is an 800 watt microwave powerful enough
What to know

Is an 800-Watt Microwave Powerful Enough or Not?

For some households, 900 watts is the ideal wattage for a decent microwave, with it balancing price and power together.  For commercial establishments, you should start at 1 kilowatt and go from there, reaching up until 2 kilowatts and beyond.

For RVs and campers, 700 watts is instead better for your battery so that you don’t overload it altogether. So is an 800-watt microwave powerful enough to suit your needs? Keep on reading to find out.

You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Microwave Oven that Best Fits Your Needs

Is an 800-Watt Microwave Powerful Enough?

An 800-watt microwave seems like the perfect balance between the decent cooking speed of a 1-kilowatt light-duty commercial microwave and the serviceable wattage of a 700-watt RV microwave. You get the best of both worlds in terms of affordability and functional practicality.

You don’t need a 1-kilowatt microwave to cater to the average family, after all. The power range of 800 watts to 1 kilowatt is enough for the average nuclear family of 5-6 members, such as 2 parents and 3-4 children.

The capacity tends to be proportionately close to the power level of the microwave too (an 800-watt microwave is likely to have a 0.8 cubic feet capacity to match its power level).

Further reading:

What are Watts?

Power is measured by watts. Watts are the units of measurement of power. Wattage is mostly associated with light bulbs. You can avail of lower-wattage light bulbs to save energy, with LEDs particularly good at giving you bright enough light without wasting so much wattage or power.

Watts measure the amount of power or energy flowing in a given direction. As far as microwaves are concerned, if it’s rated 800 watts this means it uses electricity at a rate of 800 watts per minute. To not overload your RV battery, it’s usually ideal to get a 700-watt or weaker mini microwave for it.

The rule of thumb is this—the higher the watts the more electricity it’ll consume per minute but it also means the faster you’ll be able to cook your meals.

800 watt microwave
800 watt microwave

When is Wattage Important?

There are various reasons why wattage is essential. First and foremost, the amount of watts your microwave uses per minute directly impacts how fast it cooks or heats up your food. The lower the wattage the longer the cooking time will be, almost to the point of approaching oven cooking time.

At least you don’t have to worry about preheating but microwave heating quickness is usually half the reason why people bother buying this device over an ordinary oven. The wattage needed to warm up your coffee is much lower to the wattage needed to grill chicken in a grill microwave.

When cooking chicken at lower wattages it’ll take longer, like you’re using a slow cooker at multiple 1-minute increments. You’ll also have issues with maintaining cooking consistency and taste due to cooking length.

What Types of Food Will You Be Cooking in the Microwave?

When considering whether 800 watts of power is enough for your needs, you should consider is the food you’ll be cooking. Some food, meals, and dishes require more wattage while others require less wattage. If you’re only reheating cooked food or beverages like coffee, 800 watts is more than enough.

1 kilowatt and more in terms of power is more of the wattage needed for cooking, particularly when it comes to convection microwaves or microwaves with extra modes like air fryer and toaster oven. A high amount of wattage isn’t needed for simpler heating tasks.

If you wish to cook, bake, broil, air fry, toast, roast, grill, or barbecue food you’ll definitely need a more powerful microwave with a higher wattage rating. 800 watts is a good midway point.

Where Will The Microwave Be Placed?

Placement will also determine if 800 watts in your microwave is enough. Placement is directly correlated to the amount of wattage you need as well. The location of your microwave affects the size, which in turn affects how powerful the microwave can be.

At around mini or RV microwave size, you typically deal with 650-watt to 700-watt microwaves that fit the smallest corners or countertops available. They’re on the weak side exactly because their footprint on your kitchen real estate is so small, resulting in a lowered wattage.

If you can spare more space or found other methods of space-saving (getting a range hood OTR microwave or a built-in microwave found under-counter or in upper cabinets, for example), then you can afford to get a higher-wattage microwave that’s much wider.

How Often Will You Use the Microwave?

Commercial microwaves are often categorized as light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty microwaves. Home microwaves are likeliest to be of the light-duty variety (1 kilowatt or less in power and used 50 times or less daily).

It’s unlikely for you to have a medium-duty or heavy-duty home microwave even if you’re particularly busy at defrosting, heating, or baking (convection microwave) foods using the device. It’s also for this reason that you’re likelier to use an 800-watt microwave over a 1,000-watt microwave.

Regular Cooking and Heating

You’ll need to have a microwave with wattage higher than 800 watts or 900 watts if you’re planning on using the device multiple times during the day (more than 3 times a day to reheat leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

A lower setting is more practical and cost-effective if all you’re doing is reheating cold tea or yesterday’s QDOBA or Chipotle burrito bowl. You’ll just have to deal with manual turning and multiple reheating attempts to deal with uneven cooking and longer cook times.

To Sum It Up

What do you think about good microwave wattage? Is 800 watts enough for you in case you wish to save a little space or have a smaller footprint microwave without going the full RV microwave route? Or is 900 watts to 1 kilowatt your best bet?

Are the space-saving features of 800-watt microwaves are negligible at best? What’s the wattage of your microwave? If you’re not aware, just check the model of your unit and search for its specs on the Internet in case you’ve lost its user manual.

In the end, if you want your microwave to cook food in a quick and even manner, the higher the wattage the better (if you can afford it).


  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?“,, 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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