Key takeaways about powering a microwave
- On average, microwaves use about 600 to 1000 watts of electricity.
- Using a microwave for 15 minutes per day will use about 6.1 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month and 73 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
- A microwave costs an average of $0.86 to use for a month and $10.36 to use for a year.
- The best way to save money on electricity is to install solar panels. Start comparing your options on the EnergySage Marketplace today.
In this article
- How much electricity does a microwave use?
- Definitions: watts, volts, amps, and more
- How much does it cost to power a microwave?
How much electricity does a microwave use?
Generally, microwaves use between 600 and 1,000 watts (W) of electricity, depending on the model. Microwaves use about 10 amps and connect to a 120-volt outlet.
How much you use your microwave has the biggest impact on how much electricity it uses over time. Assuming an average microwave needs 800 W to run:
- Using your microwave for 10 minutes per day results in 0.94 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per week, 4.1 kWh per month, and 49 kWh per year.
- 15 minutes per day of microwave usage comes to 1.4 kWh per week, 6.1 kWh per month, and 73 kWh per year.
- On the upper end, running a microwave for 20 minutes per day, that’s 1.9 kWh of electricity per week, 8.1 kWh per month, and 97 kWh per year.
Different wattage microwaves use different amounts of electricity over the course of a year. Assuming you run your microwave a moderate amount (15 minutes per day, 105 minutes per week), here’s how much electricity you’ll use over the course of a year for different wattage microwaves:
How much electricity do microwaves use?
|Microwave wattage||Hours per year run||Yearly kWh of electricity|
|600 W||91.3||54.8 kWh|
|650 W||91.3||59.3 kWh|
|700 W||91.3||63.9 kWh|
|750 W||91.3||68.5 kWh|
|800 W||91.3||73.0 kWh|
|850 W||91.3||77.6 kWh|
|900 W||91.3||82.2 kWh|
|950 W||91.3||86.9 kWh|
|1,000 W||91.3||91.3 kWh|
We’ll mostly be referring to the electricity used by microwaves in terms of kWh in this article. The reason is simple: your electric bill is measured in kWh, and you get charged based on the kWh of electricity you use per month!
Watts, amps, voltage, and more: what do they mean?
There are a lot of terms you can use to describe how electricity flows and is used by appliances. We’ve already mentioned most of them – here are a few definitions to keep things straight:
- Volts (V): volts (short for voltage) are measures of electrical pressure differences. Put simply, voltage is the speed of electricity passing through a circuit.
- Amps (A): amps (short for amperes) measure electrical current. Put simply, amps are the amount of electrons (which make up electricity) flowing through a circuit.
- Watts (W) and kilowatts (kW): multiplying volts x amps gets you watts (or wattage). Put simply, watts are the rate of electricity consumption. A kilowatt is just 1,000 watts.
- Kilowatt-hours (kWh): lastly, kilowatt-hours are how your electric bill measures your energy usage. Simply put, kilowatt-hours are electricity consumption over time.
You can think of these terms like water flowing through a pipe. Voltage is the water pressure, amps are the amount of water flowing past any point, and wattage is the overall rate of water flow through the pipe.
How much does it cost to power a microwave?
When you get your monthly electric bill, you only see the total amount you’re charged, not how much each appliance contributes to your final bill. Based on an average wattage of 800 W for microwaves (amounting to 73 kWh/year if you use your microwave like an average household would) and using state average electricity rates, here’s how the cost to run a microwave pans out over a month and a year:
Monthly and yearly costs to run a microwave by state
|State||Average electricity rate||Cost per month||Cost per year|
|California||22.00 ¢ / kWh||$1.34||$16.06|
|New York||20.59 ¢ / kWh||$1.25||$15.03|
|Texas||12.56 ¢ / kWh||$0.76||$9.17|
|Massachusetts||22.59 ¢ / kWh||$1.37||$16.49|
|Florida||12.21 ¢ / kWh||$0.74||$8.91|
|Virginia||12.58 ¢ / kWh||$0.77||$9.18|
|New Jersey||16.20 ¢ / kWh||$0.99||$11.83|
|Maryland||14.48 ¢ / kWh||$0.88||$10.57|
|Washington||10.38 ¢ / kWh||$0.63||$7.58|
|US Average||14.19 ¢ / kWh||$0.86||$10.36|
Note: average electricity rates are based on October 2021 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Calculate how much energy your own microwave uses
If you want to know how much electricity your microwave uses (or at least is supposed to use), take the estimated yearly electricity use in kWh – this is probably your best bet for an accurate number. Simply multiply this number by the average electricity rate in your area to estimate how much you spend to power your microwave each year. For an estimated monthly cost, divide the estimated yearly cost by 12.
Frequently asked questions about powering a microwave
If you’re on a time-of-use (TOU) rate plan, you are charged different amounts for electricity throughout the day. In general, it’s cheaper to use appliances during “off-peak” hours, which are usually overnight.
All popular home batteries can power a microwave: most lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or Generac PWRcell have a power rating of 4 to 5 kW or higher and 10+ kWh of usable capacity. Microwaves use about 800 W (0.8 kW) of power at any one time, meaning a battery will be plenty suitable for backing up and powering your microwave, even for long periods.
On average, microwaves use about 800 W of electricity to stay powered. With solar panels rated at around 350 W, you’ll be able to power a microwave with about three standard solar panels.
ENERGY STAR is a U.S. government-backed system that certifies how energy-efficient appliances are. If an appliance is better than the average appliance in its category by a certain amount, it is labeled “ENERGY STAR certified.” ENERGY STAR appliances cost less money to run, given that they are more efficient with the electricity they use.
How much money can solar panels save you?
Solar savings vary widely, and your unique savings depend on factors like electricity usage, location, and electric rates and plans. In general, most homeowners can expect to save somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of a solar panel system. On average, it takes between 7 and 8 years for most homeowners who shop for solar on EnergySage to get their solar panels to pay for themselves.
Going solar is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, and you should make sure you are getting several quotes from reputable installers before you decide to move forward. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get solar quotes from installers in your area and begin comparing options.