What are the different sizes of microwave ovens? (2023)

If you've ever looked at microwaves, you'll quickly realize that they come in all different sizes.

In general, there are three sizes of microwave ovens: small, medium, and large. Small microwaves have an oven capacity of less than 1.0 cubic feet. A medium-sized microwave has an oven capacity of between 1.0 and 2.0 cubic feet, and full-size microwaves have more than 2.0 cubic feet in cubic feet.

Cubic feet determine the amount of food that can be cooked at one time. Cubic feet are calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height in the microwave. The larger the cubic meters, the more (or larger) items can be cooked at one time.

Cubic feet are also important because they affect the power of the microwave. A watt is the amount of energy converted into heat used to cook food in the microwave. In most cases, the larger the oven capacity, the more power used in the microwave.

Click here for the best mid-size microwave on Amazon

In this post, I will discuss all three sizes of microwave ovens. Also, I will talk about the oven capacity, power, price range, and included features of these microwaves.

Also, I'll talk about commercial microwaves and how they differ from home microwave sizes.

Small/Dorm Microwave

What are the different sizes of microwave ovens? (1)

As the size suggests, these microwaves have the smallest oven capacity of the three. Plus, they typically have the lowest wattages, most affordable prices, and the fewest included features. These microwaves are ideal for dorm rooms, apartments, or families of three or more.any lessPeople.

Also, I refer to small microwaves as dorm room microwaves because they are the only microwaves allowed in dorm rooms.Click here to find out the size and power you need for college.

In most cases, these are individual microwaves and are used to cook popcorn, rice, and tea. These microwaves are also good for defrosting ground beef, but would be too small to defrost a whole chicken or turkey.

This section takes a closer look at oven capacity, watts, prices, and features for smaller microwaves.

oven capacity

As I mentioned earlier, small microwaves have an oven capacity of less than 1.0 cubic feet. The smallest microwave I've ever seen had an oven capacity of 0.6 cubic feet. However, the most common size for a small microwave is 0.9 cubic feet. For comparison, 0.9 cubic feet is equal to almost 6 gallon jugs of milk.

Microwaves with the lowest oven output typically also have the lowest wattage.


In a microwave, watts are the amount of power used to cook the food inside it. Microwave watts are converted to heat when the energy comes into contact with food. The lower the wattage, the longer it will take for food to cook to an acceptable serving temperature.

Small microwaves have the lowest wattage range of the three microwave sizes. The power range of these microwaves is from 600 to 1100 watts. While this is a very wide range, most small consumer microwaves have a 700-900 watt range.

(Video) 10 Things To Consider Before Buying A Microwave

Typically, capacity and wattage determine the price of a microwave.


The price of small microwaves will be the cheapest of the three. You can find a small microwave for less than $50.00. While this may sound like a lot, you need to consider the included features, wattage, and oven capacity.

Since marketers have many tricks to make it difficult to determine the best microwave, I follow this simple formula to price all microwaves. This formula (price/watt = price per watt) calculates the cost per watt of microwaves. Simply put, the higher the number, the more expensive the microwave will be.

The price per watt should be used to determine which microwave is best for you, not the only factor. Below are just a few examples of price per watt at work.

  • Price: $79.99 / Watt: 900 = $0.089 price per watt
  • Price: $66.11 / Watt: 700 = $0.094 price per watt
  • Price: $139.99 / Watt: 900 = $0.150 price per watt
  • Price: $93.76 / Watt: 800 = $0.110 price per watt

As you can see, the cheapest price may not be the best value. Also, the most expensive microwave will not be the best value for that size of microwave.


These microwaves come with standard features like a turntable, pressure cook, defrost, and configurable power levels. While you may be able to find more feature-rich microwaves in this size group, expect to pay a premium.

Also, some of these microwaves have a stainless steel surface. A plastic surface is what you will most often find in these microwaves.

Examples of small microwaves

Below are some examples of small/dorm size microwaves.Click here for my recommended microwaves based on size.

  • Micropocillo Toshiba EM925A5A-BS
  • Westinghouse WM009 Countertop Microwave Oven
  • GE JES1072SHSS Countertop Microwave Oven
  • Daewoo KOR-7LREM Retro-Thekenmicrowelle

medium microwave

Mid-size microwaves are considered a significant step up in oven capacity, power, price, and features. These microwaves are designed for large families of up to 5 people.

You may also see these microwaves in office break rooms and public areas like colleges/universities. These microwaves are ideal as they have a large oven capacity and can cook a wide variety of foods quickly and evenly.

In this section, I will discuss oven capacity, power, price, and features of medium microwaves.

oven capacity

The capacity of the medium size microwave is much larger than the small/bedroom microwave. Oven capacity for these microwaves ranges from 1.0 cubic feet to 2.0 cubic feet. 2.0 cubic feet equals approximately 14 gallons of liquid. These microwaves are large enough to defrost whole chickens and very small turkeys.

