Skip to content

Which appliances use the most energy?

Which appliances use the most energy?

published: 06 February 2023
Read time: 5 minutes

You’ll already be aware that you have many appliances around the home that use electricity, but you may be unsure which ones are the chief culprits in pushing up your bills. With energy bills soaring, our guide tries to give you a clearer picture

How much are my appliances costing me? 

While there is generally a daily standing charge for energy, most of your energy bill is made up from the amount of gas and electricity you use around the home.

By understanding how much energy each appliance, such as the kettle, TV and washing machine, uses and how often and for how long you use that appliance, you can start to get an idea of where savings can be made.

The table, below, shows some common household appliances and an example of how much they might cost.

If you want to do your own calculations you can estimate how much energy each appliance will use by multiplying its power rating in kW (which should be on the label or appliance manual) by the number of hours it’s in use. 

For example, a microwave may have a power rating of 700W (0.7kW). If you run it for 3-minutes it will equate to 0.7 x 3/60 = 0.035kWh.

At the current Energy Price Guarantee average unit cost of electricity, this would cost you about 1p. (34p/kWh electricity tariff).


KW/h usage


One load of washing in the washing machine

0.5 kWh


One load of washing in the tumble dryer

3 kWhs


One dishwasher cycle

0.9 kWh


Boiling a full kettle (seven cups)

0.2 kWh


Running a fridge freezer for a year

292 kWhs


Taking a 10-minute shower



Sources: Energy Saving Trust. Average average unit price 34p/kWh for electricity and 10.3p/kWh for gas (including VAT). Exact kWhs and costs many vary depending on the age of the item and its energy efficiency rating. (for shower)

Does leaving electrical devices on standby use energy? 

Yes, leaving an electrical device on standby does use energy, and with the surprising amount of electrical appliances we have in the home that are either left on, or left on standby, the energy use can quickly stack up.

Some devices, such as the fridge or freezer, have to be left on standby in order to function, but there are still significant savings that can be made by turning off most appliances.

These are some of the devices that are most often left on standby and how much energy they could be using.


Typical annual cost if left on standby



Games console




Desktop computer




Smart speaker




Washing Machine








Source: Appliances left on standby mode, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Using the average standard rate of electricity of 34 pence per kWh in October 2022.

How can I reduce how much my appliances are costing me? 

You might be able to make significant savings by changing the way you use your household appliances.

We’ve looked at some of the devices that use the most energy and suggested ways where you could cut back.


Your TV could be costing you between £5 and £25 per year just by leaving it on standby mode - an amount that can be almost doubled if you also have a set-top box. Much depends on the type of television you have, so

You could consider switching to an LCD television, which are three times more energy efficient on average.

Games console

Spend an extended time playing on a games console and the energy usage mounts up. With latest models being more of a power drain, the cost is around 5p per hour.

You can unplug your games console to reduce the energy use. As a network-connected standby device this will stop it receiving automatic software updates, but could save you around £50 per year.

Washing machine

While different washing machines will use different amounts of power, washing at 30°C instead of 40°C can save you around 40% of energy, equivalent to more than 5p per load.

New washing machines now come with 20°C programmes too, so you can save even more if you choose.


An electric shower is one of the most energy-consuming appliances in the household - unless you take a cold shower!

It’s estimated a hot 10-minute shower will cost around 40p and use almost 80 litres of water, which will further add to your bills if you’re on a water meter.

To save energy, either reduce the time you take in the shower or lower the temperature. Or both.


The average dishwasher load will cost you around 36p, with a dishwasher left on standby every day costing around an additional £7.44 over the course of a year.

The best way to save energy is to only wash when you have a full load and use the machine’s eco mode.

Washing the same amount of dishes by hand is an alternative but uses around 10 times as much water.


You can’t just turn off your fridge or freezer for obvious reasons, but there are factors to consider to make them as energy efficient as possible.

  • Get the right size. Having a fridge or freezer that is big enough to store your chilled or frozen produce is important, but the bigger the unit the more energy it will cost to run.

  • Buy energy-efficient. These white goods can last for around 17 years, according to the EnergySavingTrust, so they tend to be among the most long standing in the home. This means that when it comes to buying a new one we suggest you look for the most energy-efficient choice possible

  • Keep optimal temperatures. The Food Standards Agency suggests your fridge should be below 5°C (41°F) and your freezer should be -18°C (0°F). Dropping the temperature below this will take more energy.

  • Don't overfill your fridge. There needs to be some space to let the air circulate and keep your fridge at its set temperature. Try to not let it be more than three-quarters full at any given time and wait until hot food has cooled before putting it in the fridge.

  • Defrost the freezer regularly. This will help it work more efficiently. You should also replace any worn door seals and leave a small gap behind the appliance to let the warm air escape. Vacuuming behind the fridge to clear dust from the condenser coils is also advised.

What can I unplug to save money on my energy bills?

Unplugging appliances is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money on your energy bills. Here is a list of some of the items you could unplug or switch off at the mains.

  • Television

  • Games console

  • Desktop computer, laptop and phones on charge

  • Printers

  • Microwave oven

The best approach might be to take a quick trip around the house to see what is plugged in and what sockets are switched on - including lights. 

Do kettles use much electricity?

Considering a kettle is typically one of the smaller electrical appliances in the household they can still use a fair amount of electricity, particularly because we use them so regularly.

By only boiling the amount of water you need, you can make some hefty savings. When full, a standard 3kW kettle costs around 6p to bring to the boil, but boiling enough water for just one cup of tea costs around 1p. 

If you had three cups of tea a day, you could save more than £50 a year by not filling the kettle to the max. You could also opt for an insulated kettle that will take less time to boil and keep the water hot for longer.

Is it cheaper to use a microwave instead of an oven?

It is generally far more efficient to use a microwave than an oven. A microwave costs around 8p per day to run and an electric cooker costs 87p to run per day, according to research from energy supplier Utilita and supermarket chain Iceland.

This means that an electric oven could cost you up to £316.54 to run per year, while a microwave will only cost you £30.02 per year.