Microwave ovens are an indispensable part of every modern kitchen. It is easy to use and to dish out multiple varieties of delicious food.
Microwaves run on electricity and therefore it would do one well to calculate exactly how much energy the oven is consuming. This is not a new question. Most people who use a microwave want to know how much watts it consumes and how much of the electricity bill is being racked up by the oven.
Well, some of it depends on the microwave size. Whether it is wattage or amperes, let us find out how much energy your microwave has been consuming.
How Many Watts and Amps Does a Microwave Use?
On average, microwaves use 10 amp but 1000-watt microwaves use around 8.3 amps while a 700-watt one uses only a mere 5.8 amps.
So as you can see, the power consumption or wattage level depends on the configuration of the device or how much amperage the device has. A 20 amp circuit is enough to handle any kind of microwave because it rarely if ever exceeds the 20 amp consumption limit.
Here are a few customer-favorite microwave ovens along with their power consumption description.
POWER (in Watt)
Magic Chef Retro Microwave
Panasonic HomeChef NN-GN68KS
GE Profile PVM9005SJSS
So, on an average, a microwave has been 5 to 9 amperes. This is normal for a microwave that will be used in a household.
How to Calculate Amps Your Microwave Uses?
The basic calculation formula is to divide the watts used by the oven by the volts. Yes, it’s simple. The tricky part is you don’t always know the exact wattage of the microwave because even if the manual states that it will put out 1000 watts, in reality, it is going to somewhere around 1600-1700 watts.
So it is better to always consider the higher wattage amount. Now, say you have a microwave of 1700 watts and 120 volts. The microwave amperage is going to be the result if the wattage is divided by voltage, which is around 14.16 Amp, rounded up to 15 Amp.
This does not automatically imply that the circuit you use for the microwave should be exactly 15 amps because if you connect anything else other than the above to that circuit, you will trip the breaker.
Therefore, the safest thing to do is always get a 20 amp circuit just in case if it it not possible setting aside a whole circuit for the microwave.
How many amps does a 1200-watt microwave use?
A standard 1000-watt microwave oven draws around 8.3 amps. The correlation between the two is that one goes up with the other. So, if we are talking about a 1200-watt microwave then the standard voltage will be 120 volts. This means that the amperage will be 10 amperes.
Microwave Oven Amps
It might sound complicated to you but the concept of amperes and microwave amperage is a simple one. Ampere refers to the number of electrons located in any electrical circuit. Increasing amperes also means increasing power.
This is not to be confused with Voltage, which also measures electrical current but to be more specific it measures the pressure of current and not the number of electrons. Thus a device’s voltage and amperage are multiplied to get the ultimate unit of power consumption – the wattage.
One of the first things that you should check before buying a microwave is to check the amperes it has. It will depend on the size and configuration of the oven. For example, microwaves popular in most households will not have more than 15 amps but something bigger such as a pizza oven or a baking oven may have the amperage to back it up.
This information is usually provided in the manual that comes with the device but as already mentioned, you should be checking it before you buy it. The seller’s website will also have such information and all you need to do is to look up the exact model you are intending to buy.
Microwave Oven Wattage
To be fair, it is not possible to always know all the technical details of a microwave before buying it. But you can always check it. If you want to know the microwave wattage, then the owner’s manual should have all the necessary information regarding it. But let us be real here. No one preserves the manual after a month or two of buying the microwave.
Worry not because most microwaves have their wattage written on their body. The location varies between brands but usually, the inner side of the door has such details printed. The print is generally small and you have to look for it minutely.
Another simple but genius way to find the wattage is to boil water in the microwave and note exactly how long it takes. For instance, a microwave that consumes around 1000 watts will take some 1.45 minutes to boil the water. One with 500 watts will take 3.30 minutes while a microwave that uses 1500 watts will take around 1.10 minutes to boil a cup of water.
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What Factors Influence Microwave Power Costs?
This goes without saying but microwaves run on electricity and thus consume power. Some factors that affect how much of that energy bill you pay, will be because of your microwave oven.
As already mentioned, the size of the oven plays an important role in determining how much power it is going to consume. Bigger ovens are meant for more intense types of cooking purposes. It also means that the oven comes configured with additional features that use extra electricity and thus add to the bill amount.
There are four sizes in which a microwave is sold, they are compact, mid-size, family-size, and full-size. Usually, for a nuclear family of 3 to 4, with regular usage, a family-sized microwave oven is enough. But for larger families, the full size is needed.
The wattage of a microwave is probably the most important factor that determines the power costs. It is the multiplied result of the microwave amperage and voltage and refers to the total amount of power consumed.
The only thing you need to know about wattage is that the more watts a microwave uses, the more will be the power consumption and power cost.
This is not rocket science and simply refers to how fast the microwave can cook your food or heat your food. Now, speed and wattage are interrelated factors and if the microwave promises to cook food up especially fast then you must know the wattage on it is also going up and so is the power cost.
By additional features, what is meant is the different kinds of ways that the oven can prepare your food. There are usually two- solo grill and convection.
While the solo grill microwaves perform the function of only grilling food, the convection oven comes equipped with both the grill feature as well the convection. The latter is more common in households these days and costs more than solo grill ovens in terms of power consumption.
Reducing Your Microwave Energy Consumption?
Are you worried about your microwave racking up too much power cost in the electric bill? Well, this is a genuine concern that is shared by many customers. Especially if you lead a busy life and cannot spare time every day to use the gas oven to cook your food.
Microwave ovens are obviously faster but the downside is that they cost quite an amount on regular prolonged use. Here’s what you can do to reduce the microwave oven’s energy consumption.
Do not heat chilled/frozen food
Let us be honest, all of us, at some point in our lives, have taken out a cold slice of pizza from the fridge and put it directly in the microwave for heating. Well, that is not good news for the oven power costs because it takes more electricity to heat up very cold or very wet food.
The ideal thing to do is to take it out of the fridge and let it sit for five to ten minutes after which you can heat it.
Do not use the microwave for things that can be done without it
Since a microwave is faster and more convenient to use, we often use it for things that can and should be done using traditional cooking methods. Such as boiling water, or making tea. Both of these have been done perfectly using the traditional gas oven and you should consider doing the same.
Use the Convection mode of cooking
As compared to the grilling option, the convection cooks food more efficiently and without consuming a significantly large amount of power. This is the reason why most modern microwaves are equipped with a convection mode and are used more often than the grill mode.
Clean the microwave regularly
Food spilling inside the oven is an unavoidable part of microwave cooking. You can’t help it. Especially when it comes to cheese, it melts and leaves residue inside the oven.
You should not let this spilled food residue remain inside the oven. Clean it immediately after the cooking is done. Waste food stuck inside the oven will make the power costs go up by consuming more electricity. Not only that, it can even damage the oven.
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Unless you are cooking in batches or for a large family, there is really no need to go beyond a 1000-watt microwave.
Also, it is important to learn how to safely use a microwave such as using the right container for food and the like.
But before everything, even before you buy the device, what is most vital is that you do a little research on what kind of microwave will suit your home the best and if its power consumption will be within your budget or not.