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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cooks consistently
There are a lot of differences among microwave ovens these days. There are ranges of features, ways to program them, as well as preprogrammed cooking cycles for everything from making popcorn to softening ice cream. But the true test of a good microwave oven is how well it cooks. Some foods are more difficult than others. And having flexible programming cycles is what...
Published on October 1, 2012 by Wayne

versus
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does the Trick Nicely (UPDATED)
This microwave replaces a trusty high-end Panasonic for one major reason: after moving to a new house we realized how much smaller the new kitchen is, and the 2.2 cu ft Panasonic was a little too big. Of course, it turned out that for the measly 16% reduction in counter space footprint (which ended up being a negligible 2 inches in width and 1.5 inches in depth), the...
Published on October 25, 2012 by Jeff Kraus


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cooks consistently, October 1, 2012
By 
Wayne (Silicon Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are a lot of differences among microwave ovens these days. There are ranges of features, ways to program them, as well as preprogrammed cooking cycles for everything from making popcorn to softening ice cream. But the true test of a good microwave oven is how well it cooks. Some foods are more difficult than others. And having flexible programming cycles is what makes today's microwave ovens so much different from early ones where the only option was cook time.

Virtually all home microwave ovens have a popcorn button these days, and surprisingly not all of them work as well as they should, but if you merely want a microwave oven to make popcorn or heat a frozen burrito for the amount of time mentioned on the package, I can recommend microwave ovens for less money. If you've read my reviews of other microwave ovens, you know that. But that doesn't mean this model falls short when it comes to those tasks. Its strength though is that it does much more.

When you want to go beyond basic reheating, this Amana is worthy of your consideration. And it's no slouch when it comes to reheating either. I've found that among the most difficult foods to get right in a microwave oven are chicken cutlets. It's easy to get them spongy or rubbery and inedible when overdone. And underdone chicken can't be eaten. Even harder to get right is fish. And harder than that is frozen chicken or fish. If you've ever overcooked salmon or tuna, or had a piece that was frozen in the middle, you know what I mean. To test this oven, I tried a frozen Mojito Salmon dinner from Trader Joe's. This oven allowed me to press a defrost button, a time, a cook button, a time, and a start button. The result was perfection. It was tender and evenly cooked, sufficiently hot but not overcooked or tough in any spots.

Reheating used to be a guessing game, but newer microwave ovens such as this one have sensor reheat buttons. That allows you to press a single button, start it, and let it figure out how long to cook things. I tested this by reheating some homemade chicken Marsala. The oven figured out how long to cook, and it came out fully reheated with no loss of texture, or other damage to the food. Aside from a slight caramelized appearance to the sauce at the periphery of the plate, the food itself was perfect. But it could have used slightly less cooking. Reheating meat on the other hand showed why competing companies have multiple programs for sensor cooking. This one overdid things. If I have to monitor how long something cooks, that defeats the purpose of the sensor.

The company's website mentions a "more/less" feature, but that's noticeably absent from this oven or its instructions. It's a feature present in competing models such as those from Panasonic, and it's a feature I miss when using sensor cooking. The limited number of programs also leaves out many non-sensor cooking settings. In all fairness most people probably won't use all the cooking settings on competing brands, but if you want to cook oatmeal or melt chocolate, you will need to figure out time and power settings on your own. If you are big on prepared foods with heating directions, that won't be an issue. But you do get the more important ones such as fresh and frozen vegetables, pizza reheat, potato, soup, and beverage. The beverage function has disappeared from other brands even including a Panasonic Genius with 19 cook programs. But it's one I use more often than the ones that Amana left out. It heated a mug of water to about 180 degrees F, which is a tad above the minimum for Starbucks coffee, a tad below McDonald's coffee and slightly less than the 190 degrees of an InSinkErator Hot Water Dispenser. For me, that's right where it should be.

Another limitation of this microwave oven is two consecutive cooking cycles. You can't program it to wait an hour, defrost two lbs by weight, and cook at 80% for half an hour. Realistically it's rare that I use even two consecutive cycles, but it wouldn't have cost them much to program this one to accept more cycles. On the plus side, the timer function works independently of the cooking functions, which for me is a benefit. Needing to time things while the microwave is running happens far more often than needing to have a timed non-cooking stage.

