PROS / It has the time-saving buttons for Quick Cook and to add 30 seconds.
CONS / The low power results in longer cooking times before your food is evenly hot.
VERDICT / The Insignia NS-7CM6-BK does well with many foods, but its low power and small interior make it too basic for others.
The Insignia NS-7CM6-BK microwave oven is useful for some quick meals and snacks, but it cooks others unevenly and lacks some important features of our top microwaves. Its low electrical wattage means slower cooking; we found some foods take longer than their recommended cooking times with this microwave. In addition, the interior is only 6.87 inches high, which limits the food containers you can use in it.
We had no trouble getting a standard dinner plate measuring 10.5 inches inside this microwave. However, it could not take a glass that is 7 inches tall or a mixing bowl that is 11.5 x 6.5 inches.
With this countertop microwave, you get 11 power levels so you can adjust the heat to suit your food. The Quick Cook setting allows you to start the microwave with just the push of a number button, and a 30-second key lets you add some extra cooking time without stopping the microwave. You can defrost foods either by the weight of the food item or by your chosen time, with a timer that can run for nearly 100 minutes.
You get preset buttons for a beverage, dinner plate and frozen vegetable in addition to the standard buttons for popcorn, pizza and a potato. There is also a child safety lock, which is a great feature to protect children from harm in case they try to experiment with the microwave – and to protect adults in the event that they jostle the device and accidentally start it.
This compact microwave has only 700 watts of power, so it is not as quick to produce fully cooked food as stronger microwaves are. We ended up having to add extra heating time in several cooking tests. We had reasonably good results for a couple of items with this countertop microwave oven, but overall, the results were unsatisfactory.
For safety, cooked food should reach 165 F internally before you eat it. This microwave ran into some difficulties with a simple cooking task: a frozen macaroni and cheese meal. We cooked it according to the package instructions, but when we took it out of the microwave, it measured only 67 F. After another 30 seconds, it reached 93 F, and 138 F after 30 seconds more. After yet another 30 seconds, the food was finally hot enough to eat at 172 F.
The potato button on this small microwave's control panel cooks for 6:30 minutes. We baked an average-sized potato with it and measured the finished potato at 205 F.
The Insignia microwave offers two options for pizza: a 4-ounce and an 8-ounce slice. We chose the 4-ounce option, which cooks for 2:30 minutes. A slice of pizza that was cold from the refrigerator registered at 173 F, so the pizza setting seems to work well.
The popcorn button gives you three weight choices for microwaveable popcorn: 1.75, 3 and 3.5 ounces. We picked the 3-ounce option, which ran for 2:05 minutes. The popcorn was tasty, though there were 53 unpopped kernels.
A frozen kids' meal of macaroni and cheese and fries was less successful. We cooked it according to its instructions, but the meal registered only 64 F. After two more minutes of cooking, it was 160 F. We cooked it for 30 more seconds and got mixed results, with hot and cold spots throughout. It tested at 166 F in one corner, 164 F in one area around the center of the meal and 177 F in a different area around the center.
The Insignia NS-7CM6-BK microwave works well for simple, quick meals in a small home or apartment or as a secondary microwave for snacks in a den or TV room. For broader cooking, though, the low wattage, small interior and mixed cooking results keep it from being as convenient and versatile as the best compact microwaves.