Can You Use LED Light Bulb In The Microwave?

An LED bulb’s utility has grown over the years from being dramatic RGB lights to useful everyday applications that can now be found everywhere around the house and office.

And even if they are currently not being used in certain places, like appliances, the choice lies with you! Appliance bulbs are easy to replace, and LED replacements are even easier to find.

But you are just not sure if you can use a plastic LED bulb inside a microwave oven that emits radiation to generate heat. Indeed an LED would get damaged?

Definitely not!

LED bulbs can be used inside microwave ovens without the risk of damage to the bulb. The bulb is housed outside the cavity of the microwave, behind a protective metallic mesh.

Are Bulbs Exposed To Microwaves?

You might be wondering how a bulb can be placed in high microwave temperatures without getting damaged.

That is because the light shines inside the microwave’s central interior. Still, the bulb itself is not inside the main cavity of the appliance. Pretty neat design!

The light bulb is placed just outside the interior. It is behind a metallic mesh or grill with small holes, which allows light to pass through the mesh into the cavity to see your fancy cooking.

Therefore, the bulb itself is not exposed to the rays of the radiation inside the microwave oven. In essence, the bulb is isolated and outside the range of microwaves that could have heated the LED bulb.

Can Microwave Interfere With an LED Bulb?

Since you now know that the bulb is not exposed to microwaves, you need to understand how it prevents that.

The inside of the microwave’s main cavity is where we place the food to get heated. The part that is fully exposed to microwaves is covered in white shiny metallic surfaces.

These shiny reflective surfaces allow the microwaves generated to bounce around and reflect around the interior to contain the waves within the microwave and increase efficiency.

The waves eventually penetrate the food molecules and vibrate them at a greater speed, thus heating the food up.

Now you would imagine that the microwaves can get past through the metallic mesh that protects the LED bulb.

But that doesn’t happen.

It is the same principle used to prevent microwaves from reaching outside the microwave door and heating the surroundings up!

There is a wire mesh on the door, too, I’m sure you’ve noticed.

These wires meshes of the door and the bulb covering have holes that are small enough that the long wavelength of microwaves cannot pass through and escape.

So once the microwave rays are inside the cavity, the bulb is safely tucked behind a grill with holes, and microwaves cannot reach the LED bulb.

Similarly, the wire mesh on the door allows you to see inside, but prevents the radiation from leaking out.

Will An LED Bulb Get Hot In Microwave?

high temperature

As I mentioned above, the light bulb is outside the range of the microwaves being emitted. But obviously, a microwave oven creates heat to warm up the food, so certainly the bulb would get hot?

Well, the bulb does get slightly warm due to residual heat, or due to steam escaping from the food being heated up. This is for a little while only, and usually not hot enough to harm an LED bulb in any significant way.

Another reason the bulb could get slightly warmer is because of the cooling fan that redirects warm air away from the cavity to the outside vents.

The fan might be redirecting air over and around the LED bulb, which would raise its temperature. But not every microwave has this issue, as every manufacturer has a different layout of the electronics.

Other than that, the LED bulb is not exposed to the vibrating rays of microwaves and will not get ‘cooked’ in there.

Having said that, there are specific LED bulbs that are designed to be used inside microwaves that one should purchase.

Related: Can LED Bulbs Be Used In Ovens?

Is It Safe To Use LED Bulbs In Microwave?

led light bulb

Based on the reasoning we have explored above, LED bulbs are absolutely safe to use inside microwave ovens. Many manufacturers have them available to use.

They are certainly safer than other energy-saving alternatives like CFL bulbs out there. CFLs are known to contain dangerous metallic vapors and gases like mercury.

If for any reason, they break, the food would be covered in toxic fumes, and perhaps the microwave itself would be compromised as a whole.

Also, when you think about how many times and the force with which a microwave door opens and closes in an average household, you would be more inclined to replace the bulb with one that is not susceptible to vibrations and force.

