A vital part of any kitchen is a microwave.
It can quickly heat up refrigerated food or even cook entire meals in itself.
Microwaves were also among the first kitchen appliances to become invented.
Considering their age, you may feel some surprise when you go shopping and find an expensive price tag on microwaves.
You may wonder why microwaves haven’t gone down in price.
Why Are Microwaves So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average cost of a low-end microwave costs around $100 to $300.
Mid-tier microwaves cost anywhere from $400 to $600.
If you want a high-end microwave, however, you can expect to pay around $2,000.
Certain additional features, the microwave’s size, and wattage power all determine how expensive a microwave becomes.
Let’s look at these reasons in more detail.
Microwaves are expensive because they last for a long time.
As long as you care for the microwave, you could get seven years out of it.
Those who don’t use their microwave that often might even get 10 or so years out of it.
Higher-end models may last even longer than that.
That’s because microwaves use a lot of high-quality and durable materials.
They have to since they deal with radiation.
If a company uses a poor-quality material, the microwave could end up leaking low-levels of radiation into the home
They’d certainly face a lawsuit for that.
As such, microwave companies put a lot of effort into making safe and durable products.
To make a durable and long-lasting microwave, however, they have to take on expensive production costs.
High-end microwaves, in particular, use the very best materials to ensure their longevity.
Because it uses expensive materials, to the company needs to offset those costs by selling the microwave at a high price.
In addition, the fact that microwaves last a long time also means that people are going to be buying fewer of them.
Cheap microwaves may only last for four or five years.
They keep their prices low because they know that their customers are going to come and buy another one soon.
High-end microwaves don’t have that luxury.
They might not see the customer again for another seven or 10 years.
To ensure they’re able to make the most money possible, they have to sell the microwave at a high price.
Microwaves are expensive because they use expensive materials to make them last a long time.
The size of the microwave also determines its price tag.
You can find microwaves in all sorts of different sizes.
The cheapest microwaves tend to be on the smaller end.
You may be able to fit a bowl or a single plate in them, but that’s about it.
They’re cheap because manufacturers don’t have to use quite as many materials to make them.
Shipping smaller microwaves is also more affordable than shipping larger ones.
That’s because they don’t take up as much space or weigh as much.
Large microwaves, on the other hand, are going to be expensive.
They use more materials in their production.
Since they use more, they’re costlier to make.
That means the company has to have a more expensive price tag on the product to offset its costs.
Using larger microwaves is also more convenient.
You’re able to fit more inside them.
You might be able to heat several bowls at once or even a few, smaller, plates, at once.
It saves you time.
Since it’s more convenient, you’re essentially also paying for that convenience.
Large microwaves are also more expensive to ship.
Since they’re larger, they take up more space and weigh more.
Shipping companies are going to charge them higher prices since they won’t be able to carry as much as a result.
Microwaves are expensive because larger sizes mean higher production and shipping costs.
Another factor that makes microwaves expensive is whether they have higher wattage than others.
The more watts that a microwave has, the hotter it cooks the food.
It basically makes the microwave more efficient.
Since it’s able to produce more heat in a concentrated form, you don’t have to cook the food for as long.
It also means you don’t use as much energy since you don’t have to put the food through a few cycles before it becomes hot enough to eat.
The problem with a powerful microwave is that it’s expensive.
Microwaves use a complex system to generate heat.
It includes radiation.
Although the housing of the microwave ensures that it’s safe to use and the food is safe to eat, it means that the microwave needs quite a few expensive parts to generate that heat.
Cheap microwaves use materials that are just able to get the job done.
They don’t invest too heavily in the parts.
As such, you usually have to cook your food longer or for a few cycles before it gets hot.
Since they’re not using high-quality materials, they’re able to save on costs.
High-end microwaves, on the other hand, use the best materials.
They take on high costs for high-quality materials that allow them to make microwaves with incredible levels of wattage.
You essentially pay for those investments and the convenience that a high-powered microwave provides.
You don’t have to wait quite as long for your food to get ready since the microwave cooks so well.
As such, the microwave company knows that it’s selling to a particular audience.
It’s an audience that wants to spend a good deal of money to get a microwave that cooks food well.
Microwaves are expensive when they produce a high wattage amount.
4. Over-The-Range Venting
Another reason microwaves are expensive is that some of them provide venting services.
Over-the-range microwaves are a special type of microwave.
They’re installed over a stovetop or oven.
The microwave can cook food, but it also comes equipped with a venting system.
When you use the oven or stove, you can turn on the vent, and the microwave will suck the hot air out of the area.
An over-the-range microwave is usually going to be more expensive than a microwave that just sits on your counter.
The reason it’s more expensive is that it usually has to get custom-made for your home.
Some manufacturers sell a variety of different over-the-range microwave sizes.
Others require you to measure the range, so they can then make a microwave that fits your range perfectly.
In particular, they want to ensure that the vent is big enough to properly vent the area.
Otherwise, it isn’t going to be much help.
When something is custom-made for you, it’s going to be more expensive.
That’s because the manufacturer is taking time to focus just on you.
They get materials specifically for that job.
They’re not mass-producing their products.
They’re selling you a product that they built specifically for you.
That means you’re the only one covering their costs and paying them enough to earn a profit off the sale, too.
In return, you get a great microwave that fits perfectly with your range.
