Microwaves are indispensable kitchen appliances. For most of us, having a steaming hot meal ready in minutes is nothing short of a dream come true.
Plus, most are within reach of an ordinary person’s budget, making them a hit with young families and students.
But with the convenience comes a price – an often overlooked one. Have you ever considered how much electricity a microwave consumes? Lucky for you, I did some digging and uncovered the following.
How many Amps does a microwave use?
When plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, most microwaves use 600 to 1,200 watts of power, which translates to 5-10 amps. At 110 volts, the amps rise slightly to 5.5-10.9, while at 240 volts, the amperage falls to 2.5-5. While it isn’t much, it adds up over time.
In today’s article, we’ll look at how much a typical microwave draws in power, what this means for your bills, and how you can use these numbers to make smarter choices.
What Is an Amp as It Relates to Power?
Simply put, an amp is a unit of electric current, and the higher the amp rating, the more power is drawn from the source, and vice versa.
I know this can be a tricky concept to grasp, so let’s start by defining power.
Power, in this case, is the amount of energy required to do work, and in microwaves, it’s measured in watts (W). A watt is the product of voltage (V) multiplied by the current (A). To put it in a more relatable context, higher wattage means cooking and reheating food faster.
So, how do amps fit into the equation?
The answer is surprisingly simple. Most microwaves fall into the range of 800-1500 watts. To get the amp rating of a microwave, divide the wattage by the voltage. For example, an 800-watt microwave plugged into a 120-volt outlet will draw about 6.6 amps of current.
In a nutshell, Amps help you to determine how much power your appliance requires quickly. The higher the amp rating, the more energy you’ll need to run your device. Knowing this can help you better plan when using multiple appliances simultaneously.
Plus, it might save you a few bucks on your monthly electricity bill. As a homeowner, that’s something I always appreciate.
How To Calculate Microwave Amp Usage?
Assuming your microwave is plugged into a standard 110V outlet, you can easily calculate the amp usage using the formula (I = P / V).
I = the current in amps, P = the wattage of the microwave, and V = the outlet’s voltage (120V).
Most microwaves have a wattage of 600-1200W. For example, if I have a 600W microwave, I can calculate its amp usage with this formula: 600W / 120V = 5A.
The same goes for other microwaves:
- A 1100W microwave draws 9.16A
- A 1200W microwave draws 10A
And while this is a great way to calculate your microwave’s power usage, I recommend investing in a multimeter or ammeter to be 100% sure. That way, you can get a more accurate reading. Watch this instructional video if you need help learning how to use a multimeter.
If electricity isn’t your strong suit, you can always contact a professional electrician to double-check the readings. Safety first!
A Table Showing Various Microwave Wattage and Amps It Uses
Regarding energy consumption, microwaves can be a significant drain on your energy bill. To help you better understand the power draw of different models, here’s a table showing the typical wattage and the corresponding amps.
PS Use the formula (I = P / V).
|110 V||5.5 amps||7.3 amps||10 amps||12.7 amps|
|120 V||5 amps||6.7 amps||9.2 amps||11.7 amps|
|220 V||2.7 amps||3.6 amps||5 amps||6.4 amps|
With this information, you can decide whether your microwave is using too many amps for your needs. As a bonus, I always unplug my microwave after use – that way, I save energy and money.
What Factors Affect How Much Power A Microwave Oven Uses?
When it comes to how much power your microwave uses, various factors come into play, including cooking time, microwave size, and the type of food being reheated/cooked.
Here’s a breakdown of each:
1. Cooking Time
Generally, the longer a microwave cooks, the more power it consumes, and vice versa. So, if you’re only heating a quick snack for a few seconds, you won’t need to worry about drawing too much power. To save money, I suggest investing in a high-efficiency model.
2. Microwave Size
Think of it as the wattage of your microwave. Generally, large microwaves have higher wattage and require more amps to operate than smaller models. However, they’re faster, saving you time and energy in the long run.
3. Type of Food
The type of food you’re cooking or reheating will impact how much power your microwave uses. Foods with high water content, such as vegetables, require less cooking power than foods like meats and grains with lower water content.
Remember, microwaves work by heating the water molecules inside food, so the more water present, the more efficient the cooking process.
4. Atmospheric Conditions
If you reside in an area with a higher-than-average humidity, your microwave may use more power to reheat and cook food. Water in the atmosphere will absorb more heat, forcing your appliance to work harder.
3 Best Low-Wattage Microwave Ovens
If you’re looking to save energy and money on your next microwave purchase, look no further than these three low-wattage options. All under 800 watts, these microwaves will reduce your electricity bill without compromising performance.
1. BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave
The 700-watt model packs all the features of a full-sized oven in a compact size, perfect for small spaces. As a bonus, it features a one-key quick-start button, making it extremely easy to use.
2. Farberware Classic FMO07AHTBKJ 0.7 Cu. Ft. 700-Watt microwave
Farberware Classic boasts a sleek stainless exterior with ten power levels and six one-touch settings. It’s an affordable and dependable choice, plus it adds a nice touch of sophistication to any kitchen.
3. Nostalgia Retro Countertop Microwave
As the name implies, this microwave has a stylish retro design that will turn heads. It also has an 800-watt rating, a bright LED digital display, 12 pre-programmed settings, and a 0.9 cubic-foot capacity. Plus, I love the vintage vibe it brings to the kitchen.
