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Hands-on Gear Review
Westinghouse WM009 Review
Price: $110 List | $69.29 at Amazon
Pros: Even heat, great for leftovers, good at defrosting
Cons: Terrible at frozen burritos
Bottom line: A fantastic budget option that defrosts food and heats up last night's leftovers well.
The Westinghouse WM009 earned the third-highest score of the group, just narrowly being beat by the Kenmore by a single point. The Westinghouse has a low list price and combined with its great performance, earned it a Best Buy award. This model did well across the board, particularly excelling at defrosting, tying for the highest score of the group in that metric.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Westinghouse is a great budget microwave that will mostly meet your needs. It retails for less than a hundred bucks and does a good to average job at the functions that most people will use on a regular basis. It only really fell a little short at heating up a burrito or pot pie, failing to heat them up to the required temperature using the package directions — but that's what the "+30 Seconds" is for.
We purchased the top 10 models available today and put them through a challenging series of tests to help you find the best, spending over 150 hours researching and testing these products. We divvied up the tests into four separate metrics, consisting of Heating, Ease of Use, Defrosting, and Speed. The next sections give more information on how the Westinghouse performed, where it did well, and where it got zapped by the competition.
By far the most common use for a microwave, heating food made up 40% of the overall score. We zapped frozen lasagna, Hot Pockets, burritos, pot pies, and plates of leftovers, as well as made a heat map with melted chocolate for each model. The Westinghouse scored above average, earning a 6 out of 10. You can see how this compares to the rest of the group in the chart below.
As mentioned above, the Westinghouse fell a little short at heating up the frozen burrito and the chicken pot pie. We made the burrito according to the package directions, but the internal temperature failed to reach the requisite internal temperature of 160°F on the right side of the burrito. There was also a huge amount of temperature variation, with the center and left side of the burrito being close to 70°F than the right.
The Westinghouse did a little better at heating up the pot pie, but not by much. The middle-left side failed to reach the necessary temperature, severely hurting its score. However, the average temperature variation was much less compared to the burrito — only 16.6°F. We also noted that the crust got much soggier than other models, rather than crisping up.
This model did redeem itself when it came to the Hot Pocket, doing the second-best job out of the entire group. All parts of the Hot Pocket hit the required internal temperature, and the average temperature variation between Hot Pocket regions was a minuscule 2.7°F. This model also did very well at heating up an individual serving of frozen lasagna, tying for the third-best score overall. All areas hit the necessary temperatures, but there was a tiny bit more average temperature variation, reading in at 6°F.
The Westinghouse also did very well at heating up our plate of leftovers, consisting of green beans, mashed potatoes, and chicken tenders. This model tied for the second-best of the group, with all three types of food piping hot after being microwaved. Finally, this model did very well in our heat map test. We spread a layer of melted chocolate on a piece of parchment paper trimmed to match the microwave, then heated it for one minute. We were looking for consistent melting across the disc.
The Westinghouse evenly melted almost all of the chocolate, only leaving a small solid ring around the outermost edge of the parchment paper.
Ease of Use
Microwaves are meant to make your life easier and more convenient, not add difficulty to it. We rated all of these products on how easy they were to use, and the results of this metric made up 30% of the overall score. The Westinghouse did reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10. The following graphic shows how this compares to the other models we reviewed.
We looked at how effective the presets were, how the keypad worked and if there were automatic quick buttons, the lighting, and if the appliance would slide around on the counter when the door was opened or closed. This model had a "+30 Seconds" button, but it would not automatically start the machine, requiring you to hit the start button. It did lack any quick buttons — a direct contrast to other models, where pressing the "2" key on the number pad would automatically start the microwave with two minutes on the clock. Speaking of the keypad, we found this one to be quite frustrating. If you make a mistake when entering anything, you can't push cancel to go back, you need to press the reset button to start over.
This model did have the ability to act as a kitchen timer, meaning you can run a separate timer when the microwave is in use. However, you can't pause the timer and restart it. This model had great interior lighting, though it was a little difficult to see through the door when it was running. In terms of effective preset buttons, the Westinghouse had some of the best, tying for the top score of the entire group. We tested by making a bag of popcorn and a baked potato using the presets, and this model did average or above at both — though it did better with the potato.
Using the preset, the Westinghouse made a decent bag of popcorn, tasting slightly overcooked, but definitely not burnt. It popped most of the popcorn, leaving only 19 kernels behind. Using the potato button, it perfectly cooked a potato throughout, with only an average of 6°F temperature variation between the left, ride, and center areas of the potato.
This metric tested the defrost by weight settings for these products, and made up 20% of the final score. The Westinghouse did very well in this set of tests, tying for the top score of 7 out of 10. You can see how the rest of the models compared in the chart below.
We defrosted a frozen 1 lb roll of ground turkey and a frozen muffin in each model and compared the quality, as well as compared the defrost settings available on each product to determine scores. The Westinghouse did the best of the group at defrosting the log of frozen turkey, successfully defrosting 12.6 ounces. The remaining 3.4-ounce log was easy to break up, and while there were a few warms spots, there weren't any completely cooked areas, like on the Panasonic NN-SD745S or the Samsung MS11K3000AS.
The Westinghouse fared a little worse in our muffin test, heating it very unevenly. One side was heated much much more than the other, with the warm side being the warmer than any of the muffins heated by the other models. This model has the defrost by weight option, as well as a quick defrost function where you manually enter the desired time.
The final metric of our review evaluated how quickly these products could heat up something, accounting for 10% of the score. The Westinghouse did about average, meriting a score of 5 out of 10. You can see how the rest of the group compared to this score in the chart below.
We heated up 250 mL of water in a beaker for 30 seconds in each model, then compared the temperature change to determine scores. The Westinghouse boosted the temperature by 33°F, about 4°F less than the best model.
Just like the Kenmore, the Westinghouse is a great value option. It scored the third-highest overall and has one of the lowest, if not the lowest, price of the group.
The Westinghouse is a solid microwave for its price, earning its Best Buy award. While this model didn't do the best at some of the prepared frozen foods, it is great at defrosting and has effective presets.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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