Not all 900-watt microwaves will perform the same. However, that’s not the question being asked by this article. There are many power levels and wattages of microwaves available out there. Some, like the 700-watt microwave, are mostly used for RVs and solar-powered camping tents.
They help save energy and battery life with their lower wattage or power load. Others, like the 900-watt microwave, approach the offerings of a kilowatt microwave while still being small and economical enough for the average middle-class household.
So is a 900-watt microwave powerful enough? That’s an incomplete question. Rather, are you asking if it’s powerful enough to do what exactly? Cook eggs? Make quiche? Cook faster? Defrost quicker?
How Powerful is a 900-Watt Microwave Oven Exactly?
A 900-watt microwave oven isn’t exactly the most powerful but it’s not as weak as a 700-watt microwave. In fairness, 700 watts is about the power level limit for a decent convection microwave that can do much more than simple cooking and heating.
Therefore, you can rest assured that your 900-watt microwave that probably has 0.9 cubic feet of capacity (or more) is not a glorified Easy-Bake Oven with simple heating capabilities. You can cook there or even bake cookies. With the right apparatus, you can even make hard-boiled eggs.
The only real caveats to the abilities of a mini microwave is interior capacity, the size and portions of the food you’re cooking, and slower cooking compared to the average of a 1,000 watt or 1 kilowatt (or more) microwave.
The average microwave has a capacity size of 1.4 to 1.8 cubic feet as well. It’s powerful enough but it only serves a small family of four or perhaps a single person with a bachelor/bachelorette pad.
What’s the Cooking Power of a 900-Watt Microwave?
A 900-watt microwave is near enough to a 1Kw microwave in terms of wattage and power level that you can cook food rather quickly. It’s only slightly slower but most of the basics—from baking different baked goods like a quiche to cooking whole dishes like paella—cook relatively fast.
Most microwaves have a rating ranging from 600 watts to 1.1 kilowatts. 700-watt microwaves and less may not be able to cook food at the same speed as a 1Kw microwave. You need to wait a little longer but in fairness, they’re still faster than a conventional oven (that also requires preheating).
As a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage a microwave has, the quicker the cooking time becomes. 900 watts is a nice sweet spot that can cook your food relatively quickly, like in the case of eggs (with egg cookers) and rice (with microwaveable rice pots).
You want to avoid the Easy-Bake Oven microwaves as much as possible because you might as well just get a coffeemaker or electric kettle instead if you’re just going to use it to heat up cups of water or something.
Not All 900-Watt Microwaves are Created Equal
Just because a microwave has a rating of 900 watts, it’s not necessarily the best microwave out there or even the best microwave of its class. Not all of them are created equal.
It’s best to check out each microwave individually to see which ones belong to the cream-of-the-crop in the 900-watt range. You need to check out other features and specifications like the user interface, the shape of the interior, the size of the turntable, the presets and so forth.
The average 900-watt microwave of the convection variety can cook, bake, heat up, grill (grill microwaves), steam, or defrost food in mere minutes, usually in increments to avoid superheating or drying out the food item in question.
Individual brands of 900-watt microwaves can contain services like a memory function that enables you to create your own presets and program. For example, if you cook mug brownies or casseroles in a certain way, you can program the minutes, temperature, and power level on certain microwaves.
Is it a Solo Microwave or a Full-Sized Microwave?
A 900-watt microwave is likely a solo or mini microwave that can cater to 2-4 persons in a given home. However, because it’s approaching a full-sized microwave in terms of wattage, you can also avail of a grill or oven microwave version as well.
It’s a nice in-between size and power level that rides the limits of a mini microwave and a mid-sized microwave. The main difference between them isn’t the amount of people they can serve or even the portions you can put inside the microwave.
It’s more which microwave has simple reheating controls and which has more complicated cooking controls. Thankfully, most 900-watt microwaves of this class are of the convection oven or grill variety rather than the simple-cooking solo microwave that can’t bake anything.
Other Things to Look for in a 900-watt Microwave Oven
Getting variable power levels is a nice touch for a microwave oven. You don’t need to use the full 900 watts every time, especially if you’re doing something simple like heat up a cup of coffee or defrost a frozen pack of chicken gradually.
A 900-watt solo microwave oven like Bosch Series 2 HMT84M421B, for example, offers 5 power levels ranging from 90 watts to 900 watts (with 180, 360, and 600 watts in between). This gives you more nuance when cooking so that you don’t overcook anything and get the perfect results every time.
You want this type of microwave oven that allows you more flexibility in cooking. Actually, 90 watts is the recommended wattage for defrosting delicate items without turning them to mush or cooking them all wrong. Full power 900 watts can heat up water to almost boiling in a minute.
Additionally, Bosch also has a great human interface with its simple, self-explanatory control panel.
Further reading: The Best Small Microwaves (600 or 700-watt)
What Have We Learned?
A 900-watt microwave is powerful enough to do many of the things a full-sized 1-kilowatt microwave could. It’s only slightly slower when cooking but if you have an old cookbook made for traditional 700-watt microwaves, you’ll see that it’s instead faster than the past microwave power level average.
It can do everything your average 1.4-1.8 cubic feet microwave could do, ranging from reheating and defrosting food to cooking and baking. It’s slightly better than a 700-watt or even 600-watt microwave in that those can only accomplish simple cooking, reheating, and defrosting.
- “Is A 900 Watt Microwave Good?“, Power to the Kitchen, February 23, 2020