Built-In microwave with a Trim Kit
What to know

The ABCs of Microwave Sizes: Microwave Size Chart

Microwave ovens are amazing appliances in the kitchen you can use to bake, grill, cook, reheat, or defrost food.

They’re beneficial when it comes to preparing a variety of food items and recipes, particularly muffins, popcorn, pizza, chicken grills, kebabs, and so forth. The versatility of the microwave oven cannot be denied.

It can make defrosting frozen food much faster than normal. It’s particularly dependable when it comes to cooking really fast, thus saving you energy and time.

With that said, there are 4 different sizes of microwaves out there depending on ideal capacity. Look at the microwave size chart below to learn more about it. 

Comparison Chart

Here is a comparison chart of the different microwave sizes or capacities by liters. 

Size of FamilyUsageMicrowave Oven TypeIdeal Capacity
2 to 4 membersSimple cooking, reheating and defrosting.


Mini Microwave Oven15 to 20 liters  (0.5 to 0.6 cubic feet)

Example: Commercial Chef CHM660B

2 to 4 membersCooking, defrosting, heating, and baking.


Grill Microwave Oven or Convection Microwave Oven


21 to 25 liters (0.7 to 0.8 cubic feet)

Example: Galanz GLCMKA07BER-07 Microwave

4 to 6 membersSimple cooking, reheating and defrosting.


Solo Microwave Oven26  to 30 liters (0.9 to 1.0 cubic feet)

Example: Commercial Chef CHM009 Countertop Microwave Oven 900 Watt


More than 6  membersCooking, defrosting, heating, and baking.


Grill Microwave Oven or Convection Microwave Oven


31 liters and above (1.0 cubic feet and above)


  1. Toshiba EM131A5C-BS
  2. Over-The-Range Microwave with 1.8 cu. ft.

The Different Sizes of Microwave

The classification of microwave sizes depends mostly on capacity but also usage, particularly when it comes to the first two categories.

You have 4 variants with further subdivisions or subcategories on whether or not they’re a solo microwave or grill/convection microwave. Microwave capacity, in turn, is measured in accordance with liters.

This serves as a good indicator of how much food you can cook inside the microwave in one go. A smaller microwave is perfect for a person or two but you can also go for huge microwaves for big families of 6 and more.

15 to 20 Liters

This is the capacity of a simple solo or mini microwave. It’s suitable for 2 to 4 people or anyone living alone in their apartment or RV.

How do you Use Microwave in RV?

Related: What’s The Best RV Microwave Out There? Learn and Find Out

Such a microwave is also ideal for RVs and campers due to their low wattage usage. It typically handles simple cooking, reheating, and defrosting superbly. It heats up smaller portion dishes and food.

25 to 30 Liters

This is the capacity of a smaller grill or convection microwave oven. It’s also suitable for 2 to 4 people as well as solo usage.

With it, you can do the cooking, defrosting, heating, and baking. The grill microwave allows you to grill kebabs for good measure. It also fits campers and RVs due to their low wattage.

The compact microwave fits well into most small spaces
The compact microwave fits well into most small spaces

26 to 30 Liters 

This is the biggest size available for a solo microwave. It uses much more wattage or energy yet can service 4 to 6 people in the family. It features simple cooking, reheating, and defrosting.

Anything more advanced than that requires a convection or grill oven. Its larger capacity enables up to a whole family of 5-6 to enjoy its simple reheating abilities.

31 Liters and Above 

Advanced convection or grill microwave oven is called for if you wish to do the cooking, defrosting, heating, and baking.

It’s basically the larger capacity version of the more advanced microwaves out there that enable you to cook.

It services more than 6 persons and it’s commonly used in restaurants and convenience stores due to its huge capacity.

Large over the range microwave
Large over the range microwave

Long Story Short 

Long story short, a simple micro or mini microwave oven with a capacity of 15-20 liters is most suitable for a small family of 2-4 people.

However, the same small family might wish for more advanced functions. The 21-30 liters convection or grill microwave is bigger because a microwave of this size is required to give you all those features and extra modes.

Solo-type microwaves can also deal with families of 4-6 members. They offer 26 to 30 liters for extra capacity but still function rather simply. A commercial restaurant-grade convection or grill microwave requires 32 liters or more of capacity to work.

