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BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Review

This larger product did decently well but we don't think it quite matches the performance of the top-tier models
BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11
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Price:   $100 List | $99.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foods
Cons:  Didn’t defrost frozen turkey well
Manufacturer:   BLACK+DECKER
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Aug 19, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 9
  • Heating - 40% 7
  • Frozen Foods - 30% 7
  • Defrosting - 20% 4
  • Ease of use - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 scored pretty well in the bulk of our tests, earning an above-average overall score. It delivered respectable performances in our heating and manufactured frozen foods test, all while scoring well in our ease of use and user-friendliness metric. However, it didn't impress us with its defrosting performance, dropping out of contention for one of the top spots.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $100 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
64
71
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Star Rating
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Pros Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foodsExcellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to useEasy to use, relatively inexpensive, excellent with prepared frozen itemsGood at defrosting meatInexpensive, smart home integration, compact
Cons Didn't defrost frozen turkey wellSo-so with mixed leftoversStruggled to defrost the ground turkeyNot the most convenient to use, heating performance could be betterLow power, Echo device required for some functions
Bottom Line This larger product did decently well but we don't think it quite matches the performance of the top-tier modelsFor those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we testedThis product had mixed results overall, failing to distinguish it all that much from other productsThis product pairs average results with an average price in our minds, failing to stand out from the competitionThis compact model is a great value and features smart home integration
Rating Categories BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Kenmore 70929 Toshiba EM925A5A Panasonic NN-SB458S AmazonBasics Microw...
Heating (40%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Frozen Foods (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Defrosting (20%)
4.0
8.0
2.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (10%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Specs BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Kenmore 70929 Toshiba EM925A5A Panasonic NN-SB458S AmazonBasics Microw...
Watts 1000 900 900 900 700
Cubic Feet 1.1 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.7
Dimensions 20.2" x 15.6" x 12.1" 14.5" x 17.7" x 11" 19 "2 x 15.9" x 11.5" 19.1" x 11.5" x 14.8" 17.3" x 10.1" x 14.1"
Turntable Diameter 12.4" 11.2" 10.6" 10.6" 10"
Internal Dimentions 13.9" x 14.5" x 9.1" 9.3" x 12.4" x 13.6" 12.3" x 13.7" x 8.7" 12.4"x 13.9" x 8.1" 10.9" x 6.9" x 10"
Child lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This product does have a fairly large capacity, measuring in at 1.1 cubic feet. It also usually has one of the lower retail prices of the larger options, making it a decent choice if you want a larger microwave and are shopping on a reduced budget.

Performance Comparison


Even though it couldn't match some of the top products, this product...
Even though it couldn't match some of the top products, this product scored quite well in our evaluations.
Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


The BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 got off to a good start in our heating metric, reheating all three of our test types of food very well and delivering solid results in our side-by-side speed heating test.

These three types of food all heated up relatively evenly.
These three types of food all heated up relatively evenly.
Credit: Laura Casner

This microwave evenly heated up the potatoes and green beans on our plate of leftovers to within 5°F of each other but the sausages did come out just a bit warmer. The canned soup and the two slices of pizza came out nice and hot, consistently heated to the correct serving temperature.

Both slices came out ready to serve.
Both slices came out ready to serve.
Credit: Laura Casner

The BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 also did well with some of the manufactured frozen foods that we tested it with, impressing us with its performance when it came to frozen burritos and Hot Pockets. This appliance heated up the left, right, and center zones of the burrito to within an average difference of 9°F of each other. It performed identically with the Hot Pocket, with our thermometers showing the same average difference.

There was just a bit of a cool spot in the center but all three...
There was just a bit of a cool spot in the center but all three regions were well above serving temperature with the BLACK+DECKER.
Credit: Laura Casner

We like that this appliance is also very easy to use. It has quick start features and a +30 seconds button that automatically starts the microwave. It also has decent internal lighting and the preset functions seem to work very well.

Only a handful of kernels remained unpopped after using the...
Only a handful of kernels remained unpopped after using the "Popcorn" button.
Credit: Laura Casner

We used the popcorn function, which practically popped all the kernels without burning any.

Unfortunately, this model didn't do the best in the defrosting test.
Unfortunately, this model didn't do the best in the defrosting test.
Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


Our biggest complaint about the BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 is its poor showing in our defrosting test. In this test, we used the recommended settings to defrost a one pound square of frozen ground turkey. This microwave did alert us to flip the meat part way through cooking but only managed to defrost a bit less than 7 ounces of the meat. It didn't cook any of the parts but the remaining turkey was still fairly frozen and couldn't be broken up easily after we scraped away the completely defrosted parts.

Less than half of the turkey was successfully thawed.
Less than half of the turkey was successfully thawed.
Credit: Laura Casner

The BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 also didn't do very well in our heat map test, leaving the outer ring of marshmallow fluff almost completely raw, while the middle ring was darkened considerably.

There was a clear ring of marshmallow that got more heat than the...
The underside of the heat map made the hot zone very apparent.

We also felt that this product only gave lackluster results when it came to heating up the individual serving of pre-made lasagna. The temperatures varied considerably amongst the 6 different digital thermometers that we used, with the largest temperature gap being 47°F between regions.

This model can be a decent bargain option as well.
This model can be a decent bargain option as well.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


This product isn't the cheapest on the market but does cost a bit less than other larger microwaves, so it can be a good bargain if you are searching for a larger option and hoping to spend a bit less.

Conclusion


The BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 is a solid microwave that scored above average overall. However, we think there are generally better options available that would better serve the majority of people.

David Wise and Austin Palmer