Can You Plug a Microwave Into a Power Strip [Explained]

can you plug a microwave into a power strip

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Keeping up with the number of home appliances and the connection they require must not be easy. That’s why many people opt to go for power strips or extension cords. But, Can you plug a microwave into a power strip?

The answer is NO, you should not plug a microwave into a power strip. Microwaves tend to use a lot of energy which can eventually cause overload, and cause fire breakouts. But if you have no other choice, you may go for a heavy-duty power strip with a capacity of >15A in the US.

Let’s dig deeper into it.

Why You Shouldn’t Plug Microwave Into A Power Strip

Let’s start with the basics. The purpose of a power strip is to allow multiple devices to run from one outlet. Meaning you can use several electric appliances with a single power strip without having any issues. But the question is why you should not use a Microwave on a power strip with multiple devices.

A microwave oven cannot be used in this setup, especially with an extension cord, because microwave ovens have their fuse, not designed to handle the high power needed when plugged into an extension cord.

Also, a microwave oven may cause the power strip wires to overheat, leading to a fire. Furthermore, the outlet must be updated with a special RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) to prevent any potential damage resulting from overheating the power strip wire.

burning power strip

In many states, home inspectors highly recommended using individual circuits for high-energy-consuming home appliances. That means you should always try to plug the microwave directly into a wall socket.

On fire adapter at plug Receptacle on white background, Electric short circuit failure resulting in electricity wire burnt

How Safe Are Power Strips?

It is safe to assume that a power strip with a built-in fuse or circuit breaker is electrically safe. A power strip protects against electrical overload, but it is not a permanent replacement for a circuit breaker. In addition, an overload condition can pose a fire risk.

But, we must always keep in mind that power strips are meant for temporary uses. We put our microwaves in our kitchen setup and don’t change their position for years. So we do not recommend it for heavy-duty usage.

Most power strips use low-quality plastic to keep their prices within range, mostly ABS plastics. These plastics hold the aluminum strips which eventually hold the plug blades. ABS plastics get softened when they come in contact with heat. Eventually, it can catch fire.

And the security label might not be the same as they are advertising. On the other hand, microwave energy consumption varies. But most of them start from 600 watts and go as high as 1500 watts. With a 220V connection, it will require 10-12A electricity. 

So, if you want to use a power strip for your microwave safely, you must get one with a capacity of 15A or more. But, you should never use a power strip for a prolonged period.

It is better to use an overcurrent protection device designed for the application or a circuit breaker. So a power strip is safe when you plug in your TV but wouldn’t be safe if you plugged in your air conditioner.

What if I don’t have enough outlets?

If you have a lot of components that need to be plugged into the wall, it is best to install additional outlets. Installing extra outlets is easy to do and can save you a lot of money.

If there are no available electrical outlets, you should try to choose a high-quality power strip with surge protection and circuit breakers. It would be best never to plug power strips into other power strips, as there is always a risk of overloading the circuit.

Also, you can use an extension cord. There are many extension cords or outlets available on the market, depending on your needs. 

Can You Plug A Microwave Into An Extension Cord?

How many times have you noticed a light flickering in your house when you switch on something plugged into an extension cord? It is fairly common, right? It happens because the extension cord cannot supply your plugged electronics with sufficient power.

So, can you plug a microwave into an extension cord? The answer is NO. Microwaves create a lot of heat that the extension cord cannot withstand. If you misuse an extension cord, it will cause your fuse to blow and trip your breakers.

But if you must use an extension cord, you actually can. This brings us to our next part.

Read Surge Protector Vs Power Strip: Comparison

Extension Cord For Microwaves And Other High Power Devices

A typical household extension cord cannot be used to power a microwave. As microwaves use so much power, it is important to use an extension cord with the correct amperage.

 Many microwaves come with a power rating of 800 watts or more, so make sure to buy an extension cord that can handle the power requirements of your microwave.

Note- It is better to use always a wall outlet instead of using an extension cord for heavy-duty electronic devices like space heaters, refrigerators, or microwave and toaster ovens.

Keep These In Mind While Using An Extension Cord

  • Only use extension cords that are rated for the expected workload.
  • Inspect each cable before every use. If the line is frayed or cracked, do not use it.
  • Never overload a power strip.
  • Use electrical tape to cover any exposed wire.
  • Use extension cords that are rated for outdoor use when necessary.
  • Do not run an electrical line under a rug if possible.
  • If you must use an electrical cord under a carpet, make sure to lay it flat and fasten it to the floor with tape.
  • Avoid running electrical cords through doorways or windows.

