Watts is an indicator to measure the power required by the microwave. In essence, it measures the cooking power and how much time is required by the microwave to cook the food thoroughly.
Keep in mind the general rule, “the higher the power, the less time it takes to cook the food.”
- Check Your Microwave’s Wattage
- How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use?
- Electricity Usage of a Microwave
- Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
- Does Microwave Use Electricity When Not in Use?
- Minimizing Standby Wattage Consumption
- Can I Change the Wattage of the Microwave?
- How much power does a 1000watts microwave use?
- How many watts is a good microwave?
- How well does a 700-watt microwave work?
- How do I find out how many watts my microwave is?
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Check Your Microwave’s Wattage
Now, to find out how much watts a microwave uses, you will have to look at the back of the microwave or inside the door. It is also mentioned in the user manual.
If it isn’t specified anywhere, you can make an estimate (more on it later).
How Many Watts Does a Microwave Use?
A microwave generally utilizes from 600 watts to 1200 watts or more.
- A compact size microwave usually have – 600-800 watts
- Mid-sized microwave oven for home use has – 850 – 1000 watts
- Full size or commercial grade microwaves have – more than 1000 watts up to 2200 watts.
Some people get confused when they see the two different wattages mentioned on the manual or at the back casing of the microwave.
One is named as input wattage, the other is named as output wattage.
So, what’s the difference, and which wattage matters the most?
What is Input Microwave Wattage?
Input wattage indicates the power taken by the microwave from the wall socket through the home grid.
The input wattage is the overall watts used by the appliance to power it up and run a turntable, LED display, keypad, and power the magnetron to produce microwaves to cook the food.
What Is Microwave Output Wattage?
Output microwave wattage is the actual wattage required by the magnetron to produce microwaves in the internal chamber and cook the food. Its sole purpose is to heat and cook.
From above, you must have noticed that:
Input Microwave watts = output watts + watts required to run other mechanical parts + energy loss during the process.
- Input Microwave watts are always greater than output microwave watts.
Input microwave watts should be considered when finding the cost of microwave usage, whereas output microwave watts determine how quickly the food will cook.
Microwave Input & Output Watts and Its Efficiency
Microwave efficiency lies in the range of 60 to 88%. An average microwave usually has around 65% efficiency.
That means, if the output wattage of the microwave is 1000 watts, the input wattage will be 650 watts.
- A microwave that gives 900 watts output = 1350 watts input (Around 67% efficiency)
- 700 watts output ~ 1100 watts input (64% efficiency)
- 1100 watts output ~ 1700 watts input (65% efficiency)
Electricity Usage of a Microwave
The electricity usage of the microwave is determined by two factors.
- Microwave Power wattage
- The total amount of time of microwave usage.
Add in the cost of electricity in your area, and you will know the total cost of microwaves.
Now, the interesting thing is, the high wattage microwave will consume more electricity but takes less time to cook the food.
A low wattage microwave will save electricity, but since it takes more time to cook the food, the electricity cost of a low wattage microwave may be more than a high-powered appliance if it takes a long time to cook food.
So, in that scenario, a high-watt microwave is more budget-friendly.
To calculate the electricity cost, we can use the following equation.
“Electricity cost = Rated power x time in hours x Cost in dollars per kilowatt-hour.”
- The average price of electricity in the U.S. = $0.12 kWh
Now let’s compare the electricity cost of a 1000 and 800 watts microwave if we run both appliances for 1 hour daily.
|Rated Power||Time in Hours||Cost in dollars per kilowatt-hour||Electricity Cost||Per Month Cost|
|800 watts or 0.8kw||1 hour||$0.12||$0.096||$0.096 x 30 = $2.88|
|1000 watts or 1 KW||1 hour||$0.12||$0.12||$0.12 x 30 = $3.6|
|1200 watts or 1.2 KW||1 hour||$ 0.12||$0.144||$0.144 x 30 = $4.32|
From the above examples, we can see that even if we use 1 hour daily (Usually, on average we only use the microwave for about 15-30 minutes per day), the electricity consumption is very less and easy on the pockets.
