residual radiation. You can take food out and eat once you turn off the microwave. A lot of people mistakenly think that radiation needs to dissipate before you can safely take the food out. In fact, one New Age cookbook claims that frozen food manufacturers telling you to wait a few minutes before taking out the food is proof of residual radiation. They forget that many foods require stirring in the middle where food is taken out without waiting. Te reason for waiting is because the food is hot enough to continue cooking after the microwave stops.
We have the NN-SN6518 - not included in the Woot but similar wattage and has the inverter technology. Paid a slight bit more than this, but at the time had a dead 700W microwave and didn’t have time to really shop around.
POWERFUL. Microwaves things so fast. Stuff that took minutes in the old micro takes 30 seconds in this one.
Sensor technology actually works and it’s so easy. You push ‘sensor reheat’ and then ‘start’ and it does its thing. When it stops and beeps you have food heated steaming hot, perfectly through the center. If it’s larger food the micro beeps at you to stir or flip the food midcycle.
Popcorn button works perfectly.
The display is really hard to read if you aren’t at eye level, so practice squatting down if you plan to set it on a counter.
The door latch is about 10x stronger than it needs to be, so it’s hard to shut the door, and if it’s not completely shut, the micro won’t turn on for more than a second, confusing the user. Just know to watch out for this.
IT IS POWERFUL. The first time I made popcorn in it, I used the micro’s popcorn button and got perfect popcorn. The second time I listened to the lying popcorn container, which scolded me against using the microwave’s button and told me to set for a certain number of minutes. Because I was used to the old wimpy microwave, I thought I had more waiting time before popping commenced and got distracted, only to find the popcorn nearing flames.
Also, I haven’t yet figured out how to gently melt butter because it’s so powerful. Always end up with splatters. I’ll have to play more with the settings.
Hopefully they have fixed the door on these later models so it’s not so fussy. If you buy one, especially if you’re coming from a wimpy microwave, I advise using the automated reheat and popcorn cycles because you will overestimate the time needed to cook things by about 2-3x.
Have a higher end pana micro with inverter for 2+ years.
No compaints aside from watch the defrost
These things are strong
And ours had a rattle when running, cured by wedging a tooth pick between the back housing and the back housing
Sympathetic resonance from no gasketing, buffer between. Could add some cheap rubber washers if i felt so inlined and would be super quiet
Use a lower power setting, where the microwave pulses on and off. At the lowest settings, i is off more than on. Even the Keep Warm function might work.
I also own a Panasonic Inverter microwave from the same family as those for sale here (although also not one of these exact models - NN-H765WF), and I freaking love it as much as any man could love a microwave. The one feature you didn’t mention using is the same one that can fix your butter problem! That feature is its inverter-based power control. I’ve successfully melted butter many a time by dialing down to 30-50% power on my microwave, so you should give it a try! Regarding the inverter technology, Woot’s product details don’t really drive home well enough how awesome this is, so I’ll break it down for everyone’s sake.
These microwaves use an electronic power control that allows you to throttle their power in a way totally different from most other microwaves. For most microwaves, when you enter 50% cook power, the thing just cycles its magnetron on and off every 5-10 seconds such that it’s only on for 50% of the total cook time (and running at full power during each “burn”). In that way, it’s like thermostat-controlled heating, which is fine for indirect applications like your furnace but which sucks for microwaves. Per the butter example, if you tried to gently melt a cube of butter using a normal microwave at 50% power, you’re liable to end up with a shallow pool of foamed/splattered liquid butter surrounding a still-cold, smaller cube of solid butter.
Enter Panasonic. With their power control, if you set the microwave to 50% power its magnetron will actually output 50% of the rated power output, continuously, for the entire cook time. I can’t express strongly enough how baller that is.
Honestly, I’m surprised not all microwaves are designed this way these days, but it’s really uncommon (a few other brands have recently added this feature to select models, but they’re usually expensive over-the-range “prestige” ones). I guess most people just don’t realize how much more useful a microwave can be when you can control it, so they don’t demand it. As someone who likes to cook, though, this feature is like moving up from a dorm-days electric skillet (which uses a thermostatic heat control) to a gas range - there’s no going back!
I have one similar to these and only have one issue, the popcorn setting is BAD… and its been like that on the same model twice(we had a weird short in the first so returned it for a new one). As much as I love these microwaves if you eat a lot of microwave popcorn, pass this one by.
I have the NN-SN778S and will never go back to a non-inverter microwave. Mine does popcorn just fine, except I prefer the snack-size bags and the popcorn button doesn’t account for that. But through trial and error, I’ve found that 100% power for 90 seconds does it.
In addition to melting butter nicely on a low setting, it is also possible to poach an egg (at low power)–something a non-inverter just can’t manage.
