December 6

Is A 900-watt Microwave Powerful Enough? | How Much Wattage Does A Microwave Need?


Author: Gisele Perez and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

If you are planning to buy a new microwave, then the first thing you should consider is how much power you need. The truth is that microwaves vary a lot in wattage, especially now with all the different sleek designs coming out (see retro microwave ovens). So this begs the question, "Is a 900-watt microwave powerful enough?"

For your average size 1-2 person household, a 900-watt microwave should be more than enough to get the job done. It is highly unlikely that you would need anything higher than this in this specific case.

Since microwaves are measured in watts, it may be hard for you to compare one against another since they all have different numbers. This is why it's important to know the microwave wattage for your needs.

Grey microwave on a counter

Microwave Ovens

These are sometimes referred to as microwave or convection ovens. Microwaves are simply appliances that allow you to heat your food without it ever being in direct contact with the oven itself. For this reason, they can be very effective for some foods.

If you want crispy French fries, putting them directly on a baking sheet in the oven is your best bet. However, if you want to heat up a burrito that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours, then microwaves are perfect as they won't dry out the food.

You will find these cooking appliances available with different wattage capacities. This usually varies depending on the price. The more expensive models have a larger capacity and can heat faster, but all microwaves work just fine for the average person who uses them about once or twice a day (see under 150 dollars microwave ovens and microwaves up to 200 bucks).

The Highest Setting on a Microwave

Unless your microwave has a specific setting for reheating, you should avoid using the highest setting. It can cook or burn your food before you know what's happening.

For the best results, it is advised to use the middle range of settings when reheating something to avoid any accidents. The lower settings are good for when you only want to warm something up.

Fingers pressing buttons on a microwave

For Fast Cooking, Use the Highest Setting

One of the best ways to cook food fast is by using the highest setting on your microwave. It will allow all parts of your food to get cooked evenly and quickly.

However, hot spots could burn certain areas of your food. For this reason, it's still very important to keep an eye on the food while it is cooking. You need to reduce the power or stop it altogether if needed.

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken?

Since most microwaves are mainly used for reheating leftovers and frozen dinners, many people wonder if they can cook a frozen chicken in the microwave.

The best thing to do is to defrost it first, but you can cook a frozen chicken if you want to. However, there is no way you would want to since the waiting time for your chicken would be very long and not worth all of the preparation.

Where to Buy a New Microwave

If you are thinking about upgrading your old one, then there are dozens of retail stores and online retailers where you could purchase a new microwave.

What is important to remember is that not all microwaves have the same wattage. Some will be cheaper than others and may seem like a great deal, but make sure it's the right wattage that you need.

As long as you stick with reputable retailers, it should be a very smooth and easy process to upgrade your household appliances. You can even ask someone who knows about microwaves for recommendations and see if they like theirs and why. It should give you a pretty good idea of the type of microwave you should get.

What Wattage Should a Good Microwave Be?

For as long as microwaves have existed, there has always been a debate on the best wattage. In reality, it doesn't matter how much wattage you have as long as your microwave does its job correctly and completely.

If you're looking for a product that can heat your food quickly and evenly, or microwave a Hot Pocket in one minute, then a 900 watt model should be just fine. Some microwaves go as low as 600 watts, and others can reach up to 1100 watts.

The lower-wattage ones are mainly used for defrosting or reheating small portions of food. On the other hand, larger microwaves tend to be more expensive, but they can do much more than the smaller ones.

How Hot is a 900-watt Microwave?

Since microwaves don't heat up to such high temperatures, they can never burn you. This doesn't mean that the inside of your microwave won't get hot enough to melt or warp the plastic.

You can check your manual to see if it tells you what the highest temperature is to ensure your microwave can withstand it. Otherwise, it would help if you were not placing any plastic things inside the microwave.

Will a 900-watt Microwave Pop Popcorn?

You may think that the higher the wattage, the faster it will pop popcorn and be ready. But you'll find out very quickly that a 900-watt microwave is more than enough to cook your popcorn as fast as you want.

Not all microwaves can cook evenly and pop popcorn at the same time. To help prevent this, make sure you follow the directions on your microwave specifically. After you've done this a few times, it should come out as close to perfect each time.

If you see that your microwave has a popcorn button separate from the 30-second timer and the 1-minute timer, then all you have to do is press it and wait until the popping slows down. After that, you can open the door, and you're ready to eat.

There are also the convection microwaves that come with a fan and can cook as well as heat up food. If you're baking, roasting, or even just re-heating something, then convection is the way to go.

A metallic microwave oven

Is 900-watt microwave Enough?

So, as you can see, a 900-watt microwave is powerful enough for most homes. Unless you have some very specific needs, this should be sufficient for your average household use. Make sure that when you run your tests, it reads at least 900 watts; otherwise, think about getting a higher power one.

If you want to heat your food quickly, then yes, a 900-watt microwave is more than enough. It can do everything you need to do and bring leftovers back to their original temperature in no time.

A Few Things You Should Know Before Purchasing One

  • If you have children, ask yourself if you really need this much wattage. There are microwaves as low as 600 watts that can still get your food to the right temperature.
  • 900 watts should be more than enough, but it never hurts to check if there is anything around you that might stop working. If you're not sure, ask someone who knows about microwaves, and they should be able to help you decide.

Smaller microwaves tend to be given away as prizes and gifts; therefore, there is no real reason for them to have a high wattage. Look out for the wattage to determine how much microwave power it has.

A woman opening a microwave oven

Pros of Using a Microwave Oven

  • It heats food very quickly.
  • It does not emit any harmful radiation like the other high-energy appliances.
  • Compared to an oven, microwave cooking is less time-consuming, and it also uses less electricity.
  • This appliance is considerably cheaper than the standard ovens available in the market.

Cons of Using a Microwave Oven

  • The nutritional value of food is compromised due to the exposure of food to moisture and heat.
  • Foods may also become unhealthy if they are cooked for too long.
  • Other appliances such as an oven, stovetop cooking, or barbeque grills may be more appropriate in some cases compared to microwaves.

How do You Know the Wattage of a Microwave?

Most microwave ovens give you the option to check it when you run a test for 10 seconds. It should say somewhere on your microwave if it is 700, 800, or 900 watts. If not, then either reduce it by 100 or add 100 to see which range your microwave falls into.


Microwaves have always been a staple in almost every household. However, they were given large amounts of wattage over time, and people aren't sure if that is what they need anymore. Microwaves can be as low as 600 watts but still do just as well as larger microwaves. Combination microwaves are also available, which provide you with the best of both worlds since they often come with a convection oven.

If you are looking for something to reheat your food quickly or to reduce your cooking time, then 900 watts has enough cooking power for you. It has more than enough wattage to do what most households need it to do and can reheat leftovers safely without burning them.

Please always double-check the manual to see if your microwave can get hot enough to melt or warp the plastic. If it can, then you should get a new one that doesn't.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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