The WMH73521CS also sports a steam cooking option that we feel is a great addition for fans of healthy cooking. However, its much-touted AccuPop popcorn setting did little to stand out.
The WMH73521CS exhibited good—if not astounding—performance in our popcorn test. Using AccuPop, the Popcorn setting left no burnt kernels behind, and we counted 66 (of a total 300) unpopped kernels left behind after the cycle.
The sensor cooking mode was also impressive. While it may have been a bit overzealous (it heated our test potato to 190°F, 5°F above the target temperature), we recorded little temperature variance across the potato. We'd rather wait a few seconds for it to cool than bite into a raw forkful of starch.
Doesn't stand out in a crowd
While the Whirlpool WMH73521CS lacks the elegance of the European-inspired options from Electrolux and the understated simplicity of GE's high-end offerings, we think it's a pretty good looking microwave. At the very least, it should match any newer Whirlpool range.
The WMH73521CS has a horizontal control panel. We've seen this design option in a couple other over-the-ranges and we love it. An eye-level control panel makes perfect sense for an appliance that you have to reach up to use. Plus, it creates a nice symmetry with your existing range's control panel.
The Whirlpool WMH73521CS is a fairly quiet appliance. When the microwave was running, we measured a sound level of 46 dB. That's about the same sound level you would expect from a soft conversation. The vent mode was a bit louder—we measured a sound level of 63 dB, on par with other over-the-range microwaves.
We were disappointed with the default cooking options of the WMH73521CS. We heated a portion of macaroni and cheese using the microwave's standard power settings, and when it was done we recorded a wide range of temperature variance between sections of the dish. We'd rely on the excellent sensor. Otherwise, be sure to mix your food occasionally while you heat it.
Fortunately, the defrost setting was excellent. Though it was about two minutes slower than our top performers (it took 7 minutes to defrost 1 lb. of ground beef) the extra time paid off and the resulting food showed very few signs of temperature variance. Also, no ground beef remained unfrozen.
Now we're talking!
Overall, we were pretty pleased with the WMH73521CS's performance. It's not likely to replace your range, and it doesn't feature convection cooking, but it did extremely well in a few key areas.
We observed excellent results from our defrost, sensor cooking, and water heating tests. We didn't get as good results when we didn't use the sensor, and found our macaroni and cheese was unevenly heated. Stick the the sensor cooking options or be sure to mix your food at least once during the process, and you should be fine.
The WMH73521CS features a novel popcorn sensor cooking mode that Whirlpool calls AccuPop. This setting uses a sound sensor to measure the time between pops to—in theory—determine the perfect time to stop cooking before your popcorn burns. Despite the impressive science behind it, this setting didn't offer a major performance boost over other automatic Popcorn settings we have tested. It didn't stink up the kitchen, but it did leave 20 percent of the bag unpopped.
It's rare to find a microwave that performs this well for such a reasonable price. It's even more rare to find one that offers cool features like steam cooking and AccuPop, even if the latter doesn't quite live up to the hype.
Still, It'll cook you a baked potato without any cold spots and defrost your ground beef in no time. And it can be found for around $400. That makes Whirlpool'S WMH73521CS over-the-range microwave a great choice for anyone.
Want the the convenience of an over-the-range but don't plan on blowing the budget? Give the WMH73521CS a whirl. We don't think you'll be disappointed.
Meet the tester
Aside from reviewing ovens and cooktops, James moonlights as an educational theatre practitioner, amateur home chef, and weekend DIY warrior.
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