Kill-A-Watt: Learn Which Appliances Are Costing You

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly has a review of a nifty little device that tells you how much electricity appliances draw. You can use it to calculate how much money you’d save by turning things off/unplugging them. Cool!

From J.D.’s review:

While researching this post, I learned that cable boxes are hidden power hogs. It hadn’t occurred to me to test ours, but I’ll do so tonight. (I read one report of a cable box drawing 100 watts. If you leave yours on 24/7 as we do, that’s about $100 a year!)

The Kill-a-Watt’s best feature is the ability to measure power consumption over time. If I want to see how much power the cable box really draws, for example, I can leave it plugged into the Kill-a-Watt. After a few days, I can check the cumulative power consumption in kilowatt hours and compare it to the amount of time that has elapsed. (Both of these are measured by the device.) Simple arithmetic will show me how much I’m spending to power the cable box!

This seems useful for people who need to see concrete numbers in order to motivate themselves to action, but it’s not something you’ll use all the time. Still cool, though. —MEGHANN MARCO

Review: Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor [Get Rich Slowly]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Gunn says:

    It really needs a thin cord to plug into the wall. As is, it looks like it would cover all the adjacent outlets.

  2. c0nsumer says:

    I’ve purchased these from eBay in the past. It’s not uncommon to find them there in two-packs for just over US$40 shipped. Give the other to a friend, split the cost, or… something.

  3. odoketa says:

    I love this thing, although as Grady notes it does cover adjacent outlets. I find it easiest to use the wattage meter, and compare everything to a lightbulb. Who knew that my two monitors ate 240 watts? It makes you feel really warm and fuzzy when you replace your lightbulbs with florescent, or run those LED christmas lights!

  4. max andrews says:

    If you plugged your powerstrips into a few of these, and kept track of how long the lights were on and their total combined wattage, and you hav e a gas heater, you should be able to keep your own electricty tally to make sure the power company isn;t screwing you over…

  5. DutchFlat says:

    Well, no wise-guy posts tonight. I have been using a Kill-A-Watt for almost a year now, and it is just a truly wonderful device! First, it costs almost nothing. You can pick them up for as little as $20. Second, they monitor just about EVERYTHING related to your power consumption: line voltage, line frequency, watts, amps, kilowatts consumed since the appliance (load) was plugged in. WONDERFUL and USEFUL tool! This is a hottie!

    One minor complaint, though. The LCD readout can be difficult to see/read in some light conditions and angles-of-view. It’s rsolved easily by helping things along with a small LED flashlight to bring up the contrast of the numbers.

    One other thing. Thanks for the comment relating to how much power a cable box uses. I’ve been monitoring all the consumption of the electronic goodies in my office, and I note a lot of wattage being sucked in when the computer stuff is all shut down. Yup, it’s the cable box, which is wired into my UPS, which is on the Kill-A-Watt. Oh well, I guess if you want to watch the Weather Channel uninterrupted, you’ve go to pay.

  6. DutchFlat says:

    Okay, more. As soon as I posted above, I realized that I had had my UPS plugged into my Kill-a-Watt for exactly one month tonight. I am running a kind of standard nerd operation: scanner, cable modem, slide scanner, CABLE MODEM, five external drives, printer, and iMac, etc. You -know-the drill. And, the winner is . . .

    279 kilowatt hours @ .085 cents. Grand total: about $25 a month. Well, that’s not bad considering I stupidly waste about a hundred hours a month doing stupid things like surfing eBay and writing reviews like this.

  7. DutchFlat says:

    Cheap entertainment.

  8. medalian1 says:

    I have one and bought some for gifts this year, handy gadget!

  9. Michael says:

    Maybe the IDT people could sell these to people who complain about getting gouged by IDT’s prices after switching from ConEd.

    “We’re sorry that you’re not happy with your bill. As you know, power is billed according to usage, so if you use a lot of electricity, you’ll pay more. Why not buy one of our Kill-A-Watt devices and find out what appliances in your home are using the most power? And for a limited time only, we’re selling these amazing devices at the incredible bargain of only double the list price!”

  10. jkschlitz says:


    Check out these “power strip liberators.” They’re short power cord extenders that keep transformers and bulky plugs out of the way:
    I purchased a set a couple years ago and they’re fantastic. No household should be without them.