Incandescent light bulbs have a thin metallic filament that can easily break due to excessive, long-term vibrations and force. LED bulbs do not have that issue and are another reason they will out-shine other bulbs.

So not only are LEDs a perfectly safe choice in that regard, but in fact, they will last you a long time before if you need to replace them at all!

Here is an LED light bulb (Amazon) that is used to replace incandescents inside a microwave that you will love for its bright white light.

A word of caution needs to be mentioned here. Some bulbs on newer microwaves built into the cabinets are quickly replaced by removing the top panel and accessing a trapdoor containing the bulb inside.

But other older and stand-alone models of microwaves have to have the entire outer covering of the microwave removed to access the bulb holder to change the bulb.

Also read: Can You Use LED Bulbs In Range Hoods?

In this second case, it is vital that you only replace the bulb and don’t try to repair anything else.

This is because even when the microwave is unplugged from the wall socket, a high-voltage capacitor inside it holds a high electrical charge that is lethal to touch.

It needs to be safely discharged before any repair work can ensue. If you are in doubt of any electrical work, it is always better to call in an expert and learn along the way.

Final Words

Finding yourself with a microwave bulb that no longer works is the best time to move to LED options, and hopefully, I have shed more light on that.

You certainly won’t have to worry about the bulb getting damaged. In fact, you will be in for a long-term money-saving and energy-efficient trip.

  • Have you been looking for a microwave light replacement?
  • Are you surprised how microwaves are contained in the appliance?

Let me know in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Can You Use LED Light Bulb In The Microwave?”

  1. Dear Eugen,

    Do you know, is there any legal regulation in EU, which require manufacturers to replace U incandescent bulbs by LED ones after 1st of September 2021?

    Thank you,


    • Hi Alex,

      There is a directive in the EU to start phasing out incandescent bulbs since 2009. However, I don’t have any information if this is the date when incandescent bulbs will be banned for good.


  2. FYI, the bulb you linked to in the article has this on the product page: “But DON’T install the bulb inside the microwave oven.” Are they referring to inside the shielded panel— ie, “within the microwave casing” or are they referring to the clowns that will put the bulb on the turntable and press start???

    • Hi,

      This is a fair point you have, I haven’t actually noticed that statement. Anyways, I have had a closer look and read, and I think what this refers to is that the bulb should not be directly exposed to microwaves and heat. Which in this case, it is putting it on the turntable as the area where the light is must be shielded.

      Hope that helps.

      • Eugen, in another article you stated that an LED’s life span may be determined by it’s junction temperature. Since the cavity bulb is in enclosed space, might the junction temp get too high if the microwave is used over a long period instead of just a short period to reheat something. Therefore the reason to NOT install in the lighting area for the cavity?

        • Hi Ralph,

          In a way you are right LEDs hate high temperature, there is no discussion about that. The microwave bulbs however, should have a better design at the base to dissipate heat, which makes them more suitable for microwave application. Still, if you put them into the cavity area they will get destroyed instantly. Keep in mind that modern microwaves also have the air circulation inside that takes the steam and hot fumes away from the cavity area, this also helps to maintain lower temperature outside the cavity.


  3. Thank you for your input on this complex matter.

    But you downplayed the issue when the manufacturer has placed the bulb in the air stream that vents/exhausts the hot air and steam from the microwave cavity — which can get very hot.

    Also, you mention that there are led’s that are designed to be used in that situation, but I have not been able to find any. has many led’s (supposedly) for microwaves ovens, but customers speak about using them UNDER the microwave for stovetop lighting.

    Can you name any that are specifically designed to be used to illuminate the microwave oven cavity, but (are outside the oven cavity as you describe and) are in the airstream being exhausted from the oven?


    • Hi Garry,

      Have a look at this bulb. After I wrote this article, what I have realized is that not all microwaves are designed to be used with LED bulbs. Some ovens don’t shield the bulb properly so you will find that bulb to get destroyed instantly, but then you have other brands that did a great job and bulb will last for ages illuminating the cavity area.


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