Microwaves offer a convenient and time-saving way to cook meals.

But there is always a cost to a benefit and you may be wondering the cost to deliver this convenience and efficiency.

Higher energy bills, perhaps?

So, in this post, I provide a guide:

- to how much energy and electric bills it costs to operate a microwave,

- the amps they draw,

and lastly, answer some questions on whether to connect a microwave to an extension cord, wall outlet, and breakers to help you get the most out of your microwave safely.

**Note:** This is only a guide, always consult the technical specifications section for your microwave

Table of Contents

## Does a Microwave Use a lot of Electricity?

This really depends on how long you use the microwave and at what power level it is set to.

At full power, microwaves can draw considerable current, up to 10 amps for the smaller ones and as much as 14 amps for the large countertop microwaves.

As an example, a 1.4 cu.ft microwave with a cooking power of 1,100 watts used for 1 hour a day at full power with an input power of 1600 watts refer to the table below, has a daily electricity consumption of 1600 watts x 1 hr = 1.6kWh.

If you cooked for 1 hour a day for the next 30 days, then the monthly electricity consumption is 30 days x 1.6 kWh = 48 kWh.

So, actual electricity consumption depends on how long it is used for and the power level selected.

## How Many Watts a Microwave Uses?

There is no one standard number of watts used by a microwave.

The power consumed by a microwave uses mainly depends on the cooking capacity of the microwave (w) and the power level selected during meal preparation.

**Taking the countertop microwaves as an example, the input power (watts) for the mini microwaves (0.7 cu. ft) can be as low as 1,050 watts and 1,650 watts for the large microwaves (~ 2.2. cu. ft).**

**The Table below shows input power consumption (watts) for selected microwaves. **

No. | Capacity (cu.ft) | Cooking power (watts) | Input power (watts) |

1 | 0.7 | 700 | 1,050 |

2 | 0.9 | 900 | 1,050 |

3 | 1.1 | 800 | 1,200 |

4 | 1.4 | 1,100 | 1,600 |

5 | 2.0 | 1,200 | 1,650 |

6 | 2.2 | 1,200 | 1,650 |

This is only a guide and the cooking power and power consumption (watts) information for your microwave may be different.

Always consult the Technical Specifications guide for your microwave model.

Source: Power consumption data for selected microwave brands – GE, LG, Panasonic.

## How Many Amps a Microwave Uses

The amp draw depends on the cooking power of the microwave.

Microwaves with a higher cooking power demand set to cooking at maximum cooking power to cook the larger volume of food faster draw more amps compared to the smaller microwaves.

**The table below shows the current draw (amps) for selected microwaves. **

No. | Capacity (cu.ft) | *Current draw (amps) |

1 | 0.7 | 9.3 |

2 | 0.9 | 9.5 |

3 | 1.1 | 10.5 |

4 | 1.4 | 13.5 |

5 | 2.0 | 13.9 |

6 | 2.2 | 13.9 |

The current draw quoted is at maximum power.

This is only a guide and your microwave’s current draw may be different.

Always consult the Technical Specifications guide for your microwave model.

## How Much It Costs to Run a Microwave?

This really depends on how long you use the microwave for and at what power level it is set at.

As a guide, if you use a 1.4 cu.ft microwave, with a cooking power of 1,100 watts for 1 hour a day at full power.

Taking the input power of 1,600 watts in the table as a guide, then the daily electricity consumption is 1.6kWh.

The monthly electricity consumption is 30 x 1.6 = 48kWh.

The monthly electricity cost for cooking for 1 hour over 30 days at 13 cents per kWh, 30 x 1.6 kWh x 0.13 =USD 6.24 per month.

So, the cost to you depends on the cooking power of your microwave, its power level, and how long it is used.

## Does a Microwave Need a Dedicated Circuit?

Several manufacturers recommended that microwaves be installed on a dedicated 15 amp or 20 amp, grounded and dedicated circuit for best performance.

By using a dedicated circuit, you avoid frequent tripping of the circuit breakers or malfunctioning of the other appliances connected to the same circuit when the microwave is running.

If the microwave is connected to a shared 15 amp circuit together with the lights, you may experience dimming of the lights when the microwave is running.

**Related questions**

## Can you Connect a Microwave to a 15 amp Circuit?

Microwaves with a rated current draw of 10 amps (typically up to 1.1 cu.ft) can be connected to a 15 amp circuit.

It is advisable though that this is a dedicated circuit to prevent tripping of the circuit breaker or malfunctioning of the other connected appliances when the microwave is running.

You may also consult the microwave manufacturer or a qualified electrician.

## Can You Plug a Microwave into a Regular Outlet?

Yes, you can plug a microwave into a 3 prong outlet that has a dedicated 15 amp or 20 amp circuit breaker depending on the microwave’s current draw.

If it is a 2 prong outlet, change to a 3 prong with a good grounding to protect against the risk of electric shocks.

## Can you use an Extension Cord for Microwave?

Whereas it is possible to use a properly grounded extension cord with a current rating that matches that of the microwave, many manufacturers discourage the use of extension cords and instead recommend that it is plugged into a wall outlet.

## Final Word

Microwaves are a time-saving cooking solution.

But with the convenience and efficiency comes a cost depending on how often and how long you use the microwave.

Typical current draw for countertop microwaves sizes 0.7 – 2.2 cu. ft are in the ranges 9.3 to about 14 amps depending on the cooking power of the oven and the power level used.

It is advisable that you connect the microwave to a dedicated 15 amp or 20 amp circuit, depending on its current rating to avoid tripping of the breaker when the microwave is in use.

Also, make sure to use a properly grounded 3 prong outlet to avoid electric shocks.

**Related Posts**