Microwave Ovens


Microwave ovens cook or heat food and beverages by converting electricity to microwave radiation to heat water molecules within the substance.


DOE established the first efficiency standards for microwave ovens in 2013, and they took effect in 2016. The standards specify a maximum standby power of 1 watt for microwave-only ovens and countertop combination microwave ovens and 2.2 watts for built-in and over-the-range combination microwave ovens.


More than 95% of US households own a microwave. DOE identified several technology options that could reduce power consumption in standby mode including lower-power display options; cooking sensors with no standby power requirement; improved power supply and control board options; and automatic power-down. Adding an automatic power-down element, which turns off most power-consuming components after a period of inactivity, can allow for achieving standby power levels of less than 1 watt.

Savings through what year?: 2045
Energy saved (quads): 0.48
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 38.11
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate: 3.38
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate: 1.53


Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2024
Updated DOE Standard Due 2021
1st Federal Standard Effective 2016
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2013
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Standby/Off Mode 2013
NAECA Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1987

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.