Home Countertop Ovens Countertop Oven Reviews Best Panasonic Microwave Ovens – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Best Panasonic Microwave Ovens – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

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The microwave oven is perhaps the most popular electronic kitchen appliance around the world. There are a lot of microwave ovens on the market in different sizes with various features such as power levels, preset auto-cook features, wattage, and convection cooking and sensor options.

The best Panasonic microwave oven depends upon your needs. How much space you have available? What size and type of microwave do you need? How many people you will be cooking for and what amount of food you will preparing? What features are important to you?

We hope to provide the information you need to answer these questions, and present a few front runners for your consideration.

Buying the Right Microwave Oven

Countertop

Countertop microwave ovens, like those reviewed in this article, are the most popular. They can be made for residential or commercial use. Many popular food joints still use microwave ovens to prepare and warm up food.

This category of ovens has a lot of variety too. As already explained, multiple sizes are available. Features will vary, and so will the wattage.

Over-the-range

Over-the-range microwave ovens may require professional installation. They’re recognizable by their extra width, compared to countertop models, and slightly higher prices. The wattage is similar to that of countertop models, which means that these aren’t necessarily more powerful, even when discussing high-end models.

One of the main reasons some people prefer this type of microwave oven is the lack of space. Over-the-range models can be installed above the range. They can also replace the oven hood because they feature vent systems and help as an additional light source.

microwave oven in modern kitchen

Built-in

Built-in microwave ovens are primarily used in custom kitchens. They can have the same wattage range as the previously mentioned styles and the same sizes too. That being said, the design is what makes all the difference.

Some are built to be hidden in cabinets, while the others are made to be walled-in. They will almost always require professional installation. Know that the ovens of this type tend to cost considerably more than the rest, even when it comes to low-end models with limited capacity and low wattage.

Hybrid

Hybrid microwave ovens occupy a special place. Some manufacturers offer the option of installing a countertop microwave oven as a wall-in or built-in appliance.

While this may seem like a nice concept, it involves extra costs that are not always worth the money. For one, you might not be able to install a hybrid microwave oven anywhere you want. You might need additional components and perhaps a special cabinet provided by the manufacturer.

It’s all about getting the correct measurements and honoring the design of the cabinet. Considering all that, it’s possible that hybrid cabinets can cost as much as built-in cabinets once you get all the extra bells and whistles and pay the installation fee.

Related Content: Types of Microwave Ovens

small microwave oven with dials

Size

In terms of size, microwave ovens are separated into four categories:

  • Compact
  • Midsize
  • Full-size
  • Extra-large

The sizing is usually measured in cubic feet. On one end of the spectrum, you have compact microwave ovens with a capacity under one cubic foot, while the extra-large models come with more than two cubic feet.

Then there are the external dimensions. Microwaves that don't take up too much space can be 10 by 18 inches, side by side. Larger models can be 14 by 20 inches side by side. The depth generally also increases as the ovens get bigger.

It’s good to know how much counter space you can allocate before buying a microwave oven. It’s not the lightest kitchen appliance to move around. Besides, most of the tasks that microwave ovens are supposed to do are daily requirements. This means that finding a permanent place for yours on the kitchen counter is important.

Wattage

Compared to standard and convection toaster ovens, microwave ovens are better if you want to lower your electric bill. They range between 600 and 1,200 Watts, while the toaster ovens routinely go to 1,800 Watts.

The higher the wattage rating, the more powerful the microwave oven is. This also means that it’s likely to have extra cooking functions while also cooking, defrosting, and making popcorn faster.

Microwave stove isolated on white background 3d

What Features to Look for

People use their microwave ovens mainly for reheating, defrosting, and making popcorn.  

Therefore, reheat and defrost are two programs that every microwave oven should have. However, you won’t find the popcorn button on every microwave oven. But, as long as you can set the temperature, time and follow the instructions on the bag of popcorn, most microwave ovens will do a good job.

Other programs may include frozen dinner, baked potato, tea, broiler, pizza, etc. However, most of these advanced cooking functions won’t be on par with what a good toaster oven can deliver. That’s due to the nature of how microwave cooking works.