Whether it’s the material, color, or size, a custom-made over-the-range microwave is going to be very expensive.
Over-the-range microwaves are expensive because they offer additional services that others don’t and many of them require customization.
5. Drawer Microwaves
One of the most expensive microwaves you can buy is a drawer microwave.
This is a type of microwave that is specifically built to fit into a cabinet or cupboard area.
The manufacturer will either send someone in to take measurements of the area, or you’ll provide those measurements to them.
Then they’ll make a custom microwave that fits your needs specifically.
For example, you’ll often be able to pick the material that you want.
If that material comes in different colors, then you can also choose what color you want.
From there, you’ll have an abundance of other features or special add-ons that you can choose from as well.
A drawer microwave is basically a completely customized microwave for your home.
While you can find cheaper drawer microwaves, by and large, most people tend to get a custom one made.
When the microwave arrives, the manufacturer might even send someone along to install it for you.
Since it goes into a cabinet or cupboard space, that area needs to get drilled out or opened up.
Then the microwave gets put into the open slot.
The result is a microwave that looks seamless with the rest of your appliances.
Many modern or professional kitchens have a drawer microwave.
It creates more counter space for other things and just gives it a more modern look.
Drawer microwaves are expensive because they require a lot more effort and time to make than other microwaves.
Another feature that makes some microwaves more expensive than others is the existence of presets.
Presets are cooking times.
You’ll usually see them labeled as “popcorn,” “coffee,” or even “potato.”
It’s the manufacturer’s optimal time to cook those particular types of food or drinks.
High-end microwaves will have presets that actually work.
When you click the button, it will cook the food it’s meant for exactly according to the predetermined time.
Low-end microwaves tend to miss the mark with their presets.
You might choose the popcorn option, and it might cook for three minutes, but your popcorn might be completely burnt by the time it’s over.
Other times, it might not have popped at all.
One reason behind the difference and quality of the presets is the amount of time spent researching them.
A low-end manufacturer doesn’t have the budget to do a lot of testing on their presets.
If it’s close enough, then they call it good and send it on its way.
High-end microwave manufacturers, however, have a reputation to uphold.
They’ll spend more time ensuring that their presets are correct since they have larger budgets for them.
Presets, in general, are also more expensive to make than microwaves that don’t have presets.
That’s because it’s just a bit more engineering that the company has to do.
Since it adds to the cost of production, it adds to the price of the product.
Microwaves that have presets, particularly accurate presets, are expensive
7. Convection Microwaves
Microwaves are also expensive when they’re convection microwaves.
Convection microwaves have two different jobs.
Its first job is to act and perform as a standard microwave.
It cooks food and can reheat it.
However, its second job is to act and perform like a convection oven.
A convection oven is a type of appliance that evenly distributes heat.
This makes it possible to cook certain dishes that require accurate heating throughout the dish at the same time.
A common problem with standard microwaves is that it doesn’t always heat evenly.
The outside of the dish might be warm, for example, but the middle is still frozen.
Convection microwaves remove that flaw.
This enables a convection microwave to cook things like baked goods, roasted food, and even broiled food.
Those types of dishes require the appliance to heat them evenly.
Baking, especially, requires very precise measurements.
If certain parts of it get heated faster or hotter than other parts, then it can completely ruin the baked good.
The problem with a convection microwave is that it’s very expensive.
You’re basically buying two different appliances in one.
As such, a convection microwave is going to be far more expensive than just a standard microwave.
8. Sensor Controls
Microwave technology has evolved considerably over the years.
A new direction that microwaves are taking is being able to detect when your food has cooked perfectly.
It does this through the use of sensors.
Sensor microwaves use sensors inside the machine to detect a food’s moisture levels and temperature.
It will then reduce the time or heat level to ensure that it doesn’t overcook the food.
If it doesn’t seem as though it’s cooked long enough, then it extends the time or increases the heat level.
Your microwave essentially ends up becoming a lot smarter.
It works to automate the cooking process, so you don’t have to constantly check your food to see if it’s ready to eat yet.
This type of technology makes microwaves more expensive for a few reasons.
The first is that it adds to production costs.
It’s another feature that the company has to pay for while making it.
That means the customer is going to face higher prices.
It’s also a novelty.
Sensors in microwaves aren’t common yet.
As such, you’re paying for the novelty of the technology, too.
As such, microwaves that have sensors in them are expensive.
9. Brand Name
The brand name of the microwave also plays a role in setting its price.
Certain brands have a reputation for building durable and high-quality microwaves.
Those brands are going to have more expensive prices than unknown brands.
Some brands are also known for producing microwaves that belong to the luxury tier of appliances.
Those brands are going to have higher prices, too.
Having a well-known brand name attached to the product can increase its price.
A final factor that makes microwaves expensive is their material.
Cheap microwaves use durable plastic.
More expensive microwaves use stainless steel and similar materials.
Because stainless steel is more expensive to source, manufacturers will push that cost onto the customer.
The appearance of the material can also influence the price.
If the material looks durable and high-end, then it will probably be a bit more expensive than if the material looks cheap.
As such, microwaves that use high-quality materials are more expensive.
Microwaves are practically an essential part of any kitchen.
However, depending on the type, size, and material of microwave that you want, you could face quite an expensive price tag.