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

By FPL Expert

Asked on: September 3, 2013 by Peggy, via www.FPLblog.com

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 [130]

  1. Dinopal

    Thanks for the review, I think convection microwaves are good.

  2. Delores Pistone

    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.

  3. meliss

    Does fpl charge to do the energy vent check up

  4. Becky

    Which uses the least power, my conventional GE stove or the new Farberware Countertop Oven with Convection.

  5. Lorraine

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

  6. Oven Installations

    If a cooker always use microwave and electric oven so he/she must complete his/her cook so easily and short time with good flavor.

  7. microwave

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

  8. Linda

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

    1. wholesle microwave

      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.

  9. Energy Expert

    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.


  10. Lawrence Wright

    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

  11. Cindy

    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?

  12. Tom Dragos

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

  13. Nancy

    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

  14. Karen West

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

  15. Diana Y. Ernst

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

  16. Linda Kearns

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

    1. Cindy

      me too! great question

  17. Phyllis Winkelstern

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

  18. Greg Pietrowski

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

  19. Beth O'Brien

    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

  20. Vinton Tarrant

    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.

  21. Camille

    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.


    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.

  23. Stan Wickett

    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?

  24. June Teufel Dreyer

    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?

  25. Barbara Bommaarito

    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

  26. joan dwyer

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


  27. Jean Doyle

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

  28. Jean Doyle

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

  29. Rita

    And what about slow cooker versus oven?

  30. Jean Doyle

    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?

  31. John Van Orden

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

  32. julia stampone

    What about coking with a toaster oven??

  33. Rafael

    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

  34. P. Dimitroff

    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.

  35. marcy

    that’s by far the worst answer I have ever heard. Microwaves are dangerous to your health.

  36. Ming Shum

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

  37. Eric

    Microwaves are not healthy. Although they “save money”, microwaves will cause health issues down the road. Expecially if your cooking a “hungry man” dinner or perhaps baking fresh lasagna in your oven. The lasagna is better for you.

    Microwave water… And try to grow a plant…. Better yet, pour the water on a living plant, and watch the plant die….

    Not what I want in my food. Not “nuked” food.

  38. Greg

    Too funny. The email subject line said: “Oven or slow cooker, which one is more energy efficient”

    The answer is microwave oven, LOL

  39. Joe

    Microwaves destroy all the nutritional value of food. You’d get better results eating rocks!

  40. carol Klein

    I began the sweepstakes questions and realized I had to investigate first, in order to answer. It would help if we could print out a list of info we need to provide. I don’t know what kind of water heater I have, the setting, etc. I don’t recall how many years I’ve had my new stove, microwave),(Westinghouse from Home Depot) dishwasher and refrigerator (kenmore from Sears) and new sink. I couldn’t go beyond that to find out what else I had to look up. I cannot do this until next week as all my time is allocated until then. Thank you, Carol Klein

  41. Richard Hudson

    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!!

  42. clara sutton

    Or switch to GAS !

  43. lynette miller

    would like an energy survey

  44. Mary Fiore

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

  45. Louise Montgomery

    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?

  46. Monawar Steel

    I think that it is important for people in the media, especially those representing a company like FPL, to use correct terminology. People do not always have a good understanding of technical issues, and mixing up concepts just makes it worse. “Power per minute” is meaningless, you should have said “energy per minute” or just “power”. There were other references to power and energy that you could have used to clarify these concepts in readers’ minds.

  47. wendy

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

  48. Monawar Steel

    when you take in account the fact that the microwave change the molecular structure of food including water and that in turn destroys the nutritional value and sometimes even produces toxins all of which can and does lead to health problems the microwave is a very expensive poor option in cooking methods.

  49. Monawar Steel

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

  50. Chris

    The email that sent me here was misleading. I don’t care about microwave versus oven/slow cooker. I wanted to know the answer to oven versus slow cooker.

    Obviously a microwave is the cheapest option. A thousand or so watts for a few minutes is going to be way less than hours in an oven. Hell my computer uses 750 continuous watts.

  51. Monawar Steel

    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.

  52. John

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

  53. Roy Hames

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

    1. Beth O'Brien

      but what about a slow cooker vs oven

  54. Brian Liddicoat

    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.

  55. Jeff Lamdin

    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?

  56. Terry Kline

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

  57. Dan Vallance

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

  58. Reba Logsdon

    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.

  59. margie

    cannot believe you did not compare crock pot with oven. i would never cook in a microwave! why did you exclude us who don’t own a microwave??

  60. margie rubin

    Duhh…you can’t make a decent pot roast nor corned beef brisket in a microwave oven. So, what is the difference in cost to cook a pot roast, oven v/s slow cooker ? Ditto corned beef brisket: stove top v/s slow cooker?

