Can You Use A Microwave With A Generator? (Explained)

Generators are an alternative source of power in the absence of urban electricity. 

Furthermore, these machines generate a lot of energy that can safely power your home and various electrical appliances. However, can you run a microwave on a generator?

Of course, you can use a microwave with a generator. But, youd ensure the generator has the right wattage for the task before connecting it to the appliance. Also, a generator needs proper outlets because youd require an extension cord for connection.

Is It Okay To Run a Microwave With a Generator?

Can You Use A Microwave With A Generator? (Explained)

Its fine running a microwave with a generator. However, not all generators are capable of powering an oven. 

Furthermore, microwaves arent like your normal appliance because converting electricity to thermal energy requires much power.

For this reason, the oven safely works with a suitable generator that can deliver its sort of energy.

You might face some issues using a small-sized generator to operate a microwave.

Also, dont connect a generator and a microwave having the same capacities; the generator wont power the oven. 

Additionally, the wattage of the generator needs to be higher than your microwave to work.

For instance, a 1,000 watts generator wont be able to power a 1,000 watts microwave oven. 

The actual running load of the oven would be more like 1,500 watts, which is greater than that of the generator.

For this reason, the generator wont be able to carry out the task.

However, youd need to properly set the generator before connecting the microwave while using the right generator for the job. 

Youd have to take this measure seriously to ensure your microwave safely operates.

That said, running a microwave on a generator is okay, but you should also consider the energy cost. 

Remember that generators burn fuel to produce electricity, and microwaves arent like your average home appliance. 

So, its good you know the price of diesel and gas before using a generator to power a microwave. 

Also, youd need to connect your microwave to a generator with the appropriate cables for a good power flow. 

The oven wont operate at its full potential if you use a wire that isnt capable of channeling sufficient energy.

Youd have to get one if your generator doesnt have the proper cable.

How Much Power Does a Microwave Draw?

A typical kitchen microwave for an hour uses an average of 1,000 to 1,200 watts of power.

This valuation equals about 8.3 to 10 amps on a standard 120-volt outlet

Larger and more powerful microwaves may draw more energy than the mentioned rate, while smaller microwaves use less energy.

Notwithstanding, the power a microwave uses depends on its capacity and the temperature it is operating.

For instance, a 30-liter oven would draw more energy than 20 liters. 

In the same way, a microwave running at a temperature of 212°F would consume more power than one operating at 122°F.

Also, how much power an oven uses depends on the cooking time. 

In other words, the longer you cook, the more energy the appliance draws. You can find your microwave wattage details on the back side of the oven. 

Better still, visit the microwaves manufacturers website to check the specifications for your oven. 

Once youve correctly known the output wattage, apply the rule below to get the current the appliance draws.

Heres the formula: I (amps) = P (watts) / V (volts). For illustration, consider the microwaves in the table running at 120V outlets.

Microwave Wattage Current 
600 watts 5A
800 watts6.6A
1,200 watts 10A
1,500 watts 12.5A

In addition, some microwaves can consume 2 to 7 watts of power while in standby mode.

The appliance uses this energy to display the clock and stay active, waiting for a user command. 

That said, in a year, an oven always plugged using 4 watts for standby mode will use 35 kWh. 

What Size Generator Can You Run a Microwave With?

The generator size you need to operate a microwave depends on the ovens power.

However, a rule of thumb states that you always get a larger generator than your microwave wattage. 

A 1,500-watt generator might operate a 1,000-watt microwave, but the unit wont be enough to cook.

The reason is that a microwave tends to draw more power than its allocated wattage. 

Due to this mismatched wattage, getting a generator that can deliver 2,000 watts would be better.

A 2,000 watts generator supplies approximately 16 amps in case of 120 volts.

In other words, to cook efficiently, youd require a doubled wattage of your microwave.

Now, you need to know the power at which your oven runs before getting a suitable size generator. 

The appliances wattage should be mentioned on the body, or check the manufacturers website for specifications.

Having done that, knowing the wattage of the generator is the next step to take. Usually, the volt and amp details are on the generator or in the user manual. 

You can calculate the wattage of your generator by multiplying the volt with the ampere. It would be best to have a double-watt generator to run your oven.

While considering the size of a generator, it is important to ensure it has the proper outlets. 

On a trip carrying your generator and microwave, you cant connect them directly; youd need an extension cord. 

This male-to-female cable will help connect the generator to the appliance. However, not all generators have such outlets that can hold the male end of the cord. 

Therefore, before buying a generator for your oven, ensure it has the appropriate outlets to connect to the microwave.

Why Won’t My Microwave Run On a Generator?

Microwaves wont run on a generator having the same or less wattage.

If youre certain the generator is okay for the job but not powering the appliance, then take these measures.

#1. Find the Microwave’s Wattage 

Locate the appliance wattage from the UL listing label at the back of the oven. Using a generator with a lower wattage wont perfectly power the microwave. 

To get your appliances cooking wattage, you can multiply the amps by the UL labels volts.

#2. Check the Generator Outlets 

You shouldnt connect your microwave directly to the generator. For this reason, an extension cord must go into the generators 120-volt, 20-amp grounded outlet. 

However, not all generators have this outlet. So, its better to confirm than to assume.

#3. Create Some Distance 

Keep the generator at least 10 feet from your microwave. Ensure the generator is flat and not placed under a canopy. 

After starting the generator, let it warm up by running for two to three minutes.

#4. Setup the Cables 

Get a 12 or 14-gauge heavy-duty male-to-female extension cord. Connect the male end of the cable to the generator outlet. 

Then, plug the microwave power cord into the female end of the extension cable.

Now, operate the appliance as if its plugged into a normal power source in your home. 

When youve finished cooking, disconnect the cables before turning off the generator.

What Are the Wattage of Microwaves?

The amount of watts an oven uses depends on its size and power rating. Lets look at the ranges of microwaves and their energy usage.

#1. Compact Microwave

Small ovens between 600 to 800 watts fall under this class. You can find this sort of microwave in RVs and hotel rooms.

Furthermore, these sets of the oven are the cheapest on the market. These machines can cook instant meals and reheat small foods and drinks. 

In addition, to avoid spending longer cooking time, you should use an 800 watts microwave for heating foods.

#2. Standard Microwave 

Microwaves ranging from 800 to 1000 watts are typical appliances in homes and break rooms. These types of ovens are more powerful than compact microwaves. 

Also, standard ovens quickly boil water, cook raw food, and prepare popcorn in a flash.

These microwaves contain various settings to tune the temperature to protect your food from burning.

#3. Commercial Microwave 

Commercial microwaves start from 1000 watts and above. You can find this large and powerful oven in luxurious home kitchens or restaurants. 

You can perfectly cook raw meats in a commercial microwave with appropriate steps.

Also, these appliances are designed with heat regulators to manage the degree of heat in the oven.


Using a microwave and a generator is okay, but youd have to know the wattage the appliance needs to run. 

To efficiently power a microwave, you must use a generator with a bigger wattage.

Finally, the generator needs a 120 volt, 20 amp grounded outlet to connect extension cords.

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