Microwave ovens have become the kinds of indispensable kitchen appliances almost every home relies on. From reheating leftovers to nuking a quick frozen dinner, cooking food in a microwave is just about as easy as it gets.
In terms of quality and performance, most microwave ovens on the market today are much of a muchness. Not the most inspiring of appliances, but handy, convenient, and versatile nonetheless. However, there is the occasional exception to the rule, which pulls in nothing but top reviews from customers and critics alike.
One example is this Hamilton Beach 1.1 cu ft microwave, which is simply a great microwave at a great price.
The truth is, the average reviewer on the lookout for a decent microwave oven isn’t too interested in a long list of complex features and unnecessary settings. They simply want a compact countertop model that occupies minimal counter space and gets the job done heating food reliably and consistently - simply put, a right microwave oven for one's home.
Precisely what this Hamilton Beach microwave was designed to do, but how does it perform when put to the test?
Hamilton Beach Microwave: No Setup Required
No nonsense with this particular microwave - you simply remove it from the box, connect it to a nearby socket, and you’re good to go. Of course, after giving it's interior a quick wipe for basic hygiene purposes, then you’re ready to start cooking.
There's really nothing involved in the setup process other than setting the clock to the correct time, which is surprisingly easy with the Hamilton Beach microwave. Unlike many other models, this one doesn't pose a challenge.
Additionally, it offers the convenience of choosing between 12- and 24-hour formats, catering to the preferences of the household. The appliance works exceptionally well and comes with more features than expected.
The digital timer is particularly useful as it displays the exact time while waiting for the food. The touchpads are user-friendly and responsive.
It's a user-friendly microwave of a good size, and although it's recommended to clean it after each use to prevent rust and odor, it has proven to be durable, still functioning well after four years.
This small microwave has replaced a 25-year-old Panasonic model and, while it may not reach the same longevity, it efficiently performs its job and is incredibly easy to operate.
Design: One of the Classiest Hamilton Beach Microwaves
Boasting just about enough room to accommodate a standard dinner plate, the Hamilton Beach 1.1 is an extremely compact piece of kit for the equally compact kitchen. As a result, it’s hard to see any buyer struggling to find space to position it in their kitchen, as it’s hardly an obtrusive device.
With its stainless steel exterior and sleek touchpad control panel, the Hamilton Beach oven has a sophisticated yet understated appearance. However, if you prefer an oven that combines aesthetics with functionality, a retro microwave oven might be more appealing.
The oven is predominantly presented in a pleasing matte black finish, which is both visually appealing and easy to clean. It has a substantial weight that gives a sense of quality and value, without being overly heavy or cumbersome.
The LED light inside provides ample illumination, allowing you to see the contents clearly while it is in operation. The control buttons are highly sensitive and respond to soft presses, which my mom particularly appreciates.
Additionally, the oven offers a generous amount of interior space, making it an incredible appliance. One notable feature of this microwave is the safety lock, providing convenience and peace of mind when you have children around. You can use it with confidence, knowing that it will not pose a risk to your kids.
The stainless steel exterior has also been designed to stay cool while in use, so you don’t have to worry if you have pets or small children about the place.
Hamilton Beach Microwave: Cooking Capacity and Capabilities
The Hamilton Beach 1.1 microwave may be small in size, but don't let that fool you into thinking it can't handle your cooking needs. Surprisingly, this compact microwave can accommodate a fair amount of ingredients on its turntable and still deliver satisfactory results.
Its smooth-opening door and glass turntable add to the overall sense of quality and performance. What's even more impressive is how quietly it operates, making it a rare find among affordable microwaves under $150 price range.
Personally, I've found it to be a stainless steel microwave that not only looks good but also performs well. It quickly heats up various foods like pizza, cereal, and fries, saving me time in the process.
In fact, I liked it so much that I bought two of the same model—one for my house and one for my office. It has proven to be reliable, especially during rush hours when I need to heat food quickly. Despite its small size, this little microwave is heavy-duty.
I've tested it by reheating different bowls of food at once, and it has exceeded my expectations. The spinner is impressively strong. Additionally, the touchpad offers a variety of options, allowing you to easily select specific foods like pizza or baked potatoes—a convenient feature indeed.
Overall, I'm pleased with this microwave. It has held up well, even after enduring a couple of drops during transport. It's similar to any other microwave, and the nice heavy glass turntable adds to its appeal. The only minor downside is a slight smell when it's new, but I hope that disappears over time.
Performance and Power
If looking to go to extremes, you can pick up a microwave from countless other brands right now for about five times the prices of the Hamilton Beach 1.1. But in terms of versatility and general cooking performance, I guarantee you will not get five times more for your money.
While this Hamilton Beach microwave is a relatively simple affair, it has the kind of all-around performance that rivals that of the best microwave ovens money can buy. Boasting a full 1000 watts of power (see also these slightly more powerful 1100 watts microwave ovens and the ovens with under 900 wattage), it offers a range of power levels for heating a wide variety of foods and a bunch of preset buttons for added convenience.
