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Panasonic NN-SN936B Review

This is a top-tier appliance with a large capacity and very even heating
Panasonic NN-SN936B
Credit: Panasonic
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $250 List
Pros:  Even heating, integrated heat sensor, large capacity
Cons:  Large, no time defrost, no volume adjust
Manufacturer:   Panasonic
By Matt Spencer & David Wise  ⋅  Mar 17, 2022
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Heating - 40% 8.6
  • Frozen Foods - 30% 6.6
  • Defrosting - 20% 8.0
  • Ease of use - 10% 5.9

Our Verdict

Meriting one of the top scores of our microwave testing results to date, the Panasonic NN-SN936 is a great all-around product for all your heating and reheating needs — particularly if you are searching for something with an extra-large capacity. It does a fantastic job of defrosting and heating up frozen foods and a variety of different convenience features to make it easier to use. All in all, we would be hard-pressed to find a better kitchen appliance to recommend for anyone who wants a high-capacity microwave with top-tier performance.

Editor's Note: This product review was newly added to our review lineup and first published on March 17, 2022. We awarded this microwave an Editors' Choice Award.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Panasonic NN-SN936B
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $250 List$120 List$170 List
$149.99 at Amazon
$220 List$75 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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65
Star Rating
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Pros Even heating, integrated heat sensor, large capacityExcellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to useExcellent at defrosting, convenientExcellent heating, great with frozen foods, large capacityInexpensive, above-average performance, compact
Cons Large, no time defrost, no volume adjustSo-so with mixed leftoversLarge, expensiveExpensive, so-so at defrostingLow power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functions
Bottom Line This is a top-tier appliance with a large capacity and very even heatingFor those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we testedAn excellent all-around product with a large capacity, this model has convenient features and is exceptional at defrostingOffers unmatched performance for heating frozen food, and is one of the better products available for heating food evenly, without annoying hot and cold spotsThis compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integration
Rating Categories Panasonic NN-SN936B Kenmore 70919 Toshiba EM131A5C Panasonic NN-SN67KS Amazon Basics Micro...
Heating (40%)
8.6
6.0
5.5
6.8
6.1
Frozen Foods (30%)
6.6
8.3
7.0
9.0
7.4
Defrosting (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
6.0
Ease of use (10%)
5.9
6.9
8.1
6.2
6.4
Specs Panasonic NN-SN936B Kenmore 70919 Toshiba EM131A5C Panasonic NN-SN67KS Amazon Basics Micro...
Wattage 1250 watts 900 watts 1100 watts 1200 watts 700 watts
Size 2.2 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft. 1.2 cu. ft. 1.2 cu. ft. 0.7 cu. ft.
Dimensions 19.44" x 23.88" x 14" 17.7"W x 11.0"H x 14.5"D 20.5"W x 12.8"H x 17.1"D 20.7"W x 12.3"H x 15.8"D 17.3"W x 10.1"H x 14.1"D
Turntable Diameter 16.5" 11.2" 12.4" 13.4" 10.0"
Internal Dimentions 18.4"W x 10.4"H x 18.5"D 13.6"W x 9.3"H x 12.4"D 15"W x 9.5"H x 13.1"D 14.4"W x 9.9"H x 13.9"D 10.9"W x 6.9"H x 10"D
Child lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
45 Sec Heating Temp Rise 112 F 83 F 111 F 78 F 70 F

Our Analysis and Test Results

As mentioned above, the NN-SN936 stands out with its impressively large capacity. This microwave has an impressive 2.2 cubic feet of volume, it should easily fit just about any microwave-safe bowl or plate you can find.

Performance Comparison


Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - this is one of our favorite overall microwaves we have tested to date.
This is one of our favorite overall microwaves we have tested to date.
Credit: Laura Casner

Heating


We began our comprehensive side-by-side testing process to see how each of these kitchen appliances did at heating up different types of food. This microwave did exceptionally well, earning one of the best scores of the entire group in this series of tests, worth 40% of the total overall score.


Heat Map Test


For our heat map test, we spread out a thin layer of marshmallow fluff on a circle of parchment paper trimmed to fit inside the microwave. The fluff was selected as an easy visual reference for areas that were getting heated more than others, as the discoloration is very apparent. This test accounts for 35% of the final Heating score.


The Panasonic NN-SN936 delivered phenomenal results, with barely any hotspots apparent after even six minutes of heating. It seemed to cook the fluff incredibly evenly, without any extra heat concentrated in the center — a stark contrast to most other models.

The fluff before heating.
The fluff before heating.
This microwave left no distinctive hot spots or rings.
This microwave left no distinctive hot spots or rings.

Heating Speed Test


To objectively compare the heating speed of each product, we used a beaker filled with 125 mL of water as our test subject. We placed this in the center of each microwave and measured the temperature increase after 45 seconds of heating to determine scores. This accounts for 20% of the total Heating score.