This microwave oven has nice aesthetics, a clear and easy to read display, an easy to clean finish, and a light that goes on when the door is open. You may take the last three for granted, but it would be a mistake to do that with many competing models from other manufacturers. It's also the quietest microwave oven I've owned.

Overall, this microwave oven is a good buy for the price. It has the features that you need for practical purposes. It can be mounted in a cabinet with an optional trim kit, but has the lower cost of a free standing unit. Its width is identical to Amana microwave ovens from a couple of decades ago, so if you want to mount this in an existing cabinet, you can. The Amana that it replaced lasted almost two decades, and this newer and less expensive one cooks much better. If it's half as reliable as its predecessor it will be a bargain.

And it has a full 1.6 cu. ft. cavity, which is even larger than Amana's more expensive wall mountable model, which I expect to review soon. This microwave might not have all the features I'd like to see, but it has the ones that most people will use day to day.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does the Trick Nicely (UPDATED), October 25, 2012
By 
Jeff Kraus (Orlando, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This microwave replaces a trusty high-end Panasonic for one major reason: after moving to a new house we realized how much smaller the new kitchen is, and the 2.2 cu ft Panasonic was a little too big. Of course, it turned out that for the measly 16% reduction in counter space footprint (which ended up being a negligible 2 inches in width and 1.5 inches in depth), the Amana's interior space was reduced by 33% (a reduction of 3 inches width, 1.75 inches depth, and 1 inch height).

But enough about that. The Amana is here now, and performance-wise it's the same 1200W of power, just in a smaller package.

It has a reduced feature set compared to my previous microwave, but most of that stuff I never touched anyway. I did get accustomed to the fly-by-wire electronic dial for setting time, which was much faster than the standard button pressing, so going back to the old method of time entry was a bit annoying at first. I also am not particularly a fan of the microscopic red icons all around the time display, which attempt to tell you information about what mode you are in, etc. but fail to do so in any reasonable way. They all look basically the same and they're so small you need to get right up on them to see what they are. I have a full-color touchscreen display on the remote control for the TV, for crying out loud! How hard would it be to put that on a microwave?

Anyway, there's another issue that I have, concerning the consistency of instructions and ease of use. For example, you can enter the time and hit start if you just want to microwave at full power. So what if you want to cook at 60% power? Enter the time, hit "Power Level", then hit 6 and Start? Nope. If you enter the time, it won't let you hit Power Level. You also can't select Power Level first. You must hit another button "Cook Time" BEFORE you enter the time (but only if you want to change the power level!), and THEN you can hit Power Level, 6, Start.

All of this, though... it's a bit temporary. I mean, I'll get used to the stupid icons that mean nothing to me and look like a helicopter in a tornado (I still don't know what that one represents). The most important thing is how it cooks, and from what I can tell it cooks very nicely. The leftover meats and mashed potatoes get reheated evenly and I can boil a mug of water in it. They tray spins (it broke on the last microwave). My needs are simple, and my needs are met. I may have nitpicky issues with it, but overall it's performing exactly as I had hoped.

UPDATE 04/23/2013 : Well some time around the beginning of April, while I was on an extended business trip, my wife called me to let me know that the microwave had actually stopped working; all functions seemed to work, it whirred like a microwave and spun its little plate around, but no actual warming was happening. Luckily, the trusty old Panasonic had not been tossed, so it has since returned to service. 6-7 months is not a good lifespan for a microwave, and so I've removed another star for my experience. I imagine that this issue is a fluke, or the other reviews would be far worse. Still, it's worth considering if you're thinking about buying this model.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars INTERIOR ABSOLUTE BEAR TO CLEAN and...., December 10, 2012
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This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
I uploaded pictures of the interior so you could see its biggest drawback.

1. When I press start it sounds like my old '71 Datsun 510 starting up. Like a tin can. If I put my hand on the right hand side it stops vibrating. Update: 1/20/13 it no longer does that. Why? I couldn't guess.

2. It takes 3 times longer to heat anything with this MW than my nine y/o old (now dead) Kenmore.

3. INTERIOR ABSOLUTE BEAR TO CLEAN Not a smooth surface in it! Depressions on all four sides and lots of open grill work (2 sides and back), 3 tabs sticking out of the back ceiling grill work just waiting to catch onto your sponge . Plus all seams, but 2 bottom sides, are OPEN seams! Waiting for food/water to drip into them.