Microwave Oven Types 

After you’ve decided the right microwave size for you by liters or cubic feet capacity, you need to learn the types of oven available. To put things simply, you have solo microwaves that can only reheat food and more complex ones like convection microwave ovens that can cook food.

The solo microwave uses more energy or has more wattage than the convection microwave. However, the size also affects their wattage. With that said, the 3 major types of microwave ovens available in the market include the following. 

Solo Microwave Oven 

This is the simplest type of microwave available that also tends to be the smallest. You can have “solo” microwaves that can accommodate 4-6 more persons instead of just 2-4 people, like someone who has to heat more dishes and cook more food because he has company over in his RV or apartment. They’re ideal for RV or solar battery use due to their low wattage as well. 

Convection Microwave Oven

A convection microwave oven is a more sophisticated version of the solo microwave oven that uses a heating element and fan to create airflow patterns within its interior.

Therefore, as the water molecules in your food react to that micro radiowaves from your magnetron, it’s further cooked via convection, resulting in quick-cooking inside and outside the food. They use a lot more power and wattage though in order to grill and bake your food.

Grill Microwave Oven

The grill microwave oven has similar wattage requirements as its convection counterpart. However, they have a grill feature that enables you to grill meat or vegetables like you would in an ordinary griller. They come with additional grilling accessories for good measure for push-button efficient grilling. They’re particularly popular among cultures that love grilling, such as India.

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

Microwave Technology and Safety Features 

Electromagnetic radiation is used by microwaves to heat up or cook food quickly through a built-in electron tube or magnetron that combines magnetic and electrical waves together.

The wavelengths of these micro radio waves or radiowaves can range from a meter to a millimeter. As a core component of the microwave, it’s present with all types and sizes of microwaves, from solo to convection types. 

Microwaves and Water Molecule Reaction

When the microwave is turned on, its magnetron releases radiowaves of the micro variety—hence microwaves—inside the oven interior. This radiowaves react to water molecules inside food in such a way that they vibrate and generate heat through fiction.

This allows the microwave to heat up food or beverages like coffee in a couple of minutes instead of a long 5-10 minutes. This is also why cooking dry items is difficult to do with this oven type.

Auto Cook Mode or Presets

Some microwaves have advanced features, particularly the larger ones with convection or grill features. This includes presets for different dishes ranging from eggs to quiches.

A regular microwave has a popcorn/pizza mode, a defrost mode, and a customizable mode that allows you to set how many minutes is needed yourself. An advanced microwave has modes or presets that set the power configurations, time, and so forth to cook this or that type of dish.

Microwave Hazards and Safety

Let’s talk about microwave safety. Don’t put metal utensils or metal substances inside the microwave because they cause the arcing phenomenon that could damage the device itself or char your food. If microwaving with plastic, make sure it’s microwave-safe.

Don’t heat baby milk bottles with the microwave. Use mitts, gloves, or pot holders when baking food with a convection microwave oven because it can reach high temperatures that can scald the skin.

The Microwave Child Lock 

Make sure your microwave has a child lock if it’s placed anywhere below the counter. This makes it accessible to children, which is not good news at all. The child lock is a child-proofing feature that prompts you to put in a code before the microwave can open up.

It’s like having a password for your cellphone or laptop. This is also because convection ovens tend to get extremely hot interiors when compared to solo microwaves. You need mitts or gloves to handle food in such conditions.

Internet Rumors

According to online rumors, microwave ovens contaminate food through their use of radiation. According to the Food and Drug Association (FDA) of the U.S., these ovens don’t do such things.

Rather, what you really have to watch out for is microwaving plastic containers that don’t have the microwave-safe label. They could leach off plasticizers such as phthalates and BPA all over your food.

The Bottom Line 

Here’s a simple reminder. When buying a grill-type microwave, it cannot be used for baking but only for cooking and grilling.

If you wish to cook with your microwave, it’s best to buy a convection microwave with ample capacity for bigger portions for your dishes.

Do your grilling on a separate microwave or on an actual griller. Regardless, this article doesn’t only outline microwave size in accordance with the microwave size chart.

It also discusses their capabilities so that you can choose the right units in light of their specs and modes.


Image credits – Photo by natasha keogh, Salar Admirer, Watermillretreat on www.flickr.com


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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