How Much Watts Does a Microwave Take? (Exact Answer)

Most commonly used to thaw frozen meals and reheat leftovers, microwaves make an essential part of any functional kitchen. They are highly functional, energy-efficient, and convenient.

Microwaves boast an array of settings such as adjustable power levels and pre-programmed buttons for convenient cooking.

These kitchen appliances come in different designs and can also be used in RVs, boats, camping, among other places. They come in handy as they help whip up meals in minutes.

And when searching for a microwave, there’s this question that everyone asks themselves – how many watts does a microwave take? Well, most microwaves take a wattage of between 700 and 1300.

To find out the number of watts your microwave needs, check the label on the lower/back side of the unit.

Want to learn more about microwave wattage? Keep reading.

What is Microwave Wattage?

Wattage is the operating power of electrical equipment. It is expressed in watts.

Microwave wattage is, therefore, the operating power of a microwave. The amount of watts any microwave uses is determined by its volume.

Therefore, the bigger the microwave, the higher the wattage and vice versa.

The Wattage of a Good Microwave

How Much Watts Does a Microwave Take

The higher the microwave’s wattage, the better and faster it cooks. A good microwave heats evenly without burning or leaving cold spots in your food.

Microwaves come with various wattage rates, and a 1000 watts unit is the most favorable. It is actually considered as the standard mid-size microwave for even and fast cooking.

That said, note that any microwave with a wattage of 700+ watts can help with all basic microwaving tasks. Therefore, if you have a small family get a 700-1000 watts microwave.

How Many Watts Does a Microwave use?

How Much Watts Does a Microwave Take

The number of watts a microwave uses determines how thoroughly and quickly it can cook your food. The higher the wattage, the better your microwave will work.

These appliances come in different wattages, but most come in 600 to 1200 watts.

Bigger units boast higher wattages and are usually more expensive. Compact microwaves have a lower wattage and come at an affordable price.

When selecting a microwave for your home, ensure that the model you go for can help you handle your cooking needs. It should be strong enough to cook your food without wasting too much energy.

The power consumption in microwaves is usually as follows:

600 – 800 Watts

The most compact microwaves on the market usually boast between 600 and 800 watts. They are the cheapest and best for cooking instant foods like noodles, reheating meals and drinks, and heating small foods.

With these microwaves, you’ll spend a long time cooking.

800 – 1000 Watts

Microwaves that fall in this wattage range tend to cook faster and give better cooking results. They are mid-sized and feature a variety of settings that help you cook your food to perfection.

1000 – 1200 Watts

Microwaves that fall within this range are usually very large. They can help you cook enough food for a big family at a go.

They are actually closer to ovens as they heat fast and cook faster as well. Also, most restaurants own microwaves in this range or above.

Determining the Wattage of Your Microwave

Finding the wattage of your microwave is very easy. All you need to do is search the unit on any standard search engine.

Go through the online description or visit the manufacturer’s website to check the detailed technical specification. You might also come across a label with wattage information in your microwave.

To help you get a clear view of different microwave oven capacities and their wattages, we’ve compiled the table below.

The figures may vary from one brand to another.

Microwave CapacityWattage
0.6 – 0.7 cubic feet600 – 700 watts
0.9 cubic feet900 watts
1.1 cubic feet1000 watts
1.5 cubic feet1100 watts
1.6 cubic feet1250 watts
2.2 cubic feet1250 watts

You can also determine the wattage of your microwave using the “time-to-boil” method.

According to this method, a 700W microwave boils a cup of water in 2 minutes 30 seconds. Therefore:

  • 2 minutes and 11 seconds = 800 watts
  • 1 minute and 57 seconds = 900 watts
  • 1 minute and 45 seconds = 1,000 watts
  • 1 minute and 20 seconds = 1200 watts
  • 1 minute and 10 seconds = 1500 watts

Listed above is the approximate timing of boiling the water. Note the timing might slightly vary depending on the make of the microwave.

The Cost of Running a Microwave

The cost of running a microwave depends on:

  • How long the microwave runs
  • The wattage of the unit
  • Electricity cost in your area

Microwaves with low wattage cook food less quickly and thus cost less to run per minute. However, in some cases, running a stronger microwave that cooks faster might cost you less.

To figure out the cost of running a microwave, you can use this equation:

Kilowatts per hour x $ per kilowatt-hour x time running = cost of running an appliance

To understand this better, consider this example;

There are 1000 watts in a kilowatt. If your microwave is a 900 watts unit, it uses 0.9 kW per hour.

Electricity companies charge per kWh (kilowatt per hour), which is on average $0.12 kWh (12 cents per hour).

Finally, the amount of time a microwave runs dictates how much electricity it uses. If your microwave runs for 2 minutes, that’s 1/30th of an hour.

When you put all these variables into the equation, you’ll get the total cost of running your microwave.

0.9kWh/hour x 0.12 kWh x 1/30th per hour = $0.0037

Running a 900 watts microwave for 2 minutes will cost you $0.0037

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do watts really matter in a microwave?

Yes, watts matter a lot in a microwave. The watts your microwave uses affect how fast and effectively it can cook for food. The higher the wattage, the better it’ll work.

Q: What is microwave input wattage?

Microwave input wattage indicates the power taken by your microwave from a wall socket via the home grid.

It is the overall watts used by the unit to power it up, run the LED display, turntable, keypad, and power the magnetron that produces microwaves to heat your food.

Q: What is output microwave wattage?

Output wattage is required by the unit’s magnetron to produce microwaves and cook your food.

Q: Do microwaves draw electricity when not in use?

Microwaves draw electricity when not cooking. This electricity is used for LED lights and digital clocks. The microwave standby power consumption varies from brand to brand.

Q: What’s the best wattage for an all-rounder microwave?

The best wattage range for an effective all-rounder microwave is 800 to 1000 watts. This microwave cooks faster without leaving cold spots.
It also won’t draw a lot of power.

Q: How many watts does a microwave use per hour?

An average microwave uses about 1200 watts per hour.

Q: How much does it cost to run a microwave per hour?

Running a microwave for one hour costs $0.12.

Q: How many watts is a small microwave?

Small microwaves start at 600 watts.

Q: How well will a 700 watts microwave work?

A 700 watts microwave can perform all basic cooking, reheating, and thawing frozen foods. It’ll, however, take a little longer to complete the tasks.

Q: How much power does a 1000 watts microwave use?

A 1000 watts microwave uses 1 kWh.

Q: How many amps does a 1200 watts microwave use?

A 1200 watts microwave uses 10 amps at 120 volts.

Q: How much power does a 1250 watts microwave use?

A 1250 watts microwave uses 1.25 kWh.

Q: How many amps does a 1500 watts microwave use?

A 1500 amps microwave uses 12.5 amps.

Q: Can I plug my microwave into a regular outlet?

If possible, avoid plugging your microwave into whatever outlet you come across. These units require a dedicated circuit to operate safely.

Q: Can I use an extension cord for my microwave?

Avoid using an extension cord with your microwave due to potential safety hazards like blowing a fuse.


The wattage of a microwave determines its cooking power, and understanding how watts work is very important. It’s key to getting an appliance that meets your needs.

So, how much watts does a microwave take? We guess that you’ve already got the answer to this.

Your cooking needs will help you figure out the wattage you need for your microwave. If you have a large family and always cooking, get one with higher wattage – 1000+.

Living on your own and need a microwave to help with your basic cooking? An 800 to 1000 watts microwave will suffice.