Panasonic microwaves: countertop and over the range models compared

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BEST OVERALL
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W (Renewed)

The ‘Panasonic 2.2 Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In (NN-SN966S) Microwave’ has all the hallmarks of a kitchen classic. It has a large capacity and 1250 Watts of power that have somehow been squeezed into a small footprint and cooks food like an oven. It’s almost wizardry.

While its appearance is not particularly eye-catching (unless you count all the fingerprints it attracts), the microwave’s design is well thought out and is eminently practical. Panasonic even managed to keep the price point relatively low.

BEST VALUE
Sale 7%
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cubic Foot, 1200W

Panasonic’s 1.2 compact countertop microwave offers the best of both worlds for folks who have no desire to own an enormous appliance.

While it still has an impressive power output and plenty of functional features, the NN-SN686S model has a smaller cooking space, which is preferable to many consumers. Though not without its drawbacks, this microwave has a significantly lower price point than its big brother.

Not everybody has the want, need, or space for a traditional oven or stove in their kitchen, while other folks like to have a contingency plan for times when they need a quick and convenient meal. That’s where microwaves come in.

Microwaves are tremendous tools for quickly and efficiently heating, defrosting, melting, or reheating food for convenient food prep for your family.

Panasonic are pioneers in the field of home technology and have been in business for over 100 years. Today we’re going to look at their range of microwave ovens and talk about our favorites. We base our opinions on affordability, appearance, build quality, durability, and performance.

Let’s get started.

1. Panasonic NN-SN966S Countertop Microwave

Best Panasonic microwave
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W (Renewed)
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1250-Watt high power, 2.2-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel countertop/built-in microwave delivers a seamless stream of cooking power for even cooking and delicious flavor
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power and delivers consistent, evenly prepared food without overcooking; advanced Inverter Turbo Defrost speeds up defrosting time
  • Large Family Size: This countertop microwave with 16.5-inch turntable is thinner, lighter and more efficient, allowing you to devote less space to electronics and more to interior capacity; internal dimensions (H x W x D): 10.94-inch x 18.44-inch x 18.50-inch

Pros

  • Gigantic Capacity
  • Powerful
  • Turbo Defrost & Inverter Technology
  • ‘Genius’ Sensor
  • Keep Warm Feature

Cons

  • Baffling Door Mechanic
  • Fingerprint Magnet
  • Dim Interior Light

Specifications

  • Type: Countertop / Built-In
  • Dimensions: 19.44 x 23.88 x 14 inches inches
  • Appliance Weight: 37lbs
  • Capacity: 2.2 cu.ft
  • Turntable: Yes
  • Available Colors: Stainless Steel
  • Wattage: 1250 Watts

Design, Construction & Capacity

The Panasonic 2.2 countertop microwave isn’t shattering any glass ceilings in terms of appearance; its stainless steel finish is fairly pretty to look at (though it does attract fingerprints easily). However, there’s nothing to set it apart from any other microwave model or brand.

It’s a well-constructed, reliable appliance, though it has a couple of design drawbacks. The door requires two button presses to access the interior, one to unlock the door and another to open it. We understand the theory, but it seems like safety overkill. The interior light is also very dim and makes it difficult to see inside, especially when you’re cooking at night.

The control pad is neatly laid out and convenient to use. It’s worth noting that the controls come in the form of ‘clicky’ push buttons. The jury is out of their popularity. Some consumers prefer a more modern touchscreen, while others like the confirmation the button click gives.

With an internal capacity of 2.2 cu.ft, this Panasonic microwave is an absolute beast. Yet, it still has a relatively small footprint that won’t take up as much space as similar capacity appliances. Alternatively, this microwave can be mounted and ‘built-in.’

Features

  • Genius Sensor Technology: The ‘Genius’ sensor will adjust power and time settings based on food type, rather than food weight alone, as do most other brands.
  • Inverter Technology: Panasonic’s patented inverter distributes a consistent stream of power throughout the appliance’s interior to ensure everything inside is heated evenly.
  • Turbo Defrost: Combining the ‘Genius’ sensor and inverter technology, this Panasonic microwave can defrost food more quickly, evenly, and efficiently than traditional appliances.
  • Keep Warm: Usually reserved for coffee makers, this ‘Keep Warm’ feature will ensure your food stays hot after cooking until you’re ready to eat.
  • Add 30 Seconds: Add 30-second increments to your cooking time at the push of a button.
  • Popcorn: Enjoy movie night with a big bowl of popcorn straight from the microwave with this dedicated setting. There are three levels of power for different quantities of popcorn. However, you’ll need some trial and error with this function.

