Is it Safe to Buy a Used Microwave?

When my wife called to tell me that some of the buttons on our five-year old microwaved stopped working, I immediately started thinking of possible solutions. One such solution was to buy a used microwave until the holidays when stores offer deep discounts on everything. When I ran the idea of buying a used microwave past my wife she responded with “you can even buy used microwaves.” So that got me to thinking…

Is it safe to buy a used microwave? Yes, it is save to buy a used microwave, as long as you inspect, test, and ask questions about the microwave. You should inspect the inside and outside of the microwave and cord. You should test the microwave by plugging it in, cooking a could items, and press all of the buttons. Finally, ask logical questions about the microwave.

Continue reading to find out which questions you should ask, where you can find used microwaves to buy, and why you should buy a used microwave. 

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Why buying a used microwave seems unsafe

One of the biggest reasons why buying a used microwave seems unsafe is there is a perception that microwaves themselves are unsafe. There are some people that believe that microwaves are harmful and emit radioactive material into the environment. 

Also, buying a used microwave seems unsafe because they can be difficult to transport and test. Buying a used microwave isn’t like buying a used lawn mower, they can be difficult to transport because of there size and weight. Also they cannot be tested without an electrical outlet. 

Why buying a used microwave seems weird

There are a few reasons why it may seem strange to buy a used microwave. First, IT’S A MICROWAVE. A microwave that has been inside someones home, and they cooked all sorts of things with it. We’ve all seen the office microwave, and imagine that every microwave (except our own) looks just like that. 

Second, it’s electric. It is easy to assume that if someone is selling an appliance or piece of electrical equipment, there has to be something wrong with it. When it comes to devices that need to be plugged in, we tend to be very skeptical.  

Third, I think we all have a feeling that people we don’t know are tying to get one over on us. If you’ve every purcahsed something from another buyer, then you know the uneasiness that comes with it. You begin to ask yourself questions like “Why is he selling it, is he trying to get one over on me, etc.”

Where to buy a used microwave?

There a number of reputable places you can buy used microwaves online. Some of those places include:

  • Ebay
  • Amazon
  • Walmart

If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can try places like Craigslist, or Facebooks’ marketplace. While it may seem odd, buying, and selling, used microwaves is a pretty common practice. 

Another place to consider buying a used microwave is a second-hand store like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you buy it from there, you are doing a good deed and getting a great price on a used microwave. Usually, these places will test the product to make sure that it works before putting it on the sales floor. 

Why buy a used microwave?

There are at least two reasons you should consider buying a used microwave: much cheaper, better for the environment. The average price of a microwave is around $250. This, of course, depends on the microwave type (counter, over the range, etc), features, and functionality. In many cases, you can find the exact same or identical microwave for half the price. 

For example, I searched used microwaves on Ebay and found a Panasonic NNSN651BAZ Countertop Microwave Oven for $60. That same microwave on Amazon, in new condition, is priced at $130.06. In this instance, buying the used microwave would save $70. You could save over 50% by buying a used microwave!

The second reason to buy a used microwave is that it is better for the environment. Buying used if better for two reasons, first, the microwave is not sitting in a landfill. Second, that is one less microwave being produced.

While some parts of a microwave can be recycled, the parts that cannot get sent to a landfill with all of the other discarded junk. If you buy a used microwave, then that is one less thing in the dump taking up space we are quickly running out of. 

Why someone might be selling a microwave?

The other side of this is the seller and why the seller might be selling something like a microwave. I can think of a few reasons why someone might be selling a microwave.

First, they are moving up in the world. One possible reason someone might be selling a microwave is they have just landed a big promotion and they are upgrading to a brand new, state of the art smart microwave. Most people don’t really need two microwaves, so they are selling the old one to make room for the new.

The second reason someone might be selling a microwave is they are having an estate sale and everything must go. For example, let’s say you have a rich Aunt Fanny that recently passed away, leaving you with everything, including a gently used microwave. You need to get rid of all of her items, so you can sell the house.  You then decide to sell the microwave because you have no use for two microwaves. 

When not to buy the used microwave?

I would not buy a used microwave in the following instances:

  • The seller is creating a sense or urgency – “buy now, it may not be here tomorrow.”
  • The seller won’t let you test the microwave – “I just used it last night.”
  • The microwave isn’t clean
  • The microwave is damaged
  • The microwave looks like there was an attempted repair buy the seller
  • The microwave has missing parts
  • There is damage to the plug that connects to the outlet
  • If there are special instructions for use – “just lift the hand slightly, then…”

Overall, if the transaction doesn’t feel right, don’t buy the microwave. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth all of the negatives to buying a bad microwave. 

Questions to ask of the seller of the used microwave

Here are just some of the questions that I would ask the seller if I was buying a used microwave:

  • How old is the microwave?
  • Why are you selling it?
  • Did you buy it new or used?
  • Do you have the manual?
  • Is the microwave still under warranty? 
  • Have you ever had it repaired?
  • Have you done any work to it?
  • Where was the microwave sitting while it was in use?
  • When is the last time you used the microwave? 

These are just some of the questions you should ask. These questions should help you determine if it is a good product to buy used. 

Who should by a used microwave?

You should consider buying a new microwave if you call into one of these categories:

  • You’re a college student
  • You care about the environment
  • You need a microwave for short-term use
  • You want to save money
  • You are moving in to your first apartment
  • You don’t cook very much

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Before buying a used microwave do this

The first thing you should do before buying a used microwave is look up the product number up online. Check to see if this microwave has any recalls, known detects, or if it is a new product. You are looking for things that the seller might try to hide or omit when selling the product.

The second thing you should do is look the new and used prices up online. Looking up the used prices will give you an idea of what the product should cost. This will allow you to negotiate from a position of strength. You won’t feel taken advantage of if you know what you should be paying.

The next thing you should do is schedule, or request a demonstration. If you can’t physically go to the location of the microwave, ask the seller if they would be willing to conduct a skype demonstration. During the demo, cook something simple like a bag of popcorn.

Most microwaves have a popcorn button, and testing this feature will show you that the popcorn button works, and give you an idea if the microwave works correctly. Make sure you let the popcorn cook until the time expires. Once it is done, open up the bag and have a few pieces of corn.

Doing this step may seem excessive, but this is a sure fire way to see if the microwave works as expected. 

Also during the demo press all of buttons, including the start, stop, and fan.

If the microwave has passed your tests, start negotiating. You know what the microwave should cost, so that should be your ceiling. Using the earlier example, you should not pay any more that $60 for the used microwave.


To conclude, yes, you absolutely can buy a used microwave. As we saw earlier in this post, so of the largest retailers sell both new and used microwaves. Buying a used microwave can save you money, save the environment, and help out someone in the process. 

Also, there are some pitfalls to be aware of when buying a used microwave. You should be wary of the seller, inspect the microwave, and ask lots of questions. Remember, if the seller is trying to pressure you into buying the microwave WALK AWAY.