What Size Microwave Do I Need?

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Updated August 17, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best microwave, you may have wondered, “What size microwave do I need?” It may be a Whirlpool countertop microwave or AmazonBasics microwave. But, in reality, finding the right size microwave depends on the amount of kitchen space you have and what microwave recipes you plan on cooking. In addition, you can opt for built-in or over-the-range microwaves if you want to save counter space but cannot do with a great compact microwave. So, if you’d like to know the essential tips for finding the right size microwave oven, read on.


  • Look for a countertop microwave that allows for at least a foot of space between the door and the counter’s edge for food prep.
  • If you want the maximum closed-door depths, go with a built-in model or a drawer microwave.
  • Remember that a smaller, more efficient microwave might better meet your needs if you only cook for one.

Why Is Microwave Oven Size Important?

Finding the correct type of microwave is more than just personal preference. Your microwave cooking capacity will inform the amount of fresh or frozen food you can prepare in the kitchen. While you still need to understand what microwave safe is, you should first consider the full range of sizes to make the most of this kitchen appliance. Speaking of size, there are many different types and sizes of models. You’ll want to know more about countertop microwaves and built-in microwaves. If you’re shopping for an over-the-range microwave, you need to know how high an above-range microwave should be before buying one.

Insider Tip

Don’t overload compact models with too much food, as it needs room for optimal cooking, even in conventional microwaves without a convection mode.

How are the Sizes of Microwaves Measured?

The appliance industry measures every microwave type in external and internal dimensions. While most people are concerned with microwave wattage, the physical size of even a basic microwave will make a ton of difference.

Consider learning how to replace a microwave fuse to keep your new microwave running for as long as possible.

Internal Dimensions

Internal microwave oven cavities are measured in cubic feet. To find the internal capacity of your current microwave, multiply the interior length, width, and height. Then, divide the total by 1.728 to find your microwave’s cubic feet measurement.

External Dimensions

To find your microwave’s external measurements, you just need to measure the dimensions in inches.

What are Standard Microwave Sizes?

Luckily, there are standard sizes of microwaves that will make your choice easier. For example, the average compact countertop microwave will be around ten by 18 by 14 inches. Of course, when you shop for high-end models, the sizes get bigger.

A built-in microwave, just like a range model, can be up to 14 by 24 by 20 inches in size. Lastly, drawer microwaves will be big enough for large frozen dinners and have extra space for storage.

What Else to Consider?

Consider your counter space dimensions for whichever type of microwave you think will be best. Ventilation space is also important because, just like other appliances, microwaves can overheat. Lastly, think about your family size, cooking prowess, and how much food you plan to prepare regularly.


Never place metal tools in your microwave enclosure. Microwave technology can cause electrical arcs on the metal that will do electrical damage to the microwave oven.


Why consider a convection microwave?

Convection microwave ovens offer the heating speed of a microwave and the crisp food of a standard oven. A convection microwave is a convenient option, especially for full-size dinner plates.

What size microwave do I need for college?

To maximize your counter space in your dorm room, we recommend going with a compact microwave to save counter space. In addition, the countertop model design should give you enough cooking power for most quick meals.

How do I clean a microwave inside and out?

You can clean a microwave cavity with soapy water and a clean cloth. In addition, make sure to leave your microwave door open until the water has evaporated from the cavity. Wipe the exterior down with a damp cloth.

STAT: A US Department of Energy survey found that only 2% of respondents earning $200,000 or more per year reported using a microwave. (source)

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