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Kill-a-Watt

Written by Nickel - 8 Comments

I ran across this awhile back and promptly filed it away into the ‘cool gadgets to check out later’ corner of my brain. Well, this weekend it finally resurfaced. So… If you’re interested in cutting down on your electric bills, might I suggest that you check out the Kill-a-Watt.

I’ve actually never used one, but I’ve read about them in a couple of different places, and they look pretty handy. Basically, they allow you to monitor the amount of electricity used by any particular device, thereby allowing you to identify and eliminate waste. For example, I’ve often wondered how much power it takes to leave our computer on all the time (it’s set to ’sleep’ after a half hour or so of inactivity, but still). Then again, I’ve grown so accustomed to the convenience of just having to wake our computer up, rather than waiting while it boots up… Maybe I don’t really want to know. Oh, and while the Kill-a-Watt has the catchiest name, there seem to be a number of other options out there (simply search Amazon for ‘kill a watt’ to find them), and I’m not entirely sure how they stack up.

Published on January 26th, 2006
Modified on August 6th, 2006 - 8 Comments
Filed under: Energy

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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8 Responses to “Kill-a-Watt”

  1. 1
    Jane Dough Says:

    My brother-in-law purchased a similar device a year or so ago. He checked all his appliances and chargers and figured out what was used the least but was costing the most. His biggest offender? A “Candella” charger. These are electric candels that he used seldom, but tended to keep the charger plugged in and the “candellas” stored in the charger. I think it was costing him a couple of dollars a month. He was so disgusted that he sold the set on eBay.

    Cool gadget.

  2. 2
    FMF Says:

    Cool! I may need to check one of these out myself.

  3. 3
    Terri W. Says:

    We got one a few weeks ago and have been slowly tallying up the data on various things around the house, but we haven’t yet found any smoking guns…

    Very easy to use.

  4. 4
    Hypersion Says:

    Don’t most appliances list the watt usage on them?

  5. 5
    Blaine Moore Says:

    They aren’t always accurate, and not everything lists it. Plus, that is when it is actively being used, and not just when it is plugged in and turned off.

  6. 6
    Jeremy Says:

    Hypersion, All major appliances must by federal law include that little yellow sticker with average electricity consumption (kWh/year). That number, however, is an average. If you open your fridge door more than average or have fewer items (the more full your fridge is, the less it has to work), you’ll use more electricity.

    This kind of device would be really helpful to measure power consumption from PCs, TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, stereos, etc… While some of these items list the wattage requirements on the back, as Blaine said, they’re often inaccurate and only when operating at full power.

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