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Ask the Energy Expert
Energy Expert

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Microwave, electric oven or slow cooker – Which uses the least energy?

What uses the least amount of energy when cooking: a microwave, electric oven or slow cooker?

That’s an easy one. A microwave oven is typically your best cooking option if you’re looking to save energy. Let’s take a look at how microwaves compare to other cooking appliances.

Microwave vs. oven
Microwaves use approximately 80 percent less energy than an electric range or oven. That means if it takes a few minutes to cook something using a 1400 watt microwave oven, it will take more power and much more time to deliver the same end results with a range or oven.

Microwave vs. slow cooker
Similarly, cooking with a microwave is more efficient than using a slow cooker, or crockpot. Even though a slow cooker will use less power per minute than a microwave, the cooking time of several hours will result in much more overall energy consumption than the microwave oven. Ultimately, microwaves use about half the electricity as a slow cooker.

Your recipe for energy efficiency
So, use your microwave when you can for maximum energy savings, but enjoy using your other cooking appliances when they are needed to achieve the taste you need for the recipe. Don’t forget, you can take an Online Home Energy Survey to get a personalized savings plan for your home filled with energy-saving tips and your biggest opportunities for savings.

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Comments [104]

kirtesh // September 14, 2013

As per my best experience microwave oven will take least energy

Richard // October 3, 2013

Unless I’m missing something here,, I did not get the comparison of the oven compared to the slow cooker?

liz // October 3, 2013

You did not answer the question: slow cooker v.
regular oven. Which is it for a chicken for instance?

Maria // October 3, 2013

What’s more efficient-an oven or a slow cooker?

Marrion Steele // October 3, 2013

O.K., so how about the difference between an oven and a slow cooker??

Mary Lou Trowbridge // October 3, 2013

I would have guessed the slow cooker being the most energy efficient. Good to know that it’s actually the microwave!

Erica McFarlane // October 3, 2013

Let’s not forget that the electric oven can fit lots of dishes at the same time. So for an hour, you can have a cake, fish, a casserole, bread and whatever else you wish to bake. Actually, water boils well in the oven too. When you finish baking, there is still enough heat to warm up rolls or keep dinner warm for another half hour.

Les // October 2, 2013

Sorry to be nit-picky, but “power per minute” doesn’t sound right. Power is energy per unit of time. So: a slow cooker will use less power, or less energy per minute, than a microwave.

Al Schrader // October 3, 2013

FPL does a great job of delivering power and helping customers.
There are more options to saving on your slow cooker and that is to serve foods that don’t need to be cooked at all – like for example in the summer months serve submarine sandwiches for lunch.
In the winter months your oven is the most energy efficient because every bit of heat your electric oven makes goes into heating your house so basically you cooked your food for free.

There is something new in the works called Photon Exchange Technology that may make it possible to operate your entire home on the power in a cell phone battery.
I know this because I have the only Photon Exchange laboratory in existence.

Beth O'Brien // October 5, 2013

That is awesome! when will this be available?

Beth O'Brien // October 5, 2013

I love to cook all types of winter squash in the micro. Just be sure to pierce the skin enough or they explode!

Linda Sand // October 5, 2013

When we had a large microwave I cooked our roast turkey in it. The turkey stayed juicy and flavorful but the microwave did not crisp the skin. Since no one in my family ate the skin that worked for us.

Jackie // October 3, 2013

Microwaves may save energy, but food tastes horrible! I’d rather spend a bit more in energy cost and have a great tasting meal.

robert obrien // October 3, 2013

Ok, but why didn’t you compare the slow cooker to the oven. Nobody I know cooks a pot roast in a microwave oven. Nobody I know cooks anything in a microwave oven, It’s basically used to reheat frozen dinners or things of that nature. I would never attempt to cook any “real” food in a microwave…really!

Patti // October 3, 2013

So what about a crockpot vs. the oven? And does a convection oven use more, less or the same amount of energy than a regular oven?

