Energy monitoring plug: Ideal Home put it to the test for a week and found which home appliance uses the most electric

From the kettle and toaster to the airfryer and electric blanket, Ideal Home found which home appliance uses the most and the least electricity

Woman lying on the floor at home using mobile phone
(Image credit: Getty images)

Rising energy bills mean it’s important for many of us to look for clever ways to keep our bills down.

Even with the government’s Energy Price Guarantee freezing the unit price of energy until 2024, the £400 energy grant that households will receive and suppliers offering up to £100 to cut energy use at peak times, households can’t afford to sit back when prices are rising for food, travel and even clothes.

Every little helps and that’s why our sister publication Ideal Home tried out an energy monitoring plug (opens in new tab) to find out what uses the most energy at home. 

An energy monitoring plug helps you track how much electricity your home devices are using, so you can make more conscious decisions. You simply plug it in and then plug your kettle/toaster/electric blanket into it as you would an extension cable.

There are lots of different models available to buy, but Ecommerce Writer Molly Cleary used this one, £19.75 at Amazon (opens in new tab). “The instructions aren't brilliant, and you need to find out what your unit rate is for electricity and then enter it in. Then if you want to start testing a different appliance you have to press reset and then enter in the rate again. But otherwise, it was straightforward to use.” 

Note that the most straightforward way to see what your price per unit for electricity is to check the 'Rate' column on your last bill. Molly used the Octopus Energy app and found that her unit rate was 28p per kWh. Decor Editor Amy Lockwood helped Molly in her investigation.

Amy and Molly spent a week testing their energy monitoring plugs to see if it could help them save energy at home. They tested them at the end of September, just before the October rise in the energy price cap

There were plenty of surprises: tea drinkers read on to discover what it’s costing to boil the kettle. And check out other energy-saving power meters at Amazon (opens in new tab) if interested to take action.

Which home appliance uses the most electric?

Kettle

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kettle: 5-6p to boil for two and a half minutes at a time

Amy noted that it took her 2500-3000W kettle 2.45 mins to boil four cups of water at a cost of 6p. “That means if I boil the kettle 6 x per day, every day, that's around £130 a year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Molly’s Kenwood kettle (opens in new tab) has 2200W of power and cost 5p to boil at full capacity (1.6L). After one day of testing (and putting the kettle on six times), she found that she had spent 28p boiling the kettle. “So I think that's around £100 a year, meaning my kettle is more efficient than Amy's.”

A woman using a toaster

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Toaster: 2p per crumpet

Amy's 950W toaster cost her 2p to toast a crumpet for three minutes. How much toast do you make every morning? If you eat more toast as a comfort food during the winter months, this could soon add up to more than you might have expected.

Electric blanket: 3p an hour at the maximum temperature

Amy's 70W Silentnight Comfort Control (opens in new tab) electric blanket cost 3p an hour at the maximum temperature. 

Lamp - less than a penny for an hour

Amy's lamp didn't nudge into 1p after an hour of it being turned on.

Heated drying rack - 6p an hour

Molly's heated drying rack (opens in new tab) cost 6p an hour to run. She says: 'It actually has this written all over the box so it was nice to discover that it was true!' 

Charging a smartphone - less than a penny for after 4 hours

Charging her phones isn't as expensive as Amy thought it would be. 'My phone doesn't last a day without charging anymore so I thought that would be a big cost,' she says. 'But at only 4W it didn't even nudge into 00.01 after 4 hours of charging.'

Woman using an air fryer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Air fryer - 36p to run for an hour ( three times less than an oven!)

Molly also used the energy monitoring plug on her seven-pound air fryer (opens in new tab) which has has 1800W of power and cost 3p to run for 5 minutes, meaning that it's only £0.36p to run for an hour. 

'This might be steeper than expected because my air fryer is quite big (7L),' she says. But it goes to show that it's worth using your air fryer instead of the oven where possible, as an oven costs roughly 34p every 20 minutes, so three times more than an air fryer.

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Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities.  Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.