That being said, it can be nice to have a bit of versatility.  At the very least, additional programs can offer you a good starting point. This means that you can spend less time researching temperature levels and correct power settings.

One more interesting feature that you might want to look for is a steam measuring sensor. Automatic steam measuring sensors take steam readings from inside the oven to determine whether or not the food is done before the timer reaches its limit.

According to the program and readings, if the food is cooked, the sensors can turn off the oven prematurely to avoid overcooking the food.

Safety Features and Build Quality

Although most conspiracies involving the harmful effects of microwaves in cooking have been debunked, there are still some safety concerns. While microwaves don’t have a particularly negative impact on the food they cook, they can still be harmful to you if the waves escape the confines of the oven.

Therefore, the microwave oven you plan on buying must have good build quality. Make sure that the door is solid and that it’s childproof. Childproofing a microwave oven door may involve making the door harder to pull open or, in more high-end models, lockable with a keypad code.

Safety features also include interlocks. Interlocks prevent the microwave oven from working when the door opens. A microwave oven can have more than one interlock. Three is usually the highest number. Each additional interlock acts as a failsafe for the previous one.

Turntables: Rotating vs. Sliding

Rotating turntables are still the most popular choice in most microwave ovens. The reason why they’re so popular is their efficiency. When the food gets spun around inside the oven, it gets blasted with microwaves on all sides and cooks evenly.

Some microwave ovens may feature a side-to-side sliding turntable. While this also helps provide better coverage, it’s not considered necessarily superior. Slow rotating turntables seem to work better.

You may also want to check if the microwave oven has a removable turntable. Removable glass plates make it easier to clean the microwave oven. Most medium, full-sized, and extra-large microwave ovens should have this feature. In the case of compact models, most turntables are fixed.

The Role Brands Play

Since there are many manufacturers of microwave ovens, it's a good idea to look at the brand's track record compared to others.  

Buying a microwave oven from brands such as Panasonic, Bosch, LG, and other big players can give you peace of mind in that the device is well-built and that you won’t have any serious problems with it.

Is the price higher? Usually, but keep in mind that microwave ovens are getting fancier by the day. And, big brands will always get the first crack at new innovative technologies, which could be another perk.

Understanding Inverter Technology

Inverter technology is something you can usually find in more advanced and high-end microwave ovens. This technology introduces a new heating process that is better equipped to handle cooking on lower than 100% power levels.

In most microwave ovens, even though you can set the power at 30% or 50%, the oven doesn’t maintain that power. Instead, it switches often between full power and no power to have the desired average output.

With inverter heating, this is no longer an issue. Inverter technology allows microwaves to maintain whatever power level you choose; without alternating between 100% and 0%. This means that the output is constant, and the food cooks more evenly. It’s also the reason why some high-end models can even help you poach delicious fish or make an extra fluffy omelet with minimum effort.

Panasonic Microwave Oven Reviews

Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven

The Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven is a sleek, compact unit that offers multipurpose cooking technology. The turntable (14”) can hold a 9”x13” baking dish. This countertop oven is user-friendly and has 20 automatic pre-set options: turbo defrost, one-touch reheat, and Quick 30 (1 touch to add 30 seconds).

Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer, Convection Bake, FlashXpress Broiler, Inverter Microwave Technology, 1000W, 1.2 cu ft with Easy Clean Interior - NN-CD87KS (Stainless Steel)Check price and availability

Product Highlights

The Panasonic Home Chef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven features four functions: microwave, broiler, air fryer, and convection oven. These four cooking options can be selected individually, or you can choose the convection plus microwave and broil plus microwave combination. This gives you the option of preparing fast and nutritious snacks and meals.

Microwave

The microwave function has Panasonic’s patented Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor Technology that can be used to cook, defrost, reheat food.  

The microwave function can be used to cook, defrost, and reheat food. This model has the Inverted and Genius Sensor Technology plus 20 automatic cook menu presets. You can keep food warm for 30 minutes after cooking. The keep-warm feature can be set as a final stage after the cooking time has been entered. However, it can’t be used with all auto programs.

