Microwaves can be plugged in standard wall outlets where they use up to 16AMP (from a 20AMP circuit). 3-prong grounded wall outlets are mandatory (instead of 2-prong outlets) for microwaves. GFCI protection isn’t required.
Countertop microwaves don’t require dedicated circuits. Built-in microwave ovens can be plugged in a standard wall outlet as long as it sits on their own circuit.
Many people assume a microwave runs at a maximum 16AMP capacity of a wall plug. But these are limited to about 80% of a 20AMP outlet capacity. This means a microwave runs on regular wall outlets.
While it’s not mandatory to have a microwave wall plug on a dedicated circuit it’s always wise to have it on its own circuit, no matter its wattage. From 1.000W microwaves to 1.500W microwaves, it’s worth investing in dedicated circuits first as they are the safest and most practical.
Regular outlets are good for plugging in microwaves
Regular 3-prong wall outlets of 120V or 125V are good for plugging in microwaves. These can be on shared circuits (in case of low wattage microwaves) or large circuits (in case of large wattage built-in oven microwaves of around 1.500W).
A good wall outlet for kitchen appliances is never shared with other appliances. However, many microwave manufacturers don’t specifically recommend a dedicated circuit.
You can read microwave user manuals to find out more about dedicated circuits.
Microwaves need to be plugged in a 3-prong wall outlet. You should never cut the grounding in case you only have a 2-plug wall outlet. An electrician needs to replace your old wall plug in this case.
Microwaves run on 15AMP or 20AMP circuits. It’s not recommended to use a GFCI outlet for your microwave.
Do microwaves need their own outlet?
Microwaves aren’t regulated by NEC 210.23(A)(2) utilization of fastened equipment directly.
However, this code recommends fastened appliances to be on a dedicated circuit when they’re 1.200W or above.
A dedicated circuit is needed for 1.200-1.500W microwaves while smaller wattage microwaves don’t need a dedicated circuit.
Can I plug a microwave in an extension cord?
No, most microwaves can’t be used with extension cords. They need to be plugged directly in a wall plug that’s at least 15amps on a circuit breaker and which needs to be 20amp if on a shared circuit or if the microwave has more than 1.200W.
Can I plug a microwave into a 15-amp outlet?
You can use some microwaves on 15amp outlets as long as they are used for short periods. You can’t use a microwave with continuous 15amp load capacity on a 15amp outlet.
Do you need a 20 amp outlet for a microwave?
A standard 15amp circuit is sufficient for a regular microwave oven that takes about 10.5amp. Larger built-in ovens take around 11.5amps when running on 1.200W which means they can run on a dedicated circuit of 15amps. More powerful ovens require a 20amp circuit.