The Samsung SMH1816W offers more usable space than the Samsung SMH1713W (Est. $170) , our top-rated over the range microwave. It also gets better reviews in professional tests for its performance at venting heat and fumes. Testers give it very good marks for even heating and defrosting, and users say its cooking sensors are very accurate. However, it didn't earn our Best Reviewed pick because there are so many complaints about its durability.
Powerful heating and ventilation. Professional testers say the 1,100-watt Samsung SMH1816W microwave doesn't necessarily heat faster than others, but it heats and defrosts very evenly. It also stands out in terms of ventilation, delivering much stronger airflow than the smaller Samsung SMH1713W. Users are impressed with the Samsung's performance for both cooking and ventilation. One review says "30 seconds in this puppy is night and day to 30 seconds in my old microwave," and another describes the cooking sensors as "spot on." Reviewers are divided on the issue of noise, however. Some owners praise the microhood's quiet operation, while others say it's louder than any microwave they've ever owned.
Spacious and stylish. Like the SMH1713W, the Samsung SMH1816W microwave has 10 power levels, cooking sensors, and a variety of automatic cooking and defrosting cycles. One big difference between the two microwaves is their airflow: The SMH1816W can vent 400 cubic feet per minute (cfm), while the smaller Samsung pulls only 300 cfm. Another big difference is capacity. At 1.8 cubic feet, the SMH1816W is only slightly bigger than the SMH1713W, but professional testers say a full cubic foot of that space is usable. In terms of looks, the two microwaves are similar: classic and sleek, with a wide door handle and a choice of black, white, and stainless finishes.
Intuitive for some, but not for all. Users generally agree that the Samsung SMH1816W microhood is easy to install. However, they're split over how easy it is to use once it's in place. Nearly half the reviews at BestBuy.com say the Samsung SMH1816W has "easy to use controls," but we also found several reviews that say the controls are far from intuitive. One reviewer complains that even after several months of use, "I *STILL* have to think about 'where's the start,' 'where do you set the timer,' etc. The layout is just NOT clear." On the plus side, most users describe the microwave as easy to clean.
Doesn't hold up. Durability is definitely the Samsung SMH1816W's weakest point. We read several reports about microwaves breaking down, typically just outside of the one-year warranty period. Users whose microwaves broke down during the first year are, if anything, even more frustrated, saying that Samsung's repair service is "horrible." Most of the failures we found involve the control panel, so the 10-year warranty on the magnetron isn't much of a help. Multiple reviews urge buyers who choose this Samsung microwave to invest in an extended warranty -- ideally one that includes repair service from the store rather than from Samsung.
The ConsumerReports.org website has ratings for more than 80 over-the-range microwave ovens, including the Samsung SMH1816W. Microwaves are rated on how quickly they heat water, how evenly they reheat and defrost food, their noise level, and ease of use.
Review: Recommended Microwave Ovens, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
We found more than 300 reviews for the Samsung SMH1816W here, with ratings averaging 4 stars out of 5. Owners praise the microhood's even heating, accurate sensors, and powerful ventilation, but there are some durability complaints. About 79 percent of users say they would recommend the microwave.
Review: Samsung - 1.8 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave - Stainless-Steel, Contributors to BestBuy.com