How Many Years Does a Microwave Last?

I started blogging about microwaves when the buttons on my microwave stopped working. I remember saying to my wife, “how can a brand new microwave last less than 6 years.” When I told my mother that our microwave is on its last legs, she replied, “I just replaced mine last month, and it was only 13 years old.”

To answer the question “How many years does a microwave last,” the answer is: The average microwave will last around 9.5 years. Of course, this depends on the owner, but you can expect a microwave that is used a few times per week, cleaned regularly, and not under constant stress, to last between 9 and 10 years This average is based on a study completed by the National Association of Home Builders.

After finding this study, it appears that my microwave was near the end of its life cycle, while my mother’s microwave could be considered an elder. Continue reading to find out more useful information about microwave shelf life including ways to extend your microwaves’ life, factors that work to shorten your microwaves life, and much more.

Can you extend your microwave shelf life?

The consensus is that there is very little that you can do to extend the life of your microwave. Here are a few things that you can try to extend the life of the microwave: 

  • Reduce usage
  • Keep it clean
  • Gentle on the moving parts

One of the best ways to extend the life of a microwave is to reduce the usage. If you normally use a microwave 5 times per week, try using it 2 times per week. Instead of heating up that cold pizza in the microwave, try heating it up in the oven. The less you use it (in theory) the longer it will last.

Another possible way to extend the battery life is to keep both the inside and outside clean. Keeping the inside clean may extend the microwave life because the internal components will not have to work as hard to do the job.

A third way to extend the life of a microwave is to go easy on the door, door handle and buttons on the microwave. Usually, these parts of the microwave are the first to become damaged. This is because these are the parts most touched by humans.

As I mentioned earlier, the buttons on our microwave slowly stopped working. The buttons are connected to the motherboard by a thin strip of cabling that becomes loose over time. I’m sure my heavy hands played a huge part in making this happen.

What factors impact the life of a microwave?

The three biggest factors are the human element, equipment wear and tear, and the environment the microwave is in. As always, humans are the biggest threat to manufactured products. Every time the microwave door is slammed shut, or not opened correctly, gets the microwave a little closer to the end of life. If you are a little more gentle with the microwave, it could last a few more years.

The second factor is simply parts wear out over time. Over time, pieces become loose, or the motor has to work a little harder to get the same result. There isn’t much you can do, because eventually, it will stop working.

Finally, the environment the microwave does play a small role in the length of time a microwave lasts. That is why it is important to keep both the inside and outside clean and free of dust. 

How long is a microwave warranty?

Most manufacturer warranties last one year. While there are a few that last two years, a one-year limited liability warranty is in place for most microwaves. 

These limited warranties include:

  • Failure due to defect
  • Failure due to workmanship

Make sure you read your owners manual to see what is and isn’t covered in the one year warranty. In fact, it may be a good idea to read the manual before buying the product. To find the product manual, simply search the product number.

In addition to manufacturer warranties, some retailers sell warranties on top of the manufacturer warranty. For example, Best Buy has “Product Protection Plans” of two or four years. These additional warranties can cover the following:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Power surges
  • Reinstallation

Carefully read the retailers warranty policy to see if it is right for you. Some retailer warranties will begin when the manufacturer warranty expires, while others will begin the day you buy the microwave.

Can microwaves be repaired?

Yes, microwaves can be repaired. Anyone from the microwave owner to local handyman or professionals can repair a microwave. As I stated a few different times I tried to repair my microwave, but I couldn’t get it to work. 

Without trying to oversimplify things, microwaves are like many other household items. They include motors, motherboards, lights, and fans. I’m sure if you searched on YouTube, there are a ton of videos with people replacing various parts of the microwave.

Should you have your microwave repaired? 

The answer is: it depends. It depends on a number of factors including:

  • Is the microwave under warranty?
  • How old is the microwave?
  • What time of microwave is it?
  • How much did the microwave cost?
  • Who’s going to repair the microwave?
  • What’s wrong with the microwave?

Unless the microwave is under warranty, it is a newer expensive microwave, or you are going to fix it yourself, I would say it may not be worth the price to have the microwave repaired. 

Depending on the size microwave you need, you may be able to purchase one for less than $100. Depending on the part needed, you may spend half the price of a new microwave on parts. In addition, you may spend an additional $60 -$70 per hour on labor. 

The only reason you should consider doing it yourself is if you have experience repairing home appliances or there is no way you can afford to purchase a new microwave. Incorrectly repairing an old microwave can do more harm than good, so BE SAFE!

What parts of the microwave can be repaired?

A lot of the microwave can be repaired. Parts that are for sale include:

  • Microwave door switch
  • Grease filter
  • Lightbulb
  • Open Lever
  • Door hook
  • Air filter
  • Microwave diode

And much more…


How many microwaves have you had and what was the average lifetime? Do you think 9.5 years is too short for a microwave? 

Have you ever tried to fix a microwave? How much did it cost you to fix the microwave? Was spending the money on a fix worth it?

Leave a comment below!

Additional questions

How do I know if my microwave is working properly?

There are a few sure-fire ways to tell if it is time to replace your microwave. First, do you see or smell smoke? If you see or smell smoke, it may be time to start looking for a new microwave. Also, unplug your microwave, just in case. 

Second, if the food you usually cook takes 2 or 3 times as long, it might be time to get a new microwave. Before running to the store to buy a new one, check the power level. Someone in the home may have reduce the power level to cook their meal.

Third, if the keypad doesn’t work, you have two options: you can try and repair it, or buy a new one. This is what happened to me, one-by-one the keypad stopped working. Eventually, the start and stop buttons stopped working and we had to unplug and plug the microwave in if we opened the microwave door before the microwave stopped.

I watched a few youTube videos, which I followed with no luck. The next week, I purchased a new microwave.

Another way to tell if you need a new microwave is if the door doesn’t close properly. This also happened to me. As a byproduct of me trying to fix the button issue, the microwave turned on when I attempted to close the door. I would have to left and push on the door so the microwave would stop.

How do I check the power of my microwave?

There are a few different ways to check your microwaves’ wattage. First, look on the outside of the microwave. If you see a number that starts with 1 and ends with a “w” that is usually your wattage.

Another place you can find your wattage is on the inside of the microwave. Many microwaves have a label on the inside with the product number. Enter that product number into Google and find the manual. The manual will have the product number.

The third way to check the power of your microwave is called the “time to boil” test. Basically, you place water in a microwave-safe measuring cup and see how long it takes to boil. The length of time determines your microwaves’ wattage. 

How many amps does a microwave use?

Microwave ovens are measured in watts, and that wattage can be found in the places mentioned above. If you need to calculate amps, use the following formula. 

  • amps = watts / volts.

Is it safe to use an old microwave?

Yes, it is safe to use an old microwave as long as you don’t experience any of the red flags mentioned earlier. The concept of the microwave has been around a long time, it has only recently been given modern bells and whistles.