If you have ever owned a microwave, you already know what an absolute time- and life-saver it can be. But if you are in the market for a new one, whether for your home, dorm room or mobile home, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to choosing the appropriate wattage. What does wattage even stand for, and how important is it?
Let’s take a look at two very popular microwave wattages – 900 watts and 1100 watts – and see what the actual difference between these two power levels is. Hopefully, it will help you make the right choice, and walk away with a model that you’ll love and use for years to come.
What is the Difference Between a 900-Watt and 1100-Watt Microwave?
The main difference between a 900-watt and a 1100-watt microwave is in its size and speed. The more powerful a microwave, the faster it will be, and the less you will have to wait for your food to heat up or cook. Less powerful microwaves are most often also a bit smaller, so you will be able to fit one in a smaller space.
A 1100-watt microwave may suit you if you are purchasing one for your home. On the other hand, if you want it to travel with you in an RV, or fit into a tiny rental apartment, you may want to consider the 900-watt model.
A 1100-watt microwave will also let you use larger plates and dishes, so if you are routinely feeding more than 4 people at a time, you will want to choose it over a less powerful (and thus smaller) model.
In terms of speed, a 900-watt microwave will be about a minute slower, on average, than its more powerful 1100-watt cousin. Unless you are in the biggest rush of your life though, this minute won’t make that much of a difference.
Finally, you should also bear in mind that larger and faster microwaves are often more expensive, so expect to pay a bit more. The increase in price is not a steep one though, and what you get in power and size will make up for the slightly heftier price tag.
How Hot is a 900-Watt Microwave?
A 900-watt microwave will heat up to around 525 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s around 273 in Celsius).
This does not however mean this is a constant temperature, or that it will be reached every time you turn your microwave on. If your microwave comes with different power levels, you will be able to cook and reheat (or defrost) your food at lower temperatures as well.
On the other hand, this max temperature means your 900-watt microwave will be able to handle most anything you throw at it.
How Hot is a 1100-Watt Microwave?
A 1100-watt microwave will heat up to around 625 degrees Fahrenheit (which is around 330 degrees Celsius).
This will be more than enough to handle even your more demanding cooking tasks, and you will certainly be very pleased with the results you can expect with a microwave that is this powerful.
Yet again, remember that this will not be a constant temperature, and that you will be able to adjust it based on your specific needs, as most 1100-watt microwaves come with plenty of power levels and various cooking and reheating settings.
How Do You Know the Wattage of Your Microwave?
The wattage of your microwave will most likely be displayed on a label at the back. There may even be a sticker on the door of your microwave. If not, the wattage is certainly clearly displayed in the user manual that came with your appliance.
However, if all else fails, and if you have removed the label, have thrown the manual away and now have no idea how to determine the wattage of your microwave, there is a simple trick you can use.
Pour a cup of cold water into a microwave-safe dish (remember, there are plenty of things you should never put in a microwave), and whack the microwave onto a high setting and set it to run for 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on your water, and note how long it has taken to come to a boil (your phone’s stopwatch will help you out).
While these numbers aren’t set in stone, they should give you a fair estimate as to the wattage of your microwave:
500 watts – 3.30 minutes to boil
600 watts – 2.55 minutes to boil
750 watts – 2.20 minutes to boil
1000 watts – 1.45 minutes to boil
1250 watts – 1.25 minutes to boil
1500 watts – 1.10 minutes to boil
Remember to turn the microwave on once the water has come to a boil.
Is a 900-Watt Microwave Powerful Enough?
A 900-watt microwave will both be efficient and fast enough, which makes it a good choice for most households.
Less powerful models can cook and reheat food unevenly, and they will also often take a lot longer to get the job done. Since 900-watt microwaves are often small enough to be able to fit in more confined spaces, they are the perfect middle ground in terms of both size and power, and can be a great solution for mobile homes or smaller boats.
Is 1100 Watts Good for a Microwave?
A 1100-watt microwave is often considered the best choice for at-home use. It will be powerful enough to handle any defrosting and cooking task you set it, but it won’t consume too much power, and it won’t take up an extortionate amount of space on your countertop either.
These microwaves are also still quite affordable, and will often come with various settings that can help you make the absolute most of them.
To Sum It Up
Both the 900-watt and the 1100-watt microwave are an excellent choice for most households.
If you have less space at your disposal, you may want to choose the smaller and less powerful model. On the other hand, if space is not an issue, selecting the 1100-watt model will certainly ensure that all of your microwaving needs are met in a decently short amount of time.