PROS / This microwave offers unique features for grilling your food.
CONS / You don't get a minute-based Quick Cook function.
VERDICT / The Samsung MG14H3020 is one of the best compact microwaves available, with consistent results, efficient sensor cooking and a best-in-class warranty.
The Samsung MG14H3020 has a sleek, mirror-like appearance to give your kitchen a modern look, but more importantly, this compact microwave produces evenly cooked food. It scored high in most of our tests, and it includes several convenient features that even the best compact microwaves don't usually offer. Its 10-year warranty for the magnetron, the element that creates the electromagnetic waves, is the longest available. These are the reasons we gave this Samsung countertop microwave the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
In one test, the Samsung performed exceptionally well. The macaroni and cheese frozen meal cooked in 3:30 minutes – the exact time suggested on the back of the box. The pasta and sauce registered at 185 F, which is well above the safe temperature suggested by the USDA.
The Samsung did well in our other tests, including one in which we microwaved a kids' meal with mini corn dogs to determine how evenly the microwave cooks food. After following the instructions, we took the temperature of each corn dog and found that one near the center of the tray was just a few degrees shy of the suggested safe temperature of 165 F. We cooked the meal for an additional 30 seconds and that was sufficient.
This is one of the larger mini microwaves in our lineup at 1.4 cubic feet. You can easily fit tall glasses and wide bowls in it, which adds to the convenience of this microwave. Another convenient feature is the 30-second button, so you can quickly melt or heat some foods or add some time for food that's already cooking. The sensor reheat function warms certain foods, such as a casserole or pasta, to just the right temperature, so you don't have to guess how long or at what power level to cook your leftovers. However, this microwave doesn't have the common, helpful Quick Cook setting, which would allow you to set the time by simply pressing one number.
Like most small microwaves, the Samsung includes the three most popular preset buttons to make cooking more convenient. We tested how well Samsung's popcorn, pizza and potato buttons performed, and the results were good.
The popcorn button gives you two weight options: 3 and 3.5 ounces. We were using small bags of popcorn, so we chose the 3-ounce option, which cooks for 2:30 minutes. We listened carefully for the popping to stop and halted the cooking at 11 seconds shy of the end time. None of the popcorn was burned, but 26 unpopped kernels were left over. This wasn't the best result among the microwaves we tested, but it's in the upper echelon of popcorn-popping microwave ovens.
We tested the potato button, which cooks a single potato for four minutes, but that wasn't long enough for the potato to cook completely. Another two minutes was sufficient, though, which brought it to the time it took for most of the compact microwaves we tested to bake a potato.
The pizza button lets you reheat up to four slices at once. We reheated a single slice of pepperoni pizza, which cooked for 1:10, but the temperature only registered at 121 F. We popped it back in the Samsung for another 40 seconds, which bumped the temperature up to 177 F.
This Samsung compact microwave includes many other preset options: ones for a beverage, fresh vegetable, frozen entree, dinner plate and frozen vegetable. It also offers features no other microwave in our lineup has – a grill button, ceramic plate and metal rack. These features let you brown and crisp food, such as pizza and meat.
Help & Support
Samsung offers a standard warranty to cover defective parts and labor, which lasts one year after your purchase. It also provides a 10-year warranty that covers you against a defective magnetron, which can be a pricey repair otherwise. This is the longest magnetron warranty available from the microwave makers in our lineup.
The Samsung website provides a variety of support resources, including links to the user manual, information on microwaves and magnetrons, and answers to common questions. If you still need help, you can contact a customer support representative by email, phone or live chat.
Although the Samsung MG14H3020 compact microwave doesn't offer the fastest cooking for some common foods, it gives you many convenient options to cook your food without too much guesswork. It also offers an excellent warranty to protect you from a defective unit. These features, as well as some that only this microwave has, make it one of the best countertop microwaves.