Bethany Hooper // October 4, 2013

I use toaster oven instead of the big oven, I steer clear of Microwave since it alters nutritional properties of the food, making the fats in the food dangerous and reduces the nutritional value of the food. I also use Pressure cooker which retains the value of the food. Microwave is not always the best. Thank you

Thomas Fitzpatrick // October 3, 2013

That came as a complete surprise to me, I would have thought the microwave oven used more becase of their high wattages. Too bad my wife doesn’t want a microwave oven. She thinks they are bad for the food, that they zap the nutrients out of them.

Gary Diedrick // October 9, 2013

What about the slow cooker compared to the oven? Which uses less energy?

Bonnie // October 3, 2013

Some things require longer cooking and a microwave just wouldn’t work for them. Can you compare cost of using a conventional oven vs a slow cooker? For example, a conventional electric oven set at 350 for 3 hours vs a slow cooker set at low for 6 hours.

hermine reiss // October 3, 2013

how does cooking with broiler in toaster oven compare with regular oven?

Joan Ortlepp // October 3, 2013

I use my toaster over over the large regular oven as well as the microwave. The only time my large oven gets used is turkey holidays and full size pizzas.

james // October 3, 2013

You didn’t mention a superwave convection oven. The taste it produces is better than a conventional oven or crockpot, but its energy use must be only slightly more than a microwave. I don’t even have a conventional oven anymore due to my convection oven. What is the energy use for a superwave convection oven compared to a microwave?

stella garofalo // October 3, 2013

What is more energy efficient cooking in an oven or toaster oven?

Liz Webb // October 4, 2013

We all know the microwave uses less energy.

But you didn’t compare slow cooker and oven.

Which one?


Deb Murphy // October 3, 2013

What about energy efficiency between an oven and a crockpot? Comparing a crockpot for 8 hours and an oven for two…which uses more energy ?

Marva Lewis // October 3, 2013

You didn’t say whether slow cooker was more efficient than oven.

Leonard Trombley // October 3, 2013

I know that impact & insulated energy star windows help you bill and there expensive, does FPL offer any kind of rebate for the instillation of theses windows

Marva Lewis // October 3, 2013

How about induction cooktops? A bit more expensive but very efficient.

jane // October 3, 2013

How about the comparison between a toaster oven and a regular oven????

Amelia Jamison // October 3, 2013

What uses less energy, a slow cooker or an oven?
Thanks for your reply.

Tom Gormley // October 3, 2013

What’s the difference as far as nutrition?

Ivy // October 3, 2013

So are you saying a slow cooker is more efficient than an oven? Cause that’s what your headline in my newsletter said you were going to talk about. Hard to tell from this Q&A. Thanks.

Christine Hailstone // October 3, 2013

Thanks for the info. Have always wondered.

You note that shutting a ceiling fan off on a hot Florida day is best (energy assessment). Yet, when I come back later in the day; the room is stifling. Doesn’t it take more energy to re-cool the room?

Pete Groth // October 3, 2013

Please compare the energy use between a slow cooker and an electric oven.
Pete Groth

Deborah Osborne // October 3, 2013

No one ever mentions using a pressure cooker to save energy. New ones are very safe, food cooks super fast, very little stove time and flavor is sealed in.

Sandi Kasen // October 3, 2013

How does a toaster oven and a convection oven compare to a regular oven?

James Hepler // October 3, 2013

How does all this compare to convection ovens?

Doug // October 3, 2013

Did you answer oven vs slow cooker? exclude microwave in comparison

Roe Tofexis // October 3, 2013

I understand the microwave may be more energy efficient, I ONLY heat up my food in it. My best cooking and must say, energy efficient, is my Convection/Infra Red oven and my countertop oven! The microwave certainly cannot out cook, roast, bake or air fry these other appliances! I’m sure everyone knows that!
Thanks for the info amyway!!!

Steve // October 3, 2013

You have omitted one key element: Whether the food is edible when it exits the microwave. While it is great for defrosting or reheating, most food cooked fully in a microwave comes out looking like and with the texture of a scary plastic Halloween mask. Time and cost are interesting, but not most important in choosing a cooking appliance.

