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Cheapest and Most Expensive Appliances to Run Each Year

Cheapest and Most Expensive Appliances to Run Each Year

  • Published: 9th January 2023, 17:46

In 2022, energy prices around the world jumped by an enormous 60% following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, leaving many households within the US and around the globe struggling to budget for the sudden increase in energy bills. In 2023, prices are predicted to fall by 11% – leaving many households still struggling to make ends meet to pay off record-high energy bills. 

Here, MoneyTransfers.com has calculated some of the cheapest and most expensive items to run around the home based on the latest electricity costs regionally in the US. Jonathan Merry, CEO of MoneyTransfers.com, comments:

Many households are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills amidst the rising cost of living worldwide – and our hope is that this data will educate people on what everyday household appliances have the biggest impact on energy usage. 

While the colder months may see an obvious hike in bills due to the increased use of central heating and electric radiators, it’s very clear that households living in warmer climates in the US need to be just as cautious about their use of air conditioning, which has the highest overall electricity consumption out of any other appliance we reviewed.”

Most Expensive Region for Electricity

In the US, electricity rates are regulated at a state level, which can mean there is a huge variance in price across different areas  in the US – plus, factors such as population density and transmission can also come into play. As of the latest data (released in November 2022) from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, states in the West region are currently experiencing the highest cost of electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh) at $0.18. Within the West, states in the Pacific region in particular are paying the highest prices of all, with the average cost of electricity per kWh in Los Angeles being $0.25. 

In contrast, states in the South are paying $0.15 per kWh, the Northeast averages $0.16 per kWh, and the Midwest has the cheapest electricity costs at just $0.14. 

RegionElectricity Cost*
Northeast$0.16 per kWh
Midwest$0.14 per kWh
South$0.15 per kWh
West$0.18 per kWh
Pacific$0.21 per kWh
*as of November 2022

Air conditioning puts energy bills on blast

We found that the biggest electricity users in American homes are air conditioning units, costing up to $1,062 per year on the assumption they’re switched on for eight hours a day. While a difference of a few cents per kWh across regions may not seem substantial, the effect this can have on energy bills can really be seen when we compare the average cost of air conditioners in different regions. Residents of the Midwest could benefit from an almost $200 reduction in their energy bill running their air conditioner for the same amount of time as those in the West, with an average annual cost of $826.

Also taking the top spots for most expensive appliances to run are the more typical household appliances most people use on a daily basis: electric heaters, tumble dryers, washing machines, fridge freezers, and dishwashers all shoulder the lion’s share of household bills. A tumble dryer costs up to $8.64 per month in the West, or $6.72 a month at its cheapest in the Midwest.

Meanwhile, a washing machine on average usage for a family of four will cost between $5.04 to $6.48 per month in electricity – with additional costs for the hot water used each cycle, too. 

LED light bulbs cheapest to run 

At the bottom of the list is LED lightbulbs, costing an average of $0.29 per month to run (assuming lights are on for 4 hours a day). LED lights may be a more expensive upfront cost, but they produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs, making them a clear choice for anyone looking to save money on energy costs in the long-term. 

Incandescent light bulbs, by comparison, cost up to an estimated $1.30 per month to run. In total, households could save up to $12.10 per year per lightbulb switching to LEDs.

Remote work and increased bills

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home in the US tripled from around 9 million to 27.6 million – a figure that is likely to have increased over 2022 as more and more Americans embrace the flexibility of remote work.

One factor that many households may need to consider in 2023, then, is the effect the increase in numbers of people working from home may have on energy bills. For example, our research found that, on average, a laptop being on charge for 5 hours a day everyday uses between $1.06 – $1.22 a month. 

While this may not sound like a significant amount on it’s own, when you add in additional charge time for recreational use, additional energy use for cooking for home, having lights on for longer, switching the heating on during the day when you would normally be at the office, those smaller figures soon add up to a noticeable increase on energy bills.

Electric stoves cheaper than a game console

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced that they are considering a ban on gas stoves amid new research linking them to childhood asthma. With approximately, 38% of US households relying on gas stoves, this announcement has left many wondering just how much their energy bills could change if regulations made switching to an electric stove necessary.

With the average electric stove using an average of 3,000 watts per hour, we calculated that using an electric stove for one hour a day, seven days a week would cost between $2.94 and $3.36, per month – cheaper, in fact, that than the cost of running an electric heater for just two hours daily.

Saving money on your energy bills

If you’re amongst the millions of households trying to cut costs on energy bills this year, our experts have highlighted a few key areas to focus on:

  • Swap out air conditioners: Air conditioning units are overwhelmingly the most expensive appliance to run each month, so if you live in a warmer climate you may want to swap out air conditioning for electric fans or even just opening the windows in the evenings.
  • Heat the human: Electric heaters are another appliance that come up high on our list, so focusing on wrapping up warm with more layers is a great way to save money.
  • Use less hot water: Washing machines and dishwashers are amongst the most expensive household appliances to run each month, and simply putting your clothes/dishes on a cycle with a lower temperature can make a huge difference to your energy bill.
  • Time your laundry days: Likewise, being strategic about when you wash your clothes and use your tumble dryer can save a lot of money. Instead of doing laundry little and often, assign one or two days a week where you can bulk wash and dry your clothes all in one go, using less energy overall.
  • Use energy at off-peak times: You will often find that your appliances cost less to run at off-peak times (i.e. during the night and in the early morning). For households looking to slash their energy bills, this can be a savvy habit to get into.

Cheapest and Most Expensive Appliances to Run Per Year

AppliancekWhNortheastMidwestSouthWest
Air Con (8 hours/day)492$944.64$826.56$885.60$1,062.72
Electric heater (2 hours/day)60$115.20$100.80$108.00$129.60
Tumble Drier ( family of 4)48$92.16$80.64$86.40$103.68
Washing Machine (family of 4)36$69.12$60.48$64.80$77.76
Fridge Freezer (24/7)34$65.28$57.12$61.20$73.44
Kettle (15 mins/day)24$46.08$40.32$43.20$58.32
Games console – Xbox One X (4 hoursday/)21.6$41.47$36.29$38.88$51.84
Electric stove/oven (1 hour, 7 days a week)21$40.32$35.28$37.80$40.32
43” LED SMART TV (5 hours/day)10.7$20.54$17.98$19.26$46.66
Single incandescent light bulb (4 hours/day)7.2$13.82$12.10$12.96$23.11
Hair dryer (5 minutes per day, 4 times a week)1.7$3.26$2.86$3.06$19.96
LED Light Bulb (4 hours/ day1.8$3.46$3.02$3.24$15.55
Hair Straighteners (5 minute per day, 4 times a week)2.46$4.72$4.13$4.43$14.59
Toaster oven (1 hr per week)3.9$7.49$6.55$7.02$11.67
Lawn Mower (1 hr per week)4.3$8.26$7.22$7.74$10.37
Microwave (10 minutes per day)5.4$10.37$9.07$9.72$8.26
Vacuum Cleaner (assuming 1 hour a week)6.08$11.67$10.21$10.94$7.49
Laptops (5 hours a day)7.6$14.59$12.77$13.68$4.72
Dishwasher (3 hour, 5 x a week)27$51.84$45.36$48.60$3.67
Coffee maker (1 hour, 7 days a week)9.24$17.74$15.52$16.63$3.46

**Appliance data converted from MoneyTransfers.com own research

Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.