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GE's CleanSteel microwave provides basics for the budget-minded

At less than $300 retail, this GE CleanSteel 1.5 cu. ft. microwave is a more affordable over-the-range family-size model.

At less than $250, this GE CleanSteel 1.5 cu. ft. microwave is an affordable over-the-range family-size model that offers standard features and power.

Weighing 51 pounds, this oven has 950 watts of cooking power. (These ovens typically range between 850 and 1,650 watts.)

An affordable over-the-range oven with basic features. GE

Like all CleanSteel appliances, this oven should resist fingerprints. Buyers report that the oven is fairly easy to install, but also quite loud to operate.

For cooking, the oven has 10 power levels and a one-touch feature on the controls to cook a potato, popcorn, beverage, or reheat something. You also have the option to set specific times for defrosting food.

Unlike its pricier rivals, this oven lacks speed-cook settings and sophisticated heat-monitoring sensors that prevent undercooking and overcooking of food.

Inside the oven, there's a removable metal rack that can be used in place of the rotating turntable. The turntable, which accommodates oversize or oblong dishes, can be turned on or off, and the oven can be locked to keep children out. A two-speed high-capacity exhaust fan vents the oven, and a charcoal filter for the fan costs about $20.

A total of 19 reviewers rated this model 3.3 out of 5 stars. Some reported repair issues. ("Hate it! Don't waste your money!" one reviewer reported.) Others said that the venting, often a problem with over-the-range models, lacked adequate power and that the microwave is extremely loud. ("This would be great in my garage or warehouse but not my kitchen," a reviewer said.) Others love the one-touch popcorn button and report that this oven cooks evenly.

Over at Best Buy, five customersrated this model a bit higher at 3.8 out of 5 stars. "The microwave is very simple to use. Even my 8-year-old can cook anything he wants to in it," one buyer said. Another reported the oven was "easy to install--completed installation in 1.5 hours." A less-satisfied customer complained that the exhaust was too loud.

This oven retails at about $229.99. It is available in stainless steel as well as black, white, and bisque.