I recently tried the Cuisinart CMW-200 1-1/5 cubic foot Convection Microwave Oven With Grill for a period of two weeks. I did this so that I could provide an in-depth review to anyone considering purchasing this model. I put my usual microwave oven into storage and used this in its place. I did this so that I could get a clear picture of how this unit performs with normal daily usage. Here is my review.

This Cuisinart microwave oven will cost you about $250 including the shipping. This is on the higher side of mid-range as far as price goes and expectations should be formed accordingly. One of the reasons for the higher cost is the added convection and grill features not found on most models. I removed my new appliance from the box and looked it over. It is rather large; it has 1-1/5 cubic feet of interior space. It has a clean brushed steel finish. The shape is very sleek and pleasing. The overall feel to this model is sturdy and solid. The door closes well. It has digital touch controls which include many pre-set buttons. It has a very solid and thick rotating glass tray. It also comes with a reversible grill rack that has legs on each side to give you two different height options. The grill rack doesn't have as solid of a feel to it as the turntable or the unit itself, but it does not feel overly cheap either.

I read the included owner's manual and was surprised at the clearance needed for this unit. You must allow 3 inches on each side and in the back, and twelve inches on top. I normally keep my microwave oven on the countertop which has cupboards 18 inches above it. This model is just over 14 inches tall, so there is no way I can keep it in that spot. That is something to keep in mind, since many countertops have cupboards above them and rarely is the space between the two over 26 inches. I used an old TV stand as a makeshift microwave oven cart for the review period. You could also keep this unit on a kitchen island, if your kitchen has one. Once I used this microwave oven I could see that the extra clearance is needed; this unit gets hot while in the “grill” mode.

First, let's address the microwave oven aspect of this unit. It is very capable with 1000 watts of power. It does well for usual tasks such as steaming vegetables or popping popcorn. It heats quickly and evenly and I found no evidence of the “hot spots” that occur with cheaper models. The controls are intuitive and easy to use. This is a good microwave oven.

Now, let's move onto the convection and grill aspect of this appliance. You have three options when it comes to using the grill feature: 100% grilling, 30% microwaves and 70% grilling, or 55% microwaves and 45% grilling. It is important to realize the pros and cons of grilling verses microwaving. Microwaving is much quicker; it is the fastest way to cook food. It does this by superheating the water contained within food and essentially steaming everything. Grilling (or convection baking) offers a drier heat which is much slower at both warming up and cooking. But that dry heat can offer much better flavor in the finished product. That type of cooking can brown food, developing flavors that can never be achieved through microwaving. It reduces the risk of soggy foods.

This unit is slow at warming up in the grill or convection baking setting. It takes about 20 minutes to reach 350 degrees F and about 30 minutes to reach 400 degrees F. That is about how long my old full-sized oven takes, but that will be a longer wait time for you if you happen to be accustomed to a newer, more efficient oven. Once the temperature is reached, the baking or grilling feature gets good (but not outstanding) results. I would say my toaster oven or regular oven offers better browning and crisps up food better. But I would also say this unit cooks food better than a microwave oven. I like the option of using part microwaves and part grilling. That gives you a great “in-between” option that cooks your food more quickly than a regular oven but offers some browning that is normally not present in microwaved food. I found that setting to work well for skinless cuts of meat but not for things like skin-on chicken legs.

Overall, this is a good appliance with a lot of versatility. Visit Microwave Oven Reviews for more information on this model and many more. You'll find thousands of reviews as well as a handy buying guide to help you along the way.

Source by Heather Krasovec