Sharp R-530ES Countertop Microwave Review
This Sharp succeeds where it counts.
Based on appearances alone, the Sharp R-530ES (MSRP $319) could be mistaken for one of those generic, $79 microwaves found at discount retailers across the U.S. However, don't let its unremarkable appearances fool you—the 2.0-cubic-foot R530ES is cut from a very different cloth.
With some excellent heating performance and good results in our popcorn tests, the R-530ES is a good value for a low cost. But you should check out the competition before you rush out to buy it.
Design and Usability
Sharp sticks to what works
We've learned to accept certain undeniable truths about microwaves: Defrosting is almost uniformly awful, water heating is almost uniformly excellent, and the default microwave design template isn't going anywhere. Therefore, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the Sharp R-530ES sports the standard "stainless steel box" look so common with other microwaves.
In all fairness, the design doesn't do anything wrong, it's just completely unremarkable. It can sit on your counter, or you can buy an optional trim kit and install it in your cabinetry. Also, be aware that Sharp doesn't manufacture ranges or cooktops. Therefore, the R-530ES won't perfectly match your other kitchen appliances.
A mixed bag of good and bad performance
We often find microwave performance to be great in certain areas and middle-of-the-road in others, and the R-530ES is no exception. The Popcorn setting and default power settings proved excellent, leaving few unpopped kernels behind and providing some excellent temperature uniformity in our test food. Additionally, the microwave is pretty quiet—great news for fans of midnight snacks.
Unfortunately, in our food tests, we found this Sharp's cooking sensor was not up to the challenge. It won't flat-out ruin your meal, but you may want to make sure that your food is cooked all the way through before digging in. Meanwhile, the defrost setting took less than three minutes to turn frozen food into only slightly-less-frozen food.
A Safe Bet
You could do slightly better, but you could do far worse.
Despite some clunky performance in the areas of sensor cooking and defrosting, the Sharp R-530ES is still a good value for its cost. While the Panasonic NN-SN973S is still our built-in model of choice, this Sharp is a worthy competitor.
Get Our Newsletter
Real advice from real experts. Sign up for our newsletter
Thanks for signing up!