Oven versus microwave – which is cheaper to run?

What is cheaper to run oven versus microwave? Young woman opening door of an oven

Here we pit oven versus microwave, two energy-hungry appliances to find out which is cheaper to run.

Ovens and microwaves are kitchen staples, but which one are you better off using if you are wondering how to use less gas and electricity to save on your bills? 

Both of these have become common kitchen appliances, but you may still need to find out which one is more cost-friendly. 

We’ve also looked at air fryer versus oven to find out which is cheaper. In this guide, we’ll look at oven versus microwave to help you make the best choice for your home.  

Looking to switch your energy? Here’s how to do an energy comparison to find the cheapest electricity and gas deals

How much does it cost to run an oven?

Here is an oven image with food inside

Though the oven works well for frozen goods or bakes, it’s also expensive to run. However, the cost of running an oven depends on several factors. This includes its energy rating, how often you use it, size and set temperature, and whether it is powered by gas or electricity. 

Here are the calculations based on the new January price cap. The price cap is set at 28.62p per kWh for electricity and 7.42p per kWh for gas, which is why a gas oven works out cheaper. 

Note that this cost is if you use an oven for 30 minutes every day. You can use our appliance cost calculator to compare how much it costs to run an oven for longer or shorter periods. 

Appliance Cost per use Cost per month Annual cost
Gas oven 2100W £0.07 £2.10 £25.20
Electric oven 2100W £0.30 £9 £108

Cooking something in the electric oven for a longer time, say 90 minutes, would cost just over 90p. Don’t forget to take pre-heating time into account on top. 

While electric ovens are more efficient, gas ovens are cheaper by roughly 23p per usage on average. Your energy rating also affects how much you pay to run your oven. 

Most ovens are on the energy rating scale of A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient your oven is, and the cheaper your bills will be.

Check how much it costs to run your oven in real-time using a smart meter

How to efficiently use an oven

What is cheaper to run oven versus microwave? Mature woman removing fresh baked pie from oven

If you already own an oven, here are some energy-saving tips to reduce your bills.

  • Don’t open the oven door repeatedly when in use. The heat will escape and it will take longer to cook. 
  • Turn off the oven a few minutes before your food is ready. The oven takes a while to cool down, so the heat will keep cooking your food. 
  • It’s best to cook in batches to reduce how much you use your oven daily. You can also heat up leftovers in a microwave if you own one, as it’s cheaper to run. See below.
  • Using the convection fan can speed up cooking times and cook your food more evenly as well. 
  • Make sure that your oven is clean at all times. If you bake on dirt, it makes your oven less efficient. 
  • Try using glass or ceramic baking dishes as they hold heat better than metal. If you’re using multiple dishes, try placing them in a way that moves heat efficiently inside your oven.

How much does it cost to run a microwave?

What is cheaper to run oven versus microwave? Woman heating leftovers in microwave

If you run a 700W microwave for 30 minutes every day, it will cost you an average of £0.10 a day. This is great if you’re reheating takeaway food or ready-to-eat meals. 

The cost to run a microwave depends on how powerful it is and how long you use it. Try out our appliance cost calculator to compare costs if you use a microwave for longer. 

Here are the calculations based on the January price cap electricity rate of 29p per kWh. This is if you use the microwave for 30 minutes every day. 

Appliance Cost per use Cost per month Annual cost
Microwave 700W £0.10 £3 £36
Microwave 900W £0.13 £3.90 £46.80
Microwave 1200W £0.17 £5.10 £61.20

When you’re buying a microwave, it’s important to consider what the energy rating is, as this will impact your running costs. The energy rating is from A-G, with A or B being the most energy-efficient.

How to efficiently use a microwave

What is cheaper to run oven versus microwave? Close-Up of Woman Opening Microwave

While a microwave is generally cheaper to run, here are some energy-saving tips you can use. 

  • Choose a microwave with a high energy-efficiency rating such as A or B. 
  • Make sure that you have the right settings for what you’re heating or defrosting. 
  • Turn off the microwave plug when not in use. Find out if you should turn off plugs at the wall to save. 
  • It’s best to defrost your food by keeping it in the fridge or in cold water instead of using the oven. 
  • If you buy your food in bulk, try cooking for more than just one meal. This way you can heat up leftovers in just a few minutes and reduce your cooking time. 

What is cheaper: oven versus microwave?

What is cheaper to run oven versus microwave? an asian chinese female putting cakes on a plate to microwave to heat up wearing kitchen glove

Overall, using a microwave over an oven is much cheaper.

A 1200W microwave costs £0.17 per 30 minutes on average, whereas a 2100W electric oven costs an average of £0.30 per 30 minutes. This makes a microwave cheaper by at least £0.13 per use. 

Many microwaves are 800W-1000W, which means that they will be even cheaper to run. 

According to the Energy Saving Trust, ovens use more energy than microwaves because they heat the food and the air space. But a microwave only heats the food, making it more energy-efficient. 

Most kitchens have both ovens and microwaves, so it all depends on how you use them. For some meals, you may need an oven, especially if you’ve a big family – eg, you won’t be able to cook your family Christmas dinner in a microwave. 

The biggest difference in ovens is gas versus electric. Gas ovens are much cheaper to run, as gas is four times less expensive than electricity. What’s cheaper for you depends on your usage, how many people live in your household and what food you prepare. 

Check how much your household appliances add to your energy bills using our appliance cost calculator.

If your goal is to cut costs on your household bills, we’ve got some energy-saving tips that can help. And here’s what you can do if you need help with energy bills

More energy saving tips