  61. Jack Owen

    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

  62. Kathleen

    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

  63. Deborah

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

  64. Maggie

    Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I don’t believe the question was answered. The question was Electric Oven or Slow Cooker, which uses the least energy……all that was addressed was the microwave vs oven and microwave vs slow cooker…come on guys!

  65. Harriet

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

  66. Flagrante Delicto

    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.

  67. Sandra Brinckerhoff

    What about oven vs. slow cooker?

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

  68. Joyce Safranek

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

  69. debra brewster

    Which is less electric oven or slow cooker?

  70. louise vince


  71. Frank

    Bait and switch! Your subject line and hook was “Oven or slow cooker? “. At the website you never answer that question you threw in the Microwave which is a no brainer that it will use less energy. I’m still wondering which of these are the best at conserving energy, Oven or slow cooker?

  72. Bernadette Fernath

    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!

  73. Deborah Barnard

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

  74. Katrina

    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!

  75. Kirk Lytle

    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

    1. Ms JoAnne Perdue

      you could have stated which uses less between an electric oven and a slow cooker. Jeez how many people fix an entire meal in a microwave on the whole. you wasted my time…………

  76. Mindy

    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.

  77. Jeanne

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

  78. Steve

    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.

  79. Bill

    “Power per minute”? Perhaps you mean “power”

  80. Colin

    The email that brought me here was titled “Oven or slow cooker? Find out what’s more energy efficient” but this article doesn’t answer that question!

  81. Ann

    The email you sent it titled: Oven or slow cooker? Find out what’s more energy efficient

    But you didn’t answer that question. Please, what is the answer?

  82. Jeanne

    What’s the deal. The tag line compared Slow cookers to ovens and that was not addressed. Telling us the obvious, that microwaves are more efficient, is not really that helpful. Some items just do not do well in a microwave so the question regarding slow cooker vs. oven is vald.
    What a waste of time. Very disappointed.

  83. Roe Tofexis

    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!!!

  84. Doug

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

  85. James Hepler

    How does all this compare to convection ovens?

  86. Jeanne

    This was a DUH! The real question should be which is the most energy efficient to use: The OVEN or the SLOW COOKER. The Microwave vs. either of those would of course use less energy – but how many people cook a roast in a microwave? NONE I would guess. But a lot of people use either the oven as a slow cooker or a crock pot. Which should we use if we want to conserve energy?

  87. Sandi Kasen

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

  88. Deborah Osborne

    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.

  89. Pete Groth

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

  90. Christine Hailstone

    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?

  91. Ivy

    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.

  92. Tom Gormley

    What’s the difference as far as nutrition?

  93. Amelia Jamison

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

  94. jane

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

  95. Marva Lewis

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

  96. Leonard Trombley

    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

  97. Marva Lewis

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

  98. Deb Murphy

    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 ?

  99. stella garofalo

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

    1. Liz Webb

      We all know the microwave uses less energy.

      But you didn’t compare slow cooker and oven.

      Which one?


  100. james

    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?

  101. Joan Ortlepp

    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.

  102. hermine reiss

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

  103. Bonnie

    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.

  104. Thomas Fitzpatrick

    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.

    1. Gary Diedrick

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

  105. Patti

    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?

    1. Bethany Hooper

      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

  106. robert obrien

    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!

    1. Mary Phillips

      Seems the crock pot vs oven/convection oven vs toaster oven issue is not addressed and a bunch of people would like to know. C’mon FPL, get on it.
      As for microwaves, convenient but they kill any vitamins contained within food. I have even started reheating my pizza under the broiler on my pizza stone, tastes better and the crust is crunchier. We only use microwave for reheating coffee after it’s gotten cold in the thermal pot or heating water for tea.

  107. Jackie

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

  108. Gordon Gaines

    Food cooked in a Microwave generaly tastes like crap. Theo only thing I have cooked in a Microwave that tastes like real food are frozen meals.

  109. Al Schrader

    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.

    1. Linda Sand

      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.

    2. Beth O'Brien

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

    3. Beth O'Brien

      That is awesome! when will this be available?

    4. Bobby


      Wondering if you had more info about your research. I’m just a guy, trying to learn more. Plus see how many other ways of how life could be so dramitcally different if we weren’t driven by oil businesses and others. . If this isn’t read by that person is there a way I can post to the person specifically? Thank you.

  110. Les

    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.

  111. kirtesh

    As per my best experience microwave oven will take least energy

    1. Deb

      What energy efficient updates to your home are eligible for FPL or government rebates?

    2. Erica McFarlane

      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.

    3. Mary Lou Trowbridge

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

    4. Marrion Steele

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

    5. Maria

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

    6. liz

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

    7. Richard

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


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