How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use?

How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use?

Learn how to estimate your microwaves energy consumption.

Thad Warren By Thad Warren

Most kitchens have a microwave thanks to how handy they can be for quickly heating or reheating your favorite food items. While many rely on their microwave for cooking, you might be surprised at how quickly your microwave uses energy.

How many watts does a microwave use?

The average home microwave oven uses The amount of energy (watts) your microwave uses depends on its size and power rating. For simplicity, we will break down energy usage by common microwave sizes. 

  • Compact Microwave (600-800 watts) - small microwaves that you normally find in RV or hotel room.Standard Microwave (800-1000 watts) - a typical microwave you would find in a home or break room.
  • Commercial microwave (1000+ watts) - Large and powerful microwaves that you find in a high-end home kitchen or restaurant. 

Estimate your microwaves energy consumption

To determine how much energy your microwave uses for any given time requires a little bit of math. First, you need to determine what wattage your microwave is. This can usually be found on a sticker on the back of your microwave. 

Then you use the wattage to determine how many kilowatts your microwave uses in an hour a.k.a kilowatt-hours. If your microwave is rated at 1000 watts it uses 1 kilowatt (kW) per hour. 

Now that you know how much energy your microwave uses in an hour we just need to multiply it by the time it is running. For example, if your 1000-watt microwave runs for 5 minutes that is 1/12th of an hour. You then multiply the time your microwave runs by the number of kilowatt-hours it uses.

1 hour = 1kW of energy used 

5 minutes = 1/12th of an hour

 1kW  x 1/12th = .0833kWh

How much does it cost to run a microwave?

Now that you know how to calculate how much energy your microwave uses in any given time we can now calculate how much it costs to run it. We will just simply add one extra step to the formula above where we multiply the usage by your costs per kWh. 

(Kilowatts/hour) x (time running) x ($ per kilowatt-hour) = Energy cost to run appliance

An applied to our earlier example:

1kW  x 1/12th = .0833kWh 

.0833kWh x $0.10kWh = $.0083

Best energy-efficient microwaves

If you’re energy-conscious like us, you want the best bang for your buck when it comes to energy usage and wallet. We reviewed dozens of microwaves to find the best energy-efficient microwaves at various price points and sizes. 

Best compact energy-efficient microwave:

Farberware Classic FMO07ABTBKA 0.7 Cu. Ft. 700-Watt Microwave Oven

Buy it on Amazon for $59.99: Buy Now

Small simple and only 700 watts. This is a great microwave that won’t break the bank and doesn’t use a lot of power. 

Best home energy-efficient microwave:

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor & ECO Mode

Buy it on Amazon for $129.99: Buy Now

A great affordable microwave with all the bells and whistles you would expect plus one green feature, "ECO mode". ECO mode reduces the microwave's energy consumption by 50% while in standby mode. 

Best overall energy-efficient microwave:

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel with Inverter Technology & Genius Sensor

Buy it on Amazon for 191.89: Buy Now

Sleek modern design paired with sensor and inverter technology that reduces the time needed to properly heat your food. Less runtime means less energy usage!