Explore Energy

On average, household appliances make up 30% of energy consumption in Australian homes.1 Saving energy around the house is an easy way for you to lower your energy bills and your impact on the environment at the same time. But unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as knowing which devices and appliances use the most electricity around the house.

Having a clearer understanding of the actual costs of using your favourite devices could empower you to make better decisions about your household energy consumption and save on your power bill. So, here’s our guide to various household appliances and devices so you can see what uses the most electricity in the home and how much it could be costing you.

Click on the links below to jump to an appliance:

Mobile phone power consumption

You may think charging a mobile phone could significantly impact your power budget. However, it may barely cause a ripple due to its size and mass constraints – its energy capacity is severely restricted. Smartphones consume an average of three kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year,2 which may cost less than $1.00 per year (calculated using an average energy rate of 27c/kWh).

Keep in mind that the specific cost will depend on your electricity retailer, tariff, location and how often you charge your phone.

Energy-saving tips for mobile phones

A great way to save energy through your mobile phone is to conserve your battery and reduce how frequently you need to charge your phone. While mobile phones don’t necessary use much energy, you can make minor savings on energy use and help maintain the longevity of your phone battery.

Backlit LCD displays constitute the primary source of power usage for modern-day smartphones. You can significantly reduce your power consumption by decreasing the brightness of your screen. In fact, the auto-dim function that most modern smartphones have installed during calls can save up to 40% on power usage.3

Further save power by closing applications you aren’t using; having multiple applications running in the background can eat up your battery. Lastly, don’t leave a fully charged phone plugged in overnight, and turn off power outlets that aren’t being used to avoid standby energy consumption.

Standby mode is a function that enables appliances to stay on without using as much electricity as when they’re in use. It enables appliances to “switch on” faster.

Woman using her phone at home

Desktop computer power consumption

On average, a desktop computer and monitor use between 0.06kWh and 0.3kWh per hour, which costs an estimated $17.74-$88.70 a year (calculated using an energy rate of 27c/kWh) and assuming three hours of use a day.4 This number will vary significantly depending on various factors, including:

  • How much you use your computer
  • The size and quality of your monitor
  • How energy-efficient your processor is
  • Your energy retailer
  • Your energy plan and tariff rate.

Add the cost of running a printer, scanner, speakers and other accessories, and your electricity bill may cost a lot more. If you work from home, you may use your computer up to eight hours a day, meaning your bill could average around $47.31-$236.55 a year (based on an energy rate of 27c/kWh).4

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Energy-saving tips for computers

The easiest way to reduce computer usage costs is to turn them off when they’re not in use; turning the power off at the wall is even better. One of the most enduring myths about electrical devices is that turning them on and off uses substantially more electricity than leaving them on. This is not true of almost every device in domestic use.

Furthermore, computers have a sleep mode that allows for a faster start-up after a period of inactivity. These standby settings use much less electricity than a computer left turned on.

Device cost tip: If you work from home, choosing an energy-efficient appliance can save money on your electricity bill.

Laptop power consumption

Laptops and notebooks are designed to run on battery power, so in many cases, the processor and other hardware are more efficient and less powerful than a desktop model. For example, a 15-inch laptop used for three hours a day uses approximately 0.060kWh, costing around $17.74 a year (calculated using an energy rate of 27c/kWh).5

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Energy-saving tips for laptops

Most modern laptops are made with LCD displays, which takes a fair amount of energy to run compared to older models. You can make your laptop more efficient by dimming the brightness of your screen. Additionally, configure the settings to trigger sleep mode when you’re inactive for a certain amount of time.

There’s a lot of variation between makes and models; for instance, laptops running optical disk drives and physical hard drives (devices that enable you to run CDs and DVDs) use more energy than those based on flash memory with no optical drive. When looking for a new laptop, consider the specifications you need against the energy you want to save.

Lastly, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities will also draw more power as constantly transmitting a signal is an active function. So, try to keep these off unless you’re using them.

Device cost fact: A 15-inch laptop, used for three hours a day, costs $0.34 a week to run.5

TV power consumption

Televisions can vary significantly in their power consumption depending on the type of TV, star rating, size and your TV habits. For example, consider the approximate cost of these TVs, assuming you use them three hours per day:*

TV typeAnnual Cost
LCD (LED) (90-110cm) 7 star – 2.5 star$9.89 (7 star) – $30.79 (2.5 star)
LCD (90-110cm) 6 star – 2.5 star$10.31 (6 star) – $28.96 (2.5 star)
OLED (90-110cm) 5 star – 2.5 star$25.56 (5 star) – $50.08 (2.5 star)

Source: Energy Rating (2022). Energy Rating Calculator. Accessed July 2022.

