How Deep Is a Microwave and How Does It Work?

How Deep Is a Microwave?

The depth of a standard microwave, with the door closed, is usually around 15″ to 18″.

However, the depth may vary depending on the type of microwave and its intended use.

Built-in microwaves usually match standard cabinet dimensions, while compact or extra-large sizes are available for countertop microwaves.

Over-the-range microwaves also follow similar dimensions to standard microwaves.

It is important to consider both product dimensions and cut-out dimensions when browsing for microwave sizes.

Key Points:

  • Standard microwaves typically have a depth of 15″ to 18″ with the door closed.
  • The depth of a microwave may vary depending on its type and intended use.
  • Built-in microwaves usually have dimensions that match standard cabinets.
  • Compact or extra-large sizes can be found for countertop microwaves.
  • Over-the-range microwaves have dimensions similar to standard microwaves.
  • When shopping for microwaves, it is important to consider both product dimensions and cut-out dimensions.


Did You Know?

1. Despite its compact size, a typical microwave oven can penetrate food and heat it up to a depth of about 1 to 1.5 inches, depending on the wattage and frequency of the microwave.
2. The depth at which microwaves can penetrate food is influenced by the type of food itself. For example, foods high in water content are more susceptible to microwave penetration than foods with higher fat or sugar content.
3. The depth of microwave penetration can also be affected by the size and shape of the food item being heated. Smaller and thinner foods will be heated more evenly throughout, while larger or thicker items might struggle with heat distribution.
4. Interestingly, microwaves are specifically designed to be absorbed by water molecules. This is why certain foods, such as bread with a high moisture content, can sometimes become soggy instead of crispy when heated in a microwave.
5. In some cases, the depth of microwave penetration can be further limited due to the use of specific packaging. Certain metals, such as aluminum foil or metallic ink used in packaging, can reflect microwaves and prevent them from penetrating beyond the surface of the food item.

Standard Microwave Size

When it comes to the dimensions of a standard microwave, the width usually spans around 30 inches, while the height is approximately 17 inches. However, one of the key considerations for many people is the depth of the microwave.

With the door closed, standard microwaves typically measure between 15 to 18 inches in depth. These measurements are crucial when determining whether a microwave will fit in your designated space.

The 15 to 18-inch depth allows for convenient placement on countertops or within cabinets, providing adequate depth for most cooking needs. This standard size ensures that the microwave has enough space to accommodate plates, bowls, and other cooking vessels of various sizes. Additionally, the depth allows for proper air circulation and ventilation while the microwave is in use, preventing overheating and ensuring efficient operation.

  • Adequate depth for most cooking needs
  • Accommodates plates, bowls, and other cooking vessels of various sizes
  • Allows for proper air circulation and ventilation

Ensures efficient operation and prevents overheating.

Built-In Microwaves

For those seeking a more streamlined and integrated look in their kitchen, built-in microwaves are a fantastic option. Built-in microwaves are designed to match standard cabinet dimensions, creating a cohesive and sophisticated appearance. These microwaves are typically installed at a higher height, making them more accessible and preventing the need for excessive bending or stooping.

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Built-in microwaves offer the same dimensions as standard microwaves, around 30 inches in width, 17 inches in height, and 15 to 18 inches in depth when the door is closed. This allows them to seamlessly blend with the surrounding cabinetry, giving your kitchen a sleek and professional aesthetic. Moreover, built-in microwaves provide an excellent space-saving solution, effectively utilizing the available kitchen space while maintaining functionality.

Compact And Extra Large Options

While standard microwave sizes suit the needs of most households, there are compact and extra-large options available for those with unique space requirements or particular mealtime needs.

  • Compact microwaves are ideal for smaller kitchens, dormitories, or offices where space may be limited.
  • These microwaves typically have dimensions that are smaller than the standard, offering a width of around 20 inches and a height and depth similar to the standard range.

On the other end of the spectrum, extra-large microwaves cater to those who require additional space for cooking larger quantities or for accommodating bigger food items.

  • With wider widths ranging from 24 to 36 inches, these microwaves provide ample room for oversized dishes, making meal preparation and serving easier.

However, it is vital to consider your available space and cooking requirements carefully before opting for a compact or extra-large microwave.

Over-The-Range Microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves have gained tremendous popularity in recent years due to their space-saving and multitasking capabilities. These microwaves are specifically designed to be positioned above the stove, effectively utilizing the vertical space in your kitchen. With standard dimensions of approximately 30 inches in width, 17 inches in height, and 15 to 18 inches in depth with the door closed, they offer the same size as countertop and built-in microwaves.

  • Built-in ventilation system: One of the significant advantages of over-the-range microwaves is the built-in ventilation system, which effectively eliminates smoke, odors, and excess heat generated during stovetop cooking. This feature eliminates the need for a separate range hood, saving valuable space in your kitchen.

  • Convenient features: Over-the-range microwaves also come with built-in lights and exhaust fans, enhancing the overall cooking experience. The built-in lights provide adequate illumination for the stovetop, ensuring clear visibility while cooking. The exhaust fans expel any lingering odors, ensuring a fresh and clean kitchen environment.

