Anyone who has ever tried to go out and buy a microwave knows that the proposition is not as simple as it sounds. Across the market, there are many different types of microwaves that come in a wide range of sizes and dimensions. The question is, what type of microwave is best for me?
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the microwave is, the more powerful it, but more expensive it tends to be. However, within all types and microwave sizes, there are cheaper models and more expensive models, basic models, and premium models, so while this general microwave size guide is helpful, you still need to research individual units.
When researching microwaves or any other kitchen appliance, there are a number of different factors to consider. Your budget, the size of your kitchen, the number of people in your house, how often you use the microwave, and what you plan to cook in it are all important in determining the microwave oven size and microwave oven dimensions that are best for you.
Luckily, this helpful microwave size guide and size chart break down all the common types of microwaves and their corresponding size and dimensions, cooking capacities, cooking power, prices, features, advantages, and disadvantages.
Microwave Oven Size Chart, Watts, And Weight
|Over The Range||16-18||24-30||15-18||1.1-2.1||1000-1200||50-65|
|Commercial||12-20||16-26||16-24||0.5-1.6||Up to 3000||40-170|
Countertop Microwaves: Small / Dorm Room
As the name would imply, these are the smallest type of microwaves. Being the smallest, these units are best suited for dorm rooms and small apartments. The small microwave oven size makes them light, easy to transport, and convenient in that they don’t take up much space in the kitchen. Conveniently, these are also the most affordable of all microwave sizes.
Unfortunately, they also sacrifice some of the cooking power, capacity, and functionality. Given these factors, these microwaves are best suited for cooking basics like popcorn, frozen veggies, instant rice, leftovers, and tea. Despite their limits, these small microwaves are incredibly convenient and make an excellent choice for small kitchens.
Small Countertop Microwave Average Size and Dimensions
The average external microwave dimensions of a small countertop microwave are about 15-19 inches wide, 10-14 inches in height, and 10-14 inches deep.
Cooking capacity, or internal microwave oven size, is measured in cubic feet and it determines what can actually fit inside the microwave. On small microwaves, the capacity is anything under 1 cubic feet, with the most common size being 0.9 cubic feet. Although, some units can be as small as 0.5 cubic feet.
Watts is the measure of energy or cooking power, a microwave uses to heat the food. As a rule, the lower the wattage, the longer the food will take to heat up and the less evenly it will cook. Small microwaves typically run somewhere from 600-1100 watts, with the most common value being from 700-1000 watts.
Countertop microwaves are often lighter than other types of microwaves such as built-in or over the range models because they are built for portability, The average weight of small/dorm microwaves is 20-30 lbs.
Small countertop microwaves are the most affordable of all microwave sizes. Prices range from $60 on the low end to $300 for small microwaves with more features. Most commonly, a small countertop microwave is around $80.
Most small microwaves feature a glass turntable that rotates food and allows for even cooking. Other basic functions like timers, a defrost setting, and some pre-configured buttons to cook common foods like pizza or popcorn may be included.
Small Countertop Microwave Examples
- Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave
- Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven
- Hamilton Beach 0.7 Cubic Foot
- Insignia 0.9 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave
Medium Countertop Microwaves
Medium-sized countertop microwaves are a big step up in terms of cooking capacity, power, and features from small countertop microwaves. Models of this size represent a good balance; they can have all the same features of larger units but can still be found at a more convenient size and cost.
Not only that, but they can heat up all the basic microwave foods as well as taking on larger projects like defrosting a whole chicken or heating a tray of lasagna. Simply put, a medium microwave oven size is the best value of any size. These microwaves are well suited for larger apartments and homes with 3-5 people. Fortunately, this is the most common size of microwave ovens, so you have the most options in this range.
Average Microwave Size and Dimensions
The typical external microwave oven dimensions for a medium-sized countertop microwave are 24 inches wide, 14 inches tall, and 16 inches deep.
Medium-sized countertop microwaves range from 1 to 2 cubic feet of interior cooking capacity, with 1.6 cubic inches being the most customary capacity. For most families, this is more than enough space to hold cook virtually all microwaved foods.
Ordinarily, medium-sized countertop microwaves cook with between 800 and 1300 watts, most commonly, they use 1000 or 1100 watts.