4. Feet do not stop it from skidding around on wood.
5 Beep is real loud and sounds 5 times, continuing even after you open the door.
6. No pre-programmed quick defrost, like old micro. Took 10mins to defrost what took <2mins in old Kenmore!
7. Pre-programs do not start automatically like old micro. You have to press start.
8. The display can not be seen in anything but bright light.
9. Steam gets in between the outer and inner door glass.
10. If you open the door in middle of a pre-programmed function (turn over a sweet potato say) it cancels the whole deal and you have to start over again. Really
11. The clear plastic covering the display is bubbly all over and is coming up over the start and stop buttons.

No I do NOT recommend this microwave. I would never buy again and am seriously thinking of returning and buying another Kenmore. But I don't use Micros all that much... just to heat, reheat, occasional defrost. I do not cook with it.

What drew me to this particular microwave oven was its door. I like having a real handle, was wary of a push button (read all the bad reviews on the Panasonics push button door and ran into the Panasonic model I was thinking of getting at Bi-Mart and the door didn't work!, it was broke. Ran into another Panasonic at Walmart and the door was very very hard to open and close)

I figured it had been 9 yrs so surely 2012 micros would be better designed. Not so with this one. In fact my Kenmore micro from the mid 1980s was better cleaning, power and noise wise than this.

In 1947, Raytheon built the "Radarange", the first commercially available microwave oven. In 1965, Raytheon acquired AMANA. In 1967, they introduced the first popular home model, the countertop Radarange, at a price of US$495 ($3,450 in today's dollars). You'd think microwave manufactures would have it down pat by now, but alas no. Panasonic seems to be the least objectionable to people here on Amazon. At Consumer Reports no one likes any of them! This Amana had good, though few, reviews here, so I took a chance. I lost.

I bought this locally for $200 at Kellenburger Appliance - nice folks
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BEEP BEEP BEEP, April 19, 2013
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
This oven cooks fast & evenly. Looks goods. The problems lie in the fact the door is nearly opaque. This makes in impossible to watch for things like sauces or oatmeal that tend to boil over. Also, the "ready" beep sounds like a truck's back up signal. It has 5 LONG & LOUD beeps that are guaranteed to wake up the whole house. Called Amana to find out there is no volume control. =0(
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Marks For Ease Of Use, September 29, 2012
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This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I recently replaced a perfectly good Panasonic Inverter microwave (model #NN-H765BF) with this Amana model and couldn't be happier. How can two microwaves with such similar features be so different? Here's why Amana wins out--simplicity and performance.

First, the Amana control board is very user friendly. Our household uses a microwave primarily for convenience. This Amana model has pre-programmed buttons for many of the convenience foods I heat or reheat--dinner plate, pizza, beverage, soup, fresh and frozen veggies, potatoes and defrost (one for timed, one for weight). That's simple. On the other hand, the Panasonic microwave makes heating more of a guessing game, and has only two mediocre convenience buttons (popcorn/quick minute). Popcorn often burned (regardless of entered correct weight) and I never could get a perfect beverage temp using quick minutes. One minute wasn't hot enough and two made liquid overheat and spill over the top. I found the Panasonic to have a confusing design and limited display. Everything about the Amana microwave is straighforward, from its design right down to simple-to-follow instructions. Best yet, every button pressed (either sensor or non-sensor) delivers as promised--correct temps and attractive, edible food. That's good performance.

The Amana microwave is very quiet. There is also no radio interference while in operation. Our kitchen is always busy, so we have a Grace Radio Internet Adapter placed there. The radio would always cut out while the Panasonic appliance was running. Now, using the Amana microwave, both can function simultaneously. To serious music listeners like me, that's important.

Both microwaves are 1.6 cu. ft. The Panasonic cavity is slightly larger than the Amana. To date, this has not been an issue as I don't need the slightly extra space.

I like the Amana's sleek look and its no-nonsense pull door handle. So many microwaves have door release buttons, which often break. Our household appliances are gradually being replaced with Amana products because they remain simple yet perform well. That expensive front-loading washing machine I bought (highly recommended by Consumer Reports) died in less than eight years. The trusted repairman recommended an inexpensive, plain vanilla Amana top-loading model with rotary dials as a replacement. It's not fancy, but does a fine job of washing clothes. Our Amana dishwasher has been going strong for over thirteen years (problem-free), and we recently replaced an old freezer with an Amana. I happily add (and recommend) this dependable microwave to our growing Amana appliance inventory.

