How Many Watts Does A Laptop Use? [Actual Usage & Costs Revealed – 1,084 Studied]

Based on laptop power consumption tests, get the actual answer to: how many watts does a laptop use? Plus, get key laptop wattage details, running costs & get 10 effective cost saving tips.

In this article you’ll see how many watts laptops actually use, based on power consumption research into 1,084 laptops. You’ll also get key laptop wattage details, based on manufacturer specifications from 144 of the best selling laptops, and much more.

Spoilers:

  • Laptop wattage typically ranges from 30W to 200W, however, gaming laptops can reach over 320W.
  • The most common laptop wattage is 65W.
  • The amount of watts that a laptop actually uses rarely reaches the wattage listed on the device.
  • On average, laptops use 0.34W in Off mode, 0.78W in Sleep mode, 2.45W in Long Idle mode and 5.91W in Short Idle mode.
  • Under typical daily usage, laptops use 55.45 watt hours (0.055 kWh) per day, 1,686.6 watt hours (1.69 kWh) per month and 20,238.8 watt hours (20.24 kWh) per year, on average.
  • It costs $0.00825 per day, $0.25 per month and $3.04 per year to run a laptop, on average.

Continue reading to get a complete answer to: how many watts does a laptop use? Also, see how laptop power consumption compares to standard household appliances, use the Laptop Power Consumption Calculator to see your running costs, and find out how you can reduce your electricity costs with 10 easy to implement energy saving tips.

How Many Watts Does A Laptop Use Image containing a laptop on a table with money

Laptop wattage

The most common laptop wattage is 65W.

Based on a study of 144 of the best selling laptops on the market, laptop wattage ranges from 30W to 200W.

However, there are some outliers. It’s increasingly common to see gaming laptops with wattages in excess of 200W (more on this below).

The table below lists the wattage of some of the most popular laptops.

LaptopWattage
MacBook Air30W
MacBook Pro 13″61W
MacBook Pro 14″67W
MacBook Pro 16″96W or 140W depending on spec
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go39W
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 245W
Samsung Galaxy Book Go45W
Samsung Chromebook 4+45W
Dell Inspiron 14″65W
Dell Inspiron 17″90W
Dell Inspiron 15 (7000)90W
Dell Inspiron 15 (3000)45W
Dell XPS 15130W
Dell G15 Gaming Laptop180W
ASUS ROG Zephyrus15200W
HP Laptops45W to 150W depending on the model
Acer Laptops45W to 180W depending on the model
Lenovo Flex 345W
Lenovo Chromebook 345W
Lenovo Ideapad 365W
Lenovo Yoga65W

The wattage listed above is the manufacturer’s listed wattage, also referred to as the power rating of the laptop. This is the maximum power that the device will consume.

However, laptops don’t always operate at its maximum power consumption.

The amount of watts that a laptop will actually consume is different from its power rating.

So, next, let’s take a look at how many watts laptops actually consume.

How many watts does a laptop actually use?

Based on a study of 1,084 models, laptops use 0.34 watts in Off mode, 0.78 watts in Sleep mode, 2.45 watts in Long Idle mode and 5.91 watts in Short Idle mode, on average, per hour. 

The most common amount of watts consumed by the best selling laptops these days is 65W (max). If Active mode consumed half of its power rating (which is similar to the results from my test below), per hour, this laptop would consume 32.5 watt hours of electricity.

But how many watts does a laptop use over longer periods of time?

Let’s assume, similar to ENERGY STAR, a typical daily usage of 14.3 hours in Off mode, 0.3 hours in sleep mode and 9.4 hours in combined Idle and high performance modes.

The table below shows how many watt hours laptops use per day, month and year.

ModeWatt hours used per dayWatts hours used per monthWatts hours used per year
Off mode4.88Wh148.4Wh1,780.4Wh
Sleep mode0.23Wh7.1Wh85.2Wh
Active mode (incl. high performance and active but idle modes)50.34Wh1,531.1Wh1,8373.2Wh
Total55.45Wh1,686.6Wh20,238.8Wh

These results are based on standardized tests for 1,084 laptops, which were completed for ENERGY STAR certification. The data, for the 1,084 laptops, was sourced from energystar.gov. As a result, these figures relate to the best performing laptops on the market.

Off mode uses less electricity than Sleep mode. However, due to the estimated duration of use in each mode, Off mode consumes more electricity than Sleep mode per day.

On average, laptops use 55.45 watt hours of electricity per day. However, a consumption of 47.12 watt hours is most common. Overall, under typical usage conditions, laptops consume between 6.3 watt hours and 230 watt hours per day.

There will be extreme usage conditions, however. But these results relate to typical usage of modern popular laptops.

Per month, on average, laptops consume 1,686.6 watt hours of electricity, with 1,433.33 watt hours being the most common. Laptops use between 191.67 watt hours and 7,025 watt hours per month.

The amount of watts that laptops consume is more significant when we look at the annual figures.

