How Much Does It Cost to Power a Laptop?

In 2012, the average cost to power a laptop computer in the United States was $8.31 US Dollars (USD) per year. By comparison, powering a tablet computer for a year cost an average of $1.36 USD, if its user fully charged it on alternating days. A desktop computer-and-monitor setup cost an average of $33.51 USD to power it for a year. The actual costs vary from one area to another, because different power companies charge varying rates for electricity.

More about power usage:

  • The US Department of Energy notes that the slight power surge that happens when a computer or monitor is turned on does not surpass the energy wasted when the machines are left on without being used for long periods of time. The Department of Energy recommends that computer users turn off their computer monitor if it will not be used within 20 minutes. If a user expects to not use his or her computer within at least two hours, the user should turn off the entire system.

  • Laptops are remarkably energy efficient compared with other consumer electronics. A laptop uses about 72.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, and a 32-inch (81-cm) flat screen television uses 542 kWh per year.

  • Electronic devices that are in standby mode — plugged in but not in use — can be a drain on power supplies and cost consumers money. Electronic devices, including chargers for laptops and phones, that are unused but plugged in cost the average household about $100 USD per year.

More Info:

Discussion Comments


@anon295080 - Check out the website provided for more info (i.e., the US government's energy website). I did. Very interesting. Beyond costs to power laptops alone. But for laptops, there are so many variables (energy cost, how often you use your laptop (desktop computers cost more to be powered), how many watts your laptop runs on (not all of them are the same, I don't think)). I think they used 4 hours as an average since some of us use our laptops virtually all day, and others only an hour or two (especially with the prevalence of smart phones).

All in all, very interesting to see how cheap it is (power-wise) to use such a powerful (because it connects you to the Internet and opens up your world) tool!


The article about laptops and other electronic devices is most interesting. However, it leaves out one extremely important factor in how the cost was computed for each device over a period of a year's time. There is nothing that says how many hours per day or per week they figure each device is in use. In other words, do they figure the cost on a TV set at eight hours per day to arrive at the final cost or are they figuring the device is left on 24/7?

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