Performance

The internal components of the ‘Panasonic 2.2 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave’ have consumers delighted with the results this appliance gives. With 1250 Watts of power, it cooks ridiculously quickly, while the ‘Genius Sensor’ delivers a constant stream of energy (unlike traditional microwave that gives intermittent blasts of full power) to make your food feel like it was cooked in an oven.

The ‘turbo defrost’ works exceptionally well (defrosting food evenly throughout) and is very popular among owners of this appliance. Noise levels are acceptable, especially when you consider the higher wattage this microwave produces.

Should you buy the Panasonic 2.2 Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In Microwave (NN-SN966S)?

Though there are a couple of design flaws in this microwave, there is no questioning its impressive performance. Panasonic’s intelligent features give results comparable to oven-cooked food, but with a much lower cooking time.

It has a massive cooking space but a small(ish) footprint, is super-powerful, yet doesn’t overcook your food, is a countertop appliance, yet can be fitted to look ‘built-in.’ And best of all, it won’t put a massive dent in your wallet.

2. Panasonic NN-SN686S Countertop Microwave Oven

Best value Panasonic microwave
Sale 7%
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cubic Foot, 1200W
  • Panasonic Microwave: This 1200 Watt high power, 1.2 cubic foot capacity stainless steel countertop/built in microwave delivers a seamless stream of cooking power for even cooking and delicious flavor
  • Inverter Technology with Turbo Defrost: Patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power and delivers consistent, evenly prepared food without overcooking; Advanced Inverter Turbo Defrost speeds up defrosting time
  • Compact Design: This countertop microwave with 13.4 inch turntable is thinner, lighter and more efficient, allowing you to devote less space to electronics and more to interior capacity; Internal dimensions (H x W x D): 9 15/16 inch x 15 13/16 inch x 14 3/8 inch

Pros

  • Beautiful Appearance
  • Affordable Price Point
  • Incredible Size-Power Ratio
  • Has All The Same Features As Larger Microwave
  • Small Footprint

Cons

  • Super Loud
  • Interior Light Issues
  • Control Pad Isn’t Backlit

Specifications

  • Type: Countertop
  • Dimensions: 15.81 x 20.69 x 12.25 inches
  • Appliance Weight: 20.5lbs
  • Capacity: 1.2 cu.ft
  • Turntable: Yes
  • Available Colors: Stainless Steel / Black (NN-SN651B) / White (NN-SN651WAZ)
  • Wattage: 1200 Watts   

Design, Construction & Capacity

While their large 2.2 cu.ft microwave is forgettable as far as its appearance is concerned, the smaller 1.2 steals the show with a space-age aesthetic and Star Trek-esque control panel.

Though the stainless steel option is our favorite, this model is also available in which and black, which are pretty appliances too (though they have less appealing control panels) but don’t have the wow factor of the stainless steel version. Of course, like most stainless steel products, this Panasonic microwave is prone to picking up fingerprints.

The control panel layout is almost identical to its big brother’s, yet the execution is much prettier, though it’s not perfect as the buttons are not backlit, making them trickier to read at night.

Unlike its monstrous big brother, this appliance has a modest 1.2 cu.ft of cooking space, which isn’t necessarily a negative, as many consumers neither need nor want a massive microwave taking up their kitchen space. 

Features

  • Genius Sensor Technology: Using food type rather than weight, the ‘Genius sensor’ is more effective than other cooking technology.
  • Inverter Technology: A patented inverter ensures this Panasonic microwave delivers the right amount of power for evenly cooked food.
  • Turbo Defrost: ‘Turbo Defrost’ does exactly what you’d expect. Defrosts food more quickly than other appliances.
  • Keep Warm: The ‘Keep Warm’ feature ensures your food is still hot by the time you’re ready to eat.
  • Add 30 Seconds: Add 30-second increments to your cooking time at the push of a button.
  • Popcorn: The popcorn feature offers three different settings to remove the guesswork from making a microwave’s favorite snack. 

Performance

A 1200 Watt power output inside a 1.2 cu.ft cooking capacity makes this microwave a pocket rocket. But it’s not all about the power; there’s plenty of control built into this microwave too. The Genius Sensor and Inverter technology give you the ability to cook delicious food in double-quick time.

The Turbo Defrost is as effective on this model as all other Panasonic models, and it’s a firm fan-favorite among consumers.

However, the small footprint coupled with a mighty power output means this microwave is super loud when operating at full tilt; you can hear the fan blasting from other rooms in the house.

Should you buy the Panasonic 1.2 Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave (NN-SN686S)?

