Electricity Costs for 10 Key Household Products

on July 17, 2017

Electricity powers many of your key household products and appliances, but how much is actually needed to run them, and how much does this electricity cost?

Opower recently did a study on how much it costs to charge an iPhone 6. They calculated how long it took to get the iPhone's battery from 0% to 100%, and found that it only took 10.5 watt-hours (Wh) of electricity to fully charge. Surprisingly, when crunching the numbers, they realized it only costs you a mere $0.47 to fully charge your iPhone everyday for a year.

We were inspired by this data, so we collected our own. We looked at 10 household products and calculated how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) it takes for them to run if you use them everyday for a year. We then used 12.29 cents as the average price per kWh to come up with typical electricity costs. Here's a look at which of your household products are using the most electricity and are likely busting your energy budget each month.

Hair Dryer Electricity Costs

The estimated time you use a hair dryer when you get ready is 30 minutes. Since it takes 1200 watts for a hair dryer to run for a full hour, that means it takes 600 watts, or 600 Wh, or 0.6 kWh to run for 30 minutes. When multiplying this usage by days in a year, at a rate of 12.19 cents per kWh, we find that you pay $26.92 per year to dry your hair everyday.

  • Average run: 30 minutes per day
  • Wh per use: 1200 watts per hour (per ½ hour use) = 600 Wh
  • kWh per use: 600 Wh/1000 = 0.6 kWh
  • Cost: 0.6 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $26.92 per year

This single appliance is costing you almost $30 a year, and even if you don't use it often, the amount of wattage it requires for a single use is what may be increasing your energy bill. To reduce the cost of this appliance, try using it less, if possible. One suggestion is to take fewer showers or let your hair air dry. You'll use less water and, and therefore, less electricity that would normally be used to dry your hair. Make sure to unplug the appliance, as well.

Refrigerator Electricity Costs

A refrigerator must run 24 hours a day in order to keep your food fresh. This means that the 180 watts it produces per hour must be multiplied by its 24 hours of use. So, a refrigerator is actually using 4320 Wh, or 4.32 kWh, everyday of the year. Multiplying this by 365 days at the average price per kWh, we find that your fridge is costing you $193.70 per year.

  • Average run: 24 hours per day
  • Wh per use: 180 watts (per 24 hour use) = 4,320 Wh
  • kWh per use: 4320 Wh/1000 = 4.32 kWh
  • Cost: 4.32 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $193.70 per year

You're spending almost $200 each year to keep your food fresh. A refrigerator is a necessity, but its high electricity costs are not. To reduce the cost of this appliance, purchase one that uses less electricity. Energy Star appliances, and ones alike, can save you hundreds of dollars simply because of how they are made. These appliances are built more efficiently and effectively to save you money. You can also stock your fridge with cold items, so it will require less work to keep the food cool. Also, let hot items, such as soup and pasta, cool down before you put them in the fridge.

Laptop Electricity Costs

An average 14-15 inch laptop uses 60 watts when it charges for one hour, the recommended charging time. Therefore, it takes 60 Wh, or 0.06kWh, to fully charge. When multiplying this by days in a year at the average cost per kWh, we find that it costs $2.69 a year to fully charge your laptop everyday.

  • Average run: 1 hour per day (recommended charge)
  • Wh per use: 60 watts (per 1 hour charge) = 60 Wh
  • kWh per use: 60 Wh/1000 = 0.06 kWh
  • Cost: 0.06 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $2.69 per year

Alike to the iPhone, this is an extremely minimal cost given how frequently a laptop is used. If you believe this electricity cost is too high, you can simply use the laptop until it's completely out of battery then set it aside to recharge. When a laptop is used while charging, it takes it longer and requires more energy to get to a full 100% battery.

Light Bulb Electricity Costs

An average incandescent bulb uses 60 watts an hour, whereas an average CFL bulb uses only 14 watts on average. The average home keeps their lights on for about 3 hours each day. This means that one incandescent bulb needs 180 Wh, or 0.18 kWh, to run for just three hours, and a CFL needs 42 Wh, or 0.042 kWh. So, one incandescent bulb costs $8.07 per year and one CFL bulb only costs $1.88 per year, a whole $6 less.

Both of these bulb costs might seem low, but given that an average household has over 40 bulbs, your lighting, especially incandescent, can easily hike up your electricity bills.

Incandescent Light Bulb

  • Average run: 3 hours per day
  • Wh per use: 60 watts (per 3 hour use) = 180 Wh
  • kWh per use: 180 Wh/1000 = 0.18 kWh
  • Cost per bulb: 0.18 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $8.07 per year
  • Total Cost: $8.07 x 40 bulbs = $322.80 per year

CFL Light Bulb

  • Average run: 3 hour per day
  • Wh per use: 14 watts (per 3 hour use) = 42 Wh
  • kWh per use: 42 Wh/1000 = 0.042 kWh per use
  • Cost per bulb: 0.042 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $1.88 per year
  • Total Cost: $1.88 x 40 bulbs = $75.20 per year

The best way to save electricity and reduce the your lighting costs is to switch over to CFL or LED light bulbs. If you switch just one lightbulb, you will save $6 per year. Imagine the savings you would get from switching over 10, 20, or even all 40 or so bulbs in your home.

