Finishing in the upper portion of the group, we were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Toshiba EM925A5A. This model is one of the absolute easiest and most convenient to use products that we have tested to date and does a good job of heating up your food evenly. Being only 900 watts, it isn't the fastest microwave around when it comes to heating up your food and didn't impress us much with its defrosting skills.
Toshiba EM925A5A Review
Pros: Easy to use, solid value
Cons: Not the fastest, doesn’t heat extremely evenly
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Our Analysis and Test Results
To see which microwave is really worth your money and worthy of your time, we did tons and tons of analysis of over 50 different microwaves, comparing user reviews and specs, then bought the most promising to test head-to-head and see which one truly topped them all. We ranked and scored the heating, ease of use, and defrosting capabilities of each one, as well as evaluating the speed at which it heats up food. We conducted several different tests in each of these rating metrics, each weighted based on its overall significance, to assign a score from 0-100 for each product, with the Toshiba's full results described below.
Our most important rating metric by far, the ability to heat up food evenly is responsible for almost half — 40% — of the total score for each product. We compared the temperature distribution of a Hot Pocket, burrito, individual lasagna, pot pie, and a plate of leftovers to determine scores, as well as creating a heating map using melted chocolate to identify any hot or cold spots on the turntable. The Toshiba did fairly well, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its above average performance and comparing quite favorably to the rest of the group.
This microwave got off to a solid start with the chicken pot pie challenge, hitting the minimum required temperature easily and only having an average temperature variance of about 6°F across the different regions of the pie.
The Toshiba also did fairly well at heating up the Hot Pocket, though there was slightly more temperature variation present than with the pot pie.
For our leftovers test, the Toshiba also did decently well, heating up the green beans, chicken nuggets, and potatoes all to a desirable temperature and within about 10°F of each other.
Unfortunately, the performance of this microwave dropped when it came to heating up a frozen burrito and absolutely plummeted when tasked with heating up an individual portion of frozen lasagna.
The burrito failed to hit the minimum temperature of 161°F in all regions when following the heating directions. Additionally, there was also a wide range of temperatures between the left, right, and center areas of the burrito.
This microwave did even worse with the lasagna, leaving the center much much colder than the desired temperature, only raising it to about 70°F, while the edges were piping hot.
However, the Toshiba did finish out with a solid performance in our heatmap test, evenly melting the chocolate without burning it.
There were a few spots that looked like they were getting slightly warmer, but the discrepancy wasn't enough to be super noticeable and didn't really get close to charring the chocolate in these hot spots.
Ease of Use
Next, we judged how convenient and easy it is to operate each of these microwaves. We looked at the buttons, the interior light, the keypad and timer functions, as well as the effectiveness and quality of the preset cooking functions. These tests all combine to account for 30% of the overall score, with the Toshiba doing exceptionally well, earning an 8 out of 10 for its performance.
To evaluate the presets on each microwave, we made a bag of the popcorn using the "Popcorn" button and a baked potato using the "Potato" function. The Toshiba did a good job with the popcorn, making great tasting popcorn that wasn't burned at all. However, there were a decent number of unpopped kernels left behind.
The Toshiba also did a very good job at baking the potato, making it very tasty with only one or two spots in the center that were slightly undercooked and a little on the hard side.
However, there was a bit of a spread of temperatures, with the average variation being about 14.5°F between the different areas of the vegetable.
We did really like how clearly the different buttons are labeled and that this product has quick buttons that will automatically start the microwave. It also has decent interior lighting so you can easily see the progress of your meal as it is being heated up.
However, we were disappointed with the lack of a kitchen timer and the somewhat odd placement of the "0" button.
For our next metric, responsible for 20% of the total score for the Toshiba, we ranked and scored each appliance on its skills when it comes to defrosting a pound of ground meat and a frozen muffin, as well as the different defrosting options available. The results of the Toshiba dropped a bit, earning it a 4 out of 10 for its slightly sub-par performance.
This microwave didn't do very well at defrosting the roll of ground turkey, only acceptably defrosting less than half of it at the conclusion of its defrost by weight cycle. It also cooked a small portion of the turkey at the bottom of the roll. It doesn't notify you to flip the meat, which would greatly improve its performance.
It did about the same at defrosting the frozen muffin, with the bottom being substantially hotter — almost 60°F warmer — than the top of the muffin, but the temperature evened out within 20°F after letting the muffin sit for a minute or two. In addition to the defrost by weight functions, you can also do a quick defrost by time.
For our last metric, we scored how quickly each microwave can heat up food, which accounts for 10% of the total score. We based the scores on the temperature change of 250 mL of water after it had been microwaved for 30 seconds. The Toshiba again did slightly below average, earning another 4 out of 10.
The Toshiba boosted the temperature of the water by about 32°F — a bit less than the 37°F of the top model.
The Toshiba is a solid value option, offering a solid performance that is only a bit worse than the top models at a price that is about $30-$120 less.
All in all, we were pleasantly surprised by the Toshiba. It fared quite well against our top performers, cost significantly less, and doesn't have any deal-breaking flaws. You can do better if you spend a bit more, but the Toshiba is a solid product that won't disappoint.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer