Can A Microwave Be Plugged Into Any Outlet? (Explained)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Setting up a microwave also involves finding a socket in a convenient place for the microwave. It usually works better if you use a safe and convenient socket.

So, when you’re putting in a new microwave, you can plug it into any outlet in the kitchen.

Or, you can make a new dedicated outlet, specifically for the microwave. This leaves you asking if you can plug them into any socket.

Microwaves often use dedicated circuits, but that is not usually a necessity. So, you can plug the oven into any outlet of your convenience. All you need is a properly grounded socket with enough wattage to carry the microwave. Once that’s in place, you can avoid any safety hazards.

In this article, I’ll explain the outlets suitable for plugging microwaves, whether you can use a microwave on an extension cord, and the best outlet for plugging microwaves.

Can You Plug a Microwave Into Any Outlet?

Can a Microwave Be Plugged Into Any Socket

A microwave can be plugged into any outlet. However, the outlet should be grounded and should have the right wattage. Otherwise, there may be safety issues.

While you can choose any outlet to plug your microwave, a 120-volt, three-pronged, the 20-amp grounded outlet is usually preferable for a microwave.

As long as the outlet meets the requirements, any outlet will do just fine. However, a few models need more power, so you need a dedicated circuit, not just a regular outlet.

According to Portable power, using any outlet for smaller microwaves is safe. The smaller microwaves do not draw much power, so they don’t need dedicated circuits. 

However, the larger models draw a lot of power. So, it might be dangerous to use any ungrounded socket for a microwave. 

Also, while you can plug microwaves into regular wall outlets, some models need more power.

In this case, it is much better to use a dedicated circuit designed for just the microwave. Large microwaves usually draw up to 1500 watts of power which some outlets cannot handle.

Also, microwaves require a 15-amp or 20-amp branch circuit due to constant load and spike.

But you can use a 15-amp breaker for 600-700 watts of microwavesAnd if the microwave uses over 700 watts, it’s best to use a 20-amp breaker.

What Kind of Outlet Does a Microwave Need?

In most homes, microwave circuits need a dedicated, properly grounded 120volt, 20-amp circuit. The circuit should also have a grounding receptacle.

You’ll likely see microwaves plugged into normal circuits, which also works. But, the newer, larger microwaves can draw a lot of power—as much as 1500 watts in some cases.

According to the spruce, in cases where the microwave draws as much as 1500 watts. It needs to have a dedicated circuit. 

Microwaves also need a 20-amp branch circuit because of constant load and spike problems. With a large microwave and continuous use, it could draw more than 15 amps of current for many hours.

So, you can use a 20-amp branch circuit. Several microwaves have 20-amp plugs, requiring 20-amp outlets with 120-volt individual grounded circuits. 

Since most microwaves are around 1000-1500 watts, you can plug them into regular wall sockets in the house. However, you should also pay attention to the safety codes in your area.

In some areas, the electrical code requires that the microwave has its circuit. That means that the breaker in the electrical panel is the only outlet into which you can plug your microwave.

So, in areas like that, it is a code violation for you to plug your microwave into a regular socket.

But, as long as the microwave is about 1000-1500 watts, you can plug it into a normal outlet. However, your best option is to follow the instructions from the manufacturer religiously.

Can a 900 Watt Microwave Be Plugged Into Any Outlet?

For a 900-watt microwave, you don’t particularly need a dedicated circuit. A 900-watt microwave can be plugged into any outlet. 

However, you need to know what the circuit breaker can take. Also, ensure that you don’t plug all the appliances into the outlets covered by the same circuit breaker as the microwave.

Generally, it would be best if you had a dedicated outlet for any appliance that consumes substantial power from the wall. 

If the microwave is bigger and consumes more power, you should consider a dedicated circuit.

So, for a larger microwave, like 1000 watts, you’ll need a dedicated 20-amp 120/125-volt circuit to power the microwave oven. 

Often, microwaves need to have dedicated circuits, especially the ones that consume a lot of power. 

When you use a large and power-consuming microwave oven, it has to be on a dedicated circuit line. A large microwave will consume about 1500 watts of electricity or even more. 

Such a large microwave, consuming lots of electricity, will need to be plugged into a definite circuit. But a 900-watt microwave has a voltage of 120V, and it uses a 110V outlet.

That means it doesn’t consume as much electricity. Thus, a 900-watt microwave does not need a dedicated circuit.

