Short answer: To determine your microwave’s wattage, check for a label inside the door frame or on the back, or use a water-boiling test to estimate it.

Determining the wattage of your microwave is crucial for efficient cooking and reheating, as it allows you to adjust cooking times and power levels accurately. Whether you’re following a recipe, troubleshooting cooking issues, or simply ensuring the safe use of your appliance, knowing your microwave’s wattage is essential. In this guide, I’ll explore straightforward methods to help you identify the wattage of your microwave, ensuring you get the best results from your kitchen companion.

Understanding Microwave Voltage

Testing microvawe wattage
Testing microwave wattage using a multimeter

When you visit any microwave store, you’ll notice a range of wattage options. Popular smaller models typically fall within the 500 to 800-watt range, while 900 or 1000-watt is considered quite powerful. On the other hand, larger home models can go well beyond 1,500 watts, especially in bulkier options like drawer microwaves. However, the number of watts can directly impact your cooking time.

The number of watts your microwave uses affects how quickly and thoroughly it can cook your food. The higher the wattage, or the number of watts per hour it uses, the better it will perform. Depending on the microwave, you’ll find a variety of wattages, with most falling between 600 and 1200 watts. Bigger microwaves tend to have a higher wattage and are usually more expensive, while budget models are typically smaller and have lower wattage.

Different Microvawe Wottage

Since microwaves come in a range of wattages, it’s essential to choose one that suits your needs. However, it’s equally important to ensure that your microwave can handle the types of food you intend to cook without wasting energy. Your goal should be to get a microwave that’s powerful enough to cook your food efficiently.

800 Watts:

The cheapest microwaves on the market typically have wattages between 600 and 800 watts. These microwaves are suitable for cooking instant meals, heating small foods, and reheating drinks. Most microwavable foods provide cooking instructions for 800-watt microwaves, so anything with lower wattage will require more time to cook your food.

800 to 1000 Watts:

Microwaves in this wattage range are at the higher end of traditional microwaves. They heat water quickly, ensure thorough cooking of raw food, and make popcorn in no time. Most microwaves in this range come with various settings to prevent accidental overcooking.

1000 to 1200 Watts:

Once microwaves exceed 1000 watts, they start to resemble ovens more than traditional microwaves. Restaurant microwaves often fall within this range or even higher. With the right techniques, you can safely cook raw meats in these microwaves. However, they may be overly powerful for simple tasks like heating microwave dinners or reheating beverages.

How To Tell How Many Watts Your Microwave Is?

Step 1: Finding the Manufacturer’s Label:

  • Start by locating the manufacturer’s label on your microwave. This label is usually located inside the microwave, either on the door frame, the back, or the side.
  • Look for information related to the microwave’s wattage on this label. It may be labeled as “Watts,” “W,” or “Power.”
  • If you find this information, it will specify the microwave’s wattage rating, which will tell you how many watts your microwave is.

Step 2: Checking the User Manual:

  • If you have the user manual that came with your microwave, check it for information about the microwave’s wattage.
  • The manual typically includes specifications and technical details, including the wattage rating.
  • Look for a section that provides information about the microwave’s specifications or features.

Step 3: Searching for Online Resources:

  • If you don’t have the manual or can’t find the manufacturer’s label, you can try searching online for your microwave’s model number.
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website or search for your microwave model on the internet along with the keyword “wattage.”
  • Manufacturers often provide product details, including wattage, on their official websites or in product catalogs.

Step 4:Performing a Water Boiling Test:

water boiling test for oven wattage
Checking microwave wattage with water boiling test
  1. To perform this test, fill a microwave-safe glass or container with exactly one cup (8 fluid ounces) of water.
  2. Place the container in the microwave and make sure it’s uncovered.
  3. Set the microwave to run on high power for a specific amount of time, like one minute.
  4. Start the microwave, and as it runs, observe the time it takes for the water to come to a rolling boil.
  5. Once the water boils, stop the microwave. The time it took to boil can give you an estimate of the microwave’s wattage:
  • Less than 2 minutes: Around 1,000 watts or higher.
  • 2 to 3 minutes: Approximately 800 to 1,000 watts.
  • 3 to 4 minutes: Around 600 to 800 watts.
  • Over 4 minutes: Less than 600 watts.

