A profile view of a person using a microwave.

What are the parts of a microwave?

A microwave consists of a turntable, magnetron, voltage transformer and other internal and external parts that work together to help you reheat leftovers and quickly cook meals. Microwaves from Whirlpool brand can help you streamline dinnertime so you can spend more time enjoying your meals, rather than making them. Use this guide to learn more about the different parts of a microwave and how they function to help you get the most out of your appliance.

Microwave parts: an overview

The microwave parts diagram below highlights the general components of a microwave oven. For model-specific microwave parts, refer to your owner’s manual. Generally, microwaves consist of the following parts:

Internal microwave components
  1. Turntable

  2. Magnetron

  3. Voltage transformer

  4. Waveguide/cover

  5. Cooling fan

  6. Cooking cavity

External microwave components 

    7. Power cord

    8. Control panel

    9. Door


A microwave turntable.

1. Turntable

The turntable is the round plate in the cooking cavity that rotates to help cook food evenly. Make sure the turntable is always securely in place before placing meals on it and using your microwave. If your microwave isn’t spinning, check out this guide for solutions.

A microwave magnetron.

2. Magnetron

The magnetron produces the actual microwaves that reflect off the cooking cavity walls and flow through the turntable and cookware to the food. These waves interact with the food to produce heat and friction, which cooks your meals.


Discover how this technology was used throughout the history and invention of the microwave oven.

A microwave voltage transformer.

3. Voltage transformer

Since most electrical outlets use about 120 volts of electricity, a voltage transformer converts this into a higher voltage for fast heating and cooking. Most microwaves require 3,000 to 4,000 volts to function properly.

A microwave waveguide cover.

4. Waveguide and waveguide cover (shown)

The waveguide directs the flow and transports the actual microwaves to the cooking cavity.

A microwave cooling fan.

5. Cooling fan

A cooling fan keeps your microwave cool, and it automatically kicks on when you are using your appliance. In some Whirlpool® over-the-range microwaves, this fan may also automatically cycle on and off to keep the microwave cool if you are using the cooktop below. These types of microwaves also have a separate vent fan that helps to remove moisture and odors from the cooktop below it.

A container of green beans inside a microwave.

6. Cooking cavity

The cooking cavity is the compartment inside your microwave where you heat, defrost and cook meals. Regularly cleaning the interior of your microwave is key in order to keep it functioning optimally. Whirlpool® microwaves with a CleanRelease® non-stick interior allow for quick cleanups with the simple wipe of a damp cloth.

A microwave power cord.

7. Power cord

No matter the type of microwave you have, the power cord gives it the ability to cook, re-heat, defrost and more. Most microwaves will need a grounded 3-prong outlet with a 120 volt and 15 or 20-amp electrical supply, like in this over-the-range microwave from Whirlpool brand. Refer to your owner’s manual for model-specific requirements.

An electronic microwave. control panel.

8. Control panel

A microwave control panel is the exterior display that has buttons for using your microwave, like timed cooking, defrosting and convenient preset options for heating pizza, popcorn, frozen entrees and more. Some Whirlpool® microwaves are equipped with Electronic Touch Controls and convenient Add 30 Seconds buttons for quick heating at 100% power. Refer to your owner’s manual for model-specific control panel settings.

A Whirlpool® Microwave.

9. Door

A microwave door has a window for you to view your food while it cooks and rotates on the turntable. In some microwaves from Whirlpool brand, the appliance will not function if the door has been closed for five minutes or more without being started. If this occurs, a message will display on your control panel. Simply open and close the door to reset. If your microwave is running, opening the door will stop that cooking cycle.

Different microwave oven components

Over-the-range and built-in microwaves can free up counter space and provide sleek, integrated looks for your kitchen. While they mostly contain the same interior and exterior parts, a few components distinguish these two types of microwaves, like mounting brackets for over-the-range models and trim kits for built-in.

What are the parts of an over-the-range microwave?

An over-the-range microwave consists of internal components, such as a magnetron, voltage transformer, waveguide, cooling fan, cooking cavity and turntable. Externally, it includes a power cord, control panel, door and mounting bracket for installing over your range.

Low profile over-the-range microwaves from Whirlpool brand provide the best of both worlds with more space-saving capabilities and a vent hood solution to help remove smoke, odor and moisture while you cook.

What are the parts of a built-in microwave?

Built-in microwaves contain the external parts of power cords, control panels and doors, as well as the internal components of magnetrons, voltage transformers, waveguides, cooling fans, cooking cavities and turntables. These sleek microwaves are designed to complement Whirlpool® wall ovens and save space with external Slim Trim Kits for an integrated look right out of the box.

Where to buy parts for a microwave

Keep your home humming with microwave replacement parts and accessories from Whirlpool brand. Is your appliance in need of service? Explore the repair options and DIY guides to get your microwave up and running.  And learn how to troubleshoot a microwave that’s not heating up properly.

Shop Whirlpool® microwaves

The internal and external parts of a microwave work together to provide you with convenient cooking and quick results in Whirlpool® over-the-range, built-in and countertop microwaves. Let Whirlpool brand help you handle dinner with delicious food and less hassle for every meal.

Learn more about Whirlpool® microwaves

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