Energy Consumption in Microwaves: What You Need To Know

How much energy a microwave consumes will depend mainly on its size but also the type of microwave that it is.

Microwaves typically use between 500 and 1800 watts of power while being used, though they can use a higher wattage. Smaller microwaves use fewer watts because they require less power to function, while large microwaves use more watts. The more watts a microwave uses, the faster food gets heated.

To find out more about how much power countertop and over-the-range microwaves use, as well as some great energy-efficient microwaves, keep reading.

Energy Consumption of Countertop Microwaves

Below 1,000 Watts

Countertop microwaves are categorized as small if they are less than or equal to 1 cubic foot in size. However, most microwaves use about 1000 watts of power.

Microwaves that are .6 cubic feet in size are the smallest and least energy-consuming type of microwaves, as they use around 600 watts. However, the more common type of small microwaves are .7 cubic feet in size. Microwaves of this size typically use around 700 watts.

Some microwaves are .9 cubic feet in size. Microwaves of this size typically use 900 watts of power. However, they can use between 800 watts and 1100 watts or more.

Medium-Sized Microwaves

Medium-sized microwaves are typically 1.1 cubic feet in size. They can use between 800 watts and 2100 watts, though they typically use between 1000 and 1500 watts.

Large Microwaves

Large microwaves are equal to or greater than 2 cubic feet in size. Microwaves of this size typically use more than 1500 watts of power every time they are used, but the exact amount of power they use will vary depending on the size and the choices of the manufacturer.

Energy Consumption of Over-the-Range Microwaves

The typical range of microwaves spans from .7 cubic feet to 2 cubic feet.

Small Sizes

The most typical small size of microwaves that are installed over the stove seems to be about .9 cubic feet in size, which is similar to the average size of small countertop microwaves. Small over-the-range microwaves tend to use between 500 and 800 watts of power.

Standard Size

The standard size of over-the-range microwaves is about 30 inches wide and about 1.5-1.7 cubic feet. It seems that for this range the typical energy consumption is about 1000 watts. However, they can use up to about 1550 watts.

Larger Sizes

It seems that any over-the-range microwaves that are larger than 1.8 cubic feet are a little less common. However, some large over-the-range microwaves are 2 cubic feet in size. Large over-the-range microwaves typically use between 1000 and 2000 watts.

General Information

In general, the more power your microwave uses, the faster your food will cook. If you cook a lot of large plates or bowls of food, you will want a microwave with a lot of power. However, if you typically microwave small or medium-sized plates or bowls of food, you will be able to easily use a microwave that uses less power.

Typically, average-sized microwaves use between 900 and 1500 watts of power.

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Typically, you don’t need a microwave that has 2000 watts. That is unless you want all of your food to be hot immediately after microwaving. However, most people are okay with waiting for a few minutes for their food to finish warming up all the way. In fact, I have found that I like mixing up my food before it is done warming up, as mixing it allows it to be heated more evenly. Plus, it lets me keep track of how warm my food is. After all, you likely want to keep your food from exploding. If your food gets too hot in the microwave, it can explode, leaving a mess that you will have to clean up in the future.

How to Adjust Microwave Power Consumption

The amount of power that your microwave uses can almost always be found on the box it comes in or in the user’s manual. However, how much power your microwave uses at a time can be changed. Let’s look at how to do so.

How to Change Microwave Power Consumption

  1. Press cook time
  2. Set cook time
  3. Press the “Power level” button on the microwave
  4. Push the power level you want to use. Keep in mind that 1=100%. 5=50%.
  5. Put your food in the microwave
  6. Press “Start”
  7. When the microwave finishes heating up your food, open the door and take your food out.

What you will need to do to change the amount of power that your microwave is using may vary depending on your microwave. Luckily, if these steps don’t work for your microwave, you can simply find what you need to do in the owner’s manual or care guide.

If you have thrown it away because you thought that you wouldn’t need it, you may be able to find your microwave’s owner’s manual or care guide online.

Average Cost to Run a Microwave

Typically, it will cost between 15 and 44 cents per hour for you to run your microwave. The more wattage your microwave uses, the more it will cost to use it. Exactly how much it will cost to use your microwave will also vary depending on the rates of your power supplier.

This means that it does not cost that much for you to use your microwave. This is great news, especially since your microwave is almost always plugged in, especially if you have an over-the-range microwave rather than a countertop microwave.

Product Recommendations for Energy-Efficient Microwaves

Here are some of the best energy-efficient microwaves that are currently on the market.

Hamilton Beach 0.9 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven

The Hamilton Beach 0.9 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven is one of the best energy-efficient microwaves on the market today. It only uses 900 watts of power, but you can choose from 10 different power levels. This means that you can make it use more or less power at any given time.

This microwave costs $60 and comes in red, black, or silver, which means that you can match it to your kitchen’s decor and color scheme. It is easy to put on your counter and doesn’t take up a lot of room. This microwave will cost you almost nothing to run because of how energy-efficient it is.

