AmazonBasics Microwave: Accessible for People with Visual Impairments (2019)

Janet Ingber

If you are looking for a small accessible microwave, a good choice is the AmazonBasics S9N29R small microwave, an affordable model for $59.99 with free shipping. The microwave can be voice controlled with Amazon Alexa. To use Alexa, you must have an Amazon Alexa device such as the Echo or Echo Dot, located within hearing range of the microwave. Locater dots, tactile markings, and braille labels are not necessary unless you want them.

In The Box

The microwave as shipped weighs approximately 25 pounds including the outer shipping box. When the box is opened, note that the protective packing layer of Styrofoam that sits on top contains two cutouts, one to hold a round glass turntable tray and one for the turntable ring. Remove these from the Styrofoam before continuing. Under the Styrofoam are a product manual and a quick start guide, both in print form.

The round glass tray has three protrusions in the center of the bottom side. The turntable ring, on which the tray will sit, is smaller than the glass tray and has three small roller wheels.

I was able to read the manual and quick start guide with Seeing AI. There is also an online PDF version of the manual. I couldn’t open the manual link on my Mac, but didn’t have a problem opening it on my iPhone in Safari. I found that the best way to read the PDF version of the manual was with Word. Rotor options such as lines, headings, and tables did not work well. Everything in the Quick Start Guide is also in the manual.

Getting Help

There is an online help page for the AmazonBasics Microwave. You can also call Amazon’s Disability Customer Support Line at 888-283-1678.


  • Model Number: S9N29R
  • Rated Voltage: 120 Volts, 60Hz
  • Rated input power (microwave): 1050W
  • Rated output power (microwave): 700W
  • Oven Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet
  • Turntable diameter: 10”
  • External dimensions: 17.3” x 14.1” x 10.1”
  • Net Weight: 21.9 lbs

Microwave Layout

All controls and the display are located in the right front three inches of the face of the microwave. To the left of the controls and display is the door handle, which opens to the left.
There is only one raised control button on the AmazonBasics microwave, the Alexa button. There are small indentations for other controls, so you need to feel around or use locator dots, braille labels or any other system that works for you.

The layout: The digital time readout is top front, a few inches from the top. Next is a row of control buttons: power level, time defrost, and weight defrost. Below that is a standard keypad with numbers 1 through 9.
The next row has a popcorn button on the left, the number 0 in the middle, and a kitchen timer on the right.
The final row has pause/stop, the Alexa button and a start/+30 sec. button.

Setting Up the Turntable

Open the microwave door and feel the inside bottom for three protrusions that come with protective tape over them. Remove the tape. Loosely center the ring assembly around the floor protrusions. Feel for three similar protrusions on the underside of the glass turntable tray. Center the 3 protrusions of the glass tray so they loosely interlock with the 3 on the microwave floor. Note that the glass tray will sit on top of the rollers of the ring assembly.

Food and beverages do not sit directly on the microwave’s floor. They must go on the glass turntable.

Setting Up Alexa

To use Alexa with the microwave, you must have an Alexa device installed and located within hearing distance of your microwave. Open the Alexa app and make sure it is up to date. Go into Settings and check the WiFi network for your Alexa device. When you pair the microwave, it must be on the same WiFi network as Alexa.

From the app’s Home tab, activate the menu in the upper left corner and select Add Device. A new screen loads with a list of devices. Follow the prompts to pair the microwave with Amazon Alexa.

I initially had some difficulty pairing the microwave with my Echo Dot. After several attempts, the app said to press the number 2 button for four seconds, and the display will flash. Since I was not sure which button was number 2, I needed sighted assistance. Another option would have been to FaceTime a friend, or call Be My Eyes or AIRA.

Initially, this procedure didn’t work and the devices wouldn’t pair. I rebooted my iPhone, changed the microwave’s location, and tried again. This time it worked. I don’t know whether it was rebooting or changing location that allowed the devices to pair.

