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Microwave Wattage Converter

Created by Luciano Miño
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jun 03, 2024

Our microwave wattage converter easily allows you to input the cooking times at a given power from the food's label and obtain the resulting cooking time for a different microwave.

Microwave food 🍲 is often packaged with a label that says what power you should cook it at and for how long. The problem arises when your microwave doesn't draw the same amount of power as the one used in the recipe. In that situation, you need some kind of microwave time converter.

Within this short text, you will learn:

  • How to find your microwave's wattage;
  • How to convert microwave cooking times; and
  • How you can obtain a microwave time conversion chart from two different wattages with our tool; and more.

How does a microwave heat?

Microwaves heat by rotating the polar molecules inside the food through EM waves and producing heat through friction. This effect is called dipolar polarization.

In dipolar polarization, the polar molecules inside the dielectric (such as water) align themselves with the magnetic field (see why in our magnetic dipole moment calculator). Since the magnetic field is alternating, the molecules will rotate back and forth, colliding with others, thus producing heat.

Microwaves emit electromagnetic waves at ∼2.45 GHz and are rated in watts (joules per second), the higher the wattage, the more energy the microwave transmits as EM waves.

How do I convert microwave cooking times?

To convert microwave cooking times:

  1. Multiply the food's label cooking time (in seconds) by the wattage required.
  2. Now divide this product by your microwave's wattage.
  3. The result will be the time (in seconds) it will take your microwave to cook the food.

By doing this, we're matching the energy transmitted by the label's device and your microwave.

See how to convert between energy units and power units with our energy conversion calculator and power converter.

Using the microwave wattage converter and its microwave time conversion chart

To use the microwave wattage converter, follow these steps:

  1. Check the food's label for wattage used and cooking time.
  2. Find your microwave wattage (you can check the FAQ section to learn how to find your microwave's wattage).
  3. Now input the recipe's cooking time and wattage on the 'Food label info' section and your microwave's wattage on the following section.
  4. The resulting cooking time for your microwave should now be visible in the 'Your microwave' section (you can see how our tool essentially acts as a microwave time converter).
  5. You can select if you would like to see a microwave time conversion chart between the two wattages for a list of predetermined times.

Keep in mind that while microwaves penetrate through food, it does not get uniformly heated. The electromagnetic waves inside the microwave interact creating hot and cold spots; this is partly but not totally mitigated by the turntable rotating the food while it's being cooked.

So, suppose you're using a higher-wattage microwave than the one needed for the recipe. In that case, you should consider lowering the microwave's intensity and cooking for a longer time to avoid some parts of the food being overcooked while others remain almost raw.


How do I find my microwave's wattage?

You can find your microwave's wattage printed on a label on the exterior or interior of the door. If it's not, check the product's manual.

Is a higher wattage microwave better?

A higher wattage microwave is not necessarily better. It will produce more power and cook things faster than a lower wattage microwave. But this increase in speed might not be suitable for cooking meat, which needs a slower-paced chemical reaction to occur to be fully cooked.

Does a 1000 watt microwave need a dedicated circuit?

Yes, a 1000 watt microwave will benefit from a dedicated circuit. While it would possibly work on any outlet, you will be better off installing a separate circuit for your kitchen appliances.

Luciano Miño
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