Stainless steel Maytag® over-the-range microwave set in white cabinetry

Parts of a Microwave: Microwave Parts Diagram

The parts of a microwave include a turntable, cavity, voltage transformer and other internal and external parts that work together to help you get meals ready quickly or reheat your leftovers.

Microwaves from Maytag brand are not only durable and convenient, but they are designed to do more with select models featuring settings for crisping, browning and even baking. Read on to learn more about the different parts of a microwave and how they function.

Infographic identifying the internal and external parts of a microwave Infographic identifying the internal and external parts of a microwave

What are the parts of a microwave?

To learn more about how microwaves work, you first need to know its basic components. The microwave parts diagram below shows the general parts of a microwave. For microwave components specific to your model and its settings, refer to your owner’s manual.  

Typically, microwaves consist of the following parts:

Internal microwave components

1. High voltage transformer

2. Magnetron

3. Waveguide/cover

4. Cooling fan

5. Cooking cavity

6. Turntable

External microwave components

7. Power cord

8. Control panel

9. Door

Image of high voltage transformer for microwave

1. High Voltage Transformer

Microwaves require a high voltage of electricity to thoroughly cook food. They typically need between 3,000 and 4,000 volts. Because most microwaves are plugged into 120 volt electrical outlets, they require a transformer to alter the power level and provide the necessary voltage. The high voltage transformer uses capacitors that loop electrical currents and multiply their power, supplying the microwave with the voltage it needs to function.

Image of microwave magnetron

2. Magnetron

A magnetron in the microwave oven produces microwaves which reflect off the metal floor, walls and ceiling and pass through the turntable and microwave-safe cookware to the food. Microwaves are attracted to and absorbed by fat, sugar, and water molecules in the food, causing them to move, producing friction and heat which cooks the food. This technology was a driving force behind the history and invention of the microwave.

Image of microwave waveguide

3. Waveguide

The waveguide is a component of the microwave that guides the microwaves through the food while also not allowing them to escape, which is an important safety feature. The waveguide is a hollow metal tube that transmits and directs the waves produced by the magnetron towards the cooking cavity. The inner walls are reflective, allowing the microwaves to bounce back and forth from the waveguide, passing through the food, causing it to heat up.

Image of microwave cooling fan

4. Cooling Fan

The cooling fan keeps the microwave from overheating. The cooling fan automatically comes on during operation to cool the microwave oven. In Maytag® over-the-range models, a vent fan may also automatically come on and cycle on and off to remove odor, moisture and smoke while the cooktop below is being used.

Door opened on microwave showing cooking cavity

5. Cooking Cavity

The cooking cavity is the inside compartment of your microwave where you cook, reheat, brown, or defrost your food. The cooking cavity of a microwave varies in size but has thick walls to keep the user safe from microwaves. Some microwaves come with durable stainless steel cavities, such as this option from Maytag brand.

Image of white dish with food in it on microwave turntable

6. Turntable

The turntable is a glass plate inside the microwave that rotates your food to help it cook, defrost, or reheat evenly. Turntables are usually removable for easy clean-up. In some Maytag® microwave models, such as this over-the-range microwave with convection mode, the turntable may be turned off for manual cooking. This setting is helpful when cooking with plates that are bigger than the turntable, or when cooking with plates that are side by side.

White power cord coiled on top of microwave

7. Power Cord

The microwave’s power cord supplies the microwave with electricity and enables it to function. Most microwaves, such as this over-the-range model from Maytag brand, require a grounded 3-prong outlet and a 120 V electrical supply with a fuse or circuit breaker. Refer to your owner’s manual for model-specific requirements.

Image of microwave control panel

8. Control panel

The control panel allows the user to choose settings and determine what they want the microwave to do. From the control panel the user can choose how long they want the food to cook or whether they want to defrost or heat. Some microwaves also have settings for browning, baking and crisping, as well as pre-determined cook times and power levels for specific foods such as popcorn, pizza and vegetables.

Image of door on Maytag® microwave

9. Door

The microwave door allows the user to access the cooking cavity. Microwave doors have seals around the edges that keep the microwaves inside the cavity and protect users and people nearby. Microwave doors have transparent glass that allows you to keep an eye on your food as it cooks. The glass is fitted with metal mesh as a safety measure to prevent microwaves from escaping the cavity.

Hand holding white towel wiping microwave control panel Hand holding white towel wiping microwave control panel

How do I maintain my microwave?

One of the best ways to keep your microwave in working order and ready for your next meal is to keep the microwave clean. It is important to clean the inside of your microwave, the turntable, and the exterior weekly, but also as needed when a mess occurs. 

Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for cleaning and maintaining your appliance.

Microwaving a cup of water for 3-5 minutes in a microwave-safe container may help loosen food residue that is stuck on the inside of the microwave cavity. You can then wipe down the inside with warm, soapy water, and dry it with a clean cloth. 

The turntable can usually be removed to be cleaned and then dried and placed back inside the cavity. Be sure to allow the turntable to cool before removing it, if you have just used it. 

Finally, you can clean the exterior of your microwave and the control panel with water and mild dish soap. You can also clean the outside of the door and the glass on your microwave with glass cleaner to help remove smudges or fingerprints.

Other ways to maintain your microwave include being gentle when you close the door, never putting anything metal inside the microwave cavity and scheduling appliance service when you are unsure of how to fix your microwave.

Maytag® over-the-range microwave above a Maytag® range set in white cabinetry Maytag® over-the-range microwave above a Maytag® range set in white cabinetry

Can I replace microwave parts on my own?

There are some microwave issues that you can troubleshoot and fix on your own. Always refer to your owner’s manual for guidance specific to your microwave model. If you are not comfortable replacing microwave parts on your own, schedule a service appointment to troubleshoot and repair your microwave.

Where can I purchase parts for my Maytag® Microwave?

If you accidentally break your microwave turntable, microwave something you shouldn’t, or otherwise need to replace part of your Maytag® microwave, you should always use genuine Maytag® parts, and hire a certified technician when necessary. You can get Maytag brand replacement parts and other appliance accessories online.

Maytag® logo on stainless steel appliance Maytag® logo on stainless steel appliance

How can I schedule service for my Maytag® Microwave?

If your Maytag® microwave is not working, you should schedule service to get it back in working order. You can visit the Maytag Owner Support Center to schedule appliance repair services through Maytag brand’s network of preferred local contractors.

The Maytag Owner Support Center can also assist you with registering your Maytag® appliances to gain access to tips and tricks, finding your warranty information, and ordering accessories and recommended parts.  

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Whether you are looking forward to leftovers or keeping your meal warm so you can get everything on the table at once, Maytag® microwaves are dependable, powerful and ready to help you master any meal.

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