Do you have a microwave in your kitchen? If so, you’re probably familiar with the power consumption ratings typically listed on the box. But do you know how many amps a particular microwave uses?
Turns out, this information can be handy for homeowners who are looking to save money on their electricity bills. But unfortunately, electricity uses lots of units, making it a bit perplexing to tell the exact power consumption of your appliance.
But not any longer! In this article, we’ll provide amp usage information for various microwaves, including 700-watt, 800-watt, 900-watt, 1000-watt, 1200-watt, and 1500-watt models. So, whether you’re looking to save some energy or just want to know what your microwave’s amperage draw is, read on!
How Many Amps Does an Average Microwave Use?
An average microwave uses 600 to 1,200 watts, translating to 5 to 10 amps at 120V. But at 240 volts, the amperage will be halved, bringing the range down to 2.5 to 5 amps. That’s not a lot, especially compared to the convenience a microwave brings to the kitchen and the power consumption of some other appliances around the home.
If your primary concern is the energy consumption of your appliances, there’s no need to worry much about microwaves. Microwave is among the appliances that do much in the kitchen without drawing excessive amounts of electricity.
The energy demand can range anywhere above 600 watts, but the average microwave needs 1000 watts to function. So, if you have a microwave that uses 1000 watts, it would use 8.3 amps at 120 volts. But if your home has a 240-volt power source, the amperage will be halved to 4.2 amps.
Perhaps you’re wondering how we’re arriving at these numbers. It’s quite simple, actually. Just use this formula:
Watts = Volts x Amps
As for the wattage value, it’s usually indicated on the appliance itself. But if you can’t find it, you may need to check the manual or look for it online. But usually, the wattage value is relatively easy to find.
The voltage is simply the type of power source your home is using. In the United States, most homes use 120-volt power sources. But if you’re in Europe or Asia, then it’s likely you have a 110-Volt electrical system. Most other parts of the world use a 240-volt power source.
Now that we’ve got the formula out of the way, let’s look at some specific examples.
How Many Amps Does a 700-Watt Microwave Use?
A 700-watt microwave will use 5.8 amps at 120 volts and 2.9 amps at 240 volts. But if you have a 110-volt electrical system, the amperage will be slightly higher at 6.4amps. Generally, a 700-watt microwave uses less electricity than most appliances at home.
When you go to the market in search of a decent microwave that won’t cost you much to keep running, a 700-watt unit should be among the options you consider. It will heat your food quite well and use a reasonable amount of electricity while doing so.
On its amperage draw, you use the formula we derived earlier.
Here’s how the calculations will go for a 700-watt microwave:
Watts = Amperes x voltage
Amperes = Wattage/Voltage
= 5.8 amps
This means that such a microwave will use 5.8 amps at 120 volts. If you have a 240-volt or any other system, you’ll need to use it instead of 120 volts in the formula.
How Many Amps Does an 800-Watt Microwave Use?
An 800-watt microwave will draw 6.7 amps at 120 volts and 3.3 amps at 240 volts. If you have a 110-volt system, the amperage will be 7.3 amps. This amperage draw is still lower, especially for a heating appliance.
The more the wattage of an appliance increases, the higher the amperage draw, assuming that you use the same voltage. So, assuming you don’t find a 700-watt and have to settle for an 800-watt unit, you can expect the amperage to be higher.
For an 800-watt unit, you’ll need to do the following calculations:
Amperes = Wattage/Voltage
Amps = 800/120
= 6.7 amps
As usual, we’ve used 120 volts because that’s the standard voltage in most homes in the United States. But if you have a different voltage, use it instead.
How Many Amps Does a 900-Watt Microwave Use?
A 900-watt microwave will need 7.5 amps at 120 volts and half as many amps when connected to a 240-volt power circuit. For homes with a 110-volt system, the amperage will go up a bit to about 8.2 amps, which is still below what a standard microwave uses.
Again, the amperage differs depending on the electrical system you’re using. But that doesn’t mean that a unit with higher amps will consume more electricity. Not at all! Power consumption is gauged in watts and not amps.
The only difference is that a unit connected to a 240-volt will “pump” electrons faster than one connected to a 120-volt circuit. But as this “pressure” – now the voltage – goes down, the electrons have to increase to compensate for the loss in pressure.
Let’s take the scenario of filling a bucket with water. You have two options – a water hose and a water gun. Assuming they have to fill the bucket using the same amount of time, the water gun will need more pressure to get the same amount of water into the bucket as the hose. But that doesn’t mean that it uses more water. The end result is the same – the bucket is filled with water.
And so is with microwaves. The difference here is that we’re dealing with electrons instead of water. The more voltage a circuit has, the higher the rate at which electrons will flow. But that doesn’t change the fact that the wattage is constant.
How Many Amps Does a 1000-Watt Microwave Use?
