Which appliances use the most energy?

If you’ve received a hefty energy bill, you might be wondering why you have such a high kWh consumption.

There are a few common culprits. So let’s take a look at which home appliances use the most energy, and a few ways you might be able to reduce their usage.

If you’ve received a hefty energy bill, you might be wondering why you have such a high kWh consumption.

There are a few common culprits. So let’s take a look at which home appliances use the most energy, and a few ways you might be able to reduce their usage.

Sofia Hutson
From the Energy team
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Posted 10 SEPTEMBER 2021

Which appliances have the biggest impact on my energy bills?

Today's homes are packed with electrical gadgets, but some appliances can have a big impact on energy bills.

Even those that use a relatively small amount of electricity can add a fair bit to your energy costs – if they're constantly switched on or left on standby. According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, appliances in standby mode account for around 10% of a typical home's electricity bill. That's £50 - £86 a year.

How much do appliances cost to run?

The table below, from data by Carbon Footprint, shows the average yearly running costs for the biggest energy-guzzling appliances:

LCD TV 0.21kWh £50.08
Fridge Freezer 0.40kWh £40.80
Tumble Dryer 2.50kWh £37.00
Electric hob 0.71kWh £30.10
Electric oven 1.56kWh £21.08
Dishwasher 1.44kWh £19.44
Kettle 0.11kWh £16.90


The average household has the TV on for 6.5 hours a day. And when it's not switched on, it's the item most likely to be left in standby mode. So, to help curb rising energy costs:

  • Avoid plasma TVs. They use more energy than an LCD screen and will cost around £10 more per year to run.
  • Set the backlight to minimum and adjust the brightness settings, as these can drain electricity.
  • Turn the TV off instead of leaving it on standby overnight.
  • Set your TV to 'eco-mode', if it has this feature.

Fridge freezer

Your fridge freezer is one of those appliances that needs to stay on, but there are ways to reduce its energy usage:

  • Make sure the temperature is at the right level. The coldest part of your fridge should be below 5oC (40oF), according to the Food Standards Agency.  Your freezer should ideally be -18℃ (0oF). Just 10 degrees colder could use up to 25% more energy.
  • Don't overfill your fridge, leaving space allows air to circulate and helps keep the fridge at the set temperature.
  • Check the door seals are airtight and replace them if they’re worn
  • Vacuum the back of the fridge every now and then, to prevent dust from building up around the condenser coils. This could improve its energy efficiency by 30%.

Don’t position your fridge in direct sunlight, or near other heat sources, for example next to the cooker.

Tumble dryer

Tumble dryers offer convenience, especially with the UK’s unpredictable weather. But the cost to run a dryer can add an extra £20-£100 to your electricity bill, depending on the type of dryer you use, so:

  • When it’s dry outside, hang your clothes on a line to air.
  • Do an extra spin cycle when you wash your clothes, to get as much moisture out as possible.
  • Untangle your clothes before putting them in the dryer, to let the warm air circulate better.
  • Clean the lint filter each time you use the machine to allow the heat to circulate properly.

But just as a word of warning, if you are on the Economy7 or Economy 10 tariff, the advice from the Fire Service is that you should never run your tumble dryers at night or while unattended.

Electric hob/oven

Electric hobs cost almost double to run than gas. But there are ways to cook more efficiently, to bring down the running costs of your electric hob and oven:

  • Choose the right-sized pan for the ring, so you’re not using more heat than you need.
  • Heat up water with a kettle, before pouring it into the pan. It uses far less energy than heating a large pan of water from cold.
  • Use a lid to bring the water temperature up quicker.
  • Once it’s boiling, reduce it to a low simmer.
  • Keep the door closed when you’re using the oven. Otherwise, heat will escape and you’ll use more energy to bring it back up to temperature.
  • Use glass or ceramic ovenproof dishes. They’re more efficient and help cook food evenly.
  • Keep your hob rings clean and use the oven’s self-cleaning cycle. Dirt and grease build-up can reduce their efficiency.


Us Brits love a brew. But that indispensable kettle can add an extra £17 a year to your energy bill. To keep costs down:

  • Only boil as much water as you need. A half-filled kettle will use half as much energy as a full one.
  • If you’re on the lookout for a new kettle, go for an insulated model. It takes less time to boil and will keep the water hot for longer.


It’s convenient, but using a dishwasher doesn’t come without its energy costs, so:

  • Make sure you scrape all the food from your dishes before loading up the dishwasher.
  • Aim for a full load, but don’t overload it – this could prevent your dishwasher from doing its job properly.
  • If you’re on an economy 7 ‘time of use’ tariff and your dishwasher has a timer, set it to come on during off-peak hours.
  • Use your dishwasher’s ‘Eco’ programme, if it has one. It uses less energy by washing at a lower temperature, and less water.

More energy-saving tips

  • If you’re buying a new appliance, look for one with a high EU Energy Label rating. A is the most energy-efficient, while G is the least. The most energy-efficient fridge freezers also have A+, A++ and A+++ ratings.
  • Consider getting a smart meter. This will let you monitor exactly how much energy each of your appliances is using, so you can adapt your habits.