Which appliances use the most energy?

We’ve all seen our energy bills soar and many of us are looking to cut down our home electricity use to make savings. 

But where to start? When it comes to electricity use, there are a few common culprits. Let’s take a look at which home appliances use the most electricity, and some practical ways to use them more efficiently.

We’ve all seen our energy bills soar and many of us are looking to cut down our home electricity use to make savings. 

But where to start? When it comes to electricity use, there are a few common culprits. Let’s take a look at which home appliances use the most electricity, and some practical ways to use them more efficiently.

Sofia Hutson
Utilities expert
6
minute read
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Last Updated 6 JULY 2022

Which appliances have the biggest impact on my energy bills?

Today's homes are packed with electrical gadgets, and 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 Energy Savings Trust, the average UK household spends £55 each year powering electronic devices that are left on standby mode. So a good first step in lowering your electricity bills is making sure all of your devices are turned off at the socket when they’re not in use.

 

How much do appliances cost to run?

The table below is based on energy usage data by Carbon Footprint and the average standard rate of electricity of 28.3 pence per kWh in April 2022 as provided by the Energy Savings Trust. It shows estimated average yearly running costs for the biggest energy-guzzling appliances:

Appliance Power usage Typical usage Estimated annual running costs
LCD TV 0.21kWh per hour 6 hours a day (power on) £130
Fridge Freezer (A spec) 408kWh per year 24 hours a day £115
Tumble Dryer 2.50kWh per cycle 148 uses a year £105
Electric hob 0.71kWh per use 424 uses a year £85
Electric oven 1.56kWh per use 135 uses per year £60
Dishwasher 1.44kWh per use (at 65oC) 135 uses per year £55
Kettle 0.11 kWh per use based on heating 1 litre of water 1,542 uses per year £48

How much energy does a television use?

Depending on how much you use it, your TV is probably one of the devices that uses the most electricity in your home. An LCD TV uses 0.21kWh per hour, on average. And the bigger the TV, the more energy it’ll use. Your TV is also one of the appliances most likely to be left in standby mode when you’re not using it.

So to help curb rising energy costs:

  • Avoid plasma TVs. They use more energy than an LCD screen and will cost around £34 more per year to run.
  • Set the backlight on your TV to minimum and adjust the brightness settings, as these features can drain electricity.
  • Turn the TV off when you’re not using it instead of leaving it on standby, and do the same for any set top boxes and games consoles you have connected.
  • Set your TV to 'eco-mode' if it has this feature.

How much energy does a fridge freezer use?

Your fridge freezer needs to stay on all the time, so it typically uses the most electricity of all the kitchen appliances – an average of 408kWh per year. But there are ways to maximise its efficiency and reduce its energy usage:

  • Make sure the temperature is at the right level - your fridge should be below 5oC (41oF), according to the Food Standards Agency, and your freezer should ideally be -18℃ (0oF).
  • Don't overfill your fridge - leaving space allows air to circulate and helps keep the fridge at the set temperature. Your fridge is at its most efficient when it’s three-quarters full.
  • Make sure there’s a 10cm gap behind your fridge freezer to allow the warm air to flow out. And defrost your freezer regularly to help it work efficiently.
    • 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 energy efficiency by 25%.
  • Don’t position your fridge in direct sunlight or near other heat sources, for example next to the cooker, as this could mean it has to work harder to stay cold.
  • Defrost food in the fridge to help lower the temperature and wait until hot food has fully cooled down before you put it in the fridge to store. 

When it’s time to replace your fridge freezer, it makes sense to opt for a more energy-efficient model and choose the smallest size that suits your needs.

How much energy does a tumble dryer use?

Tumble dryers offer convenience, but they’re also one of the appliances that uses the most electricity in our homes – an average of 2.50kWh per cycle. The Energy Savings Trust reckons that the average UK household could save £60 by drying clothes inside on a rack or outside in warmer weather, instead of using the tumble dryer. Here are some other tips to cut down on your tumble dryer energy costs:

  • 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 a word of warning, if you’re on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, the advice from the Fire Service is that you should never run your tumble dryer at night or while unattended.

How much energy does an electric hob/oven use?

Electric hobs tend to be more efficient at cooking than gas hobs, but the cost of electricity is higher so they can also cost more to run – around 0.71kWh per use. 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. And only heat up the amount of water you need.
  • Use a lid to bring the water temperature up quicker.
  • Once the food in the pan is boiling, reduce it to a low simmer. You can turn off the hob a minute or so before your meal is ready and it will continue to cook while the hob cools down.
  • 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 for roasting. They retain heat better than metal dishes and help cook food evenly.
  • Keep your hob rings clean and use the oven’s self-cleaning cycle if it has one. Dirt and grease build-up can reduce efficiency.
  • If you have a slow cooker, use it. They’re one of the most efficient methods of cooking and help reduce water waste.
  • Use your microwave to reheat food – it’s more efficient than using your electric hob or the oven.

How much energy does a kettle use?

Us Brits love a brew. But that indispensable kettle can add an extra £48 a year to your energy bill, as using an average of 0.11 kWh of power to heat one litre of water. 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. According to the Energy Savings Trust, you could save £11 a year by avoiding overfilling the kettle.
  • 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.

How much energy does a dishwasher use? 

It’s convenient, but using a dishwasher doesn’t come without its energy costs – 1.44kWh per use (at 65oC) so: 

  • Aim for a full load, but don’t overload it – this could prevent your dishwasher from doing its job properly. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run a week can save you £11 a year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.
  • 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 using less water.

Sofia Hutson

Energy expert at
comparethemarket.com

"Electric hobs tend to be more efficient at cooking than gas hobs, but the cost of electricity is higher so they can also cost more to run – around 0.71kWh per use. Microwaves are cheaper and more energy efficient than stoves at warming or reheating food. Meanwhile, slow cookers are a very energy efficient way of cooking and preparing food in larger batches helps to cut energy use, as well as time spent in the kitchen.’’

Sofia added: ‘’There are other things you can do to cook more efficiently. For example, choosing the right-sized pan for the ring so you’re not using more heat than you need. It’s also good to keep your hob rings clean as grease build-up can reduce efficiency. Use glass or ceramic dishes as they retain heat better than metal dishes. If you have a slow cooker, use it. They’re one of the most efficient methods of cooking.’’

For more information on how much energy your home appliances use, see here.

More energy-saving tips

  • When 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.
  • Consider getting a smart meter. This will let you monitor exactly how much energy you use, so you can adapt your habits. All energy companies must offer their customers a smart meter by 2025 so if your energy provider hasn’t got around to your home yet, you can always give them a nudge by requesting one.
Read more energy saving tips