How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use

Updated: Jun 14, 2023 9:28 AM
How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use

If you’re shopping for the best microwave oven, you may wonder how many watts does the average microwave use. Luckily most units have plenty of power settings for your microwavable foods. That said, the output of microwave watts is an essential spec for the typical microwave oven if you’re concerned about your unit’s energy cost and energy consumption. So, if you want to know how many watts does a microwave use, read this guide.


  • Watts measures how much power it takes to run a kitchen appliance or any other electronic device.
  • Most microwave ovens usually fall between 600-1000 watt models.
  • Generally, the more watts a microwave has, the more expensive it will be. Ensure that you aren’t paying for power that you’ll never use.

How Many Watts Does it Take to Run a Microwave

The watts of power from your microwave vary, making it essential that you know how to change the power level. That said, if you’re looking for an energy-efficient countertop model, you need to know the maximum output power that your range or countertop microwave offers. Keep in mind the power output will be different on other models, like a microhood combination microwave oven. You can compare models, like the Bosch speed microwave oven vs GE AAdvantium and AmazonBasics microwave to see the different power outputs.

Insider Tip

Any microwave rated for over 1000 watts will likely be expensive. So, ensure that you don’t pay for a type of microwave that’s too powerful for your cooking needs.

In general, a high-end model will offer substantial power compared to a basic, compact microwave. So, if you want to avoid cold spots inside your appliance or partially cooked food, pick a unit with at least 600-800 watts. This increased power output also gives faster cooking time for large amounts of food.

What Wattage Should My Microwave Be?

While there isn’t a “best wattage” rating for a microwave, your unit’s energy usage is one of the most critical factors next to internal capacity.

Luckily, microwave wattage is generally standard across most models. Countertop and range models are 600-1000-watt microwave ovens. While lower watts are a more affordable option, anything from 800-1000 watts will make microwave dinners quickly and efficiently. In fact, you can find some affordable best undercounter microwave just as strong or powerful, and it takes up much less space than countertop models.

In addition, you should know what your microwave is made of if you want to avoid standard microwave issues.


Do not try to cook raw meat or poultry in your microwave, regardless of wattage. It may not cook thoroughly, putting you at risk of food poisoning.


How much electricity does a microwave use on standby?

Microwaves do not use much energy while it is on standby. The average model uses about 5 watts per hour on standby mode. In most markets, it will cost you about 12 cents per kWh to keep your microwave on when it isn’t in use. So, if 44 cents per month or $5.26 per year is too much for your budget, you can unplug your microwave when you’re not cooking.

Can I change the wattage of the microwave?

While you cannot change the wattage of your microwave, most models allow you to adjust the power level. Variable power levels allow you to change how much microwave energy is used during the cooking cycle.

How do I find the wattage of my microwave?

Most manufacturers list the wattage of a microwave oven on the back of the unit. That said, if you have a built-in or range microwave, consider looking in the manufacturer’s included instruction manual. Lastly, you can see how long it takes to boil water in your microwave for a wattage estimate. For example, a 700-watt unit should take about 3 minutes to boil water, while a 1000-watt microwave should only need 2 minutes at most.

STAT: According to Michigan State University, you should heat all microwavable food to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure any harmful bacteria in your food has died. (source)

Coby McKinley Avatar

Learn More About Microwaves