Turning the table
Monday October 02nd 2023, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Life

I have had cheap Panasonic microwaves for years and years. They’re familiar. They look decent. They hold a big plate without taking up as much counter space as some. They’re fast. They cook evenly enough, and Wirecutter praised them for that, and you can find them anywhere when you suddenly need a new one.

Which you do, is the problem. Often.

I once came home from Stitches so exhausted that I broke the glass turntable and found out that replacing it cost almost as much as simply ditching the entire thing–and so each time I replaced the oven I would hold onto the previous turntable. Since that one was already paid for.

Bought the same one as ever as far as I could tell last time, and they’d changed the turntable size. Out with the old.

Thirteen months. Eleven months. They just kept dying. Maddening. Just inside warranty (but in the middle of covid lockdown), just outside warranty. I know the way to extend a microwave’s life is to keep it clean, and out of sheer I’ll-show-you! towards that company I did. Then they changed the interior from visible to dark taupe grey plastic that aging eyes couldn’t see the splatters in. Fine, I’ll clean it blind then.

Yesterday the latest one died. Brand new, its door had refused to open till the fourth or fifth try, but over time it had allowed me to get it on the second or even first try pushing in on the thing: my feral cat was getting almost friendly.

And then suddenly it was nothing but a 20x15x12″ digital clock.

Did I mention the lower one of our double oven died last week.

Lots of time got spent today hunting down descriptions, reviews, etc, but when I read Wirecutter praising Panasonic it was my moment of truth: I will never ever buy another one from them. I’m done.

I wanted to have one that I would actually want to have, whatever it might be. I wanted one that was expected to last, I wanted one that *would* last. I checked with Richard, I price-checked.

And then I spent $16 more than Amazon to buy it locally and came home with a Breville Combi Wave 3 in 1. Microwave, air fryer, convection, with a learning curve ahead.

The interior is chrome. You can see in there!

The door is soft close and self-closing and quiet. Quiet doors rah rah rah! in the company’s descriptions and I thought, yeah? So what?

Ohhh. That’s what. Huh. I had no idea that could be something I would enjoy so much.

My justification to myself is that it could help cover the baking, especially to tide me over if the upper oven starts having problems heating up too, and that I finally have an air fryer. But most of all: that it will be no more money than if I’d bought a string of one-year models again and a lot less electronic waste. Cross your fingers.

I got it in the house, then as his work day ended it was his back’s turn and he got it out of the box and onto the counter. It was gorgeous. I tested it with a bowl of broccoli. The display asked for the approximate weight and category of veggie and auto-cooked it on high for 2 min 36 seconds. I went in the other room–and heard the ‘it’s done’. *I* heard it. And it wasn’t even an obnoxious sound to get that to happen, and you can change the volume up or down or off entirely.

Someone really knew what they were doing on that one.

There’s just one thing that made me want to wince/laugh and ohmygosh! in horror. (Pushing me to go find this article¬†referencing Breville’s quality controls that made me feel better about it.)

The turntable. It was the same bleeping turntable. The most-recent Panasonic one that hadn’t fit the previous Panasonic fit right in that Breville should I ever need a backup.

Four years, to prove me right in springing for this. That’s all I ask.

I can hear it!!!

6 Comments so far
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We love Breville. We have their toaster/convection/air fryer ovens and their food processor. (Not too keen on using the air fry function … oil drops on heating elements?) Their electric kettles work well, too. They were/are an Australian brand. First time I heard of them was at Sur la Table.

May you get many years of use from your new microwave!

Comment by Anne 10.03.23 @ 12:28 am

We use a microwave and a toaster oven every day. They both have always gotten a workout. Never had one fail. We are on our 3rd Breville. Not because of failure, but for upgraded features. Best brand on the market. The no-mess way to air fry is to move your fryer basket to a higher position than recommended and put the roaster pan in the lower position to catch drips, etc. Works just fine. Enjoy your Breville!

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 10.03.23 @ 6:57 am

Have fun figuring it out, and long may it last!

Comment by ccr in MA 10.03.23 @ 7:01 am

I assume you know the microwave-cleaning strategy of boiling some water with lemon in the microwave, leaving it in there to steam up, then wiping it down? (I didn’t learn about that until several years after I left home; I didn’t learn how to more-tidily fold fitted sheets for 10 years after that! So. Just in case: it’s possible, usually, to not have to scrub!)

Comment by KC 10.03.23 @ 9:30 am

I am currently looking at a Breville (conventional) toaster oven, coffee grinder and citrus juicer …
So far so good, they have lasted quite a while.
Good luck with the new microwave/plus oven.
I am waiting for a new range with a convection oven. I am curious to try it.
have a great week

Comment by Lisa RR, Toronto 10.03.23 @ 3:38 pm

I hope it works wonderfully for a long time. I have a Breville toaster oven that I use quite often. Baking, roasting, all of it is great. We’ve had 3 microwave ovens in 38 years. The first GE lasted about 20 years, the next GE about 17, and the latest Whirlpool we’ve had a year. They are not counter-top, but mount above the stove.

Comment by DebbieR 10.03.23 @ 9:51 pm

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