Skip to Content

Calculating running costs

The running cost of any appliance or electrical item is like a hidden second price tag that you pay slowly over the life of the product. Buying efficient products can save you a lot of money over the years you own them.

Whiteware and heat pumps

For most whiteware and heat pumps you can use the ENERGYWISE™ running costs calculator to find out how much they will cost to use. Alternately you can use the energy consumption figure on the energy rating labels these appliances have.

Simple electrical products

For other things not included in the calculator, but that use electricity at a constant rate when in use, like some electric heaters, kettles, toasters etc, there is a simple calculation you can do.

The running cost of an electrical appliance is determined by:

  • its capacity, expressed in Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) (1000 W = 1 kW)
  • your electricity tariff - typically around 26 cents per kWh for normal residential electricity supply; and
  • how long you use them for

To work out the running cost:

  1. take the capacity, in kilowatts (if it is in Watts, divide by 1000 to get kilowatts)
  2. multiply by your electricity tariff if you know it, if not use 26. The answer is how much it costs to use the appliance, in cents, for an hour
  3. if you are going to be using the appliance for a period of time, multiply by the number of hours to get the total. Don't forget that the answer is in cents

As an example, if you use a 2.4 kW heater for 4 hours a day and pay 26 cents per unit for electricity then:

2.4kW heater x your electricity rate 26 cents = 62.4 cents an hour to run

62.4 x 4 (number of hours you use it a day)

= $2.50 to run each day

Use a meter for more complex appliances

For more complex appliances that use a varying amount of energy over time, like a heater that has a thermostat, or a stereo, a simple electricity meter is the best option.

These meters are available from hardware stores. They go between the wall socket and any plug-in appliance and allow you to see how much electricity the appliance is using at a moment in time. They can also track energy consumption over a day, week or longer.

Related tools:

Link to the running cost calculatorRunning costs calculator

Use the calculator to find out what your appliance will cost to run per year.

Use this tool now »