Microwave Oven vs Electric Oven

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Updated August 19, 2022

When comparing the different types of ovens, you experience significantly decreased cooking time when using a microwave oven vs an electric oven. Although both kitchen appliances heat the food you prepare, the two provide different methods to do so. The best microwaves offer a variety of functions with or without convection and grilling, while ovens present more versatile usage at an increased time. The average microwave lacks convection and grilling modes, but you may upgrade to a pricier model if desired. If you want increased coverage of cooking methods in an efficient device, consider a microwave oven vs an OTG.


  • You may find a microwave more efficient than an electric oven because they speed up your defrosting, heating, or reheating process.
  • An electric oven heats food from the outside with even distribution, something that a microwave cannot do without a convection mode.
  • If you want an energy-efficient model, consider a microwave rather than a conventional oven.

Differences Between a Microwave and an Electric Oven

Microwave ovens and conventional ovens, including electric models, utilize different heating elements to cover various uses. The two products differ greatly in cooking time and energy efficiency, so you should consider which is better for you. The most significant fault in microwaves remains the inability to heat things evenly throughout the food. As a result, microwaves require less energy when used and throughout the day. Meanwhile, electric ovens distribute warmth around the food at your desired temperature, but they remain inefficient and slow. You may need to consider an old vs new microwave as well.

In short, having a device that cooks quickly and thoroughly so you can go about your day is the best. That said, you’ll want to check out some comparisons of different devices before you buy anything. This includes commercial microwaves vs regular microwaves, bakers rack vs microwave cart, and microwave drawer vs warming drawer.

Heating Methods

Microwaves warm meals by agitating the water molecules in food using electromagnetic waves. This form of electromagnetic radiation uses short wavelengths to prepare food safely from the inside. Some products called convection microwave ovens feature an additional heating device and fan. Conventional cooking appliances, like electric ovens, provide better heat distribution using electrical power that passes through a baking coil. This heating element typically lies on the top and bottom of the oven, evenly dispersing the heat. In addition, the electricity passing through the coil adjusts as the temperature sensor registers the temperature.

Quick Meal Preparation

Because of the process involving microwave radiation, your favorite meals take less time to prepare. Meals that could take hours using a conventional oven take minutes, something that greatly appeals to consumers. Additionally, the microwave oven does not preheat or heat the entire compartment, further reducing the time by eliminating prep time for the oven. Many ovens take several minutes to heat up to allow for even cooking. If you make your meals after work, a microwave could speed up the process to get dinner on the table earlier.

Expanded Usage

Microwave ovens primarily help defrost, heat, or reheat food since the warmth is not distributed evenly around the plate or other microwave-safe plastic containers. Because of this element, microwaves typically lack the ability to grill or bake food unless you own a model designed for these uses. If your microwave includes a grill or convection feature, you must activate the desired method before starting the device. Ovens provide even heat, and you can bake, broil, and heat ingredients easily. The oven includes greater versatility in meal preparation.

Economic Advantages

Overall, microwaves remain more energy-efficient than convection ovens through the use of radio waves. In a study of different kitchen appliances, microwaves offer a 50% energy conversion rate for boiling water, which relies on the agitation of water molecules. Electric ovens convert energy at a rate of 65%. However, microwaves require less time to cook food items, and this difference pushes them past electric ovens in terms of energy usage, saving you money in the end.

Insider Tip

Electric ovens surround your food in heat, cooking it consistently throughout.


Is a microwave oven safe to use, and is it healthy to use it daily?

The FDA regulates microwave ovens, and every manufacturer has to pass the standard. As a result, radiation injuries rarely occur. Additionally, microwaves do not heat the cooking compartment, so you have a lower risk of burning yourself compared to an oven.

Which is better for your cooking: microwave or oven?

Microwaves tend to dry out food because they heat food through water molecules, but they quickly prepare a meal. On the other hand, ovens heat food evenly but take significantly longer. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference over which is best for your cooking style.

Is it cheaper to use a microwave or an oven?

You may find it cheaper to use a microwave because of the reduction in cooking time.

STAT: In use, microwave ovens are about 50% efficient at converting electricity into microwaves, meaning that a 900-watt microwave will use about 1800 watts of electricity when cooking food. (source)


Meals prepared in the oven may take hours to cook, but a microwave reduces the preparation time significantly.

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