Here's How Long Microwaves Last (4 Aging Microwave Signs) (2023)

Does your microwave look like it’s on its last legs? Has that left you wondering how long it should last? Then check out this article to see the average microwave’s life expectancy and more!

Here’s how long the average microwave should last:

How the Microwave Is UsedHow Long It Should Last
Heavy use by a large family. Poor maintenance.4-5 years
Normal use by an average family. Good maintenance.7-8 years
Infrequent use by a single person or a couple. Good maintenance.Up to 10 years

Have you just purchased a new microwave? Then perhaps you’re wondering what you can do to keep it in like-new condition for as long as possible.

What maintenance should we all be doing to our microwaves? And what signs can you look out for if you think yours needs replacing? Take a look at the extended microwave guide below to find the answers to these questions and more!

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How Long Should a Microwave Last?

A microwave is a lifesaver in the kitchen. It warms the rice while you continue cooking on the hob. It reheats food when your guests are a little late for dinner. It even keeps your kids occupied with their favorite buttery popcorn and hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. It truly is a godsend.

But unfortunately, these rectangular sous-chefs don’t last a lifetime. In fact, the average lifespan of a microwave is just 8 years. But in many busy households, a microwave doesn’t usually see past its 5th birthday.

All this may have you wondering how long your microwave will last. To find out, confirm what kind of microwave user you and your family are. You will then be able to see how long you can expect your electrical right-hand-man to stick with you in the kitchen.

Heavy Use

How much do you and your family use your microwave? Do you:

  • Have a large family (more than 4)?
  • Use the microwave constantly throughout the day to heat snacks and defrost food?
  • Rarely carry out maintenance on the microwave?

Is your microwave constantly being used throughout the day? Then it will only last about 4-5 years. This is especially true if you do not keep up with the maintenance of the microwave.

But what does good microwave maintenance involve? Take a look at the information below to find out.

Good maintenance for your microwave means:

  • Immediately cleaning up any spills.
  • Periodically degreasing the grease filter.
  • Wiping moisture off of the microwave while you cook in the kitchen.
  • Calling an electrician when you have a problem with the microwave.

Even if your microwave is in constant use, you can extend its lifespan by at least a year with good maintenance.

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Normal Use

How often you use your microwave will affect its lifespan. Do you:

  • Have an average-size family (about 4 people)?
  • Use the microwave a couple of times a day to heat snacks and defrost food?
  • Keep up with the maintenance of the microwave?

If your microwave usage falls into the “normal” category then you can expect yours to last about 7 years. It could even last up to 8 years if you follow a good microwave maintenance schedule.

Infrequent Use

Do you seldom use your microwave? Do you:

  • Live on your own or with one other person?
  • Use the microwave just once or twice a day?
  • Keep up with the maintenance of the microwave?

Does your microwave usage fall into the “infrequent” use category? If so, then you can expect yours to last up to 10 years. This is especially true if you keep up with a good maintenance schedule.

How to Make a Microwave Last Longer

Electrical appliances for the kitchen are expensive. So, you are no doubt keen to keep your microwave ticking over for as long as possible. What can you do to extend the life expectancy of your microwave? Take a look at the information below to find out:

ProblemEffect On the MicrowaveSolution
Spills– Food spillages inside the microwave can create hotspots when it’s in use. These hotspots can damage the interior of the microwave.– Clean up spills ASAP.
Moisture– Condensation in the air can build up on top of your microwave while you cook. This could cause damage to the electrics in the microwave.– Keep the kitchen ventilated while you cook.
– Turn on the exhaust fan or open a window while you cook.
– Wipe down the microwave when moisture builds up on it.
Greasy filters– Grease builds up on the grease filters under the microwave. The build up of grease could hamper the efficiency of the unit. – Periodically clean the grease filters with hot water and detergent.
Running on empty– Running the microwave while empty could cause burn marks and hotspots.– Never run the microwave on empty.
Metals– Metal in a microwave could cause it to spark and burn.– Avoid putting metals into a microwave.
Weak door hinges– Slamming the microwave door could make the hinges weaken. This would eventually create an unnecessary repair.– Close the microwave door instead of slamming it. This will prolong the lifespan of the hinges.
DIY fixes– Attempting to repair a microwave on your own could be dangerous. There are deadly electrical charges inside it.– Always call a professional to fix a problem with your microwave.
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What Are the Signs a Microwave Is Going Bad?

Do you suspect that your microwave is at death’s door? A microwave is a super handy appliance to have in the kitchen. So, you’ll no doubt want to replace it before it kicks the bucket on its own. But, which signs should you look out for that will let you know that it has come to the end of its life? You can take a look at some of them below.

1. Worn-Out Buttons

Are the buttons on your microwave a little worn out? Do you have to shove your finger onto the keypad with all your might for it to react? Or have some of the buttons and programs stopped working completely? If so, then it’s likely that your keypad is just a few jabs of a finger away from failing to respond altogether.

2. Slow Heating

Who doesn’t love juicy slow-cooked pork? That’s right, every household needs a slow cooker. But what you don’t need is for that slow cooker to be your microwave.

Your microwave should heat things quickly. It should be able to turn a mug of cold water piping hot in just two minutes. Is your microwave taking longer than usual to heat meals? Then the likelihood is that it’s about to give up the ghost.

3. Loud Operating Noises

Your microwave should operate while making no more than a low hum in the background. It shouldn’t be any louder than 55-59 dBA. (That’s just quieter than a normal conversation but louder than your bathroom exhaust fan.) Does your microwave:

  • Rattle?
  • Clang?
  • Buzz?

