Battery Equivalents and Replacements

Computer Wattage: How Many Watts Does A Computer Use?

Computers are present in various forms at any home, and while not being as energy-hungry as some other devices and appliances, it is good to know how much energy and Watts computers require.

Just like other electrical devices, computers do differ in many features, power consumption included. However, some average computer wattage can be safely assumed when calculating required energy and, of course, electric bills.

Published: November 9, 2022.

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Computer Types and Power Requirements

Although computers differ in size, type, and performance, they can be generally categorized as follows:

  • Desktop Computers: 150-600+ Watts
  • Laptop Computers: 30-80+ Watts

Power requirements depend on the computer type and components, but also its use.

The main energy-hungry components of any computer are processors (especially when video editing and crunching numbers), graphic cards (especially when playing games or mining cryptocurrencies), memory modules, monitors, multimedia devices, and similar.

Note: While laptop computers don't require much power, external monitors and multimedia devices can multiply power requirements by factors 3-4 easily.

So, probably the best way of finding out how many Watts your computer with all peripherals require is to connect the computer and peripherals to the UPS or Power Station with a power meter and use it as usual while monitoring the required power.

The following chart lists hours and required energy for various computers, depending on the computers' power requirement (Note: it is assumed that the computers are used 8 hours per day and that 1 kWh of electric energy costs 0.15 $US):

Computer Wattage Monthly kWh Monthly Cost Annual kWh Annual Cost
30W 7.20 kWh $1.08 86.4 kWh $12.96
50W 12.0 kWh $1.80 144 kWh $21.60
70W 16.8 kWh $2.52 201.6 kWh $30.24
100W 24.0 kWh $3.60 288 kWh $43.20
150W 36.0 kWh $5.40 432 kWh $64.80
200W 48.0 kWh $7.20 576 kWh $86.40
300W 72.0 kWh $10.80 864 kWh $129.60
400W 96.0 kWh $14.40 1152 kWh $172.80
500W 120.0 kWh $18.00 1440 kWh $216.00

As one can see, if You have a laptop without an external monitor and other peripherals, your monthly and annual electric bill will not be extra higher due to the computer use.

But, if You have a high-end laptop or workstation-replacement laptop with many peripherals (1-2 or even more monitors, speakers, external drives, etc.), a gaming desktop computer or workstation desktop computer, intensive use of such computers for a longer period of time every day may increase monthly electric bills by 10-20 $US, sometimes even more.


How To Decrease The Computer's Electric Bill

There are several ways of decreasing the electric bill due to computer use:

  • Laptops are built using more energy-efficient components, so if possible, switch from the desktop to the laptop computer.
  • If You are using an external monitor(s), switching to more energy-efficient models can decrease the electric bill.
  • Decrease the sound and display lighting, but nonetheless, optimize them for the best possible work, not for energy saving, or You will prolong your working hours.
  • When the computer is not in use, put it to sleep. When the computer is not going to be used for several hours or even days, turn it completely off, peripherals included.
  • Use the computer when the electricity is cheaper, usually at night.

Many people claim that the computer's electric bill can be saved using solar panels and power stations. Yes, we 100% agree on this, but this will also generate additional costs in terms of solar panels and the power station.

For example, to power a 500W gaming computer, one needs:

  • 800-1000W of solar panels,
  • a good power station that supports pass-through charging and can accept at least 500-700W of solar power.

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One such power station is Bluetti AC200P Portable Power Station (Amazon link, opens in the new window), which is anything but a cheap unit, even without the required solar panels.

And best of all, this is worth every (euro)cent.

However, if You want to decrease the annual electricity bill for a gaming computer which is in the $170-$230 range, one would need at least 10-15-20 years(!) of power station/solar panels use just to break even.

Note: portable power stations/solar generators combined with solar panels are not costly, useless devices - on the contrary, during blackouts, emergencies, when camping, and similar, they can come in very handy.

Long Story Short: So, if You want to decrease the computer's electricity bill, simply turn it off when not in use and keep the sound and lighting under control. Peripheral devices that are not in use can be kept turned Off and only be turned On when needed.

Also, using a laptop instead of a desktop computer can help too.