In conclusion, over-the-range microwaves offer a convenient and space-saving solution for modern kitchens. With their built-in ventilation system and additional features like lights and exhaust fans, these microwaves provide a seamless cooking experience.

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Consider Dimensions When Browsing

When shopping for a new microwave, it’s essential to consider both the product dimensions and the cut-out dimensions if you plan to install it within a cabinet or built-in space.

While the product dimensions provide the overall size of the microwave, the cut-out dimensions outline the required opening size for installation.

By taking measurements of the available space in your kitchen, including height, width, and depth, you can ensure that your chosen microwave will fit snugly and seamlessly.

Paying attention to the cut-out dimensions is crucial, as it helps avoid any potential installation issues or the need for modifications to your kitchen cabinetry.

It is always recommended to check the manufacturer’s specifications and consult with a professional if necessary to ensure a proper fit.

  • Consider both the product dimensions and the cut-out dimensions for installation.
  • Take measurements of the available space in your kitchen.
  • Pay attention to the cut-out dimensions to avoid installation issues.
  • Check the manufacturer’s specifications and consult with a professional if needed.

Variety Of Sizes For Countertop Microwaves

Countertop microwaves come in a variety of sizes to cater to different kitchen layouts and individual needs. Alongside the standard dimensions discussed earlier, manufacturers offer compact and extra-large options to accommodate various preferences and available space.

Compact countertop microwaves typically have a width of around 20 inches, making them suitable for smaller kitchens or as secondary microwaves in offices or recreational spaces. These compact appliances provide efficient microwave capabilities while taking up minimal counter space.

On the other hand, extra-large countertop microwaves are designed for those who require additional cooking capacity. With widths ranging from 24 to 36 inches, these microwaves offer spacious interiors, allowing for the cooking of larger dishes and the heating of multiple plates at once.

In conclusion, microwave sizes vary to accommodate different kitchen layouts, space restrictions, and cooking needs. Standard microwaves measure around 30 inches wide, 17 inches high, and 15 to 18 inches deep with the door closed. Built-in microwaves match standard cabinet dimensions to create a cohesive look. Compact and extra-large options are available to cater to unique space requirements, while over-the-range microwaves provide space-saving benefits and built-in ventilation. When shopping for a microwave, considering the dimensions, both product and cut-out, is crucial to ensure a proper fit. Countertop microwaves are available in a variety of sizes, allowing individuals to find the perfect fit for their available space and mealtime requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the average depth of a standard household microwave?

The average depth of a standard household microwave is around 13 to 16 inches. This measurement is typically based on countertop models, which are the most common type of household microwaves. However, it is important to note that the depth may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and specific model. Some microwaves may be slightly deeper or shallower, so it is always recommended to check the product specifications before making a purchase or installation.

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2. Can the depth of a microwave impact its cooking performance?

Yes, the depth of a microwave can impact its cooking performance to some extent. When a microwave is shallow, it may limit the amount of space available to accommodate larger or taller dishes. This can be a disadvantage if you frequently cook or heat larger portions of food, as it may be difficult to fit them inside the microwave. Additionally, a shallow microwave may have uneven cooking due to restricted airflow and heat distribution, resulting in some areas of the food being overcooked while others remain undercooked. However, it should be noted that the impact of depth on cooking performance may vary depending on the specific model and its features.

3. Are there different depth options available for microwaves depending on their usage or specific features?

Yes, there are different depth options available for microwaves depending on their usage or specific features. Most microwaves typically have a standard depth of around 12-15 inches, which is suitable for everyday cooking and reheating needs. However, some models offer a slim or compact design with a depth of around 9-11 inches, which is ideal for smaller kitchens or limited countertop space.

Additionally, there are also over-the-range microwaves that are designed to be installed above a stove or cooktop. These microwaves usually have a greater depth of around 15-20 inches to accommodate the range hood and venting system. This type of microwave is often chosen for its convenient space-saving design and integrated ventilation capabilities. Ultimately, the available depth options for microwaves provide consumers with flexibility to choose a model that best suits their specific requirements and kitchen setup.

4. Why is it important to consider the depth of a microwave when planning a kitchen layout or installing it in a cabinet?

It is important to consider the depth of a microwave when planning a kitchen layout or installing it in a cabinet for several reasons. Firstly, the depth of the microwave determines how well it will fit into the designated space. If the microwave is too deep for the cabinet or the layout does not accommodate its depth, it may not fit properly, making it difficult to install or use. This can lead to complications in the functionality and aesthetics of the kitchen.

Secondly, considering the depth of a microwave is crucial for safety reasons. The appliance needs proper ventilation and space around it to dissipate heat effectively. If the microwave is placed in a cabinet without sufficient depth or ventilation, it can lead to overheating and potentially cause a fire hazard. Therefore, taking into account the depth of the microwave ensures not only its accessibility and convenience but also the safety of the kitchen environment.