This product did extremely well, boosting the temperature over 111​​°F — effectively blowing the rest of the competitors out of the water.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - the nn-sn936 caused an impressive rise in temperature.
The NN-SN936 caused an impressive rise in temperature.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Leftover Heating


For our leftover heating test, we used a plate made up of precooked sausage links, mashed potatoes, and green beans with the Panasonic's sensor reheat. This caused the microwave to heat the food for approximately 1:30, then decide to add an additional 15 seconds before calling it done. This test accounts for 15% of the final Heating score.


This product did very well, with minimal spread of temperatures throughout the green beans and mashed potatoes. The green beans and mashed potatoes also were very close in temperature, with only about 12°F separating their averages. However, the sausages did come out a bit on the warm side and required some time to cool before they could be consumed.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - this product did quite well in the leftover assessment.
This product did quite well in the leftover assessment.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Soup Heating


We heated up canned soup according to the manufacturer's directions for our next metric, which comprises 15% of the Heating score for each microwave. We were looking for soup that was heated to the perfect serving temperature in this test, deducting points both for soup that was too hot and too cold.


The Panasonic NN-SN936 did an impeccable job in this regard, heating the soup to just under 150°F — perfect for serving.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - the nn-sn936 continued to do well in the soup reheating test.
The NN-SN936 continued to do well in the soup reheating test.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Pizza Heating


Worth the remaining 15% of the total Heating score, our last test focused on reheating pizza. We heated up the pizza, then used the IR temperature gun to compare both the level of heat and the consistency across each slice.


Regrettably, this product only delivered mediocre results in this regard. We saw a fairly large spread in temperatures, with some areas sizzling and some areas almost cool to the touch.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - as expected, this product did very well with pizza.
As expected, this product did very well with pizza.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Frozen Foods


Our next testing metric focused on the efficacy of each microwave at heating up premade frozen items, like a Hot Pocket or a frozen burrito. We primarily focused on the evenness of heating, using a set of digital probe thermometers to assess performance. The Panasonic NN-SN936 did fairly well, earning an above-average score in this metric, which is responsible for 30% of the final score.


This product got off to a rocky start in the frozen burrito test, failing to heat the entire burrito above the minimum temperature stated on the package. It also had drastic temperature differences between the three zones, with an average difference of 33°F. Fortunately, the performance rebounded with the single-serve lasagna. This microwave delivered an almost perfect performance, with all zones sufficiently heated and less than 5°F of temperature variation across the different zones we tested.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - the lasagna had very little temperature variation.
The lasagna had very little temperature variation.
Credit: Matt Spencer

The Panasonic NN-SN936 finished out with another strong showing in the Hot Pocket test. It heated all areas sufficiently and again had almost no variation between the zones, only showing an average difference of about 3°F. Even better, we liked that the Hot Pocket even had a slightly crispy exterior.

Defrosting


The Panasonic NN-SN936 continued to do very well in our defrosting metric, which is based on how successfully each appliance could defrost a one-pound log of ground meat. This accounts for 20% of the final score.


This microwave did very well, taking just under five minutes to completely defrost just a bit less than 12 ounces of the ground meat. The rest was easy to break apart but still fairly solid. However, we wouldn't have an issue tossing it in a pan. There weren't any browned or cooked bits. The microwave does beep partway through to alert you to flip over whatever you are defrosting but doesn't automatically stop.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - this appliance is a great option for defrosting.
This appliance is a great option for defrosting.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Ease of Use


For the remaining 10% of the total score for each microwave, we rated and ranked the different convenience and ease of use features. The Panasonic NN-SN936 finished out our test with a slightly above-average showing for its decent suite of features.


This microwave has a decent amount of internal lighting and the typical "+30 seconds" button found on most models. It doesn't have a volume adjust but is big and hefty enough to stay in place on the counter even with some significant force behind a button press. However, it did a mediocre job with our popcorn test. We found that it started to burn the popcorn when we used the popcorn button.

Panasonic NN-SN936B microwave - the popcorn preset caused just a bit of burning.
The popcorn preset caused just a bit of burning.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Should You Buy the Panasonic NN-SN936?


If you are looking for one of the best microwaves around and want a larger appliance, then we highly recommend the NN-SN936. It heats and defrosts very very well, though it doesn't have the most comprehensive set of convenience features.

What Other Microwaves Should You Consider?


If you are looking for another top-tier option but want a more compact appliance, then we would suggest the Kenmore 70919. It also does an excellent job with premade frozen foods or reheating items evenly. Another option would be the Toshiba EM131A5C. This appliance also scores very well overall and has a moderate capacity, larger than the Kenmore but smaller than the Panasonic NN-SN936.

Matt Spencer & David Wise
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