The average weight of medium countertop microwaves is 30-50 lbs.
Depending on the included features, the price for these microwaves can vary greatly. The cheapest, most basic models can be as low as $60, whereas the most expensive medium-sized microwaves with all the added features run as high as $800.
Generally, for a family of 3-5 people, spending $100-$200 on a medium-sized microwave will get you a quality, reliable unit with more than enough space, cooking power, and added features.
As with the price, the added features on medium-sized microwaves can differ greatly. There are some very basic units with the same features as small microwaves. But the good news is that many affordable medium-sized countertop microwaves have great features such as an auto weight function for defrosting, a grill setting, convection cooking, easy to clean interiors, pre-programmed sensors for popular foods.
Even better, some medium-sized microwaves have inverter cooking technology, which uses an inverter to cook rather than a magnetic coil, making microwaving faster and more energy-efficient.
Medium Countertop Microwave Examples
Large Countertop Microwaves
Predictably, large countertop microwaves have the most cooking capacity and the most cooking power of any countertop microwave. You know what that means, large countertop microwaves cook foods faster and more evenly than their smaller cousins.
These large microwaves also allow you to cook foods of almost any size in them and are particularly well-suited for cooking foods for long periods of time. Additionally, they are strong, durable machines that should stand the test of time. For bigger families, large countertop microwaves offer the best of the best of microwave cooking.
However, with that quality come a corresponding increase in price, operating cost, and counter footprint.
Large Microwave Average Size and Dimensions
Typically, the external microwave dimensions of large countertop microwaves measure about 35 inches in height, 18-24 inches wide, and 18 inches deep.
Cooking capacities of large countertop microwaves are anything over 2 cubic feet, with 2.2 cubic feet being the most common size. Best of all, this large microwave size allows you to use even the largest of bowls, plates, containers, and platters. You could even defrost a whole chicken, duck, or small turkey in a large countertop microwave.
These large microwaves cook with a range of 1200 to 1400 watts, 1250 watts being the most popular.
The average weight of large countertop microwaves is 50-70 lbs.
Commonly, these are the most expensive of countertop microwaves. There are some models on the more affordable side, but you can usually expect to pay $150-$300 for a decent large countertop microwave.
Large countertop microwaves have many of the same features as medium-sized microwaves including automatic adjustment of cooking times and power levels, a grill function, auto defrost, convection cooking, inverter cooking technology, and 10 or more cooking pre-sets for most popular microwaved foods.
Large Countertop Microwave Examples
- Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B
- Panasonic Countertop NN-SD975S
- Panasonic NN-SN966S Countertop Microwave Review
- LG – 2.0 Cu. Ft. Family-Size
Over the Range Microwaves
Over the range microwaves are fundamentally different from any of the microwave ovens listed above as they are not set on a countertop and plugged in somewhere, they are actually professionally installed into a cabinet space above your range.
Their biggest appeal is that they save counter space and create a chic look in your kitchen. They also come with a vent system (to replace traditional kitchen hoods) and lights on the bottom to illuminate the range. Of course, before deciding on getting an over the range microwave, it is important to consider whether you have adequate cabinet space to accommodate one.
Generally, these microwaves are very similar in size, capacity, and features to medium-sized countertop microwaves.
However, as the microwave needs to fit into a cabinet space, all of its aspects can differ depending on the size of that space. So, be sure to do careful research and measure your space before choosing a unit.
Over The Range Microwave Average Size and Dimensions
The typical external microwave dimensions of an over the range microwave are 30 inches wide, 15 inches tall, and 16 inches deep, although they can vary as they need to fit into specific cabinet spaces.
As with the size, the cooking capacity of these models can vary greatly. Depending on the size of the cabinet, the internal microwave size of these units can range from less than 1 cubic foot to over 2 cubic feet of cooking capacity, so it is important to properly measure your cabinet space.
Due to the variation in size and capacity, the wattage can also differ greatly. You can find over the range units from 600 watts up to 1200 watts, so there are many options to fit your desire.
Unlike countertop microwave models, over the range units are built into your kitchen and attached to your stovetop, the average weight is 50-65 lbs.
Given that the power, size, and capacity of over the range microwaves all have wide ranges, so does the price. They can be found for as little as $200 and as much as $1,200. Keep in mind that you will probably need to pay $100-$150 for professional installation.