Surprisingly, Panasonic has managed to cram all of the same features from their large 2.2 microwave into the smaller, more affordable NN-SN686S model, though with marginally less power. Even more surprisingly, they all work exceptionally well in this compact machine.

However, a few additional bugs have found their way into the appliance, though they are minor annoyances that don’t negatively impact this Panasonic appliance’s performance. That they managed to reduce the price point significantly is the most impressive thing of all.

3. Panasonic NN-SN97JS Microwave

Panasonic Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In Cyclonic Wave with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W, NN-SN97JS (Silver)
  • PANASONIC COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE OVEN CYCLONIC INVERTER: This 1250-Watt high power, 2. 2-cubic-foot capacity stainless steel countertop/built-in microwave maintains the full flavor and nutrients of your favorite foods with Cyclonic Wave technology for ultra-efficient cooking at all temperature levels
  • INVERTER TECHNOLOGY WITH TURBO DEFROST: patented Inverter Technology generates a seamless stream of power and delivers consistent, evenly prepared food without overcooking; advanced Inverter Turbo Defrost speeds up defrosting time
  • LARGE FAMILY SIZE: This countertop microwave with 16. 5-inch turntable is thinner, lighter and more efficient, allowing you to devote less space to electronics and more to interior capacity; internal dimensions (H x W x D): 10-15/16-inch x 18-7/16-inch x 18-1/2-inch

Pros

  • Cyclonic Wave Inverter
  • Countertop or Built-In Look
  • Large Capacity
  • Twenty Pre-sets
  • Many Features

Cons

  • Very Expensive
  • Pre-Programmed Settings are Unintuitive

Specifications

  • Type: Countertop / Built-In
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 23.9 x 14 inches
  • Appliance Weight: 36.9lbs
  • Capacity: 2.2 cu.ft
  • Turntable: Yes
  • Available Colors: Stainless Steel
  • Wattage: 1250 Watts

Design, Construction & Capacity

The Panasonic 2.2 (NN-SN97JS) microwave, the most stylish and elegant looking appliance from this iconic brand. Finished in stainless steel, it has a cool, understated appeal that will look smart in any contemporary kitchen. All the exterior features are a slightly different shade of grey, which gives it an almost granite effect.

The control panel is neat and symmetrical, and that makes it really easy to read and use, and even the LCD is crisp and clear. The whole ensemble screams ‘quality’.

A substantial 2.2 cu.ft of cooking space is more than enough for most large families, while the small footprint inspired Panasonic to name this feature ‘Maximum Interior, Minimum Footprint’. Though this is accurate, there’s little difference in size between this appliance and the NN-SN966S model.

Features

  • Cyclonic Wave Inverter: There’s little information on what a ‘Cyclonic Wave Inverter’ actually does other than it “circulates heat in waves with precision,” however, there’s no arguing with the results.
  • Smart Cooking Settings: 20 pre-programmed menus set power levels and duration, based on different foods and their qualities.
  • ‘Maximum Interior, Minimum Footprint’: Panasonic’s memorable catchphrase alludes to the large cooking space crammed inside a relatively small footprint, so it doesn’t take up much kitchen space.
  • Food Warming Feature: Exactly the same as the ‘Keep Warm’ settings on the other Panasonic models, but with a new name.
  • Coffee/Tea: A large complaint about the other Panasonic models we’ve reviewed today was a lack of a ‘beverages’ button. The NN-SN97JS has you covered.
  • Child-Safety Lock: This handy safety feature ensures little hands can’t access dangerous places.
  • Mute Function: All too often, the notification beeps of microwaves are overly loud and obnoxious (presumably so you can hear them from other rooms in the house); this model allows you to turn them all off.

Performance

The massive capacity of this Panasonic microwave is met with enormous performance. This impressive appliance is equipped with not one, not two, but three pieces of technology for delicious, evenly cooked meals.

It might seem like overkill to have ‘Cyclonic Wave’ technology, Panasonic’s patented ‘Inverter technology’ and the ‘Genius sensor’, but it’s hard to argue with the results this indulgent appliance delivers.

The addition of twenty pre-sets to this microwave’s arsenal is simultaneously welcome and frustrating. Instead of a bunch of labeled one-touch buttons on the control panel, you have to scroll through the menus, which can be confusing and time-consuming.

Should you buy the Panasonic 2.2 Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In Microwave (NN-SN97JS)?

The Panasonic NN-SN97JS microwave is an excellent choice of appliance. It’s large, powerful, and absolutely crammed full of features. It might seem like some of them are a little unnecessary or convoluted, but they’re there all the same.

It’s very luxurious and a little self-indulgent, but if you can afford the massive price point, then why not treat yourself?

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