3 Best High Wattage Microwave Ovens
If you’re looking for more power and budget is not an issue, here are three high-wattage microwaves that’ll tick all the boxes.
1. Toshiba ML2-EM62P(SS) Large Countertop Microwave
Toshiba ML2-EM62P(SS) is a powerful 2.2 cubic-foot microwave with a 1200-watt rating and six auto menus. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a quick and powerful microwave. Plus, I have to admit, it looks sleek and modern in any kitchen.
2. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S
If you’re looking for a high-end microwave, the Panasonic NN-SN686S 1200W is an excellent choice. It offers a slew of features, such as Inverter Technology to save energy and a Genius Sensor to adjust the cooking time automatically.
3. Breville Smooth Wave Microwave
This microwave offers a combination of modern design and sophisticated technology. It has a 1250-watt rating and is 50% quieter than the average microwave. Plus, the Sensor iQ technology allows it to adapt cooking time and power based on the type of food you’re reheating or cooking.
How To Save Power When Using a Microwave
When using a microwave, the electricity consumed can be surprisingly high. Fortunately, you can save power and money while keeping your food warm with a few simple adjustments and tips.
1. Unplug Your Microwave When Not in Use
It may seem obvious, but microwaves will continue to draw a small amount of power, even when they’re not in use. Over time, this can add up, spiking your electric bill. Make it a habit to unplug your microwave whenever you finish cooking or reheating.
2. Choose Low to Medium Power Settings
Most microwaves have three power settings: High, Medium, and Low. High is usually the default setting.
For best results, choose either the medium or low setting. These options will significantly decrease power consumption while still perfectly cooking your food.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about overcooking, which is associated chiefly with high-power settings.
3. Use the Appropriate Container Size
Make sure the container you’re using is microwave-safe and the correct size. It should be no larger than three times the volume of your food to ensure no energy is wasted. That way, you get a well-cooked meal without consuming too much power.
4. Avoid Opening the Microwave Door Unnecessarily
When cooking in a microwave, resist the urge to open the door. Every time you open the door, you let out the heat, which forces the microwave to generate more power to get the food to the desired temperature.
And if you must peek at your food while cooking, keep the opening time to a minimum. Or, invest in a good old-fashioned kitchen timer.
5. Regularly Stir the Food
Stirring the food when microwaving helps distribute heat evenly, ensuring that it’s adequately cooked. As a result, cooking time and power consumption are reduced.
6. Clean Regularly
Keeping your microwave clean will improve its performance and help it run more efficiently, reducing power consumption. Give it a regular wipe-down and keep the interior free of spills, splashes, and food crumbs. Plus, it’ll prolong the lifespan of your microwave.
7. Invest in an Energy Efficient Microwave
When you’re in the market for a new microwave, don’t just settle for anything. Consider a model that features Inverter Technology, allowing more precise and consistent power levels.
Also, check for the ENERGY STAR certification, which indicates that the model has met the US Department of Energy’s efficiency standards. It may cost more upfront, but you’ll save money in the long run.
Faqs on How Many Amps Does a Microwave Use
1. Can a microwave be on a 15-amp breaker?
Most microwaves draw between 5 and 12 amps when plugged into a 120-volt circuit. The exact amps used depends on the wattage of your unit. As a result, a 15-amp breaker can safely handle a microwave with a wattage of 1500 or less. Check your microwave’s nameplate for the exact amps rating.
2. How many amps does a 1500w microwave use?
A 1500w microwave will draw approximately 12.5 amps when plugged into a 120-volt circuit and 13.6 amps at a 110-volt circuit. If you have a 240-volt circuit, the amperage will reduce by almost half at 6.25 amps.
3. Does a microwave need a dedicated 20-amp circuit?
Yes, a dedicated 20-amp circuit allows the microwave to operate safely without tripping a breaker or creating an electrical hazard. It also helps to ensure optimal appliance performance, providing a more consistent cooking experience.
4. Are microwaves 15 amp or 20 amp?
Most microwaves are rated for 20-amp breakers due to the constant electricity spikes and sudden load increases. However, a 15-amp breaker is safe to use as long as the maximum load is not exceeded.
5. How many amps does a 700-watt microwave use?
If you have a 120-volt system, a 700-watt microwave will draw approximately 5.83 amps and 6.36 amps when plugged into a 110-volt circuit. A 240-volt circuit would reduce the amperage to 2.91 amps.
6. How many amps does a 900-watt microwave use?
A 900-watt microwave will draw 7.5 amps at 120 volts, 8.18 amps at 110 volts, and 3.75 amps at 240 volts.
7. What size breaker for a 1000-watt microwave?
While a 15-amp circuit breaker can technically accommodate a 1000-watt microwave, a 20-amp breaker is the most recommended as it protects the appliance from overloading the circuit. Before purchasing and installing a new breaker, check your local electrical codes.
8. How many amps does a 1200-watt microwave use?
If you have a 1200-watt microwave, the amperage will be ten amps when plugged into a 120-volt circuit and 10.9 amps at a 110-volt circuit. For a 240-volt system, it will be five amps.
The Bottom Line
The average microwave requires 5-10 amps to operate, depending on the wattage.
The good news is this falls within the typical range of 15-20 amps for which most household circuits are rated, reducing the risk of tripping breakers.
And, with a few simple tips and adjustments, you can get the most out of your microwave while conserving energy.