Activated carbons (ACs) were prepared from lignite by microwave (MW) and electrical furnace (EF) heating with KOH as activation agent. In order to compare pore structures and electrochemical performances of ACs prepared by both heating methods, the ACs were characterized by N2 adsorption at 77K, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The electrochemical performances of Electrochemical capacitors (ECs) with ACs as electrodes in 3mol/L KOH electrolyte were evaluated by constant current charge-discharge, cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The results show that the pore structures of ACs prepared by MW and EF heating significantly enhance when the weight ratio of KOH to coal increases from 2 to 4. The BET specific surface area, total pore volume, the ratio of mesopore and average pore diameter of ACs prepared by MW heating (denoted as AC-MW4) reaches 2094m2/g, 1.193cm3/g, 53.6%, 2.28nm when the weight ratio of KOH to coal is 4, and ACs prepared by EF heating (denoted as AC-EF4) reaches 2580m2/g, 1.683cm3/g, 67.3%, 2.61nm. The ECs with AC-MW4 and AC-EF4 as electrodes present a high specific capacitance of 348F/g and 377F/g at a current density of 50mA/g, and still remain 325F/g and 350F/g after 500 cycles, respectively. Although the specific surface area, total pore volume and specific capacitance of ACs prepared by MW heating are slightly lower than EF heating, taking into account the heating time in the activation process, ACs prepared by EF heating needs approximate 140min, while MW heating only needs 10min, which have demonstrated that microwave heating technology is a promising and efficient technique to prepare ACs.