Best Wattage for a Microwave
What to know

What is the Best Wattage for a Microwave?

When shopping for the perfect microwave, you might wonder if it’s safe to get a used microwave. If getting a used microwave is okay, then what’s the difference between expensive and cheap microwaves? If you were to buy a brand new microwave, what wattage would best suit your needs?

Most importantly, what is the best wattage for a microwave? A used microwave has early breakage risk. A new microwave is more expensive but it might be worth it to avoid breakage risk.

What is the Best Wattage for a Microwave?

The wattage of 900 watts to 1 kilowatt is ideal for a fast-cooking microwave. However, if you live in a trailer park recreational vehicle or a small apartment, it might be best to get a 650 watt to 700-watt microwave instead. It cooks slower but it’s less likely to overload vehicular or solar batteries.

The wattage or power level of the microwave impacts how long it takes to cook or heat up food. Higher wattage also ensures thorough, even cooking across the board instead of multiple hot spots. You should ask quite a number of questions when determining which wattage suits your home best.

Keep on reading to see some of the other factors that help determine if a microwave is good or not because the wattage is only one factor to consider.

Further reading:

Typical Wattage Range and Convection Microwaves

Additionally, wattage can range from 650 watts to 2.4 kilowatts. 1-kilowatt microwaves offer a decently fast heating rate while 700-watt microwaves heat food for a bit longer comparatively. This is why if you were to buy a 700-watt microwave, make sure it’s a convection microwave.

This way, you can heat up food from the inside then cook it from the outside with the convection oven mode or vice-versa. This makes better use of all that 700 watts of power without overloading your solar battery or making your electric bill go up exponentially.

Best Wattage for a Microwave
What is the Best Wattage for a Microwave?

Oven Capacity and How It Influences Wattage

Oven capacity proves that 900 watts are a good starting point for your microwave purchase if you don’t live in an RV or a small apartment. Oven capacity is measured in cubic feet and tends to match the power level of the microwave.

It determines the amount of food or the size of plates you can stuff into your microwave interior. A standard microwave has an average capacity of 1 cubic foot or less. It can also go up to 2 cubic feet. The larger the capacity the more power you need to fill up that extra space.

See more: What is The Best RV Microwave Out There? Learn and Find Out

How Many People Are You Cooking For?

The ideal wattage should also be based on how many people you cook for. The wattage also impacts the size of the microwave—the less power or fewer watts it has the smaller it is because it takes more watts in order to heat up a bigger amount of space or capacity. To wit:

The more people you need to cook for in one sitting the more power you’ll need. The capacity of the microwave should match the power. This is because the capacity tends to be directly proportional to the power level (1-kilowatt microwaves tend to have 1 cubic foot of capacity or more).

Reference List for Wattage and Number of People Served

Below is a quick reference list for determining watts based on the size of your family.

  • Less Than 800 Watts: Solo or up to 4 people.
  • 800 Watts to 1 Kilowatt: From 2 to 6 people or a whole family.
  • 1 Kilowatt and Above: 4 or more people or even a dozen or so (for break room use).

Naturally, this is only a rule of thumb. Other guides claim that below 800 watts is for 1-2 people, 800-1,000 watts is for 3-4 people, and beyond 1,000 watts is for 5 and more people. Still, other articles base the number of people served on capacity by cubic feet rather than by watts or kilowatts.

We’re Not Using Hard and Fast Rules Here

It’s not illegal to use 800-watt microwaves for 4 or more people or 1-kilowatt and above microwaves for less than 4 people. You’re simply not optimizing the wattage based on your family size. 800 watts of power can serve 4 but it takes longer and multiple microwave sessions.

A 1-kilowatt microwave can serve 1 but you can expand to beyond 4 if you wish. A family of 2 can use a 1,200-watt microwave but that same microwave can take portions for 4 or more people if you have guests around. It’s a helpful guide that maximizes all that power and its limits.

What’s the Average Microwave Price Based on Wattage?

Another important factor is the price of the microwave in question. The higher the wattage the more expensive the machine will end up being. However, when you take a closer look, the price per watt between microwaves isn’t just inversely proportional to wattage.

Most manufacturers favor giving microwaves that have at least 900 watts on it special price per watt rates. However, if you go beyond 1.1 kilowatts, there’s somehow a price per watt spike. This is based on the average price of Westinghouse microwaves based on their wattage, mind you.

WattageAverage Microwave PricePrice Per Watt
600 watts$61.74$0.103
900 watts$84.63$0.094
1 kilowatt$89.90$0.090
1.1 kilowatts$104.61$0.095

Although the price per watt might vary from device to device due to extras such as a convection mode or more preprogrammed preset options, more often than not the price per watt is higher among lower wattages and lower among higher wattages.

Sort of. The wattage rate for 1 kilowatt and 900 watts are among the lowest but somehow the 1.10-kilowatt microwave has a higher rate than either despite having a higher power level as well.

You may also like: 11 Most Expensive Microwave Models

Getting into the Nitty-Gritty

900 watts and up is considered a good power level for microwave because it cooks fast enough for the needs of a nuclear family and it accommodates most 5-member units. It also comes with a decent size of 0.9 to 1 cubic foot of capacity that fits most large plates and dishes.

It’s also slightly not as expensive as many of the 1-kilowatt microwaves out there, especially when you avail of a convection microwave model. It has a compact footprint, a short length of cooking time, and a cost-effective energy range. What more can you ask for?

References:

  1. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, “Here’s Exactly What to Look for Before Buying a Microwave Oven, According to Kitchen Experts“, Good Housekeeping Institute, April 30, 2019
  2. What is a Good Wattage for Microwaves?“, SmallAppliancePlanet.com, Retrieved June 16, 2021

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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