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Understanding Microwave Wattage


When you’re shopping for a new microwave, you are likely to find a variety of makes, models, and styles, but one area which tends to create confusion is the wattage. Each microwave model will detail its wattage, but does this mean that it has sufficient power to meet your appliance needs?  Here we’ll explore microwave wattages in a little more detail to help you to choose the right wattage for the complexity and size of meals you tend to prepare.

Less Than 700 Watts:

Typically, the least expensive microwave models tend to operate on less than 700 watts. This is also the category for smaller units. These types of microwaves are a good option for heating up small dishes of food, cooking instant meals and reheating drinks. But, if you’re used to a higher powered model, you may find this size of microwave a little frustrating as it will take longer to complete the heating tasks. You will need to adjust your cooking times, but many models feature a button to instantly add 30 seconds or a minute to the time, to make it easier to keep heating your food or drink.

700 to 1000 Watts:

This size of microwave typically provides decent efficiency for most microwaving tasks. Most microwave recipes feature this microwave power level as a base figure for the cook times. This size of microwave provides adequate power to cook instant meals, defrost foods, prepare microwave popcorn, reheat casseroles or even thoroughly cook raw meat.

1000 Watts Plus:

There are microwaves that have power of over 1000 watts, but if a microwave has 1,100 watts or more, they are often in commercial use in cafes and restaurants. Since these are high powered microwaves, they can easily heat or cook large dishes of food quickly. While it can be a good option if you tend to microwave large meals, it is not typically a good option for the average homeowner who simply uses a microwave to occasionally reheat or cook.

So, Can You Pop Popcorn in Any Microwave?

The go to snack that most people use a microwave for is popping popcorn, but does this impact your microwave choice? The simple answer is no. It is possible to pop popcorn in even a low powered microwave, you will simply need to allow a little extra time.

For example, if you have a 700 watt microwave, you will need to follow the instructions on the popcorn bag and then if there is still rapid popping, increase the cook time by one minute. You will need to continue microwaving until there is two or three seconds between popping sounds.

Checking the Power of Your Microwave:

If you’re unsure about the power of your microwave, you can find out the power rating by checking the serial plate inside the microwave door. If the plate is no longer visible, you can estimate the power with a simple water test. Put one cup of cold water into a two cup microwave safe vessel. Place this into the microwave and set it on high for four minutes.

Watch the water carefully and if it boils in under two minutes, your microwave wattage is 1000 or higher. If it boils at 2.5 minutes, the wattage is between 800 and 1000 watts, three minutes boil time is approximately 700 watts and if it takes the three to four minutes, the wattage is approximately 500 watts.

If you’re considering upgrading your microwave, you can explore the available options with our online collection or alternatively speak to one of our home appliance specialists for help and guidance.

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