How Many Amps Does a Microwave Pull? Understanding Microwave Power Usage

How Many Amps Does a Microwave Pull? Understanding Microwave Power Usage

In this article we’ll give you an overview of the power involved in using a microwave oven, including the amount of current that is drawn from the outlet and how it affects other electrical devices in your home. We’ll explain how the power rating of a microwave oven is determined, as well as provide tips for extending its life expectancy. Additionally, we’ll provide information about potential hazards associated with microwaves and their power consumption.

Finally, you will gain insight into simple calculations to determine whether their existing wiring can handle additional microwaves or other electrical loads in their household:

  • Power rating of a microwave oven
  • Tips for extending life expectancy
  • Potential hazards associated with microwaves
  • Simple calculations to determine existing wiring capacity

What is a Microwave?

A microwave is a kitchen appliance that uses microwaves, a type of electromagnetic radiation, to heat food. Microwaves are attracted to water molecules in food, causing the molecules to vibrate rapidly. This produces heat and cooks or warms food quickly.

Generally, a microwave oven draws around 1,500 watts of electricity at full power. That equates to an amperage draw of 12.5 amps on a 120-volt household circuit or 6.25 amps on a 240-volt circuit. Some newer models draw less than 1,500 watts and require less amperage. Always consult the manufacturer’s specifications for your model before using it in any electrical circuitry with limited current capacity.

How Does a Microwave Work?

A microwave oven uses a high voltage upon passing electrical current through the magnetron to create microwaves used to heat food. Microwave ovens usually draw between 500 and 1500 Watts, depending on the age and size of the unit. To calculate the exact wattage draw, you need to check your unit’s product specifications, or use a power meter.

The microwaves created by the magnetron cause water molecules in your food to vibrate rapidly. The rapid vibrations create friction which generates heat energy that cooks or reheats your food quickly – thus avoiding any danger of burning yourself from touching hot surfaces inside the microwave.

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The electrical current from your wall outlet powers two components inside of the microwave: a transformer and a capacitor. The transformer steps up regular household voltage (115 VAC) to a high voltage (1000-1500VAC). It then passes through a diode where it is converted into direct current (DC power), which can be stored in capacitors for later use. The capacitor supplies power to the magnetron when necessary during use.

The microwave will draw anywhere from 10 – 20 Amps when running depending on how powerful it is and what you’re cooking in it; however, when not in use modern microwaves will often still pull 7-10 Amps while in standby mode due to its built-in clock/timer feature that helps regulate temperature as well as other features like child locks or a delayed start timer setting.

How Many Amps Does a Microwave Pull?

The amount of amps that a microwave draws depends on its wattage rating. Generally, the higher the wattage rating, the more amps your microwave will draw. According to the Home Repair Geek website, standard microwaves draw between 6 and 15 amps of current at 120 volts AC (standard household voltage). This equates to 720-1800 watts, depending on age and features. Depending on the settings and features of a microwave being used can affect how many amps it is using at any given time.

To calculate amperage from watts, you need to divide your total watts by your voltage level. For example, if you have an 800-watt microwave running on 120 volts AC power: 800 divided by 120 = 6.67 or 7 amps running through it during use. If your microwave has various power settings (e.g., defrost/low/medium/high), then each setting may draw different amperages depending on its wattage output for that setting.

Lastly, please ensure that the proper wiring is in place for your microwave and that no junction box or receptacle is overloaded with too many appliances connected to it since this could be a potential fire hazard or cause circuit breaker trips. This information can either be provided with your appliance manual or by contacting an electrician for assistance in ensuring safety while using electrical appliances in your home.

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Factors That Affect the Amps a Microwave Pulls

The amount of amps a microwave pulls depends on the wattage of the specific microwave and other factors that affect its power usage. The wattage is typically labeled on the backside or bottom of the microwave, and it ranges from 500 to 1800 watts. In general, the higher the wattage, then the more amps a microwave pulls.

In addition to wattage, other factors that can affect how many amps a microwave pulls include its age, condition, and settings. Older microwaves usually run with less efficiency than newer models and may pull more amps due to their age and state of wear-and-tear. If the settings are turned up too high then more amps are likely consumed as well.

It is important to remember that each household appliance has different requirements when it comes to electricity usage in order to properly operate safely, so always be mindful when plugging them into outlets in your home or purchase additional safety features like surge protectors if necessary.

Safety Considerations When Using a Microwave

Before using a microwave, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind. As with any electrical appliance, standing too close to an operational microwave can be dangerous. Make sure all foods and liquids are left in the appropriate containers while they’re heated, as the hot steam escaping can be a health hazard, too.

In addition, it’s important to understand how much electric current a microwave draws before operating it.

  • Over-the-range microwaves pull between 13 and 15 amps of power at 120 volts of electricity (1,680 to 1,800 watts).
  • Countertop microwaves generally draw from 10 to 12 amps (1,200 to 1,440 watts).
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Be sure additionally that when shopping for houses and even apartments that any building’s circuit that runs the microwave has sufficient capacity for the current draw of your specific unit. If not, take measures such as adding another circuit ahead of time.

Tips for Using a Microwave Efficiently

Microwaves are convenient and time-saving kitchen appliances, but they can also be energy vampires if used inefficiently. Knowing how to maximize your microwave’s energy efficiency can help reduce costs and conserve energy.

Using the right cooking container is one way to get the most out of your microwave. A glass or ceramic bowl is often better than plastic because it will conduct heat more evenly and decrease cooking time. Defrosting ingredients in a shallow dish can also reduce cooking time since thawed portions typically heat up faster. Covering food with a thin item like wax paper or a microwavable lid is ideal for reducing moisture loss, keeping splatters off the inside walls of your appliance, and using less energy for heating.

It’s also important to understand how many amps does a microwave pull when powered on. Depending on the wattage of your appliance (measured in watts), there can be usage changes from 600 to 1,200 watts or even more depending on the make and model. Simply look at your owner’s manual or search its specifications online to find out the wattage range used by your microwave so you know what kind of electrical pull you should expect when its operating temperature rises.


In conclusion, the amount of amps a microwave pulls depends on the wattage of the microwave and the individual appliance. Generally, newer modern microwaves pull between 5-6 amps while older microwaves may pull up to 10 or even more. It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s manual for your exact appliance specifications.

In addition, it’s important to make sure the circuit you’re plugging into can handle this amount of power before running your microwave. Safety first!

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