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Does a Microwave Need a Dedicated Circuit & Outlet?

Microwave oven is one of the common kitchen appliances nowadays. Most people have a microwave oven in their houses. So, they try to set up the microwave with protection and efficiency. So, electrical connections should also be set up well for the microwave oven.

When it comes to setting up the microwave electrically, you might be confused about whether a microwave needs a dedicated circuit and outlet or not. So, we have to know the power withstanding ability of a microwave.

Does a microwave need a dedicated circuit line?

A microwave oven needs a dedicated circuit line. Generally, microwaves consume higher voltage and current. So, they require a separated circuit. You might also find using a microwave with a regular circuit board. But putting a microwave in a dedicated circuit line will ensure higher safety.

Different types and brands of microwave ovens are available. So, you might don’t know which type of microwave oven needs a dedicated circuit line. Let’s see about different types of microwave ovens and their requirements for dedicated circuit lines.

Countertop microwave:

According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), every fixed electrical device should have a dedicated circuit line. So, when you install a countertop microwave, you should also think about installing a dedicated circuit line.

But it is not compulsory that you just need a dedicated circuit line for a microwave oven

Over the range microwave oven:

Like the countertop microwave oven, an over-the-range microwave also requires a dedicated circuit line for safety. Many people also run over the range of microwave ovens in the regular circuit line with other devices.

But NEC recommends installing a separate circuit line for an over-the-range microwave oven.

Built-in microwave oven:

You must install a dedicated circuit line for a built-in microwave oven. You might use a regular circuit line for the other microwave. But the built-in microwave will be there permanently and safety for this microwave is essential.

Any built-in device needs a separated circuit line. So, a built-in microwave oven will also require a dedicated circuit line.

Can a microwave be on the same circuit along with these appliances?

You might know that a dedicated circuit line is not necessary always. You can also use a microwave along with other appliances on the same circuit. So, you have to know which appliances you can use along with a microwave oven on the same circuit.

Let’s know about some appliances.


A microwave can be on the same circuit along with a microwave. They will be running well in the same circuit. But you have to remember that you can only run one device at a time.

If you run the dishwasher and the microwave together at the time, it will overload the circuit capacity. Moreover, it will trip off the circuit breaker. So, you should separate them with dedicated circuits.


If the circuit is a 20 amp circuit, you can use a refrigerator and microwave on the same circuit. But you can’t run them together at a time. But keeping a refrigerator turned off is not possible.

So, you should keep them separated with a different circuit.


If a fridge and a microwave both have smaller sizes, you can put them on the same circuit and also run them together. But if you have a mini-fridge and a large power-consuming microwave oven, then you can’t use them on the same circuit.

Gas stove:

You should use a gas stove and a microwave oven on different circuits. Generally, you can use a microwave oven with other devices but you can’t run them all together.

So, whether you have to use one device at a time or you have to use a dedicated circuit.

Coffee maker:

It is wise to use a coffee maker and a microwave in different circuits. Generally, microwave ovens are power-consuming devices. So, if you run a microwave with other devices like a coffee maker, the capacity of the circuit might be overloaded.

Why does a kitchen microwave need a dedicated circuit?

Generally, a kitchen microwave needs a dedicated circuit. Microwave ovens consume more power than other electrical devices. If you use a kitchen microwave with other devices on the same circuit, the capacity of the circuit line will be overloaded.

Generally, a kitchen microwave requires a 20-amp, 120/125-volt circuit. This circuit will ensure the safety from overloading of the circuit. Moreover, a dedicated circuit ensures AFCI protection.

When does a microwave need a dedicated circuit line?

Generally, a microwave needs a dedicated circuit line when the microwave is larger and high-power-consuming. For example, when you use a larger microwave oven, the oven will consume about 1500 watts.

You are supposed to use a dedicated circuit line when the more power-consuming watt. Otherwise, more than one power-consuming device can overload the capacity of the circuit line. Moreover, the large microwave will trip off the circuit breaker.

Let’s see which microwave oven requires a dedicated circuit line.

700-watt microwave:

Generally, a 700-watt microwave doesn’t need a dedicated circuit line if the circuit line doesn’t have too much load. For example, if you use a small-size microwave with a small fridge, you can use both on a 700-watt microwave.

1000 watt microwave:

If a 1000 watt microwave oven is used on the same circuit with other less power-consuming devices, you will not need a dedicated circuit line.

But if there are more power-consuming devices, you should use a dedicated circuit for a 1000 watt microwave.

1200 watt microwave:

A 1200 watt microwave requires a dedicated circuit. Generally, a 1200 watt is pretty much power. So, if you don’t use a dedicated circuit for a 1200 watt microwave, the circuit might overload and the circuit breaker will trip off.

What size circuit breaker is needed for a microwave oven?

Microwave Power (watts) Breaker Size (amp)
600 watts10 amp
700 watts15 amp
1000 watts15 amp
1100 watts15-20 amp
1200 watts20 amp
1500 watts20 amp

Does a microwave need a dedicated outlet?

A microwave needs a dedicated outlet. Generally, a 120-volt individual circuit and outlet for a microwave. Moreover, kitchen microwaves are supposed to have a different built-in dedicated outlet. How many amp a microwave outlet will need depends on the size of the microwave.

You might see many people are using the same circuit outlet for a microwave oven along with other appliances. But when you use more than one powerful appliance on the same outlet, the circuit might not bear this much load.

So, a dedicated outlet is needed for a microwave oven.

Can you plug a microwave into a regular outlet?

Yes, you can plug a microwave into a regular outlet. Generally, a regular outlet can bear the power and load of a microwave. But when you are trying to use more than one device on a regular outlet, you have to think about how much load the regular outlet will bear.

For example, you can use a microwave on a regular outlet if you run one device at a time. But if you have more than one device running at a time, you should install a dedicated circuit outlet.

Does a microwave need to be GFCI protected?

A microwave doesn’t need to be GFCI protected if the microwave is away from the water source. If the microwave oven is located in less than 6 feet, then you have to protect the microwave with GFCI.

For example, if a microwave is located near garages, kitchen countertops, near the laundry, utility sinks, wet bar sinks, and near swimming pools, then the microwave needed to be GFCI protected.

Moreover, a GFCI protection is needed where the appliance plugs into an accessible outlet.

Will a microwave trip a GFCI?

The microwave can surely trip off a GFCI breaker outlet. The reason might be the faulty GFCI breaker outlet itself or even issues in the other parts of the circuit or the appliance.

You can determine the issue by resetting the outlet and fixing that according to your findings. You can call upon an electrician to do the job for better safety. 

Does a microwave need a surge protector?

A microwave doesn’t need a surge protector compulsorily. Generally, a surge protector is installed where heavy thunderstorms and lightning are common. So, a surge protector will be needed for protecting high-power devices like microwave ovens.

But if you use a small-size microwave, you will not need a surge protector. Because surge protectors are not compulsory all the time.

Final Thoughts

A dedicated circuit will ensure the safety of a microwave oven. It’s not obvious that you have to install a dedicated or separated circuit line or outlet for a microwave. But sometimes, other devices along with a regular circuit might be overloaded and cause problems in the circuit breaker.