PROS / You get a sensor cooking capability with this microwave, which determines if food is done by sensing the humidity and temperature inside.
CONS / We had mixed results cooking a kids' frozen meal.
VERDICT / The Oster OGH6901 is a multifunctional microwave with several food preparation choices, holding up well against the best compact microwaves.
The 900-watt Oster OGH6901 is a sleek, stainless steel and black compact microwave that presents versatile options to help you quickly prepare meals and snacks. It offers a large cooking area that can accommodate different sizes of containers, plus you get enough preset buttons to make meals with a single touch.
This countertop microwave oven has a spacious interior of 0.9 cubic feet that can easily handle a 10.5-inch dinner plate, a 7-inch drinking glass, or a mixing bowl that measures 11.5 x 6.5 inches. You can quickly set different power levels and cooking times for various foods with the intuitive control panel.
The control panel features preset buttons for certain foods, including the popular ones for popcorn, potatoes and pizza, as well as one for a frozen dinner and a beverage. In addition, you get a handy reheat button to warm foods without overcooking. The Quick Cook option and 30-second key speed up heating by letting you set the cooking time or add to it with one button press.
You can program this small microwave for either a one- or two-stage cooking process. With the one-stage cooking, the microwave cooks for the amount of time you choose, up to nearly 100 minutes. The two-stage process typically cooks an item at a higher temperature first, and then the microwave automatically switches to a lower temperature for the second stage. For example, you can cook the ingredients in a beef stew so it reaches safe temperatures, then let it simmer until you are ready to eat without overcooking it.
A key benefit of the Oster microwave is its sensor cooking capability that determines when food is done by the humidity and temperature of the interior. When you want to defrost something, you can program it by weight, or you can use the Speed Defrost key for a shorter prep time. This setting alternates between the defrost function and the stand time, which is when the temperature of the food rises naturally without the machine running, to bring food to the state where you can begin actual cooking.
We got generally positive results when we tested the Oster, although there were a few flaws. Most food safety experts recommend that cooked food reach an internal temperature of 165 F for safety. We heated up a frozen macaroni and cheese dinner following the package directions, and it came out at a safe 167 F. However, another test involving a frozen kids' meal of small corn dogs, fries and corn brought only three of the four corn dogs to 167 F, with one corn dog still cold.
When we tried using the Oster microwave's popcorn button, we learned it runs for 2:20 minutes. We tried heating a bag of microwave popcorn, but we needed to take it out 36 seconds early because the popping had stopped. The popcorn tasted fine, though we counted 20 unpopped kernels.
The Oster's potato button cooks for an impressively short 3:20 minutes, and it zapped a regular-sized potato to an internal temperature of 181 F. We also tried the pizza button, which gives you the option of one or five minutes. We selected one minute to heat up a slice of pizza that was cold from the refrigerator. It reached 170 F in that short time.
The Oster OGH6901 gives you several programming choices, so you can set it to defrost and then cook your meals, cook in two stages, or cook for preset times tailored to specific foods. Although we encountered a couple flaws in our food tests, this Oster microwave performed well overall and would make a good addition to any kitchen.