Comparatively, a conventional oven takes more time to cook the food and takes more power. That’s the reason the microwave is more energy-efficient.
Note: To calculate the cost of electricity consumption by microwave, we will take the input microwave wattage.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Does Microwave Use Electricity When Not in Use?
Some of you may be surprised to know that microwaves, in fact, all appliances draw some energy even when they are not performing their primary function, in the case of microwaves, the cooking function.
The standby electricity consumption is used for LED displays that include LED lights and digital clocks.
The microwave standby power consumption varies, depending on the brand and model of the microwave.
When in Standby mode, the microwave draws 3 to 5 watts.
If we consider, it uses 5 watts in standby mode, and we always keep it on standby. It means the microwave uses 1.44 cents in a day, 44 cents in a month, and $5.28 in a year.
All the appliances in our home at standby mode contribute to 10% of excess power usage and electricity bills.
Minimizing Standby Wattage Consumption
Some microwaves feature an ECO-mode option that reduces power consumption by shutting off the display and internal power drainage.
However, if your microwave doesn’t have an ECO mode, you can unplug it to stop the power drainage.
Can I Change the Wattage of the Microwave?
Yes, we can change the microwave’s output wattage as most microwaves have various power levels, usually from 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
So, let’s say you are using a 1000 watts microwave and want to use only 50% power. For that, you will have to select level 5 from the setting. If you want to use only 700 watts out of the 1000 watts wattage capacity, you will choose power level 7.
At full power, you utilize the listed output power on the manual to quickly heat or cook the food. At lower levels, you are saving energy consumption.
How much power does a 1000watts microwave use?
The power used by a 1000 watts microwave can be calculated by the following equation.
Power consumption = Rated power in kW x time in hours
If we assume that it runs one hour, the power consumption will be
Power consumption = 1000 watts or 1 kW x 1
Power consumption = 1 kWh
And if we use a 1000 watts microwave for 15 minutes only, the power consumption will be
1000 watts or 1kw x 0.25h = 0.25kwh
How many watts is a good microwave?
Generally, the higher wattage microwave has the edge above low wattage microwaves as they cook the food fast and heat it evenly, without leaving cold spots in the food.
Microwaves have various wattage rates ranging from 600-2200 watts. A 1000 watts microwave is favorable and considered a standard mid-size microwave for fast cooking. However, anything above 700 watts microwaves can perform all the basic microwaving tasks efficiently.
So, if you want to microwave for home use with a small family, you can go for a 700-1000 watts microwave.
And, if you want to grill, bake and cook multi-steps complex recipes fast, you should choose a higher wattage microwave.
How well does a 700-watt microwave work?
A 700 watts microwave are good enough to perform all the basic reheating, thawing frozen food, and cooking simple recipes. The only downside is that they may take a little longer to cook or reheat the food.
Anything below a 700 watts microwave can’t pop the popcorn. But at this wattage, almost all popcorn pops nicely without burning.
A 700 wattage microwave usually doesn’t have convection or grill mode to bake and BBQ, but these compact microwaves can fit in any cramped space or small kitchens.
How do I find out how many watts my microwave is?
You can find out the microwave wattage on the manufacturer’s manual or at the back of the microwave. If you can’t find the microwave wattage, you will have to make an estimated guess based on the “time-to-boil” method.
700 watts microwave will boil 1 cup of water in 2 minutes 30 seconds
- 2 minutes 11 seconds = 800 watts
- 1 minute 57 seconds = 900 watts
- 1 minute 45 seconds = 1000 watts
- 1 minute 20 seconds = 1200 watts
- 1 minute 10 seconds = 1500 watts
Note: These are approximate timing to boil the water. Actual timing may vary slightly depending on the design and make of the microwave.
In comparison to conventional ovens and toaster ovens, microwaves use less wattage, consume less power, and saves us from hefty electricity costs.
Choosing the right microwave depends very much on your budget and wattage as it determines the cooking power of the microwaves.