*Calculated using an energy rate of 27c/kWh

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Energy-saving tips for TVs

Your energy usage will vary significantly depending on the factors listed above, as well as how many hours of the day your TV stays on. If you want to find out the wattage of your TV, check the back for a sticker, which will list the power rating, power consumption and other technical information about your TV.

While it’s convenient to leave our appliances on even if we’re not paying attention to them, we recommend you turn your TV off at the wall when you aren’t using it.

Gaming console power consumption

Depending on how much you use the console in a year, the electricity costs can add up, especially when combined with the energy used by the TV. Even among the consoles, the energy usage varies widely. For example, a Nintendo Switch may only use up to 6 kWh or $1.62* per year,7 while a PlayStation 4 may use up to 65.7kWh or $17.74* per year.8

*We’ve calculated these prices at a rate of 27c/kWh for two hours a day for a year.

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Energy-saving tips for gaming consoles

It’s worth remembering that game consoles can draw power when switched off, meaning that leaving your gaming consoles on standby mode could still impact your bill, especially considering they’re usually connected to TVs and other appliances.

Early home computer game consoles, like the Atari and the later Nintendo systems, used relatively little electricity, as they had limited processing power and no moving parts. Modern consoles, however, are much more powerful stand-alone gaming computers and can potentially make a massive dent in a household’s energy usage.

Device cost insight: If combining the console, TV, sound system and internet connection, gaming could be the most power-hungry activity in the home.

Electricity consumption by gaming with friends

Washing machine power consumption

The energy consumption and usage cost of your washing machine will vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including your washer’s make, model, size and energy star rating. The average household uses their washing machine five times a week,3 and on that assumption:

  • A one-star machine costs between $108 and $180.09 a year
  • A ten-star machine costs between $6.48 and $10.53 a year.6

So, by upgrading to a more energy-efficient appliance, you could potentially save up to $101.52-$169.56 a year just on washing!

Your provider, tariff and energy plan, usage frequency and whether you do warm or cold washes could also affect your consumption and cost. Check the Energy Rating Calculator to find out how much energy your washing machine uses.

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Energy-saving tips for washing machines

Consider turning off your washing machine at the wall; leaving it on will keep it on standby mode, still consuming energy. Wash your clothes with cold water to save on the cost of heating hot water and consider getting a front loader instead of a top loader; front loaders are more energy- and water-efficient. When possible, always wash a full load of laundry (as opposed to having more frequent half-loads) to avoid wasting energy and water.

The most significant tip we can give on saving energy for washing machines is to consider investing in an appliance with a high energy rating.

Device cost fact: A washing machine used five times a week consumes between 114 kWh and 667 kWh a year depending on the energy star rating and your washer settings.6

Dishwasher power consumption

According to the energy usage data on the Energy Rating website, the annual running cost of a three-star dishwasher could total $54.27, while a five-star model is only $26.73.*6 Of course, these costs also depend on:

  • Make and model
  • Energy star rating
  • Your washing habits
  • Tariff
  • Provider
  • Energy plan.

If you use your dishwasher frequently, the energy star rating could significantly impact your bill. Get the most out of your dishwasher by using these energy-saving tips.

*Calculated using an energy rate of 27c/kWh and using an average of five cycles a week.

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Energy-saving tips for dishwashers

Dishwashers will use the same amount of water and energy whether you’ve thrown in two plates or filled the racks. To get the most out of each cycle, only use the dishwasher if you can fill it to capacity and consider handwashing if you don’t have many dishes to clean. Dishwashers with both hot- and cold-water connections will use less energy than one with only hot connections.

Sustainably Victoria recommends using at least a 3.5-star rating dishwasher to save on both money and power.9

Device cost fact: You save 30% on your dishwasher energy usage every time you go up a star rating, with three-star and five-star appliances having a price difference of $27.54 a year.6

woman using the dishwasher after checking its power consumption

Fridge power consumption

A refrigerator is an essential household item that generally runs 24/7, so it can be smart to choose an energy-efficient model. Your fridge’s power consumption may vary considerably depending on the make, model and energy rating. In one year, a fridge/freezer may cost $71.01** to run, based on an energy rate of 27c/kWh.6

Device cost fact: In one week, your fridge may use 5.06 kWh, costing approximately $1.37.**

**Based on a 400L fridge/freezer with a single door and a three-star rating.

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Energy-saving tips for fridges

Your fridge is one of the few appliances in your home that requires a constant supply of energy. While the power consumption is usually steady, you can put your fridge on overdrive by overstocking it. If you fill your fridge or freezer to max capacity, it may have to work harder to maintain the same temperature.