Over the range, microwaves have features that align closely with those of medium and large-sized countertop microwaves. Some commonly included features are several pre-configured settings for popular foods, an auto-weight function for defrosting, convection cooking, a grill function, and inverter cooking technology. Of course, one of the most welcome features is that these units are self-ventilating.
Over the Range Microwave Examples
- GE – Profile Series 1.7 cu. ft. Convection
- Magic Chef 1.6 cu. ft.
- Whirlpool – 1.7 Cu. Ft.
- Samsung – 2.1 Cu. Ft. Fingerprint Resistant
Of course, the other type of microwave that is built into the kitchen instead of being set on a counter is the built-in microwave drawer. Microwave drawers represent the most sophisticated and luxurious of home microwave ovens.
By being built into the cabinets, they save valuable counter space and beautifully integrate into your cabinet space to create an elegant, modern look in your kitchen. Furthermore, they are also convenient and easy to use and can be the safest type of microwave for children, shorter people, and older people.
However, they can also be very expensive and do not always have the best features of some medium and large countertop units. Keep in mind that a built-in microwave is an investment in your kitchen that requires careful research and planning; they often do not easily fit into any cabinet.
Since built-in units are required to fit into a specific drawer space, they can be found in many different sizes with many different levels of power.
Built-in/Drawer Microwave Average Size and Dimensions
The external microwave dimensions of built-in microwaves may differ depending on the size of the drawer space. But as a general rule, microwave drawers tend to be deeper than over the range or countertop units. The typical dimensions for a microwave drawer would be 30 inches wide, 15 inches high, and 26 inches deep.
Although you may be able to find some units with a larger capacity, microwave drawers most often have between 1 and 2 cubic feet of cooking capacity.
Microwave drawers usually cook with a wattage of between 800 and 1,000 watts.
The average weight of built-in microwaves is 50-100 lbs.
Due to the complicated nature of fitting a microwave drawer, they are the most expensive of home microwaves. Ordinarily, they will run between $700 and $1,000, plus the cost of an electrician coming to install.
Features of microwave drawers include pre-configured settings for popular microwave foods, many different power settings, a child-safe mode, LED lights in the interior, easy-to-clean interiors, auto defrost mode, melt/soften/keep warm modes, and one-touch open and close functions.
Microwave Drawer Examples
- Sharp SMD2470AS
- Sharp SMD3070AS
- Bosch HMD8451UC
- KitchenAid – 1.4 Cu. Ft
- Frigidaire – Gallery 2.2 Cu. Ft
Finally, we have commercial microwaves, which are plug-in units similar to countertop microwaves. Commercial microwave ovens are very different from home microwaves in that they are significantly more powerful and more expensive, both in upfront price and operating cost.
These are heavy-duty machines built with durability in mind; they’re designed to heat high volumes of foods with lightning-quick speed in commercial foodservice settings. Realistically, unless you are looking for a microwave for a restaurant, café, or other professional food service business, there is no need for a commercial microwave in your home.
Commercial Microwave Average Size and Dimensions
The external microwave dimensions of a typical commercial microwave oven are 18 inches wide, 14.5 inches high, and 20 inches deep. Surprisingly, commercial microwaves are often smaller than large countertop units; they are designed this way as commercial kitchens are often tight areas with a limited spare counter or shelf space.
On commercial units, the internal microwave size usually ranges from 1 to 1.5 cubic feet. Once again, the capacity needs to be a little smaller to accommodate professional kitchens.
On the lower end, commercial units have 1,000 watts of power, but some of the heavy-duty models cook with up to 3,000 watts or more.
The weight of commercial microwaves often determined by the power output, not by the dimension nor capacity. For instance, a 2000 watt model weighs approximately 65 pounds. anyway, the average weight of commercial microwaves ranges from 40-170 pounds.
Commercial microwave ovens are far more expensive than home microwaves. The price will start around $500 but can easily run as high as $3,000 or more.
Commercial microwaves often do not have a large range of added features as their utility is based more on durability and cooking power than bonus functions. However, some features that are commonly found on commercial microwaves are convection cooking, automatic defrost, multiple preset cooking programs, and a bun warming setting.
