The Breville The Compact Wave is a sleek and stylish kitchen appliance that would complement the modern aesthetic in most kitchens. It's very easy to use and does well with frozen foods but we weren't too impressed with how this product scored across the board in our microwave testing results. It struggled with defrosting and delivered overall lackluster results in our heating metrics. All in all, we generally would recommend a plethora of other products over this one for most people.Editor's Note: This product review was added to our review lineup and first published on March 17, 2022.
Breville the Compact Wave Review
Pros: Soft-close door, can mute sounds
Cons: Expensive, so-so performance
Compare to Similar Products
Breville the Compact Wave
$236.99 at Amazon
|$250 List||$120 List||$170 List|
$141.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Soft-close door, can mute sounds||Even heating, integrated heat sensor, large capacity||Excellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to use||Excellent at defrosting, convenient||Inexpensive, above-average performance, compact|
|Cons||Expensive, so-so performance||Large, no time defrost, no volume adjust||So-so with mixed leftovers||Large, expensive||Low power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functions|
|Bottom Line||This pricey product failed to pair a top-notch performance with its premium price tag||This is a top-tier appliance with a large capacity and very even heating||For those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we tested||An excellent all-around product with a large capacity, this model has convenient features and is exceptional at defrosting||This compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integration|
|Rating Categories||Breville the Compac...||Panasonic NN-SN936B||Kenmore 70919||Toshiba EM131A5C||Amazon Basics Micro...|
|Frozen Foods (30%)|
|Ease of use (10%)|
|Specs||Breville the Compac...||Panasonic NN-SN936B||Kenmore 70919||Toshiba EM131A5C||Amazon Basics Micro...|
|Wattage||900 watts||1250 watts||900 watts||1100 watts||700 watts|
|Size||0.9 cu. ft.||2.2 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||0.7 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||19.1"W x 11.5"H x 16.4"D||19.44" x 23.88" x 14"||17.7"W x 11.0"H x 14.5"D||20.5"W x 12.8"H x 17.1"D||17.3"W x 10.1"H x 14.1"D|
|Internal Dimentions||12"W x 7.9"H x 12"D||18.4"W x 10.4"H x 18.5"D||13.6"W x 9.3"H x 12.4"D||15"W x 9.5"H x 13.1"D||10.9"W x 6.9"H x 10"D|
|45 Sec Heating Temp Rise||95 F||112 F||83 F||111 F||70 F|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The dial interface and sleek and stylish look of this product are sure to catch some looks in your kitchen but your pocketbook might take quite a hit compared to other models.
For the first round of testing for these kitchen appliances, we rated and scored how each one did at heating up different types of food. This accounts for 40% of the overall score for each product, with the Breville exhibiting a mediocre performance.
Heat Map Test
Responsible for the bulk of the score of the heating metric at 35%, our heat map test is the most important. This consisted of a layer of marshmallow fluff spread out on a piece of parchment paper, then heated in each microwave to highlight any hot or cold spots.
This test revealed a hot spot in the center of the microwave, as well as a ring along the outer edge that was noticeably warmer.
Heating Speed Test
Next, we scored how quickly each product could heat up, using a measured volume of water in a beaker as our control. We heated up each beaker for 45 seconds and then compared the temperature increase to determine scores. This is responsible for one-fifth of the overall score in the heating metric.
The Breville The Compact Wave did much much better in this test, able to elicit a temperature increase of more than 95°F.
Next up, we looked at the leftover heating capabilities of each product, which accounts for 15% of the total score for the Heating metric. We used the Breville to reheat a plate of mashed potatoes, green beans, and sausages, then based scores on the consistency of temperature and if the food was heated enough to serve.
The Breville delivered a moderate performance in this regard, with only 10°F to 20°F of variation within different areas of each type of food. The sausages were warmer than the rest and were the only thing out of the three that we would consider ready to serve, with the vegetables both requiring a bit more time in the microwave.
Responsible for 15% of the total heating score, our soup subtest was fairly simple in execution. We heated up a bowl of premade soup following the manufacturer's instructions and then compared performance based on the level of heating achieved.
The Breville again did decently well, heating the soup on the warmer side compared to other models. We measured the temperature at 163°F — more than hot enough to serve.
We wrapped up our heating metric by heating up some slices of pizza and comparing how each appliance did. We used a non-contact infrared temperature gun to compare performance in this last test, accounting for the residual 15% of the heating score for each microwave.
The Breville finished out the heating metric with a subpar showing. The cheese wasn't melted sufficiently to our taste and there were some noticeable cool spots close to the crust.
Our frozen foods metric consisted of heating up a Hot Pocket, frozen burrito, and a personal-size lasagna based on the manufacturer's instructions and then assessing the evenness of heating using a series of digital thermometers. This accounts for 30% of the overall score for each appliance. The Breville did a bit better overall, earning a score just above average.
It did very well with the Hot Pocket, heating it evenly — though the outside wasn't as crisp as some of the others. There was only an average difference of about 6°F between different zones as well. There was about the same temperature difference in the personal-sized lasagna but we found the bottom to be just a bit underdone and chewy in our taste test. However, the Breville did fail to heat the burrito sufficiently, hurting its score. The center was below the recommended serving temperature by around 11°F .
Our next metric — responsible for 20% of the overall score — dealt with the defrosting abilities of each microwave. We used a pound of frozen ground as our test subject, running the defrost function on each microwave and assessing scores based on the amount of meat defrosted.
The Breville doesn't alert you when to flip the ground meat with only a little over half of the meat successfully defrosted. We found it to be wildly uneven, with only half of the meat heated. Overall, we would definitely want to put it back in the microwave before using it.
Ease of Use
The remaining 10% of the total score is dedicated to how easy to use each of these kitchen appliances are, including how effective the preset functions are. The Breville did quite well, earning a score just above-average.
We like that this microwave has ample interior light and a convenient to use "+30 seconds" button, along with a dial to set additional times. It can't function as a standalone timer but we liked that you can mute the microwave. The soft close prevents you from shutting the door too hard and the microwave doesn't easily slide around on the counter. The popcorn function also worked well, with the majority of the kernels popped without being burned.
Should You Buy the Breville The Compact Wave?
Overall, we find this microwave to be fairly lackluster in overall performance. This, coupled with its premium price tag, make us reluctant to recommend this for most people.
What Other Microwaves Should You Consider?
The Panasonic NN-SN936 or the Kenmore 70919 are both some of the highest scoring microwaves that we have tested to date and both typically retail for less than the Breville.
— Matt Spencer & David WIse
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