Use A Surge Protector For Your Microwave

Microwaves have a special device called Metal Oxide Varistor or MOV, which acts as a safety measure to tackle fluctuating voltage and power surges. So, in many cause, especially if your area has a stable power grid, you wouldn’t need an additional surge protector.

But this MOV can only tackle a single power surge. It may get damaged after a couple of power surges. So, it is highly recommended to get yourself a surge protector if your area has an unstable power grid and gets hit by thunderstorms frequently.

The safety label on the surge protector is very important. Always get UL 1449 surge protector for the microwave.

Don’t Use Power Strip For These Items Alongside Microwave 

Many people get a powerful power strip and think they can plug other devices into it alongside the microwave. It is strongly prohibited to plug two powerful devices into the same power strip.

Avoid using power strips for these things.

  • Hairdressing appliances: Some hair styling appliances, such as hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners can operate at 1,500 watts. So when plugged one of them is into a power strip, the voltage is reduced due to impedance and the appliance will not work. You can read Why your power strip keeps turning off?
  • Refrigerator and freezer: A refrigerator’s compressor uses a lot of energy and is connected to a dedicated outlet. When plugged into a power strip, it will energize all the components attached to the strip and cause an electrical fire.
  • Coffee maker: Is it safe to only use a power strip to charge your cell phone? A coffee maker’s charging unit contains 240 volts, which are used to power all the components. So it would be best if you did not use a high-power coffee maker in a power strip.
  • Toaster: Toasters generally contain 240 volts of electricity, so they should not be plugged into a power strip. So if you plug it in, it will create 240 volts of power, carrying a current that was not designed for it.
  • Slow cooker: Slow cookers should be plugged into a dedicated outlet. They usually contain 240 volts of electricity, so they cannot be plugged into a power strip. Instead, slow cookers should be connected to a power strip with a circuit breaker.

Overall, using power strips with high-voltage appliances can lead to fires or electric shocks. So always try to avoid high-power devices to plug in a regular power strip even with multiple devices.

Safety Tips To Follow While Using A Power Strip

Dos:

  • Plug your power strip into a grounded outlet.
  • Use the manufacturer’s recommended number of outlets on the power strip.
  • Choose a strip that can accommodate the number of items you need to plug in.
  • Unplug the power strip when not using it.
  • Purchase a power strip that features a built-in circuit breaker that trips if the strip becomes overloaded.

Don’ts:

  • Do not plug too many items into one power strip.
  • Likewise, don’t use multiple power strips to make up the total amperage you need.
  • Avoid plugging in devices that create strong magnetic or electric fields, such as televisions, microwaves, and refrigerators.
  • Do not allow cords to lie across an outlet or along the floor where someone could trip on them.
Wall chargers plugged in gang socket.

FAQs

How much power can a power strip handle?

It depends on the price and quality of the product. But, a standard power strip, with a 120V connection can handle 1800 watts.

How much does a microwave surge protector cost?

An average surge protector/power strip for a microwave costs around 50 dollars. The average price for a good product is around 100 dollars, but keep in mind that some models are very cheap, but they might damage your appliance over time.

Can I plug a fridge and microwave into the same outlet?

No, you cannot plug a fridge and a microwave into the same electric outlet. These appliances require an individual circuit. Also, you can never use them together with the same power strip.

How many watts can 15A handle?

A power strip with a 15A capacity can handle 1800 watts while operating in a 120V line.

Summary

Power strips are helpful, but you should avoid using them with high-voltage devices since they can cause fires. To prevent electrical fires, it is best to use dedicated electrical circuits for high-energy appliances. Furthermore, you can connect devices directly to the wall and eliminate the need for power strips.

It would help if you used a power strip with good UL ratings (700+ Joules) and the highest amperage possible with the wattage of your appliances. The higher the amperage, the better it is. Also, be sure to unplug devices when they are not in use.

So I hope you got the correct answer to the question: can you plug a microwave into a power strip?

Palash is an entrepreneur in the tech industry and the author of the Smart Home Protector. As a tech entrepreneur & reviewer of a home safety gadget store, his job helps customers remain on top of what's coming next in our rapidly changing world.

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