Who Knew It Only Costs $1.36 To Charge An iPad For A Whole Year?

When it comes to bang for the bucks you spend on electricity, it seems some devices run pretty darn cheap — in fact, it costs more to buy say, your morning muffin than to charge an iPad for a whole year.

Juicing up your iPad for 12 months will only run you about $1.61, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities. A desktop PC eats up $28.12 and a refrigerator costs $65.72 in the U.S. to power up for an entire year.

The group studied the iPad’s power consumption to try and figure out what upcoming devices will do to the country’s electricity use. Even if the number of iPads triples from the 67 million we have today, they’d use the electricity from one small power plant operating at full strength.

The more people use iPads and other tablets instead of desktop PCs for all their entertainment needs, from TV watching to video games, we could possibly cut down on our overall power consumption. EPRI researchers want to see if using more tablets is going to put a drain on our power, if enough people buy them, or instead lower our consumption.

Residential power demand is expected to fall for the third straight year, as the weak economy is keeping us in smaller houses or hanging out and sharing power with others. Another factor — our devices and home appliances have also gotten much more efficient, with things like fridges using less than a quarter of the power they did a generation ago.

And if you really want to spend less? EPRI says an iPhone 4 only costs $0.38 per year to run.

$1.36: What it costs to charge iPad for a year [Associated Press]


Edit Your Comment

  1. homehome says:

    Can’t get rid of my desktop. I tried the tablet and it makes me feel like I’m at the prom with the boring flat chested girl that smells funny.

    • dush says:

      Check out the Microsoft Surface tablet?

      • homehome says:

        the problem with that is the all touch screen thing is hindrance to me, I’ve tried the 3rd party keyboards and all that. I just hate anything other than desktops. I barely deal with laptops.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Tablets aren’t all that useful for much of anything other than the most basic, uninteresting tasks. If it involves any more interaction than digitally flipping a book’s page, or pulling back on the Angry Bird’s slingshot, it’s too much to ask of a tablet.

      Even adding a keyboard (of any kind…wired or wireless) to a tablet only helps a little…you still have to take your hand from the keyboard and use your fingers for mouse interactions.

      I got my wife a 10″ tablet a while ago…she loves it. But all she does with it is read books and do basic web surfing. Any time I’ve tried to pick it up and do something (and anything I’m going to want to do will at least involve typing), it’s been such a pain in the ass that I’ve gotten up to go fetch my laptop.

  2. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Unless you live in Hawaii. It’ll cost you closer to $2.70 there.

  3. ferozadh says:

    How is this news? Or even proper research? It’s advertisement for Apple and thinly veiled at that.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Hi, I see you’re new here. The Consumerist’s rational consumer-oriented standpoint only lasts until something comes up in relation to Apple…in which case they drop to their knees and start bowing, like any other Macolytes. How they managed to get sucked into Apple and not Bose or Monster Cable escapes me…but the consumer advocacy stops around here the instant someone mentions Apple.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        The entire range of ARM based devices are intended to draw less power.

        It’s not just Apple products.

        It’s part of the tradeoff that you get for having a CPU that’s the equivalent of something from 1998 in terms of desktop computing power.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    As a general rule, however many watts an appliance draws will be how many dollars it’d cost to run if you ran it 24/7 for a year.

    The real story is that your crappy cable boxes cost you $50/year in electricity. Each.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I ran the math on that and was surprised to see it’s surprising accurate. Of course that is for something turned on 24×7 and doesn’t account for moving the released heat out of the house.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      One of my coworkers has Dish, and last year got two new boxes with DVR. Her electric bill jumped $16/month. She was PISSED! She and her husband unplug them during the day, and whenever they’re not watching something, and if there’s something on they want to record or watch, she just turns one on and waits for it to do its thing.

  5. rekoil says:

    So here’s the question: How much of the power savings that comes from us all moving to lower-power computing appliances winds up being more than offset by the growth of data centers built to support all the servers that make them usable?

    • j2.718ff says:

      Since multiple people can use each of those servers at a time (hundreds of people or more), I think there’s still a net savings in money. For comparison, my desktop PC at home spends most of its time sitting idle, but still eating power.

  6. gman863 says:

    If I donate an extra fifty cents to Consumerist, maybe they can afford to call somebody who really cares.

  7. The Brad says:

    Does this account for the wifi needed in my house to actually make the iPad worth using?

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Good call. How much power does it take to keep that wireless access point running?

      Although there’s a least one switch between any of my wired PCs and the cable modem router.

  8. Outrun1986 says:

    I am so glad I don’t have any cable boxes here, I don’t plan on getting them either, as every TV port on my TV is already full, every power outlet is already occupied with something, and I have 3 power strips for the upstairs only, and I do not desire to have to physically switch ports when I want to watch TV.

  9. Lethe says:

    I really don’t understand why my hydro bill is always so high then. Last month was about $150. I have a fridge, stove, microwave, toaster, water heater, tv, cable box, desktop pc, laptop, and an alarm plugged in all the time. A few other items (blow dryer, george foreman, etc) are used sporadically. There was no heat used, and we don’t have a/c. Where’s it coming from???

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Do you live in your own home, or an apartment? My niece lived in an apartment, and her electric bill seemed too high, and after a little detective work that included throwing the breakers that were marked to her name, found out she was paying for lights in the hallways, entrance way, etc. that were on 24/7. She had a heart to heart with the landlord over that one.

  10. yossi says:

    My computer has a 500w power supply, but on average pulls in 300 watts. At 8 hours a day, thats 2400 watts or 2.4 KW a day. Times 30 days, my computer usese 72 KW – I pay 10c a KW, so I pay $7.2 a month, or $86.40 a year. Wonder how they calcualted $28.12 a year in the article

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Probably by using a computer that uses less energy :) Mine (work or home) don’t use anywhere close to that amount.

  11. njsteiners says:

    Apple has just announced that you are going to have to run it on Apple electricity that will cost you $161 a year.