Per year, laptops consume 20,238.8 watt hours on average, but 17,200 watt hours is most common. Laptops use between 2,300 and 84,300 watt hours of electricity per year.

The amount of watts consumed per year ranges dramatically. This demonstrates how important it is to choose an efficient, ENERGY STAR certified, notebook.

Related post: How Many Amps Does A Laptop Use?

How many watts my laptop uses – a real world test

Using an energy monitor / smart plug (check out the one I used on Amazon here), I tested the actual power consumption of my ASUS VivoBook 14” laptop.

How many watts the ASUS VivoBook uses:

  • 0.33 watts in Off mode.
  • 3.89 watts in Sleep mode.
  • 19.6 watts in Active mode while writing on Google Docs.
  • 21.5 watts in Active mode while streaming YouTube.
  • 45 watts at max power consumption, according to the manufacturer (I didn’t manage to reach this wattage).

I obviously didn’t complete these tests under the standardized test conditions required to get ENERGY STAR certification – I was just curious.

While I was at it, I was curious about how many watts the charger uses while it’s plugged into the outlet but not into the laptop. Let’s take a look at the results of this test next. 

How many watts does a laptop charger use

Laptop chargers can continue to use electricity when they’re plugged into the outlet and not plugged into the laptop.

However, the amount of electricity is tiny – a fraction of a watt.

Modern chargers tend to be more efficient, reducing and, in many cases, eliminating the wastage.

In my case, the laptop charger I tested didn’t consume any electricity when it was plugged into the outlet and not the laptop.

However, a bit of a disclaimer is required. My energy monitor only measures to 2 decimal places of 1 watt. So the charger could be consuming 100ths of a watt, but the energy monitor cannot pick that up.

When the charger is plugged into the laptop, power is consumed. This is the “Off mode” mentioned above, where 0.33 watts per was being consumed.

Need help ensuring you choose the right laptop charger? Get key laptop voltage details, including safety information, here: Laptop charger voltage – all you need to know.

Sidenote: I see many sources online confusing the charger power / wattage rating with the amount of watts that it uses. You should expect your charger to not use any noticeable amount of electricity. When a device is plugged into the charger but it is still in Off mode, you can expect the device / charger to draw less than 1 watt in many / most cases (when the battery is already fully charged).

OK, I’ve finished with my real-world tests. Let’s get back to the study, where I mentioned “outliers” – the gaming laptops. Let’s briefly take a look at the wattage of these next.

How many watts does a gaming laptop use?

Gaming laptop wattage ranges from 35W to 320W, and even more is some cases. The amount of watts used during non-gaming modes is typical – from as low as 0 watts in Off mode, to around 20 watts in Idle mode.

However, the amount of watts gaming laptops use during high performance mode is significantly more than typical laptops.

And the amount of watts consumed will vary depending on the specs.

ASUS gaming laptops, specifically their ROG models, have a Total Graphics Power (TGP) that ranges from 35W to 150W, with 115W being the most common. And with a dynamic boost, the GPU power can reach 40W to 150W, with 130W now being the most common. Source

Also, according to tomshardware.com, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition has a 320W TGP.

And that’s just the TGP.

Gaming laptops have a massive variety of specs and many are heavily customized.

Two of the best selling gaming laptops on bestbuy.com, the Dell G15 and the Zephyrus 15, have a power rating of 180W and 200W respectively.

But, as mentioned, actual consumption differs from the power rating.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that off-the-shelf gaming laptops use 2-5 times the amount of watts that a typical laptop uses.

When looking at the amount of watts that laptops use over long periods of time, it’s easier to work with kWh. 1 kWh = 1,000 watts.

And you’re billed per kWh of electricity that you consume.

For convenience, to help work out the cost to run laptops, let’s take a look at laptop power consumption in kWh.

Laptop power consumption (kWh)

The table below lists how many kWh of electricity that laptops use per day, month and year.

ModekWh used per daykWh used per monthkWh used per year
Off mode0.0049 kWh0.1484 kWh1.7804 kWh
Sleep mode0.0002 kWh0.0071 kWh0.0852 kWh
Active mode (incl. high performance and active but idle modes)0.0503 kWh1.5311 kWh18.3732 kWh
Total0.055 kWh1.69 kWh20.24 kWh

The data in this table is similar to the table immediately above and has the same usage assumptions. 

With the power consumption in kWh, we can easily work out the electricity cost. Assuming a price per kWh of 15 cents (the US average according to Statista):

It costs $0.00825 per day, $0.25 per month and $3.04 per year to run a laptop, on average.

The results in the table above are the average figures from the study. The low to high power consumption ranges are quite substantial. To get a better sense of how much electricity laptops use and cost to run, let’s take a look at these ranges, along with the most common power consumption.

How much electricity does a laptop use? (kWh & $ ranges)

Laptops use between 0.0063 kWh to 0.2310 kWh of electricity per day, with 0.0471 kWh being the most common.