The ideal temperature for your fridge is 3-4 degrees Celsius, and between -15°C and -18°C for your freezer.13 Consider configuring the temperature to these numbers to prevent excess energy usage.

Cooling and heating power consumption

Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) is typically what uses the most electricity in your home. According to Sustainability Victoria, air-conditioning could cost anywhere between $35 and $315 per year, depending on the size of your house and your cooling system.10 Ceiling fans, on the other hand, only cost between $25 and $55 per year.10

As for the colder months, heating for your entire house using your air conditioner could cost between $580 and $1,750 per year in a typical home.11 Electric in-slab heating is the least energy-efficient method for heating and can cost $1955 to $4280 per year, depending on the size of your home.11

The annual cost of air conditioning could vary beyond these numbers significantly, however, due to:

  • The size of your home
  • Whether your air-conditioning system is ducted or not
  • Your home’s NatHERS rating
  • If your home is insulated
  • Whether you keep the doors or windows open while the aircon is running
  • If you cool or heat the entire home or just a room at a time
  • How often you run the air conditioner
  • The energy rating of your cooling or heating system
  • Your tariff, provider, energy plan and energy rates

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Energy-saving tips for air conditioners and heaters

There are several ways to save energy with heating and air conditioning. For one, you could reduce your usage and wear climate appropriate clothing. Other tips include:

  • Keeping your windows and doors closed while the aircon is running
  • Using draught stoppers
  • Insulating your home
  • Closing the curtains to stop the sun from warming your home
  • Using a fan instead of air conditioning
  • Heating only your main living rooms instead of the whole house
  • Investing in an energy-efficient cooling and heating system.

You can also reduce your air conditioner’s power consumption by setting the temperature to one that consumes less energy.

Find out more about the best temperature for air conditioning.

Couple using airconditioner after checking power consumption

Other big energy consumers

While we’ve covered most of the popular home appliances that add to your electricity bill, there are still other ways to become more energy efficient.

  • Lighting. On average, lighting accounts for as much as 10% of your annual electricity usage in your home.12 Switching to energy-efficient CFL or LED light bulbs is a great way to cut down on energy usage from lighting. Switching off lights when leaving a room and during the day can also help further reduce your usage.
  • Water system. In your household, around one quarter of your energy usage can come from water heating.1 If you’re going away for a week or more, consider turning off your hot water system to save energy. Also, you can further reduce your electricity consumption by installing a water-efficient showerhead and taking shorter showers.
  • Dryers. Living in Australia, we have the advantage of a consistent natural dryer – the sun! Air-drying your clothes as much as possible can save you substantially on energy costs. Even using a dryer just three times a week could cost you between $82.89 and $357.75 a year.6 If you do need to use a dryer, try choosing one with auto-sensors to avoid unnecessary running costs.

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Meredith O'Brien

Top energy-saving tips from our Head of Energy, Meredith O’Brien

  • If possible, switch to a smart meter and take advantage of a time of use tariff to better manage your usage by shifting non-time critical usage from peak demand times to off-peak times (such as using your dishwasher or washing machine on weekends, overnight or early in the morning).
  • Use your smart meter to remotely power smart devices and time them so they only operate when you need them to.

Time for a new energy plan?

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Note: We may not have access to all of the products available in your area. We do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands. At times, certain brands or products may not be available or offered to you. Learn more.


1 Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water – Australian Government. Quick wins. Accessed July 2022.

2 Energy Rating (2013 – last updated 2020). Product Profile: Battery Chargers. Accessed July 2022.

3 Aaron Carroll (2017). An analysis of Power Consumption in a Smartphone. Accessed 19 October 2020.

4 Energy Use Calculator. Electricity usage of a Desktop Computer. Accessed July 2022.

5 Kenny Trinh – Netbook News (2020). How Many Watts Does A Laptop Use. Accessed July 2022.

6 Energy Rating (2022). Energy Rating Calculator. Accessed July 2022.

7 Nintendo. Information about energy efficiency and eco-design of Nintendo Switch family consoles. Accessed July 2022.

8 Energy Use Calculator. Electricity usage of a Game Console. Accessed July 2022.

9 Sustainability Victoria (2022). Reduce dishwasher costs at home. Accessed July 2022.

10 Sustainability Victoria (2021). Cooling running costs. Accessed July 2022.

11 Sustainability Victoria (2021). Calculate heating running costs. Accessed July 2022.

12 Energy Rating (2021). Lighting. Accessed July 2022.

13 Your Home – Australian Government. Appliances and technology. Accessed July 2022.

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