Jeanne // October 3, 2013

really . the article was titled as such . I wanted to know slow cooker vs oven!!!

Mindy // October 3, 2013

While you claim a microwave will save a lot of energy (and I agree to this), I prefer oven or slow cooker whenever possible as I only use a microwave for reheating sometimes because “cooking” in a microwave is not very good, health wise, nor do many foods taste good cooking in it.

Kirk Lytle // October 3, 2013

Unfortunately, the reply above does not answer the question that was posed in your email to me. So, I’m curious: Which uses more energy. The oven or the crock pot? – (without regard for a microwave…)

Thanks in advance for the answer

Katrina // October 3, 2013

How about answering the less obvious question….. Which is more efficient, oven or slow cooker? The microwave comparison was obvious to anyone with half a brain!

Deborah Barnard // October 3, 2013

Is it better to keep everything unplugged if your not using it.or it’s not costing anything to keep it plugged in.

Bernadette Fernath // October 3, 2013

Being a ‘snowflake’ traveling several times from my NY home to my Ft Lauderdale condo, I am so pleased with FPL as compared to the services in NY. I have verbally applauded you numerous times wherever I go and can’t understand why more cities don’t follow your footsteps when it comes to energy usage/supply. Frankly, I am so disgusted with the NY suppliers…and feel hostage.
Thank you FPL!

debra brewster // October 3, 2013

Which is less electric oven or slow cooker?

Joyce Safranek // October 3, 2013

Thought I knew the energy answer, but nice to know I was right, thanks…

Sandra Brinckerhoff // October 3, 2013

What about oven vs. slow cooker?

2 hours of oven at 350 vs. 6-8 hours of slow cooker on low.

Flagrante Delicto // October 3, 2013

I mean, duh! Microwave wins hands down; unless of course you are cooking a pot roast or beef bourguignon. I would have like to have seen a comparison between the cook top, oven or crockpot though.

Harriet // October 3, 2013

The question is what saves the most in energy costs, oven or slow cooker?

Deborah // October 3, 2013

Yes, but for the best tasting food, microwaving comes in last.

Kathleen // October 3, 2013

Fortunately the microwave’s uses fit the seasonal pattern; keeping home interior temperature lower in the sweltering summer when air-conditioners suck up dollars.
And…light meals are preferred.
BUT, a slow-cooker/crock-pot or range will tenderize tough (cheaper)cuts of meat, allow veggies to cook in the broth and blend flavors. PLUS – their ambient heat sends good smells and aids in raising household temperatures.
Which is good for keeping out the chills.
Chefs I know would NEVER have a nuker in their kitchen.
They serve a purpose in speeding a fast-frozen-food item from the grocery bag to the table: think Mac ‘n Cheese, and defrost veggies, fish/meat, leftovers.
And, they make great anchors ;^D

Jack Owen // October 3, 2013

Fortunately the microwave’s uses fit the seasonal pattern; keeping home interior temperature lower in the sweltering summer when air-conditioners suck up dollars.
And…light meals are preferred.
BUT, a slow-cooker/crock-pot or range will tenderize tough (cheaper)cuts of meat, allow veggies to cook in the broth and blend flavors. PLUS – their ambient heat sends good smells and aids in raising household temperatures.
Which is good for keeping out the chills.
Chefs I know would NEVER have a nuker in their kitchen.
They serve a purpose in speeding a fast-frozen-food item from the grocery bag to the table: think Mac ‘n Cheese, and defrost veggies, fish/meat, leftovers.
And, they make great anchors ;^D

Reba Logsdon // October 3, 2013

I am considering purchase of a counter top toaster/oven/broiler. Which is better on energy savings? The toaster oven or my regular stove? The counter top oven is 1500 watts. My stove is electric.

Dan Vallance // October 3, 2013

You didn’t answer the question. Slow cooker vs oven?? Would still like like the answer.

Terry Kline // October 3, 2013

What about a pressure cooker? How does that compare to oven cooking?

