The microwave and separate hood were one of the things I was looking forward to changing as part of the kitchen remodel. The hood’s fan made plenty of noise, but moved very little air. And the microwave was higher up than was comfortable.
I also wanted to be able to use an oven for longer periods of time without dealing with propane exhaust. The convection oven was part of the solution to that (though since it runs on the inverter, the lithium battery upgrade was also part of the process). Ideally, I would have liked a narrower 24″-wide microwave/hood combination, but 30″ is the standard. In part, that’s what made the project a total re-do, as opposed to piecewise upgrades.
The microwave I picked out was a Whirlpool Gold WMH76719CS Amazon $579.99, AJ Madison $489.10 as of today). At the time I bought it, there was a rebate that basically made it the cheapest stainless over-the-range convection oven I could buy. With nearly 300 reviews averaging 4.4/5 stars, you could say I was expecting a pretty good appliance–and it is–but it’s not without a few shortcomings.
First of all, it really does do everything it should–microwaving (with all of the sensor cooking stuff), convection cooking, the hood moves a fair bit of air with a reasonably acceptable amount of noise, and it’s a pretty big cavity. For a shorter user, especially since I mounted it a bit higher than what’s standard, having all of the controls and display across the bottom is nice.
I do have a few gripes though:
- The “beep” when you press a button isn’t quite in sync with button presses being registered. Here’s what I mean–there’s an “add 30 seconds” button that I can quickly press 3 times, hear 3 beeps, but only have 2 of 3 recorded for a minute on the clock. The part of the control board doing the beeping should send a carrier pigeon to the other part of the control board that’s controlling the microwave.
- The button for the oven light is well inside the bottom corner, and above the button for the fan. It’s impossible to find in the dark. It should have been on the bottom row, and near an edge/corner of the control panel, not 4″ in. Either that, or make it light up just a bit.
- While the control panel on the bottom is nice, it makes for a big door. I find myself frequently stepping back as I open the door, and with the opposing slide-out closed, I often end up ducking under the door when moving something from the counter into the microwave. This is the one thing that, if I did it again, might cause me to pick a different model.
- The owner’s manual is absolutely worthless. I’m used to appliances like this containing a breakdown of all of the menus and what’s actually going on with a particular setting. What’s the difference between convection bake and convection roast? Well, I know that convection roast draws more power, but that’s about it. The owner’s manual is silent on this and every other cooking option. It’s basically just a couple of sheets full of warnings that would apply to just about any microwave.
Again, overall I’m pretty happy. The inside has been easy to keep clean, and it looks sharp. It doesn’t really have to be any more expensive to address my complaints–it’s just a little rough around the edges with the user interface.