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Samsung MG11T5018CC Countertop Microwave

The Samsung MG11T5018CC Countertop Microwave uses 1000 watts of power. It is a countertop microwave and comes in two colors: charcoal and white. It costs $269 and is 1.1 cubic feet in size.

If you don’t want to use all of the 900 watts that this microwave typically uses, or you want it to use more power because it is taking too long to heat up your food, you can choose from the 10 different power levels available and find the one that suits your needs the best. It even has an Eco Mode, which means that it can become even more energy-efficient without you having to change the power level.

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

The Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave uses 1250 watts of power. While this may seem like a lot of power for it to use, especially when you compare it to the microwaves mentioned previously and the amount of power that they use, it really isn’t a lot of power because of the size of this microwave.

This microwave is 2.2 cubic feet in size. It costs $340, which is quite a decent price for a microwave of this size.

GE Profile Convection Over-the-Range Microwave with Sensor Cooking

The GE Profile Convection Over-the-Range Microwave with Sensor Cooking uses 950 watts of power. It is 1.7 cubic feet in size and costs $621. While this may seem like a really expensive microwave, you can often find it on sale, especially if you are looking to purchase it during the holiday season. It is rated 4.4 stars, which means that many people have used this microwave and loved it. It won’t even take up any of your counter space, as it is an over-the-range microwave rather than a countertop one.

GE Over-the-Range Microwave

The GE Over-the-Range Microwave is 1.7 cubic feet in size and uses 900 watts. It costs $450 and comes in 3 colors: slate, white, and black.

One really interesting feature of this microwave is its “melt” feature. It allows you to easily melt things like butter, chocolate, cheese, or caramel. After all, everyone hates accidentally burning things that they are trying to melt. With this microwave, you don’t have to adjust the power settings to get things to melt without burning.

GE Compact Microwave

The GE Compact Microwave only uses 700 watts and is .7 cubic feet in size. It also only costs $94, which means that it costs much less than most of the energy-efficient microwaves on this list. it is a countertop microwave and is rated 4.4 stars by consumers.

Can My Microwave Flip My Breaker?

A microwave can flip your home’s breaker. If your microwave flips your home’s breaker, it means that it is consuming too much power for your home’s electrical circuit to handle. If your microwave flips your home’s breaker, especially if it does so multiple times within a short period of time, you will either need to get a new microwave or make sure that your home’s electrical circuit can handle the amount of power that you are regularly using.

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Getting a new microwave will be cheaper, but getting your home’s electrical circuit evaluated or improved by an electrician may be necessary.

It is likely that your microwave flipped your breaker if the power to your microwave stopped working suddenly, especially if the microwave was the only appliance that you were using when it turned off.

How to Determine if My Microwave Flipped My Breaker

You can reset your breaker in two ways if your microwave has flipped it. The easiest and simplest method is to look at the outlet that your microwave is plugged into. It should be easily accessible, especially if you have a countertop microwave, but if you have an over-the-range microwave, you may have to pull out the oven so you can see and access the outlet.

If there is a red light in the middle of the outlet that your microwave is plugged into, all you need to do is press the outlet’s “reset” button. If the light is still red after you press “reset”, press “test”. The outlet should be working again, and power should be flowing to your microwave as normal. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you will likely need to flip your home’s breaker.

To determine if your microwave flipped your home’s breaker, go to the breaker that controls the kitchen. Then, find the breaker switch that controls power to the kitchen area. There may be multiple kitchen breaker switches. Find the one that the microwave is plugged into, then flip the switch to “off”. If your microwave is the appliance that flipped your home’s breaker, the switch that is flipped or that it flipped will likely be red. After a few seconds, flip the same switch back to “on”.

Your home’s power should be back to normal now. If it is not back to normal, try flipping another switch. If that doesn’t work, you should likely call your landlord or an electrician and schedule a time for them to come and fix the issue.


Overall, microwaves typically use between 500 and 1800 watts of power. Luckily, microwaves don’t cost all that much to power, even though they are used multiple times every day by most people in most households. If you want to get a new microwave, you will easily be able to find one with a suitable amount of wattage, especially because many microwaves, especially mid-sized microwaves, use about 1000 watts, which is a suitable amount of power to heat up your food quickly.

No matter how much power your microwave has, it will eventually heat up your food to the point where you can enjoy a hot meal, even if your food was frozen when you put it in the microwave.

Hilda D. Coburn

Hi there, I'm Hilda D. Coburn, a passionate housewife, and mother of three beautiful kids. Here in this blog, I share my experience and knowledge about microwave ovens. Being a busy mom, I know the value of time and convenience, and that's where my love for microwave ovens comes from. Through my blog, I aim to help other housewives and busy individuals to make the most of their microwave ovens and simplify their lives. So, join me in my journey of exploring the world of microwave ovens and make cooking a breeze!