PROS / This inexpensive microwave gives you 900 watts of power to cook food fast.
CONS / You do not get a 30-second button to quickly add more cooking time.
VERDICT / The Haier HMC920BEWW is a straightforward, basic compact microwave that gives you a decent number of helpful features.
The Haier HMC920BEWW is a basic but powerful compact microwave. Its decent number of preset buttons and other features make it a nice addition to your kitchen, den or dorm room.
This countertop microwave uses 900 watts of electrical power, which means it can cook foods fast. It offers 11 power levels so you can program it to suit a variety of foods. You get preset cooking buttons for potatoes, pizza, popcorn, beverages and frozen dinners, as well as a reheat button. This is a decent variety, though some of the best microwaves have presets for fresh and frozen vegetables and frozen entrees as well. You can defrost frozen foods using either the auto-defrost button, which has you enter the weight of the food, or the speed defrost, which alternates the defrosting function with stand time, with no heat being generated, to make the process more efficient.
A real boon is this small microwave's multistage cooking capability, which means you can program it to begin cooking at one level and then automatically switch to a different one. Usually, that means the most cooking occurs during the first stage and then the temperature reduces to a simmer, which offers you time to do other things like make a salad or set the table while your food stays hot.
Unfortunately, this countertop microwave oven does not come with a 30-second key. This button would give you extra cooking time with the push of a button without halting the cooking process.
Considering that this is a compact microwave oven, it offers a good-sized interior of 9 cubic feet. It can easily handle a 10.5-inch dinner plate, a 7-inch glass and a mixing bowl that measures 11.5 x 6.5 inches.
This countertop microwave oven fared well in our testing, with the exception of the test in which it cooked a frozen meal intended for a child. Cooked food in general should reach at least 165 F internally in order to be safe. We tested temperatures of foods using a digital thermometer with a probe.
When we cooked a frozen macaroni and cheese dinner according to its instructions, we found it was 168 F inside. This small microwave's potato button cooks for six minutes and produced a baked potato with an internal temperature of 204 F. When we tried to heat a slice of cold pizza with the pizza button, the microwave ran for one minute and brought the pizza slice to 168 F. These are all decent results.
The Haier's popcorn button operates for two minutes. In our bag of microwaveable popcorn, we found a few burned kernels and 20 unpopped kernels, but the rest tasted fine.
The frozen kids' meal was a bit trickier and produced mixed results. The meal consisted of fries, corn and small corn dogs. When we followed the package instructions, three corn dogs reached acceptable temperatures of 172, 187 and 176 F. However, one was an unacceptably low 156 F. After 30 seconds of additional cooking, the chilly corn dog reached 186 F.
The Haier HMC920BEWW compact microwave is equipped with enough functions to make it a helpful appliance for preparing meals or snacks. You do not get as many preset buttons for individual foods as you do with the best microwaves, nor do you get a 30-second extra time button with this microwave, but it offers a good share of power, capacity, speed and cooking options.