5-6-2013 UPDATE: I noticed negative reviews griping about how hard this microwave is to clean. I have had absolutely NO cleaning problems, and it still looks brand new (interior/exterior). Yes, it does beep five times when timing is done, but that really seems like a non-issue too. It defrosts quickly, and when the door is opened during a programmed function, it does not lose its timing. At least mine does not. I am still very happy with this Amana microwave--have not had one problem to date.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good microwave, some UI quirks, October 15, 2012
By 
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This microwave is replacing a smaller GE microwave that I previously used. Some observations I have acquired during a few weeks using this microwave:

* This is not a small microwave. It is noticeably taller, wider, and deeper than my previous microwave. Most of this added space seems to go directly into the cooking compartment. While my old microwave was not large enough to heat two bowls of soup at the same time, this one is.
* This is advertised as a "stainless" microwave. I think it's more accurate to label it as a black microwave with stainless trim on the front. If you look closely at the photos, you'll see that the top and sides of the microwave are completely black.
* This microwave seems to be a little bit higher powered than my previous microwave. I have been using the same cooking times I was used to with the old one and finding that the food comes out a bit hotter than I was expecting.
* The control panel is pretty standard and seems intuitive enough. To cook for a short amount of time, the "Start" button doubles as a "cook for 30 seconds" button. Pressing it again adds another 30 seconds to the time, and so on. To cook for a different amount of time at full power, just type the amount of time and hit the start button.
* Cooking at less than full power wasn't as easy to figure out. The trick is that you need to press the "cook time" button before entering the time, then you can press the "cook power" button to set the power level. The "cook time" button is apparently optional only when cooking at full power.
* The clock display is relatively large and easy to read from across the room.
* My old microwave would disrupt WiFi signals when it was being used. I have not yet noticed any of that with this microwave.
* I have one minor complaint about the way this microwave reacts to two quick button presses. While other microwaves I have used seem to make sure that there's a slight pause between the beeps for the two presses, this one does not. Pressing two buttons faster than the amount of time it takes to beep once results in a longer beep, but only one beep all the same. When this happens I've found myself looking down at the display to double-check that both button presses were actually recorded, while I probably wouldn't do this if it beeped two separate times.

Overall I think this will prove to be a very good microwave. There are a couple of quirks that will take some time to get used to, but none of them are enough to get me to switch back to my old microwave.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Just Works, November 12, 2012
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's only so excited you can get about a microwave over. When it doesn't do its job - when it fails to work, or cooks food unevenly, you have every right to be disappointed and mad. When it works, however, it does so with little fanfare - food comes out cooked well, the "sensor" buttons really do work, neither under nor over heating , and the buttons are so clearly labeled and intuitive that you don't even have to break the manual - it just works.

This Amana 1.6 cu microwave oven just works.

It replaces the second Panasonic microwave I've had in three years. Both of them featured something they call Inverter Technology, which supposedly helps them work smarter. In fact, in both units the Inverters burnt out. They are non replaceable parts and repairs cost more than a new oven. So, no more Panasonics for me.

Luckily, the Amana seems more reliable.

The microwave has some nice design features. I especially like the "add 30 seconds" button - you press it once to start cooking for 30 seconds, twice for 60, etc. Some microwaves have similar 30 second or minute counters, but after you press them, nothing happens until you press a second "start" button. This makes no sense and is a needless step. The Amana gets this right. Since it's a very powerful unit, 30 seconds is often enough to heat up your plate just enough.

Another nice surprise was when the "dinner plate" preset really did warm my meal to the proper temperature. With past microwaves, they've tended to get that wrong, leaving cold spots or over-cooking. The Amana handles this well.

One more thing - my Panasonics always interfered with my internet's wireless connection. This one does not, leaving me to happily surf the web while my food heats up.

That's pretty much it. If you're looking for a powerful unit in this size, you will be pleased. So far, so good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amana shines with simplicity, intuitive control system, November 15, 2012
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Simplicity and quiet operation are two amazing features of the Amana 1.6 cu. ft. countertop microwave that could be easily overlooked by customers. That would be a mistake. If the majority of your usage will consist of reheating leftovers, soup and warming up mugs of coffee and tea, this microwave is "practically perfect in every way."