If you have the average 1000-watt microwave, you can expect it to draw about 8.3 amps in a standard American home. But in other parts of the world that use a 240-volt system, that would translate to about 4.2 amps. The amperage draw would be highest at 110 volts; in this case, it will be about 9.1 amps.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, microwaves with higher wattage tend to have a higher amperage draw. If you have a 1000-watt unit, you’ll need to do the following calculations:
Amperes = Wattage/Voltage
Amps = 1000/120
= 8.3 amps
Of course, these are just estimates. The actual amperage draw of your microwave will also depend on other factors. But for the most part, it should be within this range.
Now, 8.3 amps are still below the limit of most home circuits. In fact, the average home circuit is rated for 15 amps. And while you can only use up to 80% of that – 12 amps – it’s still more than enough to power a 100-watt microwave.
But then again, you’ll need to avoid plugging a high-amperage appliance into the same circuit as your microwave. If you do, then you might trip the circuit breaker. And if that happens, then you’ll need to reset it before you can use the microwave again.
How Many Amps Does a 1200-Watt Microwave Use?
The average 1200-watt microwave will need about 10 amps at 120 volts. A 240-V splits that in half to 5 amps, while a 110-volt system will result in a higher amperage draw of 10.9 amps. As such, it’s also safe to use a 15-amp circuit breaker for this appliance.
1200 watts for a microwave is slightly higher than the average 1000 watts. But as you can see, the difference in amperage is not that significant. In fact, it’s only about 1.7 amps at 120 volts and 0.8 amps at 240.
But the good part of using a higher wattage is that it’s more powerful and does the job faster. The less time it remains connected could even mean using a similar amount of energy as the lower-wattage microwaves.
For example, a 600-watt microwave will need about 2 minutes and 55 seconds to heat up a cup of coffee. But a 1200-watt unit will only need 1 minute 27 seconds for the same task, and that’s half the time and hence less energy consumption overall.
How Many Amps Does a 1500-Watt Microwave Use?
If you have a 1500-watt microwave, it will need 12.5 amps when running it at 120 volts, 6.25 at 240 volts, and 13.6 amps at 110 volts. 1500 watts is on the higher side of power consumption per unit of time, but it takes the shortest time to heat up food.
So, if you’re one busy person who doesn’t have much time to spare, this is the ideal appliance for you. It’s the most powerful of all its predecessors, so it can do the job in a fraction of the time lower-wattage options take.
But before connecting it, beware that it has a higher amperage requirement. And more importantly, the 12.5 amps at 120 volts is higher than the safe limit for home circuits. In this case, you’ll need to connect it to a 20-amp circuit breaker.
Do Microwaves Use a Lot of Electricity?
No, microwaves don’t use a lot of electricity. In fact, they are quite efficient when it comes to energy consumption. So, you can expect them to cause a minor increase in your electric bill, even when using it regularly.
Let’s assume that you have a 1000-watt microwave and use it for 15 minutes daily. That’s only 250 watt hours – or 0.25kWh per day. In a month, that will only amount to about 7.5 kWh, and in a year, it will be around 90 kWh.
Now, the average cost of electricity in the United States is about 13 cents per kWh. So, if you use your microwave for 15 minutes daily, it will cost you $0.98 monthly and only about $11.70 for an entire year. And that’s not even close to a significant increase in your electricity bill.
Factors Affecting Amps Consumption of Microwave
The factors that affect microwave power consumption include the appliance’s wattage, the type of food being cooked, the time required for cooking, and the atmospheric conditions. So, it really doesn’t always lean on the wattage alone.
Let’s take a look at each of these factors;
1. The Wattage of The Microwave
You can also think of it as the size of the microwave. A bigger microwave will have a higher wattage and will, therefore, require more power to operate. Well, you might argue that the less time it takes will use less energy at last than appliances running for more extended periods.
But again, keep in mind that all appliances have a higher wattage start-up. In other words, it uses more power when you first plug it in and then the wattage drops down to a lower level as it stabilizes. So, for a bigger appliance, this start-up wattage will be higher.
2. The Type of Food Being Cooked
Not all foods are the same. Some will require more time and heat to cook than others, and that means more energy demand. For example, if you’re defrosting meat in the microwave, it will require less time than cooking rice. And hence, the power consumption will be lower.
3. The Cooking Time
This one’s pretty straightforward. The longer the cooking time, the higher the power consumption. That’s because the more the microwave keeps running, the more it’s drawing power. After all, it’s an electric appliance.
4. The Atmospheric Conditions
If you live in an area with high humidity, it will take more time to cook food in the microwave. That’s because the water in the air will absorb more heat, making the cooking process slower. As a result, the appliance will have to run for longer, which will use more power.
As you can see, microwaves don’t use a lot of electricity. In fact, they are quite efficient when it comes to energy consumption. So, you can expect a slight increase in your electric bill, even if you use it regularly. Of course, the actual power consumption will depend on several factors, so what’s provided here is only an estimate.