Air Fryer  

If you want to prepare healthy snacks meals with little to no oil, the air fryer feature is selected.  Air frying works by circulating hot air around the food.

You can prepare chicken wings and nuggets, French fries, and kale chips. An air fryer basket, wire rack, and enamel tray are included.

FlashXpress Broiler

The FlashXpress Broiler is a way to use the two technologies, microwave and broil, simultaneously. A wire rack is included with the oven. This rack is placed close to the infrared grilling element. The broiler can also be used to toast bread, although it is time-consuming since you must turn it over three times.

Convection Oven

Another great feature of this oven is the convection function which can be used for baking and roasting. The NN-CD87KS could be used as a main or a second oven. There is a choice of two convection temperature settings: 100°F and 215°F - 425°F.     

Specifications of Panasonic

HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven

  • 1000 Watts
  • 1.2 Cu. Ft.  
  • Presets: 20
  • Exterior Dimensions 22” x 17” x 13.4” WxDxH
  • Warranty: One-year parts and labor warranty with an additional five years for the magnetron tube (parts only).

Final Thoughts

What We Like

The Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 is equipped with 20 automatic pre-set options and a child lock.

If you live in an apartment that doesn’t have a stove or in a tiny house or apartment, this is a great alternative since you can use four cooking methods in one appliance. The air fryer provides the capability to cook foods with little or no oil

Since the unit is only 1.2 Cu. Ft, this can fit in kitchens that don’t have a lot of counter space. It can also be installed as built-in if you buy the trim kit (NN-TK81KCS).

What Makes Us Think Twice

The Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven is an expensive microwave oven. However, if you would use the air fryer, broiler, and convection features, it might be worth the extra expense. It is easy to use and clean and is cost-efficient if you like to prepare a variety of meals.

Some consumers have complained this model is noisy.

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Panasonic NN-SN936B

The Panasonic NN-SN936B countertop microwave oven is a nice alternative for someone on a budget who still needs smart cooking features in their favorite kitchen appliance. 

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
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Product Highlights

One of the most important features of the Panasonic NN-SN936B is the inverter technology. If you’re not a fan of the cyclic power dropping and you would like the microwave oven to maintain a low-level temperature, then you would probably be pleased with this model.

Another innovative feature of this microwave oven is the Genius sensor. It is used in the sensor cook program, which has 14 levels. Each level is programmed to handle specific foods. Make sure to check the owner’s manual to see how and when to use them if you want to make the most of the smart cooking mode and get accurate steam readings.

Turbo defrost option is also included. Thanks to the inverter technology, the power consistency helps speed up the defrosting process of small and large frozen food items. And you can fit a lot in this microwave oven, too.

The large 2.2 cu. ft. model is spacious and has a 16.5” glass turntable. Since it is lighter than you would expect, rotating heavier food items won’t be an issue. A good turntable is a key to cooking and defrosting food evenly.

You can set the oven to work for 30 seconds; this is the shortest setting. Other controls can be adjusted based on the program and the power level. For each power setting, you can choose between 10 levels.

Power level adjustability is significant in a microwave oven as it helps prevent both undercooking and overcooking.  And, it’s even better when inverter technology is also available since it guarantees that the levels will remain constant throughout the process.

The user panel has a simple keypad design. Like many other Panasonic microwave ovens, the NN-SN936B also has a child lock feature to prevent unwanted accidents.

As far as the design and build quality are concerned, this model is sturdy. However, the microwave oven is on the heavy side. The door has a solid design which creates the perfect seal. It can withstand heavy use without showing signs of wear and tear that might lead to microwave radiation leaking out of the oven.

The oven looks great on paper and performs even better in real life. It can still cover all your basic tasks, too, including making popcorn, defrosting, and keeping your food warm after it’s done. Even the popcorn program has three levels you can experiment with if you like popcorn to have a particular taste.