One particularly useful feature is the express buttons, which enable you to set the microwave cooking for anything from 1 to 6 minutes at the touch of a button. It may seem like a fairly rudimentary feature, but it is so much easier than manually setting the time and power level when using it regularly. There’s also a button for a quick 30-second blast of heat, which is also very useful.
Choose the appropriate cook time, and when the countdown completes, Hamilton Beach puts out a far subtler beep than most comparable microwaves. Rather than a deafening alarm of an unnecessarily high volume, it’s a much mellower affair with this microwave oven.
One-Touch Cooking Options
Some of the preset buttons are more useful than others, though they perform surprisingly well for such a simple and affordable microwave in all instances. The one-touch cooking options available via the touch panel include popcorn, baked potato, frozen dinner, beverage, pizza, and reheat.
For me, the pizza, popcorn, and baked potato settings performed best of all. While expecting a particularly crispy baked potato or pizza crust out of a microwave, the results are not nearly as chewy or soggy as often tend to be the case.
The oven was tested with a bunch of frozen dinners. This Hamilton Beach oven got the job done with much more consistency than many comparable microwaves. None of the usual issues with frozen centers and overcooked edges when heating frozen leftovers and TV dinners.
Throwing together a batch of popcorn also could not be easier.
As expected, the microwave includes a defrost feature, but personally, I rarely use it due to its lack of effectiveness. Throughout my experience, I have found it nearly impossible to defrost anything evenly in a microwave, so I usually don't bother.
Even when I tested the feature on the Hamilton Beach model, it yielded the same unsatisfactory results – warm edges that pose safety concerns and a frozen solid interior.
Nevertheless, I don't hold this against the microwave, as I have yet to encounter one with a truly useful defrosting option.
On the positive side, this microwave excels in heating food evenly, and its carousel functions smoothly.
The only downside for me is the placement of the key functions, which often leads to a frustrating and unnecessary search for commonly used items.
However, I am delighted that I purchased it, as I use it several times a day for various purposes such as warming, cooking, and thawing.
It boasts all the features I could ever need, including buttons 1-6 for cooking or warming durations of 1-6 minutes. Additionally, the time cook button allows for cooking for any desired duration.
The microwave also includes a convenient timer and a light that illuminates when in use or when the door is open. Furthermore, after the cooking or warming cycle is complete, it beeps every minute or two to remind you that there is something waiting inside.
One area that could be improved is the interior lighting. It doesn't provide sufficient brightness and has a bluish tint, making it somewhat difficult to monitor the microwave's impact on your food.
Hamilton Beach Digital Microwave Oven: Price
Priced similarly to most entry-level microwaves and toaster ovens around right now, you cannot fault this thing in terms of value for money. You get the impression right out of the box that this is a kitchen appliance of genuine quality. If you’re the kind that favors simplicity over superfluous features, this really could be the last microwave you’ll ever need.
And given the fact that it is often up for grabs for no more than about $70, it’s a bargain in every sense of the word.
In terms of its cooking power, versatility and user-friendliness, it’s hard to find any real fault for such a low price (see also microwaves under 200 bucks). It even has a fantastic child lock feature that locks the touchpad, meaning the little ones can’t get themselves into trouble while doing their thing in the kitchen. One of several features this thing boasts that you wouldn’t normally expect at such a price.
Sure, it doesn't have convection cooking capabilities - see top convection ovens - or anything else that takes its functionality beyond that of a standard microwave. But that’s exactly the point with this Hamilton Beach microwave oven, which has been designed with simplicity and performance in mind. Hence, as far as overall value for money is concerned, it is hard to think of anything that delivers more bang for your buck.
Hamilton Beach Countertop Microwave Oven: Pros
•Instantly ready to use with no setup required
•Exceptionally affordable at around $70 or less
•Very impressive power and general cooking performance
•A wide variety of helpful one-touch settings
•Easy to reheat food and cook frozen food evenly
•Elegant and sophisticated matte black exterior
•Decent capacity for such a small appliance
•A safe device for households with children
•Ships complete with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer
Hamilton Beach Countertop Microwave Oven: Cons
•Slightly too small for larger family meals•Lacks convection oven capabilities
Specs at a Glance:
Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven
17.09 x 14.25 x 22.2 in.
0.9 cubic feet
Stainless steel in matte black
This ultra-affordable Hamilton Beach 1000 Watt Microwave delivers everything you would expect for this kind of money and more. It is by far one of the best Hamilton Beach microwaves launched to date and well worth checking out. If you can do without advanced features and optional extras, this microwave stands out for its overall value for money.
I recently purchased one and it works great. The microwave only has a 3.5 popcorn setting, unlike most models that start automatically. However, I haven't encountered any problems, and all the functions work perfectly. The microwave is quite loud, which can be concerning, but it effectively warms the food.
The sturdy feet have shown no signs of damage after a year of use, and the exterior's temperature remains consistent. Additionally, it appears to be energy-efficient.
In summary, all the functions of this microwave work amazingly well, and the defrosting feature is particularly impressive, as it defrosted smoked salmon without cooking it.