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I need to get a new microwave soon. I am looking at GE, Sharp, and Emerson mid size countertop models. I dont need anything fancy but do need it to be very reliable. Which of these three brands would be most reliable over the long haul?

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GE out of those three, by more than a nose.

Decker said: [Q]GE out of those three, by more than a nose.

I agree. GE microwaves are WalMart's brand (surprise!), but they seem to be better than even Sharp - who at one time was a respected brand. If you can manage to snag a Panasonic, do it. They are the best of the common consumer brands from my experience.

In my consumer opinion, they are all about the same, average wise. Sometimes you pick a good one, and sometimes you don't -- they all vary, just like cars. A lot of the magnetrons are produced by the same company, too.

GE is the only brand of microwave I have had trouble with. One was infant mortality (the microwave stopped working within a month) and the other only lasted about 3 years.

On the other hand, a Quasar (same as Panasonic) in my family survived 3 years of college student use (and the moves each year) and is still going strong another 11 years later.

There is also a Sharp microwave in the family that has been working well for over 5 years, I can't remember the brands or lifespans of other units that are in various households.

jbengel said: [Q]In my consumer opinion, they are all about the same, average wise. Sometimes you pick a good one, and sometimes you don't -- they all vary, just like cars. A lot of the magnetrons are produced by the same company, too.Consumer Reports covered microwave ovens in Feb 2006 and in their 2006 Buying Guide. The GEs did well, as did Kenmore ("Best Buys"). One Haier model was a "Not Recommended." For the full article, check your local library (or subscribe on-line for the August update).


One thing to keep in mind, is that brand names are bought and sold often. Something to keep in mind as we post our experiences of this or that brand. That GE/Sharp/Samsung of years ago just can't be compared to what is on the shelf today.

A trip to the library to read Consumer Reports back issues is a GREAT idea. They only list reliability stats on over the range models on-line right now. But their reliability ratings are based in fairly recent purchases - not the oven bought 10 years ago that is still going strong.

BTW in reading the article (I subscribe to CR), I was surprised to see the high marks for various Emerson models. I never gave that brand any consideration. Ditto for Sears/Kenmore... I guess we taken them for granted a lot. And again as jbengel stated, often it's a matter of luck. The Magnetron that fails early in a GE for one person might fail early for another person in a Sharp.

If you buy a microwave from Costco, reliability isn't that important...if it breaks, just return it for a refund.

Microwaves are all pretty much the same now, with just different names slapped on them. You can get GE microwaves at many other places besides Wal-Mart (but WalMart does seem to be the only store that sells a "Hotpoint" branded one, GE's low-end brand--if GE actually makes this model or not, I dont know).

That being said, im still using a huge a- Sharp microwave thats over 20 years old and gets used almost daily, usually several times a day.

I Would go with either a Sharp or GE, but Emerson stuff tends to be junk so I would avoid them if possible.

GE has never made a microwave oven since day one. The ones at Wal-Mart right now are either made by Daewoo or GoldStar. Sharp has always made their microwaves. Emerson microwaves are either made by Haier or Galaxie in China. For reliability, Sharp is the best. Consumer Reports rate Sharp as one of the most reliable microwave oven brands for many year, and is still today. Hope this helps.

At my parents house they are still using the Sharp Microwave they bought in the early 90's. It got daily use with 4 people in the house (my parents, me and my sister) and is still working today.

After I got married and bought a home, my wife and I got a Panasonic Microwave from Costco for about $100. It gets daily use and we've had it for about 2 years no problems either.

I can't comment on the GE or Emerson since we've never had one, but the sharp my parents had is great and our Panasonic is great also.

I would like to get something smaller on the outside, yet more powerful. Problem is, my 1986 Kenmore won't die. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif" border=0>

GE consumer electronics is now a Chinese brand owned by TCI, as is RCA.

Consumer Reports said that Sharp microwaves were unreliable, but I don't know if that applies to countertop models or just over the range models.

One brand that's had more problems than average is Panasonic, apparently because they control the microwave tube by turning it on and off rapidly with electronics rather than slowly with a mechanical relay.

Emerson once rated among the most reliable.

Well then, I guess the verdict is in.

The brand you will choose is adored by someone out there.
The brand you will choose is hated by someone out there.
The brand you will choose is rated reliable by testing organizations.
The brand you will choose is not rated reliable by testing organizations.

Let us know what you pick.

larrymoencurly said: [Q]Consumer Reports said that Sharp microwaves were unreliable, but I don't know if that applies to countertop models or just over the range models.
That's for over-the-range models. The countertop models are far more reliable than the over-the-range models.

I had a Sharp that lasted almost 6 years before the Start button quit working. Still cooks using the preset buttons though. I replaced it with a Samsung and found out the arrangement of the buttons sucks. The Start button should be below the number keypad. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif" border=0>

Countertop microwaves are so cheap that they are throwaway consumer items. Unfortunately, many are both cheap (inexpensive) to purchase and cheaply made. My father finally gave up on our 1970s vintage Montgomery Ward microwave. It had moved at least 8 times in 30 years and never required a single repair. I currently have a Daewoo micro/convection oven that I got at Wal-Mart for about $80. The convection feature works great but takes a long time to heat up. The oven also has a unique feature that cools down the magnetron after using the microwave for anything more than about a minute.

Anyway, I would recommend finding the cheapest oven that meets your size/power/decor needs and not worry about it too much one way or the other. Now if you're doing a built-in (in my opinion, an unwise choice) then checking the reliability statistics may mean something in the long run.

Happy shopping

WOW I guess getting a microwave really is a luck thing. I bought and returned 2 GEs in the past few days. The first one was from WM, worked fine but the following morning I noticed the display wasnt working right. The other I bought from Lowes, get it home and notice a large dent in the corner(different model). How irritating because I chose the ONLY box that looked like it hadnt been crushed, or had a huge hole in it. I ended up getting a Sharp model at lowes, after taking it out of the box and inspecting it in the store. We will see how it performes in the coming up years. Thanks everyone for the help.



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