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Which appliances use the most electricity in homes?

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Discover which household appliances are driving up electricity bills in your home. Let’s track down some of the key culprits and pinpoint practical ways to stop energy wastage and cut your bills.

Article contents:

  • Household Energy Consumption 
  • Top 20 Biggest Users of Electricity at Home 
    •  Appliance Energy Consumption Chart  
      • Kitchen Appliances
      • Laundry Appliances 
      • Living Room Appliances 
      • Home Office Appliances 
      • Bedroom Appliances 
      • Bathroom Appliances 
  • Worst Appliances to Leave on Standby 

Household energy consumption 

With the cost of living soaring at the moment, we’re all looking for ways to cut our energy bills. 

At the same time, the household appliance market is booming. The value of household appliances sold annually worldwide will have grown by 1% in the period from 2015 to 2024. While this is at least partly driven by the move towards modern, energy-efficient technology, adding more appliances to our homes can increase our electricity consumption.

It’s important to know which appliances use the most electricity in homes so you can choose the most energy-efficient appliances and limit your use of appliances that are guzzling energy. Let’s see which electrical items are currently costing you the most money and how you can change that to reduce your energy bill.

Top 20 biggest users of electricity in the home 

It’s time to name and shame the household appliances that make your electricity metre dizzy when you switch them on. We’ve grouped the appliances by the room in which they are usually found, so you can go on a tour of your home to tackle problem appliances.

When we're looking at appliance energy consumption, we have to consider both the energy usage of each appliance and also how long it will be running for:

  • Energy Usage - Each appliance has a rating based on the number of watts or kilowatts (kW) it uses in an hour.
  • Time Usage (how long the appliance remains on) - Some appliances are used very briefly while others are switched on all day, so that needs to be factored into the cost. 

Energy rating varies between different models and manufacturers, so we are using typical values. Check each of your appliance’s energy labels for an accurate energy rating.

Household Area


Energy rating (kW)

Daily time usage (hrs)

Average daily energy consumption (kWh)


Fridge freezer 0.4 kW 24 hrs 0.75 kWh
Oven 2.2 kW 1 hr 2.2 kWh
Electric hob 1.5 kW 1 hr 1.5 kWh
Air fryer 1.5 kW 1hr 1.5 kWh
Kettle 2.7 kW 0.25 hr 0.7 kWh
Dishwasher 1.2kW 2 hr 2.4 kWh

Laundry room

Tumble dryer 2.5 1 hr 1.5 kWh
Washing machine 1.5 0.75 hr 1.2 kWh
Vacuum cleaner 0.7 0.1 hr 0.07 kWh


Electric shower 10 0.5 hr 5 kWh
Extractor fan 0.01 0.5 hr 0.005 kWh

Living room

Games console 0.2 2 hrs 0.4 kWh
TV 0.2 3 hrs 0.6 kWh
Broadband router 0.01 24 hrs 0.24 kWh

Home office 

Desktop computer 0.14 8 hrs 1.12 kWh
Printer  0.05 0.05 hr 0.05 kWh
Heater 2 kW 3 hrs 6 kWh


Lightbulbs 0.01 5 hrs 0.05 kWh
Phone charger 0.01 7 hrs 0.07 kWh
Hair dryer 1.5 kW 1.5 hrs 0.23 kWh

You can easily adapt the figures above to reflect the daily usage of each appliance in your home. You’ll then be able to calculate estimated running costs for each appliance by multiplying the average daily energy consumption by the unit price per kWh on your electricity tariff.

Energy usage of kitchen appliances


Some of the most energy-hungry appliances in your home are found in your kitchen. Since kitchen appliances are often involved in storing and cooking food, we rely on these appliances every day. But there are still things you can do to cut energy consumption in the kitchen.

Fridge freezer

How much electricity does a fridge freezer use?
Fridge freezers typically use between 200 kWh and 500 kWh of electricity every year. Although they are plugged in 24 hours a day, they don’t work at full power all the time and only use as much energy as they need to maintain the right temperature. 

Use less electricity by:

  • Choosing an energy-efficient, A-rated fridge freezer
  • Operating your fridge below 5 °C and your freezer at -18 °C
  • Keeping your fridge about three-quarters full to improve air circulation and efficiency

Electric Oven 

How much electricity does an oven use?
An electric oven can be one of the most expensive appliances to run in your home. Electric ovens usually have an energy rating of between 2 kW and 2.4 kW, and will typically be in use for an hour each day.

Use less electricity by:

  • Swapping to a slow cooker or air fryer — both of which are far more efficient — when possible
  • Using a microwave to reheat food — it's more efficient because it only heats the food itself, not the entire heating space
  • Keeping the oven door closed when it’s in use to stop heat from escaping

Electric Hob

How much electricity does a hob use?
An electric hob will typically use about 0.75 kWh of energy per use. Most electric hobs have an energy rating of around 1.5 kW — a fairly energy-hungry figure — and will normally be on for around half an hour.