Dishwasher Electricity Costs

Many of us think a dishwasher uses more water and electricity than hand washing dishes, and they may be right, at least about the electricity. It takes about 1800 watts for a dishwasher to run for one hour, and the average washer runs for more than 2 hours. This means it uses 3600 Wh, or 3.6 kWh, per average use, costing you over $161.50 if used everyday for a year.

To lower the cost of running your dishwasher, use it less frequently. If you use it only once per week, for example, your costs will drop from $161 per year to just $23.

  • Average run: 2 hours per day
  • Wh per use: 1800 watts (per 2 hour wash) = 3,600 Wh
  • kWh per use: 3600 Wh/1000 = 3.6 kWh per use
  • Cost to run daily: 3.6 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $161.50
  • Cost to run weekly: 3.6 kWh x $0.1229 x 52 = $23

Coffee Maker Electricity Costs

Your average coffee maker is used for 10 minutes to brew 4 cups of coffee. It takes about 800 watts per hour for a coffee maker to run, which is about 133.33 Wh, or 0.133 kWh. This means you're spending $5.9o each year if you brew coffee everyday. The electricity costs from your coffee maker are almost as high as the incandescent light bulbs, but luckily, there is usually only one coffee maker per household, not 40.

  • Average run: 10 minutes
  • Wh per use: 800 watts (per 10 minute brew) = 133.33 Wh
  • kWh per use: 133.33 Wh/1000 = 0.133 kWh per use
  • Cost: 0.133 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $5.90 per year

To reduce any extra costs from your coffee maker, make sure to unplug it after every use. A coffee maker will use energy simply by being turned on or plugged, even if it isn't being used. For example, its other functions, like its clock or cleaning mechanism, automatically run throughout the day and drain electricity.

Washer & Dryer Electricity Costs

Washers and dryers are frequently used and well known for their large energy use. What's surprising, however, is that a washing machine requires way less electricity than a dryer.

An average cycle for a washing machine is 30 minutes. This appliance, which is a widely used Energy Star model, needs 500 watts per hour to run, which means it requires 250 Wh, or 2.25 kWh, to run for 30 minutes. If used everyday for a year, a washing machine's electricity costs are only $11.21. If run only once per week, it would only cost $1.60 per year.


  • Average run: 30 minutes
  • Wh per use: 500 watts (per 30 minute cycle) = 250 Wh
  • kWh per use: 250 Wh/1000 = 0.25 kWh per use
  • Cost to run daily: 0.25 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $11.21
  • Cost to run weekly: 0.25 kWh x $0.1229 x 52 = $1.60

Your dryer, however, requires 3000 watts per hour use, and runs for an average of 45 minutes or more, depending on the load. One dryer cycle requires 2250 Wh, or 2.25 kWh. That means you pay $100.93 for electricity if you run it everyday for an entire year. However, if you run it only once a week, your cost goes down to $14.38.


  • Average run: 45 minutes
  • Wh per use: 3000 watts (per 45 minute cycle) = 2250 Wh
  • kWh per use: 2250 Wh/1000 = 2.25 kWh per use
  • Cost to run daily: 2.25 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $100.93
  • Cost to run weekly: 2.25 kWh x $0.1229 x 52 = $14.38

A simple way to reduce your laundry's electricity costs is to air dry your clothes or only use the appliances once a week. Washing your clothes less and choosing to air dry not only saves energy, but it saves the quality of your clothing as well. You could also replace your appliances with Energy Star models. They are becoming more popular in the market, and, as shown, can save you a lot of money on your electricity bills.

Microwave, Oven & Stove Electricity Costs

We estimated that a microwave is used, on average, about 15-30 minutes per day. It takes about 1200 watts per hour for an average microwave to run. Therefore, it requires 300 Wh, or 0.3 kWh, for 15 minutes of use, and costs about $13.46 to use your everyday for a year.

  • Average run: 15 minutes
  • Wh per use: 1200 watts (per 15 minute use) = 300 Wh
  • kWh per use: 300 Wh/1000 = 0.3 kWh per use
  • Cost: 0.3 kWh x $0.1229 x 365 = $13.46 per year

An oven, however, takes longer and requires much more energy to get to a high temperature. An oven on medium to high heat uses 2400 watts per hour and a stovetop uses 1500 watts per hour on medium to high heat. So even though the cost of a microwave seems high, it's a quicker and more efficient way to cook if you’re looking to save energy and money.

If you want to reduce the electricity costs coming from your microwave, make sure you set the appropriate time and cooking level for your food so it's not running any longer than it needs to.


The cheapest household product on our list, other than the iPhone, was the washing machine used on a weekly basis. An Energy Star washer's electricity costs came out to just $1.60 per year. The most expensive appliance was the refrigerator, which runs for 24 hours a day, and costs a whopping $193.70 each year.

Overall, unplug, shut down, and refrain from using your energy-intensive appliances as much as you can. Your iPhone, luckily, is the least of your worries.

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