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

Have you ever wondered which of your appliances uses the most electric? Ideal Home put kettles, toasters, airfryers and electric blankets to the test to see which ones use the most and the least electricity

High 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 supermarket prices are soaring as well as the price of fuel, travel and even clothes.

Every little helps and that’s why our sister publication Ideal Home tried out an energy monitoring plug to find out which appliances use the most and least energy at home.

An energy monitoring plug helps you track how much electricity your home devices are using, so you can make more informed decisions about your energy use. You simply plug it in and then plug your kettle, toaster or 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, which costs £9.99 at Amazon. “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 introduction of the energy price guarantee.

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 if interested to take action.

Which home appliance uses the most electric?

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 six times per day, every day, that’s around £130 a year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Molly’s Kenwood kettle 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.”

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 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 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 phone 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.’

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

Molly also used the energy monitoring plug on her air fryer which has 1800W of power and cost 3p to run for five 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.