Jeff Lamdin // October 3, 2013

Should I set the Fan / Blower to the “On” position on my central AC all the time when using AC to help circulate the air in the house, or should I set the Fan / Blower to the “Auto” position so it only comes on when it calls for the AC to come on?

Brian Liddicoat // October 3, 2013

Microwave may save energy, but for many items, it is not the best cooking or especially, reheating method. A microwaved slice of leftover pizza, or many baked items, become rubbery. Further, the excited molecules revert to their previous temperature (or nearly so) rather quickly. Putting the pizza slices in an oven as you begin warming it up, raises the temperature properly and heats the item without the awful texture. Certain instant items, like oatmeal or grits, can make use if the microwave nicely. So, just be selective in your usage.

Roy Hames // October 3, 2013

How cooking a Microwave to Rare Prime roast? How cooking bread in microwave? How cooking chicken & pasta casseroles?

Beth O'Brien // October 5, 2013

but what about a slow cooker vs oven

John // October 3, 2013

So the Slow Cooker or Crock Pot uses 30% less energy than the oven?

Monawar Steel // October 3, 2013

Microwave might be the cheapest way of cooking but its the most unhealthy way to cook too. Now it boils down to money versus your healthy, chose Mr. Intelligent.

Monawar Steel // October 3, 2013

I presume, since you didn’t talk about it, that a crook pot is still better and more efficient than an oven…………………..?

wendy // October 3, 2013

But you didn’t answer the question of oven vs crock pot!

Louise Montgomery // October 4, 2013

I have a small electric countertop toaster oven. Is it more efficient to cook a chicken in it than in a range oven? It doesn’t heat up the house so much, so A/C use would be down. Could you compensate for that in your answer, please?

Mary Fiore // October 4, 2013

What about slow cooker vs. oven? Which uses less electicity?

lynette miller // October 4, 2013

would like an energy survey

clara sutton // October 4, 2013

Or switch to GAS !

Richard Hudson // October 4, 2013

while it might be true that it would use less power to run the microwave, cooking in the slow cooker makes meat more tender!! sometimes you have to pay more for good food!!

Ming Shum // October 4, 2013

Do you charge electric fee in different period of time during a day

P. Dimitroff // October 4, 2013

My husband insists we turn off lights, tv, etc. when leaving the room, then turn them back on again when we return. I often do several chores at once in different rooms and go back and forth. Is his method a more expensive way, i.e. shutting everything off then having to turn it all back on again a few minutes later? Thanks.

Rafael // October 4, 2013

Hi Craig, I read your articles every time and find them very useful, today I’m writing to ask you what is more efficient, an old fashion wire resistance oven or a flat stove ?

Thank you

julia stampone // October 4, 2013

What about coking with a toaster oven??

John Van Orden // October 4, 2013

Do you run a program where you calibrate home electric ovens & stoves so they can be more accurate? Thanks

Jean Doyle // October 4, 2013

Your teaser ad asks the question, “Which is more efficient, a slow cooker or an oven”. However, your answer did not address this specific question. You threw in the microwave, but sometimes one doesn’t choose the microwave when fixing some dishes, as a slow cooking method is preferred. So the question remains, which is more efficient, the oven or the slow cooker?

Rita // October 4, 2013

And what about slow cooker versus oven?

Jean Doyle // October 4, 2013

Everyone knows microwaves are more efficient.
What is the myth?

Jean Doyle // October 4, 2013

Which uses less, generally? A crock pot or an oven?

joan dwyer // October 4, 2013

The microwave oven was a no-brainer. What about slow-cooker vs. conventional oven?


Barbara Bommaarito // October 4, 2013

Ok, the answer to the “which cost more to operate” could go a step farther. What about the toaster oven? I use mine a lot because I like the results better than when I use the micro oven, so where does the toaster oven stand. I feel that it probably is a big energy sucker but I don’t want to believe it. bb

June Teufel Dreyer // October 4, 2013

There are some foods that don’t lend themselves to preparation in a microwave. Can the expert tell us whether it’s more energy efficient to make them in an oven at low temperatute or a slow cooker?

