Digital power guzzlers – Save electricity with computers and other devices

Every time you plug into the power outlet, the meter is running. But what are real power guzzlers?

Whether it’s smartphone or tablet, smart speakers or computer and laptops, many electronic devices are always in standby and are always ready for use. But is that why they use up so much electricity? 

You can find out from us which devices you can save electricity with if you completely disconnect them from the electricity supply and which are power guzzlers.

Power guzzler or Power Saver?

Refrigerators, washing machines, ovens and microwaves – these goods are in almost every household. And of course everyone wants to buy cheaply when buying a new device, but also wants to buy a device with low power consumption. But what about technical devices such as smartphones, PCs and smart speakers? Do you also pay attention to the power consumption when buying these? Or could it even be that you bring real power guzzlers into your house?

Smart technology power guzzlers

Game consoles and smart technology like Amazon Echo and Google Home can be found in more and more households. Equipment with information and communication technology products such as flat-screen TVs and game consoles has increased significantly.

Now electricity supplier E.on has taken a closer look at the smart technology and tested it, to find out where secret power guzzlers are lurking. The electricity giant based its calculations on an average electricity price of 29 ct/kWh. The result is surprising: although smart speakers like Amazons Echo or Google Home always listen in when they are on standby, they consume less than 50p per month. Third-party boxes are an exception. The Alexa-enabled Sonos One speaker consumes around twice as much power.

Power hungry consoles and laptops

So good news in terms of power consumption comes from new technologies such as smart speakers. But what about streaming adapters, game consoles and notebooks? We can give the all-clear with the streaming adapters. They really are not power hungry. The top dogs Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV cost less than 50p per month in electricity if they are constantly on standby.

The situation is different for game consoles and laptops in idle or standby mode: If you never switch off these devices completely and have them permanently connected, you have to reckon with significant additional costs, because they are real power guzzlers. Both laptops and consoles very often perform updates in the background when they are not completely switched off.

Save electricity by switching off completely

But how can you save electricity, even though you use these? Very simple: If you just close your laptop and leave it connected to the mains, it will consume an average of £6 extra electricity per month, depending on the model and energy setting. By completely shutting down and unplugging or switching off the power outlet, you can save an average of £72 a year.

Game consoles also draw a relatively large amount of power in standby mode and are therefore small power guzzlers. Even if you let only a small red lamp shine, you pay with the next electricity bill on it. Both the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One consume a lot of power with eight to nine or 15 watts in sleep mode. If the devices are continuously in standby, it costs you an additional £2 to £3 per month. That’s £24 to £36 a year.

The exception: The Nintendo Switch consumes almost nothing in standby with less than 0.5 watts. But it will cost you nothing if you completely unplug!

Old devices are power guzzlers

Older devices are especially power-hungry. Some computers older than five years consume power even when they are turned off.But that’s not all. Even when you work with them, they draw more energy from the net than newer devices. They’re real power guzzlers. Here you have to decide whether upgrading with modern accessories pays off.

It makes sense to press the power switch on the back of the PC after each shutdown. If this is too fiddly for you, a socket strip with a mains switch will help. Advantage: Here you can completely disconnect several devices from the power supply with one switch.

Other energy guzzlers

Even older monitors, PC speakers and USB hubs can be power-hungry in standby mode. Here, too, only a complete separation from electricity, which pays off in cash, can help. Likewise, power supplies, for example from old mobile phones, are energy guzzlers. Therefore you should always make sure that they do not remain in the socket when the phone is no longer charging.

Printers and multifunctional devices also belong to the secret permanent consumers. Here, too, the age of the device is decisive: the older, the more power-hungry. In standby mode, for example, older devices can cost an additional £45. Newer devices consume “only” around £6 per year in standby mode.

Consumption can also vary greatly for DSL routers that run around the clock. Whether they become power guzzlers depends on the activated functions. In the router settings you can control functions and power consumption. This way you save power if you switch off the WiFi at night or select the Eco mode on your phone if possible. If you make small changes in the settings, an extra £9 per year could stay in your wallet.