If so, then, you’ve guessed it, it’s time to look for a replacement.

4. Over 10 Years Old

Is your microwave over 10 years old? I know that everyone loves a classic. And they say if it’s not broke don’t fix it. But, even if your microwave is still in good condition you should start looking for a replacement. Why’s that? Take a look at a few reasons below:

  • New microwaves are more energy efficient. A new one could save you some money on your electric bill.
  • New microwaves have the most up-to-date smart features.
  • It is more expensive in the long run to repair a microwave than it is to buy a new one. Save yourself the hassle of trying to find discontinued replacement parts on the internet. Treat yourself to a new model!


The average lifespan of a microwave is just 8 years. But we all want our microwaves to last as long as physically possible. This could be a little tricky if your microwave is in constant use throughout the day. I’m sure this article has shown you some methods you can use to extend the lifespan of your microwave.

If this article has helped you, then why not check out some of our other articles and free guides? You could even sign up for our email list!

Have a great day!



Here's How Long Microwaves Last (4 Aging Microwave Signs)? ›

According to Mr. Appliance, a well-cared-for microwave can last an average of roughly seven years. If you have a large family, use your microwave frequently, or don't properly care for it, though, that time frame shortens to four to five years.

What is the average life expectancy of a microwave? ›

The average microwave oven lasts about seven years with normal use, and even less with heavy use and poor maintenance. A large family may find themselves replacing their appliance every four to five years as they become more reliant on its use to heat up snacks and leftovers, or to defrost meals.

Is it safe to use a microwave that is 30 years old? ›

If you take good care of your microwave up into its old age, there's a low risk of harm, but if it's damaged in any way you may want to get it checked out. If you've looked after it well, there's no reason why a vintage microwave should be dangerous.

When should microwave be replaced? ›

According to Kitchen Seer, you should replace your microwave generally every 10 years. You can replace it after seven or eight years, but if it is in good condition it should last longer.

How do I know if my microwave is leaking radiation? ›

Call the phone inside the microwave.

If you hear no ring, your microwave is not leaking radiation. If you hear a ring, your microwave is leaking radiation, assuming the settings on your phone are correct. It's highly unlikely that your leaking microwave is a danger to your health.

What is the common failure of microwave? ›

If your microwave isn't heating food, it's likely that the magnetron in your appliance is broken. Unfortunately, a burned-out magnetron can't be repaired, it has to be replaced. Other issues that can lead to food not being heated, includes a broken diode or a faulty door switch.

Is it OK to use a 20 year old microwave? ›

Old microwaves are generally safe to use, with one caveat

If the screen or the rubber seals around the microwave door have been tampered with or damaged, it is possible that a higher amount of radiation could leak out of the machine.

Is a 22 year old microwave safe? ›

Are old microwaves safe? As long as your microwave functions properly, it's as safe to use as a new microwave. If you notice smoke in your microwave, turn it off and unplug it immediately. Food heating unevenly, not heating at all, or heating quickly are signs of a faulty microwave as well.

Can a microwave get weaker with age? ›

Although microwave ovens lose power as they age, Anantheswaran says most consumers unconsciously adjust cooking times without realizing the oven is not performing as efficiently. "You can replace the magnetron in a microwave oven," Anantheswaran says.

Can old microwaves leak radiation? ›

If microwave ovens are used while broken or altered, it is possible for them to leak electromagnetic radiation. Microwave radiation leaks are hard to detect because you can't smell or see microwaves.

How much did a microwave cost in 1985? ›

Microwave oven

If you wanted to reheat leftovers quickly in 1985, you could get an 0.8-cubic-foot microwave from Sears for about $240. You'd nuke your budget at the same time, though, as that's the equivalent of $585 today.

How do I test my microwave? ›

Place a glass bowl (preferably a 2 quart glass measuring bowl) filled with 1 quart of water in the center of the microwave oven cavity. The water temperature must be between 59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). Heat the water for exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the High power level.

What time of year is best to buy a microwave? ›

Snag small appliances such as microwaves, coffee makers, and toaster ovens during November and December. Retailers offer lower prices on these units during these two months to clear out excess inventory left at the end of the year.

Is it worth repairing a 5 year old microwave? ›

Our survey results suggest you might consider repairing a broken microwave in that price range if it's still on warranty, and consider a repair if it's two years old or less, but you'll definitely want to replace it if it's three years old or older.

What are the symptoms of a bad magnetron in a microwave? ›

Unusual Noises: All microwaves make a bit of a hum, but if it's become much louder – or sounds like unusual vibrations – your magnetron may need to be replaced. Watch out for a clicking sound as well – that's a tell-tale sign of a magnetron that's about to fail.

How do you test if a microwave is working properly? ›

Heat the water for exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the High power level. The High power level is the default heat setting on the microwave. A temperature rise in the range of 28 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 22 degrees Celsius) indicates that the microwave oven is heating/cooking properly.

Do microwave ovens wear out? ›

The magnetron component of a microwave oven, which generates the microwaves, does eventually wear out. Microwave ovens may be a hugely convenient, easy-to-use device, but they sadly have an expiration date. You can expect to get over 10 years of use out of your microwave.

Is it worth fixing a microwave? ›

IF the repair seems easy, simple, or straight-forward, then a repair is likely your better option. If a repair seems involved, dangerous, or requires multiple stages of repair, then repairs might not be worth your time. Expense of replacement parts should also be considered when deciding whether to enact a repair.


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