Stan Wickett // October 4, 2013

What you described is a no brainer. I was hoping for a comparison of. The slow cooker and electric oven. Can you help with that one?

FONDA FISHER // October 4, 2013

I see that microwaves use less energy. I would think they also would reduce the heat in the house, which also would save energy on air conditioning.

Camille // October 5, 2013

You didn’t answer the complete question: Microwave, electric oven or slow cooker – Which uses the least energy?
You did not compare an electric oven to a slow cooker.

Vinton Tarrant // October 5, 2013

Normally, the electric water heater is the largest energy user in the home, along with any device that uses electric to make “heat”. Drying heavy items like towels, jeans, etc. on a clothesline or dryer bars will save a lot of energy and you can “fluff up” in a cool dryer after. Since there really is no such thing as “COLD” water in Florida, washing on the “cold” setting will save money. In some one story homes it can take a long time to get hot water at a remote faucet, which is another waste. People should think of hot water going down the drain like dollar bills going right along. If leaving a home vacant for over a week, turn the breaker off for the water heater. Less than a week saves little.

Beth O'Brien // October 5, 2013

and i find the stove top a much better option than heating up the oven for things that don’t do well in the micro, even better that the toaster oven; Like toasting seeds or garlic for example and it takes less time than the oven too

Greg Pietrowski // October 5, 2013

Why did You not compare an electric to a Slow Cooker as mentioned in Your subject line….

Phyllis Winkelstern // October 7, 2013

This was a great question but which is more efficent the slow cooker or the oven?

Linda Kearns // October 7, 2013

Would have liked to see your answer to 4 hrs crock pot high vs. 1 hr oven 325 degrees.

Cindy // October 11, 2013

me too! great question

Diana Y. Ernst // October 7, 2013

I am pleased with Florida Power and light – keep up the good work!

Karen West // October 7, 2013

This is good to know and I have a related question? I was wondering if the stove top uses 220 or 110 ?

Nancy // October 9, 2013

Understand, it’s cheaper to cook in the microwave.
If you want to cook a roast for 4 hrs in a low (say 250 deg) oven or in a slow cooker, can you set the microwave on about 10% and cook for a few hrs and come out with the same result as an oven? If you can, is it still cheaper than the oven or a slow cooker
Thank you

Tom Dragos // October 10, 2013

Is there a better time of day to run motors such as pool pump and sprinklers??

Cindy // October 11, 2013

now that we know the microwave is the most energy efficient out of the three. Which is more energy efficient between the slow cooker and the range/oven?

Lawrence Wright // October 13, 2013

What is the difference between a slow cooker and an electric oven on the typical range? To prepare, a roast, or pot roast, cooking on a low temperature, seems to enhance the flavor, even cooking in an oven with a plastic cooking bag at 350. is a good solution

Energy Expert
Energy Expert // October 14, 2013

To answer the question, which is more efficient, a slow cooker or an oven? The answer is a slow cooker. As you can see from the chart at the link below, a microwave is the most efficient, followed by slow cooker, toaster oven then oven.


Linda // October 21, 2013

What about toaster oven, v.s. regular oven?

wholesle microwave // November 26, 2013

Great post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the closing phase :) I deal with such info a lot. I used to be seeking

this particular information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

microwave // November 22, 2013

HELLO guys
Great blog!!! its worth to read this. thanks for suggestion

Lorraine // January 10, 2014

I would like to know the energy used between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker?

meliss // March 7, 2014

Does fpl charge to do the energy vent check up

Delores Pistone // March 8, 2014

I know someone who uses their oven to toast. All 5 get up at different times, Each one toasts a bagel or 2 pieces of toast that way nearly every morning Seems a toaster would be much more efficient. Anyone know? Is there a significant difference considering long term and 5 times a day.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Cqrl Byrd // April 20, 2014

Why didn’t you answer the complete question?????
For some reason you FAILED to give up the ELECTRIC OVEN info.
You compare microwave to slow cooker and stop.
Does the Power company have a conflict of Interest ????



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