The Ask Alexa Button

Once your devices are paired, you have the option of setting up the Ask Alexa button on the microwave. This button is a considerable convenience. It takes only a few seconds to activate the button (you can also do this later). Once paired, the Alexa device can be used for the microwave without the button. If you don’t use the button, the difference is that you have to get Alexa’s attention verbally before you give a command. That is, instead of saying, “Alexa, microwave for one minute,” you push the Ask Alexa button. Do not hold it down. Then say, “One minute.” Activating the Ask Alexa button gets Alexa’s attention and it knows the request is coming from the microwave and not from the Alexa device.

By default, the microwave cooks at level 10. You can have it cook on high, medium, or low. If you want to change the power level, just say the cook time and power level. For example, press the Alexa button and say “five minutes on power six,” or “five minutes on medium.”

When the microwave is finished with a task, it will beep five times, whether or not you use the Ask Alexa button. If you need to stop the microwave while it is running, press the Ask Alexa button and say, “stop.” Alexa will say, “okay.” If not using the Ask Alexa button, say, “Alexa, stop.”

Cooking Presets

The microwave with Alexa has many cooking presets.
On the website, there is a link labeled “Quick-Cook Voice Presets.” Activating this link brings you to a PDF document with instructions about different types of foods and how to cook or defrost them. As with the AmazonBasics Microwave’s manual, this document was formatted better on my iPhone than on my Mac.

There is a table of contents containing links including Reheat and Refrigerated Food. When selecting a link, you will not hear a new page reloading. Instead, the new information will be on the screen. If using an iOS device, the vertical scroll bar will change position. For each food item, both commands with and without the Ask Alexa button are given. It is definitely worth spending a few minutes it takes to read this document.

Below are a few examples of how to use the presets using the Ask Alexa button.

Press the button once and it will beep. Do not hold the button down.


Say the number of potatoes you want to microwave and the word “potato” or “potatoes.” For example, “two potatoes.” The microwave will start and continue cooking until the potatoes are done.


Say “defrost” followed by the weight and food you are defrosting. For example, “defrost 3 pounds of salmon.” The microwave will start at the correct power level for defrosting salmon and continue until it is defrosted.

Reheating Coffee

Say, “one cup of coffee”

Plate of Food

Say “dinner plate”

Microwave Performance

Heating Water

I put a cup of water in a mug and placed it in the microwave. I pressed the Ask Alexa button and said, “one cup of water.” The microwave beeped once and Alexa said, “one cup of water” and the length of time to heat it, in this case 1 minute and 35 seconds. The water was hot enough for making tea or hot chocolate.


I put one medium potato in the microwave and told Alexa, “one potato.” Alexa started the microwave and said “one potato” and the amount of time to cook it. The potato was perfectly done.


I put about 1.5 cups of frozen vegetables in the microwave, pressed the Ask Alexa button, and said, “defrost frozen vegetables.” Alexa asked for the weight. I hadn’t weighed the vegetables. As an approximation, I said 4 ounces. The vegetables were defrosted.

Heating Frozen Food

I put a frozen mini frittata in the microwave. From experience with an older microwave, I know that it takes about 1.5 minutes. I pressed the Ask Alexa button, and said, “one minute 30 seconds.” Alexa started the microwave and repeated the time back to me. The frittata was cooked to the right temperature.


The AmazonBasics microwave functioned as described. Although it is not specifically geared to people who are blind, when paired with an Alexa device the microwave is very accessible. It is an excellent value at $59.99. If you already have an Alexa device that is within hearing range of where you will put the microwave, there is nothing else to buy. If you don’t have an Alexa device, there are many different models. My Echo Dot worked perfectly.

Although the printed manual is not initially in an accessible format, it can be accessed and read on an iOS device or read with Seeing AI. The learning curve is not steep.

If you want an accessible small microwave, I would consider the AmazonBasics model. Its accessibility, price, and cooking ability make it an excellent option.

This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.

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