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How Much Does a Microwave Cost? (2024 Price Guide)

Close-up Of Woman Using Microwave Oven For Heating Food At Home

We can all agree that a microwave is an essential household item. In comparison to other cooking and heating appliances, its power is unequivocally second to none. When it all boils down to the models and designs, there’s a wide range of options. Obviously, the countertop iteration is not only the most common, but also one of the most popular.

We took note of the fact that their prices vary as well, as they are often influenced by quite a number of factors. Needless to say, if you’re searching for a model that best caters to your needs, you’ll first have to draft up a budget.

Let’s first look at the benefits of using a microwave for cooking, before moving on to the breakdown of what to expect.

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Benefits of Preparing Food Using a Microwave

1. Utilization of Less Energy

Our meals are usually composed of different elements, but water is almost always present in all of them. At a frequency of 2.45 GHz, the microwave can effectively warm up your food by directly heating the liquid bit of it.

You’ll be glad to learn that the generation of that radiant energy requires less power, compared to what the conventional stove or oven would typically demand.

taking grilled chicken from modern microwave oven
Image Credit: HENADZI KlLENT, Shutterstock

2. Preservation of Nutrients

It’s a known fact that traditional cooking normally reduces the total nutrient content in food. Some of the nutrients affected during the process include fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, and several minerals such as potassium, sodium, and zinc.

The microwave literally brings so much to the table, as it has been equipped with smart features that guarantee that most of the nutrients are preserved, and not broken down into less useful food components.


3. Convenience

There’s no other cooking appliance that can thaw or heat food up faster or better than the microwave. You’ll also find that there are so many recipes available for people looking to make scrumptious meals faster using this device.

Even if you’re running late to work, the microwave will help you cut down that cooking time significantly, so that you can get your breakfast in before leaving.

pressing buttons of a microwave
Image Credit: Zyn Chakrapong, Shutterstock

4. Versatility

This mid-20th century machine can cook anything that comes to mind, seeing as the modern models usually feature different cooking modes. What we’re implying is that it will never malfunction mid-cooking, just because it couldn’t handle whatever you’re preparing — be it soup, popcorn, cake, or even mac and cheese. The cleanliness factor is also a huge plus, as it doesn’t emit any smoke or spill food out of containers.


5. Safety

Some people might argue that there’s no other cooking appliance out there that is safer to use than the microwave, and we agree. Before they were introduced into the market, these appliances were taken through a series of rigorous tests. The goal at the time was to find out if the radiation produced could cause cancer or any other sort of illness. Suffice it to say, all tests came back negative.

man using microwave
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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How Much Does a Microwave Cost

Forget about the design of the microwave, for a second. In our opinion, the single most important factor that significantly influences the overall cost is the type of unit. The three most common types are countertop microwaves, over-the-range units, and built-in appliances.

Countertop Microwave

This type of unit has been designed to just sit on top of your kitchen’s counter space. You don’t need a professional to help you with any special installation, unless of course, you need help interpreting the instructions written in its manual.

Clearly, the countertop unit is not an ideal microwave for a household working with limited counter space. It will just make your kitchen look cluttered, and that’s not a good thing. Also, we feel obligated to remind our audiences that they usually lack ventilation systems.

On average, their prices range from $50 to $500.

white microwave on a kitchen counter
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Over-the-Range Microwave

While shopping for a microwave unit, you’ll come across an iteration with a tag that has an OTR abbreviation written on it. These models are designed to be installed above a cooktop or range, to leave more room on the counter for other things.

OTRs don’t just serve the function of a microwave, but also act as hood vents. And the fact that they always demand professional installation services is all the information you need to gauge whether they are more affordable than the countertop microwave.

Their prices range from $160 to $600, but that’s not inclusive of the installation charges.

Built-In Microwaves

If you’d like to work in a kitchen that has appliances designed to give you that flush look, go for the built-in unit. These models can be fitted in between cabinets or into the wall. You could also install it below your countertop, if that’s where you find it most appealing.

Just don’t forget to reach out to the pros when it’s time to start working on the installation. You’ll never manage to do it all on your own without the requisite level of experience.

How much do they cost? Well, the most basic model costs around $400, while the more advanced unit is close to $2,000. The installation fees are not included in the price.

microwave under the kitchen counter
Image Credit: Andrea Davis, Unsplash

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Cost Comparison Table

Microwave Model Price Range
Countertop $50–$500
Over-The-Range (OTRs) $160–$600
Built-In $400–$2,000

We’ll say this one last time: these prices are NOT inclusive of the installation charges. If you’d like to avoid the installation costs, go get the countertop microwave. If you decide to purchase an OTR or one of the built-in units, you’ll have to reach out to the pros. And just so you know, those installation charges can be as high as $2,000, depending on your customization needs.

divider 4 Factors That Influence Microwave Cost

It goes without saying that units that come with extra features cost more than the basic, standard models. So, pay close attention to the following, while you’re out there shopping for a new microwave:

Trays & Turntables

Brands usually like to collect feedback from consumers. The different pieces of information gathered are important to the companies, as they strive to improve their product performance.

Long story short, that’s how the tray and turntable idea was conceived. They learned that some of their units were not heating food up evenly, meaning they had to find a solution to the issue. Before we knew it, the market was flooded by models that have horizontal trays as well as rotating turntables.

And their prices were relatively higher than what we’re used to, as the cost of production went up.

image of the inside of an open microwave
Image Credit: Lipskiy, Shutterstock

Safety Features

We all know how rambunctious toddlers can be at times. And more often than not, they are oblivious to the dangers lurking in the shadows. The lock and safety features are meant to protect the kids whenever the parent or guardian is not around.

Mini-Oven Microwaves

Yes, there are units designed to offer the same services as a traditional oven. Some brands call them the “combo-oven” and the features incorporated into their designs are so advanced that you’ll never be able to tell if the food was grilled or baked using a microwave.

Cooking Racks

The racks have been installed in the microwave to give you the option of heating up several dishes simultaneously. The only challenge that your face is trying to figure out how to warm up a tall cup of coffee without removing any of them, as the usable space is always partitioned.

metal round microwave rack grid
Image Credit: Sergey yakubovskiy, Shutterstock

Size

Last but not least, we have the size factor. And when inspecting this aspect, you’ll have to focus on the internal capacity, in addition to the depth. Don’t let them hoodwink you into thinking you’re buying something spacious, just because the exterior measures 36 inches wide. Also, the more spacious the unit is, the higher the price.

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Conclusion

We’ll sign this off by reminding you to only work with brands that offer extended warranties. Like most electronic devices, these microwave units can break down at any time. Even though they are supposed to last for 7 to 11 years on average, they sometimes malfunction during their first year. And when that happens, you’ll want to have a warranty close by, to cover the costs of repairs.

With regards to the wattage, it depends on your budget. A unit with a higher wattage will be more expensive, as it offers a relatively faster cooking time. Nonetheless, modern microwaves have a wattage that ranges from 600 to 1,200.


Featured Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

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