Use less electricity by:

  • Boiling water in the kettle first instead of heating cold water on the hob
  • Putting a lid on your pans to get them up to temperature more quickly
  • Using an air fryer, which is more energy-efficient, to replace your frying pan


How much electricity does a kettle use?
Kettles usually have one of the highest energy ratings of all household appliances. Fortunately, we only ever need it for a few minutes at a time so the energy costs of a cup of tea or coffee don’t get too high.

Use less electricity by:

  • Only using as much water as you need — a half-filled kettle uses half as much energy as a full kettle
  • Using a kettle with a low minimum fill level so you can boil just enough water for one cuppa.
  • Choosing an insulated kettle, which will boil more quickly


How much electricity does a dishwasher use? 
Dishwashers are another of the most energy-hungry appliances in our homes. They are typically energy rated between 1.2 kW and 2.4 kW. With programmes lasting up to three hours in some cases, that can start to add up.

Use less electricity by:

  • Waiting until the dishwasher is full before putting it on
  • Choosing a lower temperature or ‘eco’ programme
  • Putting your dishwasher on overnight if you’re on an Economy 7 plan

Energy usage of laundry appliances 

We all need clean clothes to wear, but that comes with an energy cost. Laundry appliances use a lot of electricity. Let’s look at exactly how much energy and consider some of the things you can do to help keep costs as low as possible.

Tumble dryer

How much electricity does a tumble dryer use?
Tumble dryers are perhaps the biggest users of electricity in our homes. They usually have energy ratings of between 1.5 kW and 2.5 kW, with an average tumble dryer cycle using 2.5 kWh.

Use less electricity by:

  • Giving clothes an extra spin cycle in the washing machine to get rid of excess moisture
  • Untangling bundled clothes and cleaning the lint filter after each cycle so that air can circulate better
  • Air drying clothes outside whenever possible or inside with open windows or a dehumidifier

Washing machine

How much electricity does a washing machine use?
Washing machines have energy ratings of 1 kW to 2.5 kW, but they don’t use the maximum amount of energy for the full cycle. Still, a washing machine is one of the most heavily used appliances in the home and the energy costs start to stack up in households that are washing several loads every week.

Use less electricity by:

  • Washing your clothes at the lowest possible temperature
  • Avoiding half-loads and only using your washing machine when you have a full load ready
  • Choosing an energy-efficient, A-rated washing machine

Vacuum cleaner

How much electricity does a vacuum cleaner use?
Vacuum cleaners are not major users of energy in our homes. Most vacuum cleaners have an energy rating of between 0.6 kW and 0.9 kW. With a vacuum cleaner only in use 30 minutes per week on average, the costs of keeping your carpets clean are very low.

Use less electricity by:

  • Upgrading to a modern vacuum cleaner — newer models are more energy-efficient
  • Using an effective vacuum cleaner that gets dust up more quickly so you don’t have to use it for as long
  • Emptying your vacuum cleaner before it gets two-thirds full to maintain efficiency

Energy usage of bathroom appliances

Bathrooms — not usually associated with electricity or household appliances — use more energy than you might expect, particularly for households reliant on an electric shower. So, how can you cut energy usage by bathroom appliances? 

Electric shower

How much electricity does an electric shower use?
An electric shower is usually the greediest appliance in any home with an energy rating of between 7 kW and 10 kW. Its saving grace is that the average time spent in the shower is eight minutes — but this can start to add up for larger households. 

Use less electricity by:

  • Setting a timer on your phone for the time you want to spend in the shower
  • Switching to an energy-efficient aerated shower head, which will use less water and need less electricity to heat the water
  • Turning the shower off when lathering or shampooing, and switching it back on to rinse

Extractor fan 

How much electricity does an extractor fan use?
Extractor fans have an energy rating of between 5 and 40 watts, which means your bathroom fan will use very little electricity during the time it’s in use.

Use less electricity by:

  • Opening windows to increase ventilation in your bathroom
  • Using a modern extractor fan with a more efficient motor
  • Choosing an extractor fan that has a sensor that helps it to adapt the amount of energy used based on moisture levels in your bathroom

Energy usage of living room appliances


In the age of streaming, video games and social media, home entertainment and living room appliances are being used more now than ever before. Let’s see what impact that has on your electricity bills and how you can reduce energy use in your living room.

Game console

How much electricity does a games console use?
Game consoles don’t use much electricity. Consoles are usually energy rated at between 0.1 kW and 0.2 kW so even during extended gaming sessions, they won’t run up too much of a bill.

