The stainless steel Panasonic NN-SD372SR microwave oven is an attractive appliance that scored very well in our cooking tests, but does it deserve to be called one of the best microwaves you can buy? It does come with a Keep Warm function (rare at this price point) and it came in the top four in our performance tests, though its controls are trickier to use than other units.
A contracted writer for TTR, Angie has covered plenty of types of products over the years, ranging from kitchen gadgets, countertop appliances and other home goods to vacuum cleaners and mold testing kits for more than eight years now. Her spare time often goes to planning improvements for her quirky 103-year-old home or hiking in the gorgeous Utah mountains. In her past role, she was a newspaper journalist and she has a bachelor's degree in Technical Writing.
Panasonic NN-SD372SR: Design
As we noted in the intro, the NN-SD372SR's unique look clashes with the fact that the control panel is trickier to master than other microwave ovens. Instead of the preset buttons typically found on compact microwave ovens, there are long, horizontal, rather oddly shaped buttons and a pop-out dial you use to set times or weights.
The control panel is not a dealbreaker, but there is a learning curve involved, and for some foods, you need to do a bit of guesswork to try and figure out which setting is best. For a microwave that is easier to use, consider the Faberware FMO07ABTBKA.
This small microwave’s interior is 0.8 cubic feet, which is a reasonably good size, and it has a healthy 950-watt power level. It can easily hold a 10.5-inch dinner plate and a mixing bowl that measures 11.5 x 6.5 inches. However, this countertop microwave is a tad short inside, and you cannot easily maneuver a 7-inch glass in and out.
Panasonic NN-SD372SR: Cooking experience
While testing the Panasonic NN-SD372SR, we got mixed results. It produced excellent cooking results for some foods but left cold spots or overheated others. It was the best unit in our potato test, cooking it all the way through without leaving any uneven spots.
It was not perfect on popcorn, but it did a good job of fully popping most if not all kernels; it left the fewest unpopped out of all of the microwaves we tested but were still some burned areas in the final product.
The NN-SD372SR fared well on the consistency tests, with just 8 degrees of temperature difference from one side of the plate of pizza rolls to the other. It also had a fairly even heating pattern when we made a heat map with marshmallows.
Panasonic NN-SD372SR: Features
The Panasonic NN-SD372SR is one of only a few microwaves in this price range to offer a Keep Warm function, which uses low-pulsing microwave power to keep foods warm for as long as 30 minutes without continuing to cook them.
It might have been the very best at evenly cooking our test potato, but it was sort of hard to get that process started. There is not a preset button for potatoes or anything else on this microwave, except popcorn, though it does offer suggested cooking times on the inside of its door frame similar to the suggestions inside the GE JES1145SHSS.
The compact microwave comes with a child lock, which is a great safety feature. It keeps mischievous kids and unknowing adults from activating the microwave. This microwave also has Auto Reheat, Auto Cook, Power Level, Inverter Turbo Defrost, and Keep Warm buttons. Other buttons include a Quick Minute button you can press to add up to 10 extra minutes, a More/Less button for popcorn, and buttons for the Timer/Clock Stop/Reset and Start functions.
In our food tests the Panasonic NN-SD372SR tied for fourth place overall and it looked quite special on our countertop because of its unique design. However, you need to carefully read the instruction manual since the control panel is more complicated than most other compact microwaves.