Microwaves are a significant kitchen appliance in almost all homes. They have many uses, from reheating leftovers to heating a quick meal. But with the many options available today, choosing the proper one for your home can be challenging.
The best microwave for your family is a standard or large microwave, depending on the size of your home and where you intend to put it. After selecting the size and space you have available for a microwave, you can compare products to find the one that suits your needs best.
On average, most microwaves are about 12–15 in (30.48–38.1 cm) tall, with average widths of 21 to 25 in (53.34 to 63.5 cm). Microwaves are preferred for convenient cooking, but figuring out the right size can be challenging. Read on to learn more.
Standard to Large Microwaves Are Best for Families
For a family, standard to large microwave dimensions is best. You can get countertop microwaves, but I prefer over the range for my family of four.
In larger families or households, space can be limited. Continuing to limit countertop space is usually not only out of the question, but it’s also inconvenient. Over-the-range microwaves can also function as kitchen vent hoods to help reduce cooking smoke, odor, and grease splatters.
The interior space for most average to large-sized microwaves ranges from just over 1 cubic foot to 2.1 cubic feet (0.028 to 0.059 cubic meters). The average width is roughly around 30 in (76.2 cm), and the height is generally 17 inches (43.18 cm). However, if your cutout above your range oven is shorter than usual, you can look for a low-profile microwave around 10 in (25.4 cm) high.
But if you can’t get an over-the-range microwave, a standard and large microwave should be sufficient. Check out this size chart for available sizes and averages from Maytag.
What Type of Microwave Do I Need?
Microwaves are convenient and easy to use. Plus, they don’t require a long preheat time, unlike ovens. Modern microwaves have even more features today than they used to as well.
Consider getting a microwave with high energy and wattage to cook food more efficiently and evenly. Generally, you’ll want a microwave with 1,000 watts or higher.
Microwaves with higher wattages have increased power. Depending on the type of microwave you purchased, you could have convenient cooking for grilling, steaming, and convection cooking.
Some of my preferred options include the Panasonic Microwave Oven from Amazon.com. This option is just over 1 cubic foot (0.028 cubic meters) with over 1,000 watts and under $200. Made of stainless steel, you’ll love this microwave’s sophisticated look. It works great for a countertop space and has smart cooking settings—plus great reviews!
This option is also at the top of Spruce Eat’s list of top 9 microwaves in 2022. Check out the rest of the article here to see all their top recommendations.
Common Microwave Sizes
According to this article from Hunker, microwaves are classified into four size options. Microwaves are placed into their respective size categories based on their internal capacity.
The four standard microwave sizes include:
Compact microwaves are generally under 1 cubic foot (0.028 cubic meters) in size. Comparatively, a midsize microwave ranges between 1 and 1.5 cubic feet (0.028 and 0.042 cubic meters). Stepping up a little larger, you have a full-size microwave ranging in size from 1.6 to 2 cubic feet (0.045 to 0.056 cubic meters). Finally, you have your large-size microwaves that include anything bigger than 2 cubic feet (0.056 cubic meters).
Again, a full-sized to large microwave for a family is ideal. With young kids, especially, you’ll find yourself heating things in the microwave all the time.
Sometimes it’s just small items like a cup of coffee that cooled down while you were making breakfast for the kids, to large items like a massive plate of pizza rolls for the kids and their friends after school.
A bigger microwave with higher wattages can almost certainly accommodate any family.
What Microwave Wattage Do I Need?
Microwaves are powered in wattages. Therefore, how much watts a microwave has will also tell you how much power it has.
You need a microwave with even cooking and power capabilities. If you get a microwave with less than 700 watts, the cooking times will vary significantly, and food won’t cook evenly. Instead, opt for a microwave with at least 1,000 watts to thoroughly and evenly cook food.
Microwaves are available in all sorts of wattages. There are 500 to 700 wattage microwaves available for much lower prices, but they tend to be less effective at cooking and decrease functionality more quickly over time.
As I’ve recommended earlier in this article, you want to find a microwave with watts between 1,000 and 1,200. These microwaves can easily handle all kinds of meals, especially for families and busy kitchens.
Higher watts mean reduced cooking time. For example, suppose you have a 500-watt microwave and a 1,200-watt microwave, and you try to warm up a cup of water in each. In that case, you’d probably only need to put it in the 1,200-watt microwave for 30 seconds to a minute but may need over 2 minutes to heat it in a 500-watt microwave.
Buying a microwave can be a big deal for you and your family’s kitchen. Microwaves are heavily used in almost all kitchens, especially busy family ones.
When you’re in the market for a microwave, make sure to get one appropriate for your space and at least 1,000 watts.
Hi all! I’m Cora Benson, and I’ve been blogging about food, recipes and things that happen in my kitchen since 2019.