Use less electricity by:

  • Switching consoles off at the wall when not in use and not leaving them in standby mode
  • Checking your console’s settings for energy-saving modes
  • Setting a timer for how long you want to spend using your console


How much electricity does a TV use?
An LCD TV uses around 0.2 kW per hour on average. That’s not very much but it can start to add up if the TV is on for long periods. And the bigger your screen, the more energy it will use.

Use less electricity by:

  • Choosing a TV that is only as big as you need it to be
  • Switching off at the wall and not leaving your TV in standby mode when it’s not in use
  • Selecting eco or energy-saving mode and turning down the backlight brightness on your TV

Broadband router 

How much electricity does a broadband router use?
Broadband routers use between 2 and 20 watts an hour to run. The average energy consumption for a router is 6 watts an hour. This is very low but it’s likely to be a cost that’s running around the clock.

Use less electricity by:

  • Switching the router off when you’re away
  • Keeping the router dust-free and well-ventilated to avoid overheating
  • Swapping from a router with higher energy consumption

Energy usage of home office appliances 


With more of us working from home than ever before, energy usage by home office appliances has been an extra burden for many households. Home office appliances can now make a major contribution to our energy use.

Desktop computer

How much electricity does a desktop computer use?
Regular use of a desktop computer will have a noticeable impact on your energy bills. Energy ratings of between 0.1 kW and 0.2 kW make computers similar to TVs for energy use. This adds up if a desktop computer is on for eight hours a day, five days a week.

Use less electricity by:

  • Not leaving your computer in standby mode overnight — switch it off at the wall
  • Switching off your screen or using standby mode when stepping away from your desk for a short time 
  • Swapping to a laptop or tablet when possible


How much electricity does a printer use?

Printers have a fairly low energy usage, and rarely cost much to run because they are not in constant use. A printer might use around 50 watts when printing, 2 watts in standby mode and 1 watt in sleep mode.

Use less electricity by:

  • Only switching the printer on when you need to use it
  • Turning the printer off at the wall when it’s not in use
  • Choosing eco, quick or draft quality print settings when appropriate


How much electricity does a blow heater use?

If you’re trying to avoid using your central heating during the day, you might have added an electric heater to your home office. Blow heaters typically use between 1 kW and 2 kW an hour.

Use less electricity by:

  • Choosing the lowest possible setting — many blow heaters have a choice of heat outputs
  • Setting timers to make the room comfortable when you arrive
  • Stopping draughts and anything else that is causing heat to escape

Energy usage of bedroom appliances

Electricity consumption usually isn’t enormous in the bedroom — which you might expect since we’re mainly lying in darkness. But there are still steps you can take to cut your energy use.


How much electricity do lightbulbs use?
Low-energy lightbulbs use as little as 18 watts an hour. They can be 90% more efficient than standard light bulbs. That can add up to a huge difference in electricity costs over time.

Use less electricity by:

  • Swapping all standard light bulbs to low-energy bulbs
  • Using lamps rather than big lights when possible
  • Always turning lights off when you leave a room

Phone charger

How much electricity does a phone charger use?
A phone charger uses between 2 watts and 10 watts an hour when charging your phone. It will use some electricity — but no more than 0.5 watts — when plugged in but not connected to your phone.

Use less electricity by:

  • Charging your phone during the day instead of leaving it plugged in overnight
  • Unplugging your charger when it’s not in use
  • Closing unused apps, turning down screen brightness and using power-saving modes to make each charge last longer

Hair dryer 

How much electricity does a hair dryer use?
A hair dryer uses quite a lot of electricity — but this is offset by the fact that it’s not in use for very long periods. Hair dryers often have an energy rating of around 1.5 kW — comparable to an electric hob or washing machine — but are not switched on for as long.

Use less electricity by:

  • Towel drying your hair first
  • Unplugging your hair dryer when it’s not in use
  • Choosing a low-wattage hair dryer

Worst appliances to leave on standby 

Leaving appliances in standby mode is a waste of energy and pushes up your energy bills with absolutely no benefit to you. Is your home full of vampire devices that are guzzling up electricity without you even realising it? These are some of the worst appliances to leave on standby.

1. Television. You could save up to £49.22  a year by waving goodbye to the little red light and switching your TV properly.
2. TV box. When you switch off the TV, don’t forget your set-top box.  You could save an extra £46.20 by switching it off.
3. Microwave. If it’s still got an LED display, it’s still using power. Turning your microwave off at the wall could save £32.74 a year.
4. Game consoles. Switching off a games console instead of leaving it in standby mode will save you around £24.34 a year.
5. Electric shower. Do you remember to pull the cord when you’re finishing in the shower? You’ll save around £19.60 a year if you do.

Power NI electricity prices & plans 

We’re committed to helping households across Northern Ireland to get more from their electricity plans. That’s why we offer the best possible energy prices and a range of options. 

You can choose the plan that’s right for how you use electricity in your home. Take a look at our energy prices and plans to see what we’ve got available and what’s best for you.