What is the Difference Between Microwave and Oven (Explained)

Are you looking for an answer on what is the difference between microwave and oven?

Microwave and Oven are two common kitchen cooking appliances with distinct usage if constructed as it is.

While both will have similarities when these two functions are integrated into one.

In this article, I will walk you through what are their differences.

What is the difference between Microwave and Oven?

The main difference between a standard Microwave and a standard Oven is their unique ability to generate heat or energy.

  • Microwave rely on magnetron to produce electromagnetic radiation that is converted into heat
  • Oven, on the other hand, utilizes electric current that is induced to the heating element that is then converted to heat

I will try to explain further and present the difference between microwave and oven in the simplest way possible for easy understanding of everybody.

But before we delve into details, first let us define what is a Microwave and Oven.

What is a Microwave

A Microwave oven (also known as a Microwave) is a cooking device that utilizes electromagnetic radiation emitted by a magnetron.

What is the difference between Microwave and Oven - magnetron

The magnetron generates microwaves that are introduced through the waveguide and then into the cavity. The microwaves created then bounces back and forth inside the cavity.

What is the difference between Microwave and Oven - microwave oven cavity

If there’s food inside of the microwave oven… the water molecules in the food are stimulated as the radiated microwaves are transformed into heat as it is absorbed by the food that eventually cooks the food.

Note: As I have implied above, this is a standard Microwave Oven and only has Microwave as its main and distinct function!

What is an Oven

An Oven is a cooking device that utilizes electrical energy and passes through a heating element (tubular heater) that is then converted to heat.

The normal design of a standard oven has an upper heater and a lower heater only.

As shown in the below images, this oven is without a convection function.

On the other hand, the convection oven has an upper heater, a lower heater, and a convection heating element (rear side heater with fan).

A convection heater is associated with a fan motor designed to aid in the equal distribution of heat inside the oven cavity… as shown in the below illustration.

Note: As I have pointed out in my introduction, this is the standard Oven with its main and distinct design!

Key points: Difference between Microwave and Oven

Now, let me summarize the key points or differences between Microwave and Oven.

What is the difference between Microwave and Oven - Microwave
What is the difference between microwave and oven - Oven

Different Properties



Heating process

Electromagnetic radiation

Heating elements

Heat source


Electric current

Capacity (typical)

17L, 20L, 23L, 25L, 28L, 30L

65L, 70L

Construction (typical)



Cavity (typical)

Stainless, Coated

Enamelled, Stainless

Temperature Control

Determined by Power Level

Adjustable up to 250oC

Power (approx. range)

700W to 900W

1000W to 3000W

Cooking application

Reheating, Defrosting, Cooking, Simple baking

Reheating, Grilling, Roasting, Professional baking

Cooking limitation

Cannot fully cook thick foods, Prohibits the use of metal containers, Plastic containers need to be microwave-safe

Easily cook thick foods, Cannot use plastic containers

Cooking time



Basic design (concept)

Mechanical, Digital

Mechanical, Digital




Note: The above differences listed are based on my understanding and what I've learned while dealing with home appliances.

Which is better Microwave or Oven?

This is a question that can only be answered depending on your need.

Here’s a related article I wrote about why people choose to use microwave ovens.

However, I have good news for you!

If you don’t know yet, some designs have already integrated the Microwave function into an Oven design.

Yes, ovens with microwave functions are already available on the market for many years.

And there are oven designs that have even added steam function (apart from the microwave).

On the other hand, for Microwave ovens…

Grill and convection features have already been incorporated into some designs.

Thus, with such innovation, it has resolved the need of whether to buy just a microwave or an oven only. Since you can now get both functions as it has been combined into one product.

Of course, it will cost more than the standard type of microwave and or oven.

But why worry about the price if you can get both of the cooking worlds of microwave and oven… in one.

And because of that, you won’t need to ask again which is better.

Final Thoughts

As explained above in detail, we were able to identify the difference between Microwave and Oven.

In summary…

A microwave oven uses a magnetron to generate electromagnetic radiation in form of microwaves that are then converted to heat.

While the Oven utilizes electric current that is induced to the heating element to produce electrical energy that is then converted to heat.

Moreover, we have also established that there are available models in the market that is a combination of Oven with Microwave function.

In the same manner, there are Microwave oven designs that have integrated GRILL and CONVECTION functions.

Thus, making it possible to perform… oven-like cooking in a microwave.

So, there you have it folks, thank you for reading. If you find this article helpful or if you have questions and suggestions please leave them in the comment area. And I will be glad to answer them as soon as I can.

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I'm experienced in Quality Control with a working history in the Consumer Electronics and Home Appliance industry. I have created this website to share my gained knowledge and be of help!

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