Whether you need to heat water to make your morning tea or turn your TV dinner from a frozen block to a steamy meal, a microwave speeds up and simplifies tasks that would otherwise take exponentially longer. If you're in the market for a new microwave, it helps to know what the typical size is.
There are two traditional types of microwaves, those that sit on top of your kitchen counter and those that are mounted above your stove or under cabinetry. Newer on the food-nuking scene are convection microwaves, which use internal fans to move the air around the unit for faster, more even cooking, and speedcooks, which can purportedly cook foods up to eight times faster than other microwaves. Sizes vary by type of microwave, so your first step is deciding what type of unit you want to buy.
Countertop microwaves come in a variety of sizes, from super compact to very bulky. Among the smallest models are those measuring 18 inches in width and 13.5 inches in depth, with a height of 11 inches. Larger models can measure as much as 24 inches in width, 14 inches in height and 18.5 inches in depth. Somewhere in the middle, and likely the most commonly purchased, are midsize ones measuring 17 inches in width, 20.5 inches in height and 12 inches in depth.
Microwaves mounted under cabinets or above the hob usually come in fewer sizes, because they are meant to fit in a very specific space. Common are built-in microwaves in a height of 17 inches, a width of 30 inches and a depth of 15.5 inches. They tend to have a capacity of up to 2 cubic feet.
Convection and Speedcook Sizes
Convection microwaves commonly come in a height of 15 inches, width of 24.5 inches and depth of 19 inches. However, they also come in much larger sizes, because manufacturers tout convection microwaves as an equal alternative to the traditional oven. Speedcooks tend to be a bit bigger than the midsize convection microwaves, with a typical size of 19 to 21 inches in height and 25 to 29 inches in width, with a depth of up to 21 inches. Because these too are marketed as equal alternatives to the stove, they tend to be bigger to allow for a wider range of use.