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.
Black+Decker EM031MB11 Review
Pros: Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foods
Cons: Didn’t defrost frozen turkey well
Compare to Similar Products
$134.99 at Amazon
|$120 List||$75 List||$110 List|
$119.95 at Amazon
$114.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foods||Excellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to use||Inexpensive, above-average performance, compact||Good at defrosting meat||Easy to use, relatively inexpensive, excellent with prepared frozen items|
|Cons||Didn't defrost frozen turkey well||So-so with mixed leftovers||Low power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functions||Not the most convenient to use, heating performance could be better||Struggled 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 models||For those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we tested||This compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integration||This product pairs average results with an average price, failing to stand out from the competition||This 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|
|Frozen Foods (30%)|
|Ease of use (10%)|
|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|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We used the popcorn function, which popped nearly all the kernels without burning any.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More