Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Should be on my Shopping List?

The microwave I have was used when I got it. It’s a Gold Star and it’s at least 15 years old. I know that because I have had it that many years. This thing is so old that it has a dial rather than pushbuttons. It has no light inside and no revolving action, and no clock. It offers no choices except the amount of time it runs.

Catering to my frugal self, I have made do with my dinosaur microwave saying that I wouldn’t replace it until it died. Recently I have arrived at the sad conclusion that the thing is indestructible.

Because I am so tired of looking at it and all its ugliness, and because I am so tired of people coming to my house, seeing it and commenting on how ancient it must be, I’m up for shopping for a new one. The dinosaur will be donated to the thrift shop.

I have no idea what brand to look for as I shop. So here’s where you come in. What kind of microwave oven do you have? What do you like or dislike about it? What features do you like or dislike and which ones do you feel are absolutely mandatory?

I sincerely will appreciate all recommendations and suggestions.

We are off to the Daytona area for a couple of days. Mr. Pop will be giving classes to people who will be monitoring the sea turtle nests on the beaches up there, now that hatchlings will soon be emerging.

Judging by one visitor’s comments here at this site last week, I guess he would prefer that we walk from here to Daytona, the equivalent of a three hour car trip. Not gonna happen.


Blogger Fixer said...

I'm like you. I use shit until it wears out (except for cars). Thing is, when I replace the worn out stuff, I generally go top of the line (quality-wise) and it lasts for a long time until it wears out. I'd rather pay a little more up front than pay again to replace a cheap piece of shit that wore out before its time.

As for microwaves, Panasonic has a line called 'Genius' that Mrs. F swears by.

May 13, 2008 2:46 AM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

Before we were married, Mr. He Is had an old, old microwave, dial and all. It worked, but only in a manner of speaking.

For example, 3 minutes on the instructions meant about 8 minutes.

I bought an Emerson replacement, very cheaply- at Target. It is fine.

Here is a big reason to replace what you have- and you are so good to not want to just throw crap out to "get newer bigger better;" but the environmental standards of what you had must be poor.

So as for what to buy, I only wish I had checked out what the best environmental choices might be.

But you can do that. I know that there are websites. Maybe other readers know them.

May 13, 2008 2:53 AM  
Blogger Dr. Know said...

Used to make money fixing these things - my how things have changed. Used to be you bought an Amana or Litton made in this country. Now about all you can buy is disposable, short lifespan junk made in China. Panasonic and LG (GS) would be my top picks. Check the country of manufacture and avoid China. Even then, many component parts will be sourced from there. Check online for recalls, especially microwave leakage, on a given model number.

Now, on to other matters - You Suck! I'm stuck in this inland backwater while you're traipsing around the seashore looking at turtle hatchlings. Don't forget to warn the potential "guardians" not to do what they did in "Another Beach" the first year I moved there. Covered an egg site with a wiremesh cage. Forgot to remove it when the turtles hatched, and they baked in the sun. Agghh...

May 13, 2008 3:21 AM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

i have a Sharp and it works great --- i went for one that DIDNT have all the fancy crap that breaks -- all i wanted was a timer, a light, a rotating tray and different levels -- and i didnt want to spend a lot of money. mine is a built it, but the Sharp i had before was also good.

i would also avoid stuff built in China -- more on principal right now, but like Dr Know said, a lot of the parts are made in China. I highly doubt anything is made here anymore

have fun in daytona!

May 13, 2008 4:27 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

if you actually cook in yours- i don't- you probably want something a little better. i have no idea. i went with a very basic model in black. it rotates my cup of tea or bowl of veggies quite well in the allotted time. and i have had it for a few years now. i went step up from cheapest. that was before i was aware of globalization and global climate change- so we keep it.

May 13, 2008 5:01 AM  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

I have one at home without the "add a minute" button, and I'll never buy one without it again. Every time I have to push 3 extra buttons to set the timer, I curse the darn thing. I think my curses are the only thing keeping it running so well. I keep hoping it will have an aneurysm so that I can buy a spiffy new one.

May 13, 2008 5:15 AM  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

I have one just like the one you described, except that it still rotates and it used to have a light (16 years ago when I first got it in exchange for 1/8 oz. of smoky treats)that burned out long ago. You're right, it probably will last forever, but as long as it still heats water for tea and reheats leftovers, I'm good with it.

May 13, 2008 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Kenmore. It was my brothers so I have no idea how old it is. The amazing thing about it is that the defrost feature actually works without cooking the edges of the food! This appears to be the only microwave on the planet that defrosts food properly.

May 13, 2008 5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Litton the is really old and still works good. It will be given away soon because we are building a new house with all new Maytag appliances. So the new microwave is a Maytag. Sounds like a great one.

May 13, 2008 6:37 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

kenmore elite.

most of my appliances are kenmore.
they last a long time and take a lot of use/abuse.

except for the microwave, all of my other stuff, stove, washer, dryer came from the sears "scratch and dent" center. new stuff that was scratched in transit and returned. never had a problem and the warrenties are exactly the same.

