Earning one of the best scores out of the entire group, we highly recommend the Kenmore 70919. This microwave very evenly and consistently heated up frozen foods, with a very intuitive and easy-to-use interface and controls. It delivered some of the best overall microwave testing results we have seen to date, all in a fairly compact package. If you are searching for the best of the best in new kitchen appliances, this should be one of your first choices.Editor's Note: This product review was updated on January 13, 2022 with additional information and charts on our heating tests.
Kenmore 70919 Review
Pros: Excellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to use
Cons: So-so with mixed leftovers
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$120 List||$75 List||$110 List|
$119.95 at Amazon
$114.99 at Amazon
$134.99 at Amazon
|Pros||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||Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foods|
|Cons||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||Didn't defrost frozen turkey well|
|Bottom Line||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||This larger product did decently well but we don't think it quite matches the performance of the top-tier models|
|Rating Categories||Kenmore 70919||Amazon Basics Micro...||Panasonic NN-SB458S||Toshiba EM925A5A||Black+Decker EM031MB11|
|Frozen Foods (30%)|
|Ease of use (10%)|
|Specs||Kenmore 70919||Amazon Basics Micro...||Panasonic NN-SB458S||Toshiba EM925A5A||Black+Decker EM031MB11|
|Wattage||900 watts||700 watts||900 watts||900 watts||1000 watts|
|Size||0.9 cu. ft.||0.7 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||1.1 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||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||20.2"W x 12.1"H x 15.6"D|
|Internal Dimentions||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||14.5"W x 9.1"H x 13.9"D|
|45 Sec Heating Temp Rise||83 F||70 F||89 F||89 F||83 F|
Our Analysis and Test Results
On top of the Kenmore's overall excellent performance in most of our tests, this product also is priced lower than some other top-tier microwaves we've tested, adding to the appeal.
We began our side-by-side testing and review process by comparing and contrasting how each kitchen appliance re-heated different types of food and how evenly and consistently it heated. The Kenmore 70919 performed average or above in each of our tests.
Heat Map Test
Our heat mapping metric is designed to rate the consistency of heating. After spreading a layer of marshmallow fluff on a disk of parchment paper the size of the microwave's turntable, we then heated it on high for two minutes. This subtest accounted for 35% of the total Heating score.
The Kenmore did quite well in our heat map test, heating the marshmallow fluff without showing any noticeable hot spots. The outer ring is a little more cooked and darker than the center and inner ring, but none of it burned.
Heating Speed Test
To test the speed of heating, we placed a 125 mL beaker of room temperature water in the middle of each microwave, heated it on the high setting for 45 seconds, and then measured the water temperature. Heating speed makes up 20% of the total Heating score.
This microwave performed decently in our speed test, raising the temperature of the 125 mL water by 82.5°F after 45 seconds.
Using the Kenmore's Dinner Plate 12 Oz preset, we heated a plate of leftovers consisting of 4 precooked sausage links, half a can of green beans, and 1/2 cup serving of mashed potatoes. Leftover heating comprised 15% of each microwave's Heating score.
The Kenmore 70919 did about average with our mixed plate of leftovers. The sausage came out the warmest, followed by the potatoes, and then the green beans, which were a little cooler than we would have liked. All three types of food finished within about a 25°F spread.
Soup heating comprised 15% of each product's Heating score. The Kenmore did very well with the canned soup, heating it to the perfect serving temperature after following the instructions.
We heated two slices of pizza according to the microwave's pizza instructions, then measured the temperature readings across the slices. The final 15% of the Heating score collected is from the pizza test.
Unfortunately, the Kenmore left one of our pizza slices with a few cold spots present after heating.
Our next series of tests rated and scored each appliance on its ability to heat up premade frozen foods, like a single-serving lasagna, a Hot Pocket, or a frozen burrito. We used a set of digital kitchen thermometers to compare heating performance, basing scores off foods that showed the most noticeable differences between appliances. The Kenmore 70919 performed exceptionally well with these types of foods, earning one of the better scores of the whole group.
This microwave got off to a fantastic start in our Hot Pocket test, with the left, right, and center areas only differing by 1°F. It performed almost as well with the frozen burrito, with the average differences between the regions only being about 10°F and all three exceeding the minimum temperature of 161°F.
Performance dropped a bit with the frozen mini-lasagna. The average temperature difference between the six zones we measured was still quite small — again, only around 10°F — but the entire lasagna came out a little cooler than we would have hoped and failed to hit the recommended temperature of 165°F after following the directions.
This appliance continued its solid performance, earning high marks in our defrosting test.
The Kenmore 70919 completely defrosted 10.75 ounces of the turkey, and the remaining parts broke apart very easily — to the point where we felt comfortable transferring all of it directly to a pan for cooking. The corners got a bit warm but were far from being cooked.
This microwave notifies you partially through defrosting to flip the item, aiding its success greatly.
Ease of Use
Our last metric rated and compared how easy each of these appliances is to use and how well their preprogrammed cook features work. The Kenmore 70919 finished with another above-average showing, scoring near the top of the group.
We like that this model has quick-start buttons and a "+30 seconds" button that automatically starts after a single press. It can also act as a standalone kitchen timer. It's well-lit while in use, so you can see your food while it's heating up, but the light turns off once you open the door. We noticed that this model occasionally slid around a bit on slick surfaces when opening and closing the door.
The popcorn preset turned out decently well, though it left a handful of unpopped kernels. However, it didn't burn any, which we view as quite a plus.
Should You Buy the Kenmore 70919?
If you are looking for one of the best microwaves you can get, then we would seriously recommend the Kenmore 70919. It's compact and performs very well, making it hard to beat — especially if you are limited on countertop space. It's not a bargain option, but we still consider it a great value considering its high marks in our testing.
What Other Microwaves Should You Consider?
If you're looking for a bit more capacity, check out the Toshiba EM131A5C, which scores high in the defrosting metric and also does well in ease of use, thanks to its intuitive interface. The Panasonic NN-SN67KS is another great large capacity model to consider if you cook lots of packaged frozen foods. It excelled at heating food evenly, something many of these appliances struggle with.For those with less kitchen real estate who are seeking a budget model, the Amazon Basics 0.7 is a good bet. This affordable appliance did exceptionally well with frozen burritos and had a strong all-around showing for its size class.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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