How Many Amps Does a Standard Microwave Use in Your RV?

Something as simple as a microwave can draw lots of power in your RV – and even cause breaker overloads. Here’s how many amps it draws.

We all like to think that we can survive a couple of days (or sometimes even longer than that) camping without using the microwave. Sure, some people have cut out the use of the appliance altogether and to that we say…impressive. However, then there are those who need that sucker daily, even while camping.

The good news is not only do many RVs come equipped with microwave ovens, but external microwaves can always be used if that isn’t the case.

Heck, they even make microwaves specifically for RVs.

But a microwave is an electrical appliance, which means the power (or electricity) it draws has to be taken into consideration.

With that in mind, speaking for the purposes of camping and not for the purposes of home usage, how many amps does a microwave use? That’s the question we want to answer today, but we need to begin with the basics.

What exactly is an amp?

Buckle your seatbelts in boys and girls, it’s time to talk about electricity.

Don’t worry, electricity is a very overwhelming, technical, and complex topic.

Here’s the good news, though, you don’t have to be a master electrician to understand some of the basics. So, before we answer, “how many amps does a microwave use”, we first need to discuss what an amp actually is.

It’s actually short for “ampere,” and it’s a common and critically important measurement of electricity. To make it as simple as possible, an amp is a single unit of constant electrical current.

An excellent analogy we found online was someone describing to think of electricity as running water in a hose. The amps would act as the water in the analogy. Perhaps not the best analogy as electricity and water don’t exactly mix very well.

Either way, it provides a simple understanding of amps.

However, there’s also another measurement that can often get interchanged with amps, but the two are very different. Of course, we’re referring to watts and while the two are interconnected, they’re not the same.

To keep it simple (which can be hard to do with this type of stuff), watts measure power and amps measure current flow.

Here’s the thing, though, when trying to figure out the wattage of something, you’d need to know the amperage of it first. Vice versa too, as you could calculate the amperage by knowing the wattage.

Confused yet? Just remember the formula for wattage and it’ll all make sense. To calculate wattage, you need to multiply amperage by voltage. Doing some simple math you can then figure out the third variable as long as two are known.

So…how many amps does a microwave use?

Yes, the verbiage that was just typed wasn’t done to just waste your time. After all, figuring out how many amps a microwave uses doesn’t really mean anything if all you get is a random number.

For example, if all you knew was that the microwave oven in your RV drew 10 amps of electricity, what would it really achieve? You’d know this random number but wouldn’t have a way to use it in a practical manner.

To answer the question directly, the amperage a microwave oven is going to draw is going to vary on variables such as size and efficiency.

On average, it could range anywhere from 7 to 15 amps. Yes, that’s a vague answer but it’s impossible to tell you what your specific microwave is going to draw.

At any time, if you can access the information, you can find the exact number. Here are a couple of ways to go about that:

  • Locate the data plate on your microwave to find the exact amperage rating of it.
  • Reference the owner’s manual to see if you can find the information.

If neither of those gets the job done, you can use a multimeter to directly measure the amperage of it. However, this method is a little more complex.

If you do find yourself going this route, know the necessary steps.

Now what?

Okay, so you now have a decent understanding (at the very least) of what an amp actually is. You also, hopefully, know the amperage your microwave uses.

And, if nothing else, you have an idea of what it is – based on the range detailed earlier. So…now what? The key to all of this is to understand how much electricity (and power) your RV can handle while camping.

It may seem like simply using a microwave wouldn’t have that large of a bearing on the overall power consumption of an RV, but it actually can.

Think about it for a second, if you run the microwave it’s going to be consuming, so to speak, probably around 10 amps.

Say your RV has a 30-amp electrical system, if other electrical devices are using say 25 amps, running the microwave could trip the breaker.

Now, when it comes to knowing the different circuits in your RV, they will be identified by the individual circuit breakers in the breaker panel.

Let’s be real for a second, though, looking at a breaker panel can be as confusing as it gets. We know, but even if you have to get a little assistance from someone who knows their stuff it can end up being very beneficial to understand the breakers.

It’s complicated for sure

Who knew that a question as simple as “how many amps does a microwave use” would be so complicated to answer and talk about?

The main thing to take away from all this is that one of the worst annoyances to deal with while camping is if electrical issues arise.

This can occur if too much electricity is being drawn at any given time and seeing how people love to use their microwaves even while enjoying nature, knowing the amperage of them can help to avoid breaker overloads.

Speaking of which, in addition to microwaves, have you ever wondered how many amps an RV dryer uses on average? Well, wonder no more as we have the answer for you: How Many Amps Does an RV Dryer Use on Average?.

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