The Touchmatic control system is intuitive with an easy-to-read display. Need an additional 30 seconds? Tap the start button. Need a gentler approach to avoid boiling over a leftover? Tap Sensor Cooking.

The brightness of the display is noteworthy as is the timer, which is loud and persistent. The stainless steel finish is attractive without being gaudy and the footprint is likely smaller than you'd expect as compared with older microwave models.

Speaking of older microwaves, a friend passed along an all-too-familiar story about standing before a 20-year old microwave once, with its fading dial turned well past the ten-minute mark as she waited for it to reheat a cup of coffee. That experience made her fully appreciate the Amana's 10 power levels and 1,200 watts of cooking power.

This microwave would make a fantastic Christmas gift for anyone with an older model, who is reluctant to upgrade because they dislike gadgetry. (HINT: Your current model needs upgrading if it doesn't have a rotating turntable.) Again, Amana shines with the simplicity of its Touchmatic control system. Naturally, you should read the instruction booklet before using the microwave. However, the fact that Amana made its microwave simple to use straight out of the box is a great reason to chose this model.

Rating: Five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best is back!, September 30, 2012
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our first microwave oven, many, many years ago was a stainless steel Amana. It came from a small store in our local shopping area, and was the recommended model by the store's owner. He certainly was correct. The oven had more "power" than others in that era, and cooked quickly and evenly. Back then you had to rotate your food by hand. There were no turntables. The instructions that came with that microwave were perfect...telling when you should turn things and how long to cook them and at what power setting.

When we moved several years later, we agreed to leave that with the home we sold, and ended up over the past few years with different microwaves of different brands. All those did okay, but we were never quite content. The timer settings for cooking items never seemed to be right, they were harder to clean, and had buttons to push to open the door. Most of those buttons quit working or the door would not lock tight. Yes, they had more features such as rotating tables, and timers that allowed you to cook and use the timer for other tasks at the same time. But they never looked as good as that old Amana monster stainless steel oven.

Now we have our favorite back, and we couldn't be more pleased. It looks beautiful, it cooks perfectly, and it will last us for years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a nice looking microwave and cooks very well., October 19, 2012
By 
This review is from: Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, AMC2166AS, Stainless (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First thing about this microwave is it is big and heavy (the outside of the box is covered with warnings about lifting by only one person). Second thing is I was surprised by how nice it really looked, it looks much nicer in person than on the website. Like most microwaves in this price range it has a lot more features than your typical $69 oven.

The 1.6 cubic foot size is big enough for most cooking (we have a 2.2 foot one and bigger ones do have the advantage of putting two items in at once). Instructions are a little confusing, e.g., basic instructions on using the key pad for cooking are then followed by acceptable cookware to use then followed by manual cooking.

The display contains icons when a specific feature is in use, e.g., defrost or menu program. Some icons make sense (OZ for ounces)some you will just have to learn what they mean (menu - I have no clue what the icon is, or defrost (looks like two snowflakes).

Basic cooking is like all microwaves, punch in the numbers and hit start. Seems to cook well and evenly. Nice and quiet, both the fan and the rotating base. There are a LOT of features on the keypad that people may or may not use, some seem very well programmed others not so much, some use the sensor in the microwave some not. Popcorn feature (non-sensor) instructions state will do 3 size bags but only seems to turn microwave on and instructions tell you to listen for popping to end. Pizza reheat (non-sensor) again while a seemingly nice feature will have some trouble with thick/thin, number of slices, etc. Other features include, beverage (works pretty well), soup, potato, frozen entree (works well), dinner plate, fresh veggie (sensor) works very well and finally frozen veggie.

If there is a "quick minute" button I have not found it. The start/enter button will start the microwave for 30 seconds. Pressing again adds 30 more seconds. The cook power button, while not described well in the instructions, is easy once you figure it out (since it was like our Panasonic for us it was easy, might not be for some).

Last little things, no door release, pull the handle. Something brought up by another reviewer I had not noticed also seems true, it has not interfered with our Wi-Fi but is farther away from the router in all honesty.

Overall, it is a very nice microwave out of the box, cooks very well, quiet and looks nice. Most basic functions are easy to use.
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