Old Vs New Microwave

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Updated August 19, 2022

Some recent improvements to microwave ovens may make you consider whether you want an old vs new microwave. However, newer models provide various advantages over older devices, especially in reducing power consumption and cooking time. When considering the best microwaves, think about the effect of your microwave usage on your power bill. However, the difference won’t be as extreme as that between a microwave vs an electric oven.


  • Upgrading to a new microwave saves you money in energy consumption by greatly reducing energy use on standby.
  • Microwave ovens reduce cooking time from hours to minutes, while convection models further reduce the duration.
  • Over time, an over-the-range, built-in, or countertop microwave loses some of its power.

Differences Between Old and New Microwave Ovens

Brands have advanced their microwave designs over the years by reducing their cost and the price required to run them. One of the major price reductions stems from the ability of microwave ovens to run on less overall power for many uses, including boiling a cup of water. However, some microwaves can reduce your energy usage for other devices as well, including conventional ovens and grills. You can find your new microwave with convection and grilling functions in addition to smart sensors and standard defrosting, heating, and reheating. For information regarding warming in microwaves, you should check out the difference between a microwave drawer vs a warming drawer, though a microwave drawer may be referred to as a drawer microwave.

Additionally, if you’d like to see how microwaves measure up to other kitchen appliances, check out our comparison articles with microwave ovens vs air fryers, speed ovens vs microwaves, and energy use vs toaster microwave ovens.

Insider Tip

New microwaves reduce energy usage on standby by up to 75%.

High-Efficiency Microwaves

In 2013, the U.S. Energy Department announced new efficiency standards for microwave ovens being sold to consumers. As a result, microwave manufacturers must reduce energy consumption while on standby by 75 percent for most microwaves, reducing consumption by up to 51% for over-the-range microwave ovens with convection. As a result, you save if you buy a new microwave made after enacting these standards since older built-in microwaves, countertop microwaves, and OTR microwaves did not reach the new certification standards. In addition, the amount of energy consumption that occurs on standby composes the largest portion of energy, resulting in significant savings.

Optional Functionality

If you want a microwave that can do more than the average product, you may want to consider a model with additional features like convection and grilling. The average microwave oven offers heating by using the water molecules contained in your favorite food. The heat generates as the water molecules become agitated. However, a new built-in or countertop model with convection provides the opportunity to heat food using exterior heat in a heating coil or baking coil. Using this option and the standard heating method further reduces your microwave cooking time while ensuring an even heat.

Repair Parts

As with other appliances and devices that outlive their expected usage time, microwave parts may become scarce for your older microwave. Although some of the parts remain the same, you could experience difficulty finding repair parts that have changed. Because of this difficulty and the cost associated with these parts, you likely will find it easier to purchase a new microwave. In addition, microwaves must meet the industry standard to become certified. So if you are concerned that your new microwave contains lower-quality parts, you can feel better knowing they must meet these standards. Additionally, the power of the microwave decreases slowly over time.

Buying Microwave Tips

If your food takes significantly longer to cook regardless of whether you cook the same amount on the same plates you always use. When you think about new products, make sure to buy an option that fits your space, whether it is going on your counter or in your cabinets. Although bigger appliances remain great for families, you need the space to hold them and any additional feature you want, especially for an OTR microwave. You should also consider whether you want a convection model or one with any of several glass plates that turn on their own.


Old microwaves may have hard-to-replace parts, so buying a new microwave may end up being less expensive in the long run.


How long do microwave ovens last?

On average, microwaves last seven to ten years with the expected regular use. However, if you use your microwave more than most, yours may not last that long.

Is an old but functioning microwave likely to be dangerous?

Generally, an old microwave does not pose that much of a threat. However, if your microwave is sparking or arcing, stop using it. These issues may not be repairable.

How do you clean a microwave?

To clean a microwave, simply wipe down the interior cavity and the exterior if you want to. If you have a turntable, you may want to wipe underneath the glass plate as well.

STAT: Microwave ovens use electromagnetic waves that penetrate food, causing some molecules to vibrate and generate heat which is transferred throughout the food. (source)

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