Commercial Microwave Examples
- Sharp Medium-Duty Commercial Microwave Oven (15-0429)
- Sharp R-CD2200M Commercial Microwave Oven, Twin Touch
- Panasonic with 10 Programmable Memory 1000W, 0.8 Cu. Ft.
- Sharp R-21LCFS Medium-Duty Commercial
Microwave Sizes Frequently Asked Questions
- What size microwave do I need?
It depends on how often you cook in the microwave, what kinds of foods you cook, how many people are in your home, and how big your home is. Generally, for small apartments and dorm rooms, a small microwave will do, for small to medium families, a medium microwave is fine, and a large microwave may be best for large families or office break rooms.
- What is a good size microwave for a family?
For most families, a medium-sized countertop microwave, with an internal cooking capacity between 1 and 2 cubic feet, will provide more than enough microwave cooking space. For families of 6 or more people, perhaps consider something over 2 cubic feet.
- How do I know the size of my microwave?
Microwave size is measured in cubic feet. So, to determine the size of your microwave, use a ruler or tape measurer to record the width, height, and depth in inches. Then, multiply the width by length, by height, and by depth before diving by 1,728 to calculate the cubic feet.
- What is the standard size microwave?
As there are thousands and thousands of microwaves on the market, there is no standard size. However, the most typical external microwave oven dimensions are from 29 to 30 inches wide, a height of 16 to 18 inches, and a depth of 15 to 16 inches. The most common microwave oven size is between 1.5 and 2.2 cubic feet of internal capacity.
- What is the size of the smallest microwave?
Technically, the world’s smallest microwave is just 6.2 inches wide, 7.4 inches tall, and 5.9 inches deep. However, the smallest size of a countertop microwave oven is 0.5 cubic feet.
What microwave size fits a dinner plate?
Nobody is indeed willing to take the time to transfer food to a different bowl so that they can put the food in the microwave. The process will take more time and nobody has that time. So, which size will fit a dinner plate?
If you have a 1.0 cubic oven, it will fit a 10-inch dinner plate. It is even possible to have certain microwaves of the same size that would fit an 11-inch plate without a problem. You will have the luxury of using other plates that are smaller than 10 inches. These include the starter plates, dessert plates, saucers, as well as side plates.
If you purchase an oven larger than 1.0 cubic, you will fit dinner plates that are 14 inches or lower. However, it is possible that most people will not choose to try out these types of plates.
Any oven that is larger than 1.2 cubics will accommodate any plate size. These are ovens that are created for entire families. You can even fit multiple plates in one microwave.
What size inverter do I need to run a microwave?
What is the purpose of an inverter? The main reason why people use inverters is to take the DC (direct current) power and convert it to AC (alternating current) power, which is the type of power that appliances, such as a microwave, use.
The AC power usually comes from the sockets in your walls. The DC power, on the other hand, is from batteries that operate toys and certain devices. You will need an inverter if you want to use a microwave in your RV, or a travel trailer.
When your microwave starts, assuming it is a 900-watt microwave, it might use 2700 watts for about a millisecond, after which it will go back to using the 900 watts. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the appropriate inverter, you need one that will handle the surge at startup.
If, for instance, you purchase a 2000-watt inverter, it will be able to output a maximum surge of 3000 watts. That kind of inverter will easily handle the 900-watt microwave, including the 2700 surge.
What size cabinet for over the range microwave?
An over the range microwave should be installed inside a cabinet that has certain specific dimensions. If you fail to consider the space available properly, there are chances that you will be disappointed with the installation and the appearance of the kitchen.
First, you should consider the height of the space used when cooking. It will help determine the microwave size before you make a purchase. The minimum recommendation is 30 inches. You can have more but not less than 30.
The width should be exactly like the microwave. Most are 30 inches and your cabinet should give you exactly that.
The average depth of microwaves is 12 inches. Look out for the door clearance. Also, consider the location of the ventilation underneath. Make sure they are directly above the cooktop.
The height is also important. Adjust your cabinet so that it fits the height of the microwave you have. However, remember to maintain the 13 inches we discussed earlier.
What microwave size for a college dorm?
Here is a list of the best dorm room microwave reviews to fit your needs, full of excellent, affordable, small-to-mid-sized microwaves for college dorms, enjoy!
Feel free to share your observations with me in the comments section!
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