In my research, I found that 1.6 cubic feet is the most common oven capacity for a medium-sized microwave. The second most common oven capacity for a midsize microwave was 1.2 cubic feet. The two least common sizes I saw were 1.8 and 1.9 cubic feet.

In most cases, as the power of the oven increases, the power also increases.


In addition to oven capacity, the wattage range of midsize microwaves is also increasing. Medium size microwave watts ranged from 800 to 1300 watts. As I mentioned earlier, power has a direct impact on the evenness and cooking time of your food. The most common wattages for medium size microwaves were 1000 and 1100.

(Video) Top 5 Countertop Microwaves in 2023 👌

For example, if a frozen dinner needs to be cooked at 700 watts for 5 minutes, the same frozen dinner can be cooked at 1200 watts in less than 3 minutes.

After all, the price increases with the number of watts and the oven. Read on to see how more watts affect the price.


Medium microwaves can range in price from $70 to over $300 per microwave. These prices vary based on location (countertop vs. top range), features, and finish.

In this section I wanted to calculate the price per watt (price/watt) for a mid-size microwave range. I will then analyze the PPW to determine the best value.

  • Price: $133.34 / Watt: 1200 = $0.111 price per watt
  • Price: $89.97 / Watt: 1000 = $0.090 price per Watt
  • Price: $98.12 / Watt: 1000 = $0.098 price per watt
  • Price: $262.13 / Watt: 1000 = $0.26 price per watt
  • Price: $71.99 / Watt: 1000 = $0.071 price per Watt

As you can see from the listed price per watt, the best value is when the price is under $100 and the wattage is 1000 or more.


These microwaves contain a number of features not found in smaller microwaves. These features include:

  • Door opener at the push of a button
  • automatic weight
  • grill function
  • Easy to clean interior
  • kitchen sensor
  • Convection
  • inverter technology

Just like small microwaves, extra features equate to extra costs. Think about what features are important to you when choosing your microwave.

Medium Microwave Examples

Below are some examples of small/dorm size microwaves.Click here for my recommended microwaves based on size.

  • Microondas Toshiba EM131A5C-BS
  • Microondas Panasonic NN-SU696S
  • Westinghouse WCM11100W Countertop Microwave Oven
  • Farberware FMWO11AHTBKB microondas

large microwave

These microwaves have the largest oven capacity, wattage, price, and features. Ideal for families of 5 or more, these microwaves can cook a variety of foods.

When considering these microwaves, remember that a large interior means a large footprint on your counter or island. Also consider the foods you cook more frequently and the added expense of having a larger microwave.

oven capacity

The oven capacity for these microwaves is at least 2.0 cubic feet. The most common oven capacity for these microwaves was 2.2 cubic feet. 2.2 cubic feet equals about 16 fluid gallons.

The oven capacity of these microwaves is large enough to cook a small to medium-sized whole chicken, duck or turkey.

Of course, the large capacities of the oven result in a large number of watts being used for microwaves.


For microwaves with oven capacities of 2.2 cubic feet and larger, power output ranges from 1200 to 1400 watts. During my research, I found that 1250 watts is the most common in commercial microwaves.

As I mentioned earlier, watts are important because they affect how quickly food cooks. The higher the wattage, the faster the food will cook. For example, if a recipe calls for cooking your frozen meal for 5 minutes, the frozen meal will cook in 4 minutes.1,250 wattsMicrowave. Generally speaking, the250 wattsthe difference is worth about 4 seconds.

(Video) Types of Microwave Oven & Their Uses

While this difference doesn't sound like much, if you plan on cooking something for 20 minutes, you'll notice a big difference.

Finally, due to the oven's large capacity and high wattage, these microwaves are also priced higher than the previous two sizes.


As I mentioned, these microwaves are the most expensive of the three microwave sizes, but do they offer the best value for money? In this section, I will run my price per watt comparison to determine the values.

  • Price: 147.77 / Watt: 1200 = $0.123 price per watt
  • Price: $159.49 / Watt: 1,250 = $0.0128 price per watt
  • Price: $249.99 / Watt: 1250 = $0.20 price per watt

As you can see above, the price per watt for the largest microwaves ranges from $0.12 to $0.20 per watt.

Finally, these microwaves have a number of features that smaller microwaves cannot offer.


A number of features found in mid-size microwaves are also included in full-size microwaves. These features include:

  • inverter technology
  • Automatic power level adjustment
  • Automatic adjustment of cooking times.
  • Cooking presets for a wide range of dishes

One thing to keep in mind: as the size increases, there are far fewer brands of microwaves out there. For example, I found fewer than 10 major brands of microwaves compared to 10+ brands of small/bedroom microwaves.

Examples of large microwaves

Below are some examples of small/dorm size microwaves.Click here for my recommended microwaves based on size.

