How long does a microwave magnetron last? It’s a good question, but if you’re looking for an answer in terms of how many years it will last, it can be much harder to pin down.
That’s because a magnetron’s lifespan depends on things like:
- How often you use it: Someone living alone who uses their microwave once a week is of course going to put their appliance under less strain than a busy family household will.
- The power settings you use: Magnetrons only have so much power to give before they fail, so if you’re running it on the highest setting constantly, it’s going to burn out faster!
- The quality of the appliance: More expensive microwaves typically last longer than more budget-focused models – something that’s so often true in the world of kitchen appliances. Similarly, a commercial microwave is more expensive, but is built to withstand a lot more punishment.
- Proper use: The one thing you want to avoid is running your microwave empty. That’s a quick way to do some major damage to your microwave magnetron.
To really understand what’s going on inside a magnetron I recommend watching this helpful video!
If we can’t exactly pin down the number of years a magnetron will last, can we put a figure on it at all?
The answer is yes, we can!
Different models of microwave will have better or worse magnetrons, but a good rule of thumb is that a magnetron should last for around 1,500 – 2,000 hours of use.
So, if you use it for an hour a day, you can expect it to last for 2,000 days, or a little over 6 years.
Again, it does depend a little on how much pressure you put the magnetron under, but that’s a good baseline to work with.
I plan for all my kitchen appliances to last for around 7 years before replacing them. There’s a good chance that any microwave you buy from a reputable brand will keep on chugging away for about that time!
Just make sure you avoid running your microwave empty, and watch out for signs that your microwave is unsafe to use. You can learn more about the longevity of this particular appliance by reading my microwave life expectancy guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some related questions that often come up around this topic.
Is it worth replacing a magnetron in a microwave?
It can be worth replacing a magnetron in a microwave. If you’re out of warranty but the microwave is still relatively new, then it can be good value for money.
If you’re not confident about replacing the part yourself though, you’ll also have to factor in the price of getting a professional to do it for you.
If the microwave is older than five years, it’s probably worth looking at a complete replacement for your appliance. New microwaves are often better than old ones overall, and it’s worth taking advantage of new technology.
How much is a new magnetron?
The price of a new magnetron varies depending on the make and model of your microwave. As a rough estimate though, you can expect to pay around $40-60 for the replacement part.
Amazon has a good selection of magnetrons for the most common brands, but make sure you do your homework first so you buy the right part for your own appliance.
(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)
What causes magnetron failure in a microwave?
There are a number of things that can cause magnetron failure, and before it’s finished its natural lifespan:
– The magnets become damaged
– The terminals on the magnetron are burned
– The antenna is damaged
– Loose connections
You can read more about the causes of magnetron failure elsewhere on the site, but those are the usual culprits!
Can a magnetron wear out?
A magnetron can indeed wear out over time. Most magnetrons are designed to produce around 1,500-2,000 hours of energy, but this can be as low as 500 depending on the make and model.
They certainly aren’t designed to last forever, but the average household should get around 6-7 years of use from the appliance.
Can a magnetron be repaired?
A magnetron can be repaired, but it’s not the kind of job I’d recommend undertaking yourself unless you really know what you’re doing!
If you do decide to have it fixed – or replaced – by an electrician, make sure you get a full quote outlining the costs of the labor and any additional parts.
If the magnetron is more than 5 years old, I would strongly encourage you to consider replacing the appliance if you can afford to do so.
Other parts of the microwave will fail over time too, and it might be better to bite the bullet and get a more modern replacement!
Now you know how long your microwave magnetron should last, and what you can do if it starts showing signs of failure.
Mark’s a lifelong food fanatic and spent ten years working as an entertainment journalist. He now combines his love of food, drink and writing as the founder and editor of Viva Flavor. Read more