I don’t always use full power except for thin liquids. For reheating leftovers, I’ll usually dial it back to 50% and go a little longer. It seems to heat more evenly that way–no cold middles. That means I rarely use the sensor-based reheating button, but that’s just me.
I have a Sears Kenmore that uses the Panasonic Inverter technology (so I guess it was actually made for Sears by Panasonic). I would never go back to using a standard microwave oven. Even though my oven is now over 10 years old, it looks and performs as new. It has so many convenient automatic functions (including butter softening or melting) and they work perfectly. The sensor “reheat” can be adjusted for a dinner plate, sauce/soup, or casserole, and the popcorn button has always been spot on, no need to make any alterations. If I were in the market for a new microwave, one of these Panasonics would definitely be it.
I completely agree with your recommendation, but you need some clarification on the workings of the units—and their inherent superiority. Not trying to be nit-picky here, but the main advantage of these microwaves is the fact that they DON’T work the way you describe.
The Panasonics DON"T pulse on and off—that’s their main advantage and what the “Power Inverter Technology” is all about. Other microwaves do as you say—run full blast for a while then turn off for awhile—and you get splatters and uneven heating. The Panasonic models actually turn down the intensity of the microwave power, like turning down the flame on a gas stove, gives a more even heating. I’ve had one for 4 years and LOVE the concept—no more cooking the edges of defrosted meats, no spatters, no overcooked/undercooked areas on the same plate. These are the best microwaves I’ve ever seen or used, and this is the best price I’ve ever seen.
We love almost everything Panasonic. (In spite of its generally inept US Sales, Marketing, & Distribution.)
That includes, especially, its inverter microwave ovens.
But one caution that took us 2 ovens and some tinkering to discover… there is a door interlock micro switch durability issue on at least some of them. The symptoms are having to jiggle the door to get the microwave to activate.
(Do the following at your own risk).
Electrical/mechanical self-education I went thru and now my son: destructive (no hope of re-assembly) disassembly of failed stuff.
We discovered, apparently due to marginally proper alignment, the door microswitch melts into a blob. Wonderfully, the oven has several identical part no./industry standard micro switches. We harvested the good ones from that prior oven. Forward 2 years later on our 2nd Pany oven. Door interlock failure. 3-4 screws to remove the cover, snap in and connect a new switch and back in business. We still have a supply of replacement switches.
Microwave long life tip: We tried every major brand but they kept failing on us about every year or so (out of warranty).
Until we inserted a surge protector strip between it and the wall plug. Problem solved.
I’ve owned microwave ovens for the past 20 years and most of them were Panasonic. I bought most of them new from Sams Club and currently own the 2.2 cubic foot unit (3 months ago) much the same as unit featured here. I always buy the oven with an extended service policy costing about $30 for 3 years. I found that microwave ovens do not last too long…I usually get 2 to 4 years out of them. For this reason I ALWAYS buy the oven with an extended service plan…this is a MUST DO.
In my opinion, the Panasonic is a very worthy unit.
In the beginning I tried to cook meat in a microwave but quickly found that this is the perfect way to RUIN a perfectly good piece of meat. I NEVER COOK MEAT IN A MICROWAVE. Instead, my family finds that the microwave is indispensable when it comes to defrosting, heating up and making popcorn. A WORD ABOUT POPCORN…I found that the Panasonic popcorn cycle frequently burns the popcorn. To avoid eating burned popcorn simply do not use the popcorn cycle. Instead, punch in 2 minutes at regular power and your popcorn will be perfect.
Using the oven only for the purposes shown above still requires that the oven will be used EVERY day and at many different times. This makes the microwave an indispensable tool in our kitchen
I’ve had good success with this microwave, which i bought from Costco. Very powerful for a small unit (i have the 1.2 cubic foot), and was one of the few i looked at which could fit the opening i had. I am pleased with my purchase.
Oh, and sdc100, you mean ‘e.g.’, not ‘i.e.’ as ‘i.e.’ translates to ‘that is’, whereas you are using it to mean ‘for example’.
I also have a pan invertor mw and everyone is right they are powerful. My solution to gently warming things like butter is to use the defrost funtion button and a low time setting like 2 tenths of a pound. The defrost on mine is set by weight not time. I find this much quicker than changing the power setting and guessing the time to zap.
I’m looking for a good built-in for my new kitchen, but it looks like both of these have the exact same door closing issue. Seriously Panasonic?
I’m looking at both of the 1.6 cubic foot styles. Whatever I buy will go into a space that I had built into beneath a counter specifically for a microwave. I note that one model says “built in or countertop” and another says “countertop.’ Does anyone know if the 'countertop” model is that because it needs venting around it? And I’m a little shocked to see someone say that their microwaves last 3-4 years. My current one has a couple of minor issues with the door closing that I can work around, but I’ve had it since 1995, and it still works. Anyway, what’s the prime diff between “contertop or built in” and just “countertop”?