Specifications of Panasonic

 Microwave Oven NN-SN936B

  • 1250 Watts
  • 2.2 Cu. Ft.
  • Presets: 14
  • Exterior Dimensions  23.88” x 19.44” x 14” (L x W x H) 
  • Warranty: One-year parts and labor warranty with an additional five years for the magnetron tube (parts only).

Final Thoughts

What We Like

The Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B  is a terrific buy.  Along with the Genius sensor and inverter technology it is easy to use and is affordable.  It has 14 sensor cooking programs from which to choose.

Moreover, it is built to last and offers features and options on par with more expensive Panasonic models. Additionally, it has a spacious cooking chamber with a big turntable and is easy to clean.

What Makes Us Think Twice

If you are short on kitchen counter space this unit might be too big. 

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Panasonic NN-SN65KW

The Panasonic NN-SN65KW Microwave Oven is another option for those on a budget who want a selection of auto cook settings, Panasonic’s Inverter Technology™, and Genius sensor capability.

Panasonic is known for its inverter technology, allowing the oven to generate a continuous power stream, so the food is evenly cooked and defrosted. The Genius Sensor cooks and reheats automatically by adjusting the power levels. You don’t have to set the cooking and defrosting times as they are automatically adjusted.

Panasonic NN-SN65KW Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology, 1200W, 1.2 cu.ft. Small Genius Sensor One-Touch Cooking, Popcorn Button, Turbo Defrost-NN-SN65KW-(White)Check price and availability

Product Highlights

This 1200 Watt microwave has 11 power levels to control the heating strength to cook the food. The NN-SN65KW also has these features: sensor reheat, coffee/milk reheating, turbo defrost, popcorn (3 levels), frozen foods, keep warm (Power level 0), and a quick 30 seconds button. Although there isn’t a button specifically to lock the microwave, it is possible to lock it by pressing the start button three times.

To use the turbo defrost feature, enter the meat’s weight (maximum of 6 pounds), and the microwave sets the defrosting time.

Roasts should be placed fat-side down, while poultry is set breast-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Removing the wrapping helps the moisture to evaporate. It makes sense that if there is a lot of liquid, removing that during the defrosting process produces evenly defrosted meat.

If the piece of meat is larger, there may be a beeping sound halfway through the defrosting process. If this happens, turn over or rearrange the meat.

Many microwave ovens have a feature whereby the popcorn button is pressed once regardless of the weight of the popcorn. The popcorn feature on the Panasonic NN-SN65KW has three levels. The popcorn button is pressed until the desired weight appears on the display. This feature is designed to cook the popcorn without burning the kernels or leaving too many unpopped.

The keep warm feature can be used as the final cooking stage after the time has been manually entered. This setting can be used in any of the power levels. However, it cannot be used with automatic functions such as Frozen Foods, Sensor Cook, Popcorn, Coffee/Milk, and Turbo Defrost.

The 30-second button increases the time by 30 seconds every time it is pressed up to a maximum of 5 minutes. Although the power level is preset to level 10, it can be used at other power levels. The 30-second feature can only be used with Microwave, Keep Warm, and Timer.

Specifications of Panasonic

 Microwave Oven NN-SN65KW

  • 1200 Watts
  • 1.2 Cu. Ft.
  • Presets: 15
  • Exterior Dimensions: 12.2" x 20.7" x 15.8" (HxWxD)
  • Warranty: One-year parts and labor warranty with an additional five years for the magnetron tube (parts only).

What We Like

The Panasonic NN-SN65KW is an excellent value. This affordable microwave oven has Panasonic Inverter and Genius Sensor Technologies. The food is evenly heated from the center to the edge, and the temperature is regulated consistently.  The interior size of 1.2 Cu. Ft. is sufficient for most meals.

Microwaves in this price range usually only have one popcorn setting, while this has three options based on weight. The inside and turntable are also very easy to clean.

What Makes Us Think Twice

  • The interior lighting is dim due to the position of the light.
  • The microwave is noisy.
  • The keypad is not as responsive as more expensive units.
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Panasonic NN-SN686S

If you’re looking for a versatile microwave oven, then the Panasonic NN-SN686S model might be the one for you. It is designed for fast cooking and meal prepping, and it won’t occupy too much counter space.

