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How Much Electricity Does a Microwave Use & What's the Energy Cost?

Most homeowners have microwaves these days. That's because when it comes to cooking and heating up your food, microwaves, and microwave ovens are among the most energy-efficient devices that you have. In fact, when it comes to microwaves, toasters, and ovens, microwaves are the more energy-efficient option, requiring much less energy consumption to heat your food. Did you know that you can even boil water in a microwave?

When it comes to saving money on your cooking costs, you'll want to consider using your microwave to your advantage. Of course, there are also costs associated with running your microwave. We're in the business of saving you money on your electricity costs, so we’ve created a calculator to help you estimate the power consumption of your microwave and the cost of usage. Whether you have a small microwave or a newer, modern microwave, we'll help you get a sense of how much you're spending on your microwave usage, so you can lock in some serious savings.

Microwave energy cost calculator


Terminology explained

Energy language can be confusing. Below, we break down what you need to know to use our calculator.

What are watts?

Watts measures the rate at which electricity moves through an appliance. More watts mean more electricity, and larger, more expensive microwaves typically require higher wattage.

Microwaves typically have a wattage range of 600-1200 watts with smaller and compact microwaves on the lower end of the spectrum and large microwaves near the higher end. The average wattage of a microwave is roughly 900 Watts. Most modern microwaves fall somewhere in the middle as they are getting more and more efficient every day. To get the most accurate wattage for your microwave, check the manual or the back of your microwave. You can also multiply the amps of your microwave by the volts of your outlet to calculate wattage. Once you have the wattage, divide by 1000 to get kilowatts.

Kilowatts = (Amps x Volts) / 1000

What is the average cost of electricity?

According to US Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 16 ¢/kWh. However, this number can vary depending on your electricity supplier. Today, people in some states have the power to shop for their electricity and find cheaper rates.

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Lower your electricity bills and help the environment. Let Perch match you to a local solar farm.

What is the cost and energy consumption of different types of microwaves?

The size and type of your microwave are the two likely factors to impact the cost and power consumption of your microwave. Of course, usage will also impact this as well. The table below will give you a sense of the cost and energy consumption of different-sized microwaves.

Volume in Cu Ft
Cost / hr*
Avg cost / month*
less than 0.8Compact units600 W$0.096$2.88
0.8 to 1.1Intermediates700 W$0.112$3.36
larger than 1.2Large microwaves825 W$0.132$3.96
*assuming that the electricity rate is 16 ¢/kWh and the microwave is on for 1 hour per day

How microwaves can save you money on your cooking costs?

  • 1.

    Thaw your food in the microwave

    Thawing your food before cooking it in an oven will greatly decrease the time you have to spend cooking your food in an oven (which consumes more energy than a microwave).
  • 2.

    Make your own spices

    Spices can sometimes be more expensive than buying the same herbs fresh. The good news is, if you have the herb, you can make the spice. Microwaving herbs to dry them out is a great way to turn herbs to spice so that you can continue to spice up your life with more flavor. Try it out!
  • 3.

    Cook your veggies in the microwave

    Cooking veggies in your microwave may not seem fancy, but it’s actually a legitimate and cost-effective / energy-efficient way to cook your veggies. Check out these recipes.
  • 4.

    Reheat your leftovers

    Leftovers save money for a number of reasons! You can buy your food in bulk which is generally cheaper, and instead of having to go out to grab a bite for lunch, you can eat what you didn't finish for dinner last night. Microwaves make eating leftovers way more accessible because they enable you to reheat your food in a matter of minutes!
  • 5.

    Choose Perch Energy

    At Perch, we're on a mission to make cleaner energy more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable for all. Whether you rent an apartment, own a home, or run a business, Perch offers multiple ways to save money on your electricity bills, or even help the planet, too.
    • For guaranteed savings on your annual electricity cost, join a community solar project in your area. Perch will help match you to a local solar farm—you'll support the operations of that farm so that it can generate and contribute as much clean, solar energy to the overall grid. You don't directly receive electricity from the solar power you're supporting, but thanks to government incentives, you'll get credits toward your own utility bill. Essentially, you're being rewarded with discounts on your own electricity because you're enabling solar generation and development in your state.
    • With Perch, you can take your fossil-fuel-fighting, money-saving ways even further when you also switch your home or business' electricity plan to cleaner energy. If you're on your utility's default basic service rate, it's a "mixed" energy plan (generated partly by fossil fuels, partly by renewable resources). But Perch can switch you to a low-cost cleaner energy plan—outside of what your utility is offering—that's backed 100% by clean, renewable resources like solar and wind. We'll find you a price that's lower than the market rate for similar options in your area. You don't have to do anything differently, but you'll feel great knowing that your personal electricity usage is now contributing to a healthier planet, and you've reduced your everyday carbon footprint.
Get simple solar savings without the rooftop panels

Lower your electricity bills and help the environment. Let Perch match you to a local solar farm.