How Much Is the Cost & Energy Usage of Running a Computer or Laptop?
In the age of work-from-home, our personal computer usage, whether a laptop or desktop, has probably skyrocketed. And while these devices may be small in comparison to a dishwasher, air conditioner, or refrigerator, they're still quite powerful and require a decent amount of electricity to power.
How much electricity does it take to run your computer? Check out our computer energy cost calculator below to get an estimate on how much it costs you to run your different devices.
Computer energy cost calculator
Kilowatts measure the rate at which electricity moves through an appliance. More kilowatts mean more electricity, and bigger computers will typically use more watts.
A computer's power usage will depend on the type of computer. Laptops use between 15 and 60 typically while desktop computers range between 60 and 250 watts. Google searching for your computer's wattage is the easiest way to get the most accurate number. Once you have this number, divide by 1000 to get kilowatts and multiply by hours to get kilo-watt hours.
According to US Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 16 ¢/kWh. However, this number can vary depending on your electricity supplier. Today, people in some states have the power to shop for their electricity and find cheaper rates.
What is the cost and energy consumption of running different types of computers?
Cost / hr*
Avg cost / month*
|Macbook (13 inches)||61 W||$0.010||$2.34|
|Macbook (15 inches)||87 W||$0.014||$3.34|
|Other Laptops (15.6 inches)||60 W||$0.010||$2.30|
|Other Laptops (17 inches)||90 W||$0.014||$3.46|
|Gaming Laptops||180 W||$0.029||$6.91|
Cost / hr*
Avg cost / month*
|Apple Desktop Computer (iMac)||100 W||$0.016||$3.84|
|LCD Monitor (17 inches)||80 W||$0.013||$3.07|
|CRT Monitor (17 inches)||35 W||$0.006||$1.34|
|Other Desktop computers||60 W||$0.010||$2.30|
How to save cost while using your personal computer?
Disconnect your external devicesExternal devices that are plugged into your computers such as webcams, printers, and headphones all consume energy. Remember to remove these devices when you're not using them!
Plug your computer into a smart stripIf you never turn your desktop off, you can invest in a smart strip that will automatically monitor and minimize your computer's energy consumption. Smart strips are a great investment for most appliances, so we definitely recommend getting one!
Set your computer to energy-saving modeMost computers these days have an energy-saving or low-power setting. Not only will setting your laptop to this setting help you lower your electricity usage, but it will also make your laptop battery last longer. A win-win if you ask us. You can also just lower the brightness when you don’t need it!
Turn off your computerIt seems like people rarely turn off their laptops or desktop computers these days. Turning your computer off actually has benefits in addition to saving energy when you're not using it. It protects your computer from power surges, helps preserve your battery, and can even increase computer speed.
Only charge your laptop when you need toLeaving your charger plugged into your computer for extended periods of time wastes unnecessary energy, especially when you're not using it. Not to mention, overcharging your laptop can degrade your battery! So unplug it when you don't need it. Give your battery a break.
Choose Perch EnergyAt Perch, we're on a mission to make cleaner energy more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable for all. Whether you rent an apartment, own a home, or run a business, Perch offers multiple ways to save money on your electricity bills, or even help the planet, too.
- For guaranteed savings on your annual electricity cost, join a community solar project in your area. Perch will help match you to a local solar farm—you'll support the operations of that farm so that it can generate and contribute as much clean, solar energy to the overall grid. You don't directly receive electricity from the solar power you're supporting, but thanks to government incentives, you'll get credits toward your own utility bill. Essentially, you're being rewarded with discounts on your own electricity because you're enabling solar generation and development in your state.
- With Perch, you can take your fossil-fuel-fighting, money-saving ways even further when you also switch your home or business' electricity plan to cleaner energy. If you're on your utility's default basic service rate, it's a "mixed" energy plan (generated partly by fossil fuels, partly by renewable resources). But Perch can switch you to a low-cost cleaner energy plan—outside of what your utility is offering—that's backed 100% by clean, renewable resources like solar and wind. We'll find you a price that's lower than the market rate for similar options in your area. You don't have to do anything differently, but you'll feel great knowing that your personal electricity usage is now contributing to a healthier planet, and you've reduced your everyday carbon footprint.