If you ever wanted to know exactly how much energy an electronic device is using, the best method is to use a gadget commonly known as an electricity usage monitor or power meter. You simply connect your electronics into the power meter and then connect it into a wall outlet. Such meters allow you to get all sorts of accurate information about a particular device, such as the exact watts, amps, voltage, frequency, kilowatt hours (kWh) and other energy information. Everything is conveniently displayed on an LCD screen and can be quickly noted for further analysis or calculations.
For the majority of electronics shown on this website, we have relied on the P3 International line of products and in particular the P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. This device has worked well and there have been no issues testing many different products. The only minor drawback of this specific model is that the LCD display has no back light, so in certain dark areas a small flashlight is needed to check the screen, however this is not really a significant problem as most testing only needs minutes to conduct. You also have to be mindful of the limitations, as you cannot test very high powered devices, since the unit is rated for 1875 watts and it is probably best to keep well under that limit, especially for long term testing. But this is still enough to test the vast majority of your home appliances and electrical devices.
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An electricity usage monitor is also useful to quickly test your wall outlets, to make sure that there are no issues with power delivery in your home. This can easily be seen by looking at voltage drops and line frequency during testing, allowing you to determine problems before they damage devices or create unnecessary and costly power drain or energy delivery issues. Furthermore you can see how your electronics preform in idle or standby modes, this can help you decide which electronics to keep plugged in and which to disconnect when you are not using them.
There are other power meters available which are slightly cheaper and have a backlit LCD screen. They appear to be sold by many different companies and share a similar design. They could be a viable option and advertise to share similar features, but we have not done testing on them yet to determine how well they perform compared to P3 products. So it might be a good idea to check reviews and determine yourself. Either way a Power Meter is a handy product to have as a home tool and allows you to check the energy use of most of your electronics very easily and accurately, we highly recommend having one in your home.
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