Samsung offers two over the range microwaves that earn strong reviews from both professionals and users. The Samsung SMH1713W (Est. $170) is a top pick with owners, who praise its fast, even heating and quiet operation. This microhood has a capacity of 1.7 cubic feet, but professional testers found that only 0.7 cubic feet of that space is actually usable. However, a majority of owners still find the microwave big enough to handle large items. Some users find the display hard to read, and they wish it had a quick-minute feature to add one minute of cook time with the press of a button. Another drawback of this microwave is that, like most microhoods, it's only so-so at venting heat and fumes. Reliability, however, seems to be a strong point: we saw fewer complaints about breakdowns for this microwave oven than for any other.
At 1.8 cubic feet, the Samsung SMH1816W ($200) is only slightly larger than the SMH1713W. However, professional testers measure its usable capacity at 1.0 cubic feet, which gives you significantly more space to work with. It also performs better overall in professional tests: it defrosts more evenly and it's better at ventilation. This microhood didn't earn our Best Reviewed pick because it doesn't fare as well in user reviews -- while owners praise its fast, even heating and strong air flow, they also complain about its reliability. Many reviewers report that their microwave ovens died within one to two years after purchase. Users also complain that the microwave is noisy and its controls aren't intuitive. Overall, 79 percent of owners at BestBuy.com say they would recommend the SMH1816W, as compared to 88 percent for the SMH1713W.
One feature the two Samsung microhoods have in common is their warranty. It covers parts and labor for one year, and the magnetron (the element that generates microwave energy) is covered for 10 years. Both models are available in white, black and stainless-steel finishes. Their styling is sleek and classic, with a smooth face and a wide door handle rather than a push-button latch.