May 13, 2008 6:45 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

Well I wish you lived closer to me! I would give ya one! I have 2 in NJ that I guess I am gonna sell- one is pretty old and the other brand new- I really dont need as this new place has an over the range model.
I would buy a simple/basic one- unless of course you do major cooking in it! Why spend a bunch of money just for heating up etc.

May 13, 2008 7:38 AM  
Blogger annie said...

we are on our second sharp microwave.
the last one lasted almost 15 years.

enjoy the turtle trip.

May 13, 2008 9:27 AM  
Blogger Jazz said...

I have no idea what brand I have. I rarely use the thing. We don't even have one at home, but a microwave came with the cottage, so there it sits.

May 13, 2008 9:40 AM  
Blogger dguzman said...

I usually end up with Kenmore appliances as well.

May 13, 2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger niCk (Mem Beth) said...

Yikes! I have a microwave and never use it, I have no idea how well it works becuase I have nothing to compare it against, I just know that the few times I've tried to use it, per instructions, the food was horrid. It is much faster, much better quality, and much for me to cook food the old way.

Even popcorn comes out 100 times better when I do it on the stovetop; those prepackaged microwavable popcorn pouches make the worse popcorn I've ever had.

Get rid of the thing, no replacement.

- Spoiled Brat

May 13, 2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

You're funny! I went for years without one. I'm as bad as you. My Mother finally bought me one and i had it for years. We bought a brand new Sharp that died after a few months. We just bought a new one a GE that we are happy with. It is 1200 watts and enough power for us. Too little limits you! I think they all have turn tables today but anyway even for mrs Frugal they're pretty cheap.
You sound like you live near some of my family. They are in and around Cocoa. I know there are wild fires raging in Daytona and Cocoa and all around Brevard County so just be careful and have fun. Those people are lucky, monitoring Sea Turtle nests sounds like fun!

May 13, 2008 4:01 PM  
Blogger TaraDharma said...

hmmm...bought mine at Sears...have no idea what the name of it is. Most important thing to consider: how do you use your microwave? For sure, a spinning disk in the middle is great so you don't have to rotate anymore!

I don't use a lot of fancy do-dads on mine: potato timer works fairly accurately. I use it to heat up leftovers and frozen dinners (organic ones, of course....) I also steam vegies in it. I don't use most of the features ... 50% power, etc. Go for simple!

Size matters. Oh yes. It must not take up too much space on my, ah, counter-top. hehe.

May 13, 2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger Freida Bee said...

The microwave I have was described by you and Joe to a tee; I figure it's leaking microwaves into my brain by now. We inherited it from some in-law and it came with a rotating platform that you had to wind up. That died far before the microwave itself. It's indestructible. I'd personally rather now have one, but my husband disagrees.

May 13, 2008 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharp....the best....no contest...the best!!!!!

May 14, 2008 12:19 AM  
Blogger WeezieLou said...

kenmore for me. on feature i've simply never figured out - how do you cook something at 50% the actual power?

May 14, 2008 2:51 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

I have a little Sanyo. I was looking for the smallest one I could find. It seems to be more powerful than most others as it cooks really fast. I don't actually cook in it and I would say it spends most of its time boiling water for tea. Madam does popcorn and every once in a while it steams some veges. It was very cheap at Target or somewhere. LG makes a good bottom line product as well. Remember the more features and stuff the more there is to break. Both Sanyo and LG are made in Korea.

May 14, 2008 4:01 AM  
Blogger ZILLA said...

Mine's GE.

The one at Zillahenge is a GE microwave/convection combo -- very useful & energy efficient, and I miss it, especially at Thanksgiving.

May 14, 2008 5:36 AM  
Blogger ZILLA said...

PS: Turtles! Go turtles, go!

May 14, 2008 5:37 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yay turtles! i have a sharp. i love it.

May 14, 2008 7:50 AM  
Blogger two crows said...

I think they're all required to list their environmental standards on the box these days.

knowing you, I'm sure you'll check those out --whatever brand you choose. after that, pick a price and you'll be good to go, right?

May 14, 2008 10:10 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

PoP lol how sad but i think we have the same microwave!!!!! I thought i was alone in the holding out for it to die! I'll be waiting to hear what you got :o)

May 14, 2008 1:32 PM  
Blogger dennis said...

Dennis doesn't buy anything made in China anymore, so it sure isn't easy to shop--but it's fun and he saves a lot of money. Once he passes on everything made in China he is happier. The new teakettle (replaced a rusting made in china one) cost twice as much but was hand made in England and it looks and feels like it.

appliances are so tough to buy.

May 14, 2008 2:31 PM  
Blogger Batocchio said...

I'd suggest looking at an issue of Consumer Reports. The last page of each issue has an index listing when they last reviewed a type of product. Many libraries carry issues, or at the very least their year-end wrapup/compilation buyers' guides. If nothing else, you can see which brands have the best repair records.

May 14, 2008 2:45 PM  

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