But, you will have to use a dedicated circuit with a more powerful microwave. If you have a microwave with higher watts, you shouldn’t use it on just any outlet.

If there are too many items plugged into the same circuit as the microwave, it can cause a safety hazard.

The microwave could repeatedly trip the circuit breaker, which can cause an overload. And that could, in turn, cause a fire hazard or cause all the circuit’s appliances to be damaged.

With a microwave with lower watts, you can plug it into any outlet. But when you have larger microwaves with higher watts, you need a dedicated circuit instead of just using any outlet. 

The table below will illustrate the best outlet for respective microwave watts. 

Microwave WattsDedicated Circuit
700 wattsNo
900 wattsNo
1000 wattsYes
1500 wattsYes

Is it OK to Plug a Microwave Into An Extension Cord?

It is not safe to plug a microwave into an extension cord. The safest practice is to plug the microwave into a grounded or wall outlet.

Plugging a microwave into a wall outlet is dangerous. And the U.S Fire Administration has severely warned homeowners against using an extension cord for the microwave. 

And I should add that it is a very harmful thing to do. If there is an issue with the microwave’s proximity to nearby sockets, you can get an electrician to install a new outlet close to the appliance.

Only plug your microwave into a properly grounded dedicated outlet. It would help if you had a dedicated circuit to prevent tripping circuits or blown fuses. 

Using a microwave with an extension cord can cause electrical issues and safety hazards. It can also lead to the flickering of lights and damage to the extension cord and the microwave.

Also, keep in mind that if you plug your microwave into an extension cord, the lights in the microwave may flicker. Also, the blower sound may vary, and the microwaving will take longer.

Microwaves need a lot of electricity to function properly. So, not only will an extension cord not be able to carry the microwave, but it will also likely cause a fire hazard. 

The microwave may overheat and catch on fire. And the voltage drop can also cause damage to your microwave. 

However, some heavy-duty extension cords carry the microwave without overheating. And if you also take some precautions, you can use an extension cord. 

If you must use a cord, it should meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a three-wire grounding appliance cord.
  • It should also have an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approval that mentions the current cord can handle it.
  • The electrical rating of the cord should be as high as or higher than the electrical rating of the microwave.
  • The extension cord should also be the right gauge. 
  • The wire does not have to be long. Instead, the wire should be short and thick. Always place the cord where no one can pull it or trample it. 

But, the practice is highly discouraged as it is impossible to eliminate all possibilities of a fire hazard. The cord could also overheat and damage the microwave. 

Should a Microwave Be Plugged Into A GFCI Outlet?

Microwaves don’t necessarily need GFCI. The ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) regulate microwaves and reduce the hazards of using appliances.

Although the microwave can work fine without GFCI,  you need to use GFCI for your microwave in some circumstances. 

The location of the microwave and its proximity to water sources also determines whether or not your microwave requires GFCI. 

If you position the microwave close to a water source, like a shower, swimming pool, wet counter, or kitchen sink, the need for GFCI is greater. It reduces the risk of electric shock.

That location can cause fatal accidents, so it’s best when a microwave is installed in such a place. The technician uses a GFCI outlet.

Additionally, you can also put GFCI outdoors. If the microwave is within six feet of garages, swimming pools, garages, and laundry, you should consider putting GFCI.

Also, even if you’re going to use the appliance outdoors in areas that don’t have any water. You can use GFCI to be on the safe side.   

Finally, remember that using a microwave without GFCI is not necessary, but it is safer. The addition will protect the microwave from damage and the user from harm.


#1. Does a 1000-watt Microwave Need a Dedicated Circuit?

Yes, a 1000W microwave will consume a lot of electricity, so you have to get a dedicated 17-amp circuit for the microwave. Otherwise, it will trip and damage. 

#2. Does a Countertop Microwave Need a Dedicated Circuit?

For most countertop ovens, it’s better to use a dedicated circuit. The circuit should be a 15-amp or 20-amp dedicated circuit. 

#3. Why is Microwave Tripping Even With GFCI?

Most likely, that is happening because the fault may be from the circuit. You can try another GFCI outlet to be sure.


You can plug your microwave into any outlet and get it working. But safety is important. To that end, you will need a dedicated circuit, especially for microwaves with high voltage. 

Microwaves with high voltage consume a lot of electricity, so using just any outlet may be dangerous.

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