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.

Panasonic NE-12523 Microwave Review

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

The Panasonic NE-12523 is a small commercial microwave. While it lacks features common for residential microwaves, like dedicated programs for specific foods and a steam sensor, you can program your own modes and label the buttons with the included stickers. You can also customize many aspects of its performance, like the cooking chamber light's brightness and the end-of-cycle beeps' pitch and volume. It has a small cooking chamber, so it's best suited for smaller plates or cups, not bigger bowls or casseroles.

Our Verdict

10 Power

The Panasonic NE-12523 is a very fast microwave. It can heat food just as quickly as or faster than any microwave we've tested.

  • Heats food quickly.
  • Programmable buttons.
  • Compact design.
  • No steam sensor.
  • Small cooking chamber.

Performance Usages

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

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This microwave has several variants: NE-12521, NE-12523, NE-17521, NE-17523, NE-17723, NE-21521, NE-21523. The different models have slightly different dimensions, power settings, and required power. The Panasonic NE-17723 model comes with an SD card that can be used to save a greater number of programs than other models. We tested model NE-12523, and you can see the label for the unit we tested here.

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

Compared To Other Microwaves

The Panasonic NE-12523 is a commercial microwave, and it's likely too expensive to be worth considering for home use. Aside from some extra customization options, like adjusting the brightness of the light inside and the ability to save many custom programs, it doesn't do anything special. It heats food quickly, but other cheaper microwaves are just as fast, like the LG LMC0975ST and Panasonic NN-SN67HS. It doesn't have a steam sensor for more automatic microwaving.

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

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Height 13.3" (33.7 cm)
Width 16.7" (42.5 cm)
Depth Without Handle
20.1" (51.0 cm)
Depth With Handle
21.5" (54.7 cm)
Power Cord Length 4.69 ft (1.43 m)
Cooking Chamber
Advertised Chamber Volume
0.6 cu. ft.
Turntable Diameter
Chamber Height
7.1" (18.0 cm)
Chamber Width
13.0" (33.1 cm)
Chamber Depth
12.1" (30.8 cm)
Measured Chamber Volume
0.6 cu. ft. (0.02 m³)

This microwave has a small cooking chamber, so it'll fit dinner plates, but bigger dishes like casserole dishes may not fit inside. The light inside makes it very easy to see into the cooking chamber.

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

This commercial microwave has no food-specific buttons; you're meant to program it to your specific needs. It has nine power levels: 100%, 95%, 85%, 75%, 65%, 55%, 45%, 35%, and 25%, unlike most microwaves, which usually have power levels in increments of 10% (100%, 90%, etc.). There are quite a few customization options you don't find on regular microwaves, like an air filter cleaning indicator that you can program and an option to adjust the brightness of the light inside.

While you don't get a dedicated mute button, you can mute the beep at the end of a cycle, or adjust its pitch, length, and volume. Similarly, while you don't get a dedicated 'Defrost' function, you can use the lowest power level for defrosting.

In The Box

  • User manual
  • Customizable stickers for buttons

Inverter Technology
Advertised Microwave Output Power
1,200 W
Tested Heating Rate At 100% Power
865 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 for heating food evenly. It depends on what you're heating and where it's placed in the microwave. You might notice a difference in the heating pattern here. It doesn't have a turntable, unlike most microwaves for home use. Read more about our investigations into microwave performance here.

Deep Dish Heating Uniformity
Min. Food Temperature (100% Power)
70 °F (21 °C)
Food Temperature Range (100% Power)
136 °F (75 °C)
Min. Food Temperature (50% Power)
85 °F (29 °C)
Food Temperature Range (50% Power)
115 °F (64 °C)

All microwaves perform similarly for heating food in deeper dishes. Evenness depends on what you're heating, how much of it there is, and where it's placed. This particular microwave doesn't have a turntable, which does affect where the microwave's power is concentrated. You can read more about our investigations into microwave performance here.