How much does it cost to run a microwave?

Microwaves have become stalwarts in kitchens across the globe, but how much do they really cost to run?

For those keen on managing household budgets and minimizing energy usage, this microwave running cost calculator is exactly what you need.

To get started, you’ll need to know your microwave’s wattage, how much you pay per kWh, and how long you use your microwave. Once you have these figures, plug them into the electricity cost calculator below to get an estimated running cost.


(Estimated Running Cost)

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How much electricity does a microwave use?

Microwaves usually range from 600 to 1400 watts, with an average of about 1000 watts. This means that if you use your microwave for 1 hour, it will consume approximately 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity.

How to calculate microwave running cost

To calculate the cost of running a microwave, you can use the following formula:

  • Cost = (Wattage / 1000) × Hours used × Energy rate
  • For an 800-watt (W) microwave, the cost would be figured out as follows:
  • Cost = (800W / 1000) × Hours used × £0.29

Common usage scenarios

Reheating lunch

One of the most common uses of a microwave is to reheat meals. An average lunch might take around three minutes to reheat, here’s how to calculate the cost:

  • Cost = (800W ÷ 1000) × (3min ÷60) × £0.29
  • Cost = 0.8 kW × 0.05 h × £0.29
  • Cost = £0.0116

Therefore, reheating your lunch for 3 minutes would cost you just over 1 penny.

Defrosting meat

Another typical use is defrosting frozen food, like meat. This could take around 10 minutes for smaller cuts or portions.

  • Cost = (800W ÷ 1000) × (10min ÷ 60) × £0.29
  • Cost = 0.8 kW × 0.1667 h × £0.29
  • Cost = £0.0387

Defrosting meat in your microwave for 10 minutes will cost almost 4 pence.

Are microwaves energy efficient?

microwave running cost

Microwaves are generally considered to be energy-efficient appliances. Compared to traditional ovens, microwaves use significantly less energy for cooking and reheating food.

This is because they produce electromagnetic waves that directly heat up the molecules in the food, rather than heating the surrounding air like traditional ovens.

Wrapping up

Running a microwave is generally cost-effective, especially considering the convenience it offers. However, frequent or lengthy use could add up over time.

Note: These figures are based on average values and your actual costs may differ depending on your local energy rates and specific use patterns of your microwave.