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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
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Price:   $100 List | $100 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 10
  • 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

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

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.

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.

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 regions were well above serving temperature.
There was just a bit of a cool spot in the center but all three regions were well above serving temperature.

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 "Popcorn" button.
Only a handful of kernels remained unpopped after using the "Popcorn" button.

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.

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.

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 rest.
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 premade 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.

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