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cubic Foot, 1200W
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Product Highlights

Similar to most Panasonic countertop microwave ovens these days, the NN-SN686S features the acclaimed inverter technology. Whether you’re trying to make popcorn, melt butter, boil water, or defrost meat and veggies, the power level will remain constant throughout the process. This makes it almost impossible to get unevenly defrosted food since there’s no guesswork involved and no power level fluctuations.

This model is not only affordable but also more compact than others. Yet it has the standard 1200 Watts of power. The overall dimensions are 12.2" x 20.7" x 15.8" (H x W x D).

In regards to settings, this model doesn’t disappoint. We use this microwave in our kitchen daily and are very pleased with it. 

While it may not be as advanced as the more expensive models, it still makes full use of its Genius sensor. This means that sensor cooking is included, and there are 14 preset programs or levels for you to choose from.

The inverter technology also accommodates another feature named inverter turbo defrost. For this program, you can also input the weight of your frozen food or ingredients to maximize its efficiency.

The keep-warm feature is present, as it should be in any microwave oven. There’s also a button that puts the microwave in popcorn mode.

This countertop microwave is equipped with a child lock that ensures safety and prevents the oven from starting.

Note that it is a removable turntable, which makes cleaning the oven easy.

Specifications of Panasonic

 Microwave Oven NN-SN686S

  • 1200 Watts
  • 1.2 Cu. Ft.
  • Presets: 14
  • Exterior Dimensions: 12.2" x 20.7" x 15.8" (HxWxD)
  • Warranty: One-year parts and labor warranty with an additional five years for the magnetron tube (parts only).

Final Thoughts

What We Like

The balance between price, footprint, and raw power might be very appealing to many home cooks. Thanks to its patented inverter technology, Genius sensor, and a good combination of features and preset programs, this microwave oven can do a lot without much hassle. This unit has a child safety lock, is quiet, and straightforward to use.

If you are looking for countertop microwave oven for your home or office kitche, the Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S is a great option. 

Downside - according to some users

Although there are consumers who complain the LCD is too small, I don't think it is. 

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Panasonic NN-GN68KS Microwave Oven with FlashXpress Broiler

The last selection of our best Panasonic microwave ovens is the NN-GN68KS Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology and FlashXpress Broiler. This microwave was introduced in July 2019.

As with the other Panasonic microwaves we reviewed, this unit features Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor cooking. However, it has a grill setting and a combination microwave/grill function, which the others don't have.

Panasonic NN-GN68KS Countertop Microwave Oven with FlashXpress, 3-in-1 Broiler, Food Warmer, Plus Genius Sensor Cooking– 1.1 cu. ft, Stainless Steel/SilverCheck price and availability

Product Highlights

The Panasonic NN-GN68KS Countertop Microwave Oven with FlashXpress Broiler is a compact unit available in one size – 1.1 cu. ft. In terms of power, the microwave is 1000 Watts and the broiler 1100 Watts. A dedicated circuit is required when operating this unit.

One of the most significant drawbacks to microwave cooking is that food is not always evenly cooked. To rectify this, Panasonic started manufacturing (other companies then followed suit) microwaves with Inverter Technology. This technology creates a uniform amount of power to thoroughly and evenly heat foods.

Another feature of this microwave is the Genius Sensor. This sensor measures the amount of steam produced when cooking. It then signals the microprocessor to lengthen or shorten the cooking cycle at the correct power level.

The Sensor Reheat feature can be used to warm leftovers such as casseroles, soups, and stews. 

However, it cannot reheat bread, meat pie, pastry products, or frozen foods.

There are ten Sensor Cook settings (oatmeal, breakfast sausage, omelets, soups, potatoes, fresh vegetables, rice, quinoa, pasta, and fish fillets). To use this feature, press Sensor Cook, then the number corresponding to the food being cooked (a chart in the user manual). 