Step 5: Using a Microwave Wattage Meter:

  • You can purchase a microwave wattage meter, a device designed specifically to measure the wattage of a microwave.
  • Follow the instructions provided with the meter, which typically involve placing it in the microwave, running a test cycle, and reading the displayed wattage.

Importance Of Microwave Wattage

The importance of microwave wattage lies in its direct impact on the cooking performance and speed of the microwave oven. Here are the key reasons why microwave wattage is important:

  1. Cooking Speed: Higher-wattage microwaves cook food faster because they produce more energy. This is especially important when you need to prepare meals quickly, reheat leftovers, or defrost items in a short amount of time.
  2. Even Cooking: Microwaves with higher wattage can more evenly distribute heat throughout the food, reducing the likelihood of hot and cold spots. This ensures that your food is thoroughly cooked, eliminating the risk of undercooked or overcooked portions.
  3. Versatility: Microwaves with higher wattage have the power to handle a wider range of cooking tasks. They can cook a variety of foods, from simple reheating to more complex cooking processes, such as defrosting, baking, and roasting.
  4. Compatibility: Many recipes and cooking instructions are designed for microwaves with specific wattages. Using a microwave with the recommended wattage ensures that your food will be prepared correctly and according to the recipe’s instructions.
  5. Efficiency: Higher-wattage microwaves are generally more energy-efficient. They can complete cooking tasks in less time, which means they use less electricity overall. This can result in energy savings over time.
  6. Cooking Capacity: Larger microwaves often have higher wattage ratings, allowing you to cook larger portions of food or accommodate larger dishes.
  7. Food Quality: Cooking with the appropriate wattage helps maintain the quality and texture of your food. Overcooking or undercooking due to insufficient wattage can lead to undesirable results.
  8. Versatile Settings: High-wattage microwaves often come with a variety of power levels and settings, allowing you to customize your cooking experience for different types of food.


Is there a difference between input wattage and output wattage in microwaves?

Yes, microwaves often have two wattage ratings: input and output wattage. The input wattage refers to the power the microwave consumes from the electrical outlet, while the output wattage is the power it delivers to cook your food. The output wattage is usually lower than the input wattage due to energy loss during the cooking process.

Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?

Reheating food in microvawe safe container
Using microwave-safe container

Food containers that are safe for the microwave are typically made from microwave-safe materials such as glass, ceramic, and microwave-safe plastics labeled with a “microwave-safe” or “microwaveable” symbol. Avoid containers made of metal, as they can cause sparks, and be cautious with plastic containers not labeled as microwave-safe, as they can release harmful chemicals when heated. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe microwave use.

Why does my microwave sometimes make a loud noise while heating food?

It’s normal for microwaves to make a humming or buzzing sound when in operation. These sounds are usually the result of the microwave’s magnetron (the part that generates microwaves) and the cooling fan. However, if you hear unusual or excessively loud noises, it may indicate a problem that requires professional repair.

Can I put metal objects or aluminum foil in the microwave?

No, you should never put metal objects or aluminum foil in the microwave. Metal can cause sparks and damage the microwave’s interior, posing a fire hazard. Always use microwave-safe containers and utensils.


Determining the wattage of your microwave is a straightforward process that ensures you use it effectively for cooking or reheating food. You can usually find the wattage information on a label or sticker inside the microwave’s door frame or on the back. If that information is missing or illegible, you can estimate the wattage by conducting a simple water-boiling test. Knowing your microwave’s wattage is essential for following recipes and cooking instructions accurately, ensuring your dishes are cooked to perfection.

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