Get insider access
Preferred store
Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.
We've recently launched Microwaves! Read our R&D Article to learn more.

KitchenAid KMHS120ESS Microwave Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jul 10, 2024 at 10:13 am

The KitchenAid KMHS120ESS is a high-end, over-the-range microwave with a big cooking chamber. Its functions include some sensor cooking programs like 'Frozen Entree' and 'Popcorn,' where the microwave detects steam to automatically adjust the cook time. It comes with a cooking rack that can be used for 2-level cooking or with the microwave's 'Steam' mode, a sensor mode that asks you to add a bowl of water to the microwave with your food. Otherwise, it has all the usual features, like a mute function and defrost modes.

Our Verdict

8.8 Power

The KitchenAid KMHS120ESS is a 1000-watt microwave that heats food quickly, similar to other over-the-range models like the LG MVEM1825F.

  • Big cooking chamber.
  • Sensor cooking and mute function.
  • Heats food quickly.
  • No app, unlike some other high-end microwaves.

Performance Usages

  • 8.8 Power
  1. Updated Jul 10, 2024: Review published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This microwave comes in Stainless Steel (KitchenAid KMHS120ESS) or Black Stainless Steel with a 'PrintShield' finish (KitchenAid KMHS120EBS), which is meant to help avoid visible fingerprints. We tested the Stainless Steel variant, and you can see the label here.

You may notice extra digits at the end of the model number on the label (KMHS120ESS11). It's not a different model, but you may need to refer to the extra digits when purchasing replacement parts for your particular machine. 

If you come across another variant, let us know in the comments, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Microwaves

The KitchenAid KMHS120ESS is an expensive over-the-range microwave. Unlike the cheaper (but still high-end) LG MVEL2033F, it comes with a cooking rack that you can use with its simmer programs. The cooking chamber is a bit bigger, and the light inside also offers better visibility into the chamber. It heats food quickly, but the fastest over-the-range microwave we've tested is actually the much cheaper LG LMV1764ST.

If you're looking for a recommendation, check out the best over-the-range microwaves and the best microwaves.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Height 17.3" (43.9 cm)
Width 29.9" (76.0 cm)
Depth Without Handle
16.3" (41.3 cm)
Depth With Handle
18.9" (47.9 cm)
Power Cord Length 3.10 ft (0.95 m)
Cooking Chamber
Advertised Chamber Volume
2.0 cu. ft.
Turntable Diameter
14.2" (36.0 cm)
Chamber Height
9.7" (24.7 cm)
Chamber Width
22.2" (56.4 cm)
Chamber Depth
14.8" (37.7 cm)
Measured Chamber Volume
1.9 cu. ft. (0.05 m³)

It has a large cooking chamber that can accommodate wider and taller dishes. The light inside makes it very easy to see into the chamber, too.

Controls And Functions
Door Release
Cooking Sensor
Popcorn Button
Defrost Button
Add Time Button
Kitchen Timer
Mute Sounds Button
Lock Controls Button

This microwave has a few cooking programs that use a sensor to detect steam. The 'Popcorn' and 'Frozen Entree' modes use the sensor to know when your food is ready. You can also use the 'Steam' or 'Simmer' functions, where the microwave will start a countdown once it detects steam. These programs ask you to add a bowl of water to the microwave under the included cooking rack and place your food on the rack so it can steam. You also have a variety of non-sensor programs, including 'Potato,' 'Pizza,' 'Reheat,' 'Defrost,' and 'Warm/Hold' modes. Additionally, you can switch off the turntable rotation when you're heating food in a large dish, as the dish might interfere with the rotation. The cooktop fan can be set to three different levels.

In The Box

  • Mounting plate
  • Cooking rack
  • Turntable
  • Turntable roller
  • Grease filter
  • Hardware packet (screws, nuts, bushing, and bolts)
  • User guide and installation guide

Inverter Technology
Advertised Microwave Output Power
1,000 W
Tested Heating Rate At 100% Power
701 W
Shallow Dish Heating Uniformity
Area Of Underheated Dinner Plate
Grayscale Range Dinner Plate
Area Of Underheated Turntable
Grayscale Range Turntable

Microwaves all perform similarly when heating food in shallow dishes. The evenness of heating depends on factors like what kind of food you're heating up and in what amount. You can read more about our investigations into microwave performance here.

Deep Dish Heating Uniformity
Min. Food Temperature (100% Power)
108 °F (42 °C)
Food Temperature Range (100% Power)
95 °F (53 °C)
Min. Food Temperature (50% Power)
105 °F (41 °C)
Food Temperature Range (50% Power)
101 °F (56 °C)

Microwaves all perform similarly for heating food in deeper containers like bowls. Evenness depends on what you're heating, your specific container, and where you place it. You can read more about our investigations into microwave performance here.