How Do I Know the Size of My Microwave?

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Updated August 18, 2022

If you are planning a kitchen redesign or simply trying to keep your ducks in a row, you may wonder how to know the size of a microwave. The best microwaves out there come in a wide variety of sizes, after all, and it can be difficult to know the exact dimensions of your unit. Keep reading to learn about different methods to measure a microwave’s size.


  • Knowing a microwave’s size and overall dimensions can be crucial when it comes to installing a built-in microwave, a drawer microwave, a cabinet microwave, or a range microwave.
  • Consult with the instructions manual for all of the size information you would ever need.
  • If you don’t have access to the manual, use a standard tape measure or a ruler to obtain the cubic feet, how many inches wide it is, and how many inches deep it is.

Why Does Microwave Size Matter?

A microwave’s overall size matters for a number of reasons. It dictates how much can be placed inside of the microwave, such as multiple dinner plates, and it also dictates where and how to install the unit. Built-in microwaves, otherwise known as range microwaves, require dedicated enclosures, after all, as do drawer microwaves and cabinet microwaves. Knowing the size can also come in handy when you are learning how to remove stains in a microwave, as this information will let you know how long the cleaning process will take.

Insider Tip

Always know the exact dimensions of your microwave before installing a built-in model.

How to Measure the Size of a Microwave

Knowing how big a 1.6 cubic feet microwave is can help with installation. This way you’ll be able to measure the cutout depth for the unit. There are several simple ways to measure the overall dimensions of your microwave oven. Here are just a few.

Check the Instructions

The easiest way to measure your microwave is to simply consult the instruction manual. Although, if you have a wall microwave door drop down or side door, the measurements will be different. If you no longer have a print copy of these instructions, check the web portal of your microwave oven’s manufacturer. You should be able to find a PDF. This documentation should include every important data metric you would ever need, including overall dimensions, cutout depth, overlap dimensions, cavity dimensions, and even more. Some manuals even include additional information, such as the overall size of the microwave door, if you are wondering how to clean a microwave glass door.

Use a Tape Measurer

Of course, you won’t be able to find the instruction manual in all cases, especially if you have an old microwave or you purchased the microwave overseas. In these cases, use a common tape measure to find the overall dimensions of the exterior. Simply measure the width, the height, and the depth. For the cavity, go in and take measurements of the same metrics. You may want to add a cubic inch or so to account for any difficulty you encounter while moving around the internal cavity.

Eyeball It

If you aren’t going to be installing it and just need approximate measurements, you can always eyeball it or use a ruler. This is especially true for a countertop microwave, though exact measurements, including how many cubic feet it is and how many inches wide it is, will be needed for range models.


Is there a standard size for over-the-range microwaves?

There is no absolute standard size, but the majority are 17 inches wide, though cubic feet will vary, as will how many inches deep they are.

What are the different types of microwaves?

There are many microwave types, including countertop models that only take up counter space, OTR microwaves, convection microwaves, and many more.

How do microwaves work to properly cook your food?

Microwaves heat up a frozen dinner and other ingredients by using electromagnetic waves released via a magnetron.

STAT: American engineer Percy Spencer is generally credited with inventing the modern microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the “Radarange”, it was first sold in 1946. (source)

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