At $0.15 per kWh, it costs from $0.000945 to $0.03465 per day to run a laptop. $0.007065 is the most common daily running cost for laptops.

Per month, laptops consume between 0.192 kWh and 7.025 kWh of electricity, with 1.433 kWh being the most common monthly power consumption.

The cost to run a laptop per month ranges from $0.029 to $1.05 ($0.215 is the most common monthly electricity cost).

Annually, laptops use between 2.3 kWh and 84.3 kWh of electricity, 17.2 kWh being the most common.

The electricity cost per year to run a laptop ranges from $0.345 to $12.645, with $2.58 being the most common running cost.

So now we know how much electricity a laptop uses. But is it a lot?

Do laptops use a lot of electricity 

No. Laptops do not use a lot of electricity.

They are not considered energy guzzlers.

Laptops use 1,686.6 watt hours (1.69 kWh) of electricity per month, on average.

For perspective, this is equivalent to:

So, when compared to common household appliances at least, laptops do not use a lot of electricity.

As a result, they’re relatively inexpensive to run, costing just $0.25 per month on average.

Related: see how long laptop batteries last and get insights into laptop battery capacity.

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But what about your laptop – does it use a lot of electricity and is it expensive to run? Use the Laptop Power Consumption Calculator below to find out.

Laptop power consumption calculator

Use this laptop power consumption calculator to see how much electricity your laptop uses and see how much it costs you to run your laptop.

So now that we know how much electricity laptops use and how much they cost to run, let’s take a look at how we can reduce the energy usage and running costs.

10 tips to reduce laptop electricity usage

Reduce the electricity usage and running cost of your laptop with these 10 easy to implement tips. Many of these also help save battery life when the laptop is not plugged in.

  1. Change your sleep settings. Entering sleep mode sooner during inactivity will reduce the amount of electricity that your laptop uses. ENERGY STAR notes that this can save $15 per computer annually. You’ll likely save as much as this if you’re using your device for extended periods, e.g. while working from home. The default sleep mode time, upon shipping, for laptops ranges from 4 minutes to 30 minutes. Based on over 1,000 laptops, the most common sleep mode time is 10 minutes, with 18 minutes being average.
  2. Don’t forget your display sleep mode. Many laptops have a display sleep mode, which is different from the main sleep mode feature. Display sleep mode, as the name suggests, will mainly save electricity by putting the screen to sleep – background apps may continue to run. Consider setting your display sleep mode the same as your sleep mode (not less) as this can save electricity. Based on over 1,000 laptops, the default time, upon shipping, for display sleep mode ranges from 4 minutes to 15 minutes, with 10 minutes being the most common and 9.5 minutes being the average.
  3. Turn on power saving mode. Most laptops come with a power saving mode. This mode saves electricity by reducing the performance of certain laptop features. Most features will still perform to a satisfactory level, so do consider checking out this mode.
  4. Turn on battery saving mode. This is different from the power saving mode and works when your laptop is disconnected from the mains. As the name suggests, this will save battery, which means that less electricity will be required to charge your laptop when it’s plugged back in.
  5. Reduce screen brightness. Display brightness significantly impacts the amount of electricity that your laptop uses. The lower the brightness, the less power will be consumed. 
  6. Disable certain apps at certain times. Many apps can run unnecessarily in the background and on start up. These make your laptop work harder, and, as a result, consume more electricity. Consider disabling apps where appropriate (and only if you’re confident that you won’t break anything!).
  7. Turn off unused features and devices. Consider turning off and disconnecting ancillary devices if they’re not in use, e.g. a monitor or a mouse. Also consider switching off features such as Bluetooth, WiFi and backlighting from your keyboard, if they’re available and not being used.
  8. Reduce heat. Laptop fans obviously consume power and turn on when required. They’re required more when there is less ventilation around the device, e.g. when the laptop is sitting on and surrounded by bedding. Consider where you place the device when you’re using it, and try to allow for good heat dissipation. This will reduce the amount of electricity required to cool the laptop.
  9. Switch off and unplug. Most laptops continue to consume electricity when completely turned off and still plugged in. Despite using less electricity, Off mode can actually use more electricity than Sleep mode per day due to the extended period of time that the laptop is in that mode. So, to save energy, remember to unplug.
  10. Consider switching energy provider. If available in your area and if appropriate, consider switching your utility company. Shop around because energy providers tend to offer significant discounts to attract new customers. This will not just reduce your laptop’s electricity costs, but also the cost of running all of your electrical appliances.

The vast majority of these tips have the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint. If you’d like to reduce it even more, get in touch with your energy provider and ask about their Green energy options.

Final thoughts

While laptops aren’t considered energy guzzlers, the difference between how much electricity they consume is substantial.

As a result, the difference in running costs are significant.

I hope the energy saving tips help you keep your running costs, and carbon footprint, low.

If you’re interested in making a more substantial impact on your carbon footprint and electric bills, get the 6 Quick Wins Cheat Sheet here:

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