The grill function can reheat crispy foods such as chicken nuggets or pizza or make grilled cheese sandwiches. Au gratin dishes can be placed on the wire rack.

When the grill feature is activated, heat radiates from the two infrared heating elements at the top containing the food on top of the rack. It is not necessary to preheat the oven. It should be noted that only the top of the food will be grilled. Therefore, if you want the bottom grilled, it will have to be flipped over. An auto grill function can be used as well as setting a specific time for grilling.

The combination feature allows the microwave and grill functions to operate at the same time. The performance of this setting has received mixed reviews. Some consumers prefer to use the functions separately for certain foods.

There are two methods available for defrosting: 1) turbo defrost and 2) manual defrost. For frozen foods, Panasonic's Turbo Defrost feature accelerates defrosting time and thaws food evenly and quickly. To use this feature, press TURBO DEFROST, enter the weight of the food (maximum is 6 pounds), and press START.  Manual defrost (Power level 3) can also be used. The instruction book has a chart with the appropriate time setting for a specific type of food and its weight.  

Another feature of the Panasonic NN-GN68KS is multistage cooking. For example, power level 9 can be set for 5 minutes, 5 for 2 minutes, and 3 for one minute. However, this function cannot be used with automatic modes such as popcorn, coffee/milk, etc.

Other dedicated cooking features are coffee/milk, popcorn, and frozen foods.

Specifications of Panasonic NN-GN68KS Microwave Oven with FlashXpress Broiler

  • Microwave: 1000 Watts
  • Broiler: 1100 Watts
  • 1.1 Cu. Ft.
  • Presets: 12
  • Exterior Dimensions: 20.7”x15.8”x12.2”
  • Warranty: One-year parts and labor warranty with an additional five years for the magnetron tube (parts only).
  • Final Thoughts

    What We Like

    As with the other Panasonic microwave ovens in this review, this unit has Inverter Technology and the Genius Sensor. The Panasonic NN-GN68KS has a grill function that can be used separately or in combination with the microwave.

    The NN-GN68KC heats evenly and defrosts quickly.

    It also has many dedicated functions and convenient features such as Quick 30, Add Time, Delay Start, and Coffee/Milk reheat. Although the sensor reheat and sensor cook functions are available, cooking and reheating times can be set manually.    

    The type and number of functions, such as the stage setting option, of the Panasonic NN-GN68KS add to the cost of this unit.

    What Makes Us Think Twice

    If you only want to use a microwave for cooking frozen dinners, defrosting, and reheating foods, and have a toaster oven, a compact microwave might be a better fit for your culinary needs. This microwave oven does not have a keep warm feature.

    However, if this Panasonic microwave/grill is on your shortlist, there are a few downsides to consider before making your final decision. The main issue is that it is not user-friendly.

    • The Power Level button has to be pressed until it reaches P0 to keep your food warm.
    • This microwave oven does not have a numeric keypad. Instead, buttons (10 seconds, 1-minute, and 10 minutes) must be pressed repeatedly to obtain the desired level/temperature setting.
    • Even though the unit is equipped with a separate feature that can be selected to cook for 30 seconds, it cannot be used with the 10 second, 1-minute, and 10 minutes settings. For example, if you wanted to cook soup for 1 minute 30 seconds, you could not press the 1-minute button and the 30-second button. You would have to press the 1-minute button once and the 10-second button three times.
    • There’s a learning curve with this unit.  You’ll probably need to refer to the user manual for some dishes until you have the settings committed to memory.
    • The interior light is dim.

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    Top-rated Panasonic Microwave Oven Comparison Chart

    Product

    Wattage

    Capacity

    Presets

    HomeChef 4-in-1

    1000

    1.2 Cu. Ft.

    20

    NN-SN936B

    1250

    2.2 Cu. Ft.

    14

    NN-SN65KW

    1200

    1.2 Cu. Ft.

    15

    NN-SN686S

    1200

    1.2 Cu. Ft.

    14

    NN-GN68KS w/ Flash Xpress Broiler

    Microwave-1000

    Broiler - 1100

    1.1 Cu. Ft.

    12

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