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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:   $120 List | $134.99 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  ⋅  Jan 13, 2022
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Heating - 40% 6.1
  • Frozen Foods - 30% 7.4
  • Defrosting - 20% 4.0
  • Ease of use - 10% 6.8

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 frozen foods tests and scored well in our user-friendliness metric. However, we were unimpressed by its defrosting performance, and overall we weren't impressed enough for this model to earn a spot in our kitchen.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on January 12, 2022, with more information and details on which products we prefer and why.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $120 List
$134.99 at Amazon
$120 List$75 List$110 List
$119.95 at Amazon
$115 List
$114.99 at Amazon
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Pros Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foodsExcellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to useInexpensive, above-average performance, compactGood at defrosting meatEasy to use, relatively inexpensive, excellent with prepared frozen items
Cons Didn't defrost frozen turkey wellSo-so with mixed leftoversLow power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functionsNot the most convenient to use, heating performance could be betterStruggled to defrost the ground turkey
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 compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integrationThis product pairs average results with an average price, failing to stand out from the competitionThis product had mixed results overall, failing to distinguish it all that much from other products
Rating Categories Black+Decker EM031MB11 Kenmore 70919 Amazon Basics Micro... Panasonic NN-SB458S Toshiba EM925A5A
Heating (40%)
6.1
6.0
6.1
6.2
6.3
Frozen Foods (30%)
7.4
8.3
7.4
6.7
8.0
Defrosting (20%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
2.0
Ease of use (10%)
6.8
6.9
6.4
5.5
7.7
Specs Black+Decker EM031MB11 Kenmore 70919 Amazon Basics Micro... Panasonic NN-SB458S Toshiba EM925A5A
Wattage 1000 watts 900 watts 700 watts 900 watts 900 watts
Size 1.1 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft. 0.7 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft.
Dimensions 20.2"W x 12.1"H x 15.6"D 17.7"W x 11.0"H x 14.5"D 17.3"W x 10.1"H x 14.1"D 19.1"W x 11.5"H x 14.8"D 19.2"W x 11.5"H x 15.9"D
Turntable Diameter 12.4" 11.2" 10.0" 10.6" 10.6"
Internal Dimentions 14.5"W x 9.1"H x 13.9"D 13.6"W x 9.3"H x 12.4"D 10.9"W x 6.9"H x 10"D 13.9"W x 8.1"H x 12.4"D 13.7"W x 8.7"H x 12.3"D
Child lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
45 Sec Heating Temp Rise 83 F 83 F 70 F 89 F 89 F

Our Analysis and Test Results

At 1.1 cubic feet, this model boasts a fairly large capacity. It also has one of the lower retail prices of the larger options, making it a decent choice if you want a full-sized microwave and are shopping on a reduced budget.

Performance Comparison


Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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, although the sausages came 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.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - both slices came out ready to serve.
Both slices came out ready to serve.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Black+Decker EM031MB11 also scored high in our tests of the manufactured frozen foods, impressing us most with frozen burritos and Hot Pockets. This appliance heated up the burrito's left, right, and center zones 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.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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 appreciate ease of use in our kitchen appliances, and this model had many of the convenience features we like. 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.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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 popped nearly all the kernels without burning any.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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 alerted us to flip the meat partway through the process, but it only managed to defrost just under 7 ounces of meat. It didn't cook any of the parts, but the remaining turkey was still relatively frozen and couldn't be broken up easily after we scraped away the completely defrosted parts.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - 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 score 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...
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.
The underside of the heat map made the hot zone very apparent.

This product only gave lackluster results when heating up the individual serving of pre-made lasagna. The temperatures varied considerably amongst the six different digital thermometers we used, with the most significant temperature gap being 47°F between regions.

Black+Decker EM031MB11 microwave - this model can be a decent bargain option as well.
This model can be a decent bargain option as well.
Credit: Laura Casner

Should You Buy the Black+Decker EM031MB11?


If you're hoping for a full-size microwave without a full-size price tag, this could be a good bet. However, performance-wise, we think that there are better options out there.

What Other Microwaves Should You Consider?


The Black+Decker EM031MB11 is a solid microwave, but it scored squarely in the middle of our tests. If you're looking for one of the best full-sized microwaves out there, we recommend checking out the Toshiba EM131A5C. If you're hoping for something a bit smaller that still boasts excellent performance, the Kenmore 70919 is a great option. For a small and very affordable option, the Amazon Basics Microwave 0.7 is a decent choice.

David Wise and Austin Palmer
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