  • Microondas Panasonic NN-SN9665
  • Microondas Sharp ZR651ZS
  • LG LCRT2010ST Desktop Microwave
  • Kenmore Elite 79393 Countertop Microwave Oven

commercial microwaves

Commercial microwaves fall outside of previously established sizes due to poor correlation between oven capacity, power, price, and features. For example, you can find commercial microwaves with an oven capacity of less than 1 cubic foot that are more expensive than a microwave with a much larger oven capacity.

Another difference between commercial microwaves and home microwaves is that commercial microwaves have a "stacking" rating. This rating determines if you can stack 1 or more microwaves.

Finally, almost all commercial microwaves are built with stainless steel.

oven capacity

The capacity of a commercial microwave oven ranges from less than 1 cubic foot to 1.5 cubic feet. When I started my research, I assumed that all commercial microwaves would be larger than home microwaves. At first glance, it makes sense because eat-in kitchens have very little space and lots of moving parts.


Commercial microwaves have a much larger power range than home microwaves. Commercial microwaves range from 1,000 to 3,000 watts. The difference between a 700 watt microwave and a 3000 watt microwave is minutes.


Price is the biggest difference between home and commercial microwaves. While you may be able to find a commercial microwave for under $300, many of them are over $700! In fact, some of the microwaves you see are likely to cost upwards of $1500 per microwave.


Commercial microwaves include a number of features that families don't need. These features include:

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  • USB ports
  • Three-stage cooking
  • 20 or more preset cooking programs
  • automatic defrost
  • Automatic closing of doors
  • Convection
  • control button
  • heat the buns

One feature you won't see on many commercial microwaves is turntables. Turntables are found in home microwave ovens and help cook evenly.

Examples of commercial microwaves

  • Solwave microwave oven made of stainless steel
  • Amann RCS10TS Commercial Microwave Oven
  • Waring WMO90 Commercial Microwave Oven
  • Panasonic NE-2180 Commercial Microwave Oven


So what size microwave is the best?

Other things being equal (features, finish, location, etc.), mid-range microwaves offer the best price per microwave. These microwaves are big enough to cook almost anything and cook food quickly. Plus, midsize microwaves have the latest features, like grilling and convection cooking, without the heftier price tag.

What size microwave do you have? Does the microwave meet the needs of you and your family? I forgot something?

Leave a comment below!

More questions

How many inches does a microwave have to be above a stove?

Countertop microwaves must have a minimum clearance of 2 inches at the back, 3 inches at the top, and 3 inches on the left and right sidesPage. above thatAreaMicrowaves must have a minimum clearance of 66 inches from the bottom to the top of the microwave. Also, over-the-range microwaves must be at least 13 inches from the stove.

Finally, microwaves that are mounted under a cabinet rather than over the range must have a minimum of 2 inches of clearance on each side.

Check with your manufacturer to make sure your microwave meets product specifications.

Click here for the best mid-size microwave on Amazon

What types of microwaves are there?

There are three types of microwaves: solo, grill, and convection. Solo microwaves are designed for easy cooking, including popcorn, tiny rice, and yesterday's leftovers. Also, microwaves can only defrost frozen meat and heat tea. These microwaves are the cheapest of the three types.

Gill microwaves can cook anything Solo microwaves can and have an additional grill function. These microwaves provide the outdoor drilling experience in half the time. These microwaves usually come with additional accessories for grilling. These microwaves will overlap in price with individual and convection microwaves.

Convection microwaves can cook anything on their own and gill microwaves can cook desserts. These microwaves use a different heating technology for baking. Thismicrowavethey are the most expensive of the three types of microwaves.

What is a good power for a microwave?

A good wattage for a microwave is 900 watts or more. 900-watt microwaves have a good price per watt (price/watt), medium to high oven capacity, and a range of features. In addition, a 900-watt microwave is designed for families between 2 and 6 people.

What is the highest power for a microwave?

The highest power for a household (consumer) microwave is 1300 watts. Typical oven capacity for a 1300-watt microwave is over 2.2 cubic feet.

The highest wattage for a commercial (restaurant quality) microwave is 3500 watts. The oven capacity for a 3500 watt microwave is approximately 2.0 cubic feet.

How many cubic feet does a standard microwave hold?

On average, the standard microwave for a home microwave is 1.5 cubic feet. A cubic foot is the amount of food you can put in a microwave at one time. To calculate cubic feet, multiply the length times the width times the height of the microwave interior.

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How do I know the size of my microwave?

There are two ways to determine the size of your microwave, by looking up the product manual online or by measuring. To find your product online, look for the product number label inside the microwave. My sticker was on the left side of the microwave.

The second option is to take a tape measure and measure inside and out. If you measure the inside of the microwave, you will get the cubic feet. Measure the length, width, and height of both the inside and outside of the microwave.


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