Although you may only use your clothes washer once every few days (or even less), it can still use an impactful amount of electricity. While not as power-hungry as appliances like air conditioners, it’s important to know how much electricity your washing machine uses when you’re looking at your whole home’s energy usage.
Key takeaways about powering a washing machine
- On average, washers use 400 to 1,400 watts of electricity – this number is highly dependent on the model you have.
- Using a washing machine 3 times a week will use about 140.4 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
- It costs an average of $1.66 to run a washer for a month, and $19.92 to run for a year.
- The best way to save on electricity is to install solar panels. Start comparing your options on the EnergySage Marketplace today.
In this article
- How much electricity does a washing machine use?
- Definitions: watts, amps, volts, and more
- How much does it cost to power a washing machine?
How much electricity does a washing machine use?
On average, a washing machine uses 400 to 1,400 watts (W) of electricity, depending on the model. Most washing machines use between 5 and 15 amps, and connect to a 120 volt outlet.
How much you run your washing machine has the biggest impact on how much electricity it uses over time, and households have all sorts of laundry routines. To cover a range of schedules, we’ll outline three scenarios: using your washing machine once a week, three times a week, and every day of the week. Assuming a wash cycle takes one hour:
- If you run a 900 W washing machine once a week, that’s 0.9 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per week, 3.9 kWh per month, and 46.8 kWh per year.
- Running that same washer three times a week comes to 2.7 kWh per week, 11.7 kWh per month, and 140.4 kWh per year.
- If you run a 900 W washing machine every day, that’s 6.3 kWh of electricity per week, 27.3 kWh per month, and 327.6 kWh per year.
Different wattage washing machines use different amounts of electricity over the course of a year. Assuming you run your washing machine an average amount (3 days per week, or 156 days per year), here’s how much electricity you’ll use over the course of a year:
How many watts do different washing machines use in a year?
|Washing machine wattage||Days per week run||Yearly kWh of electricity|
|400 W||3||62.4 kWh|
|500 W||3||78.0 kWh|
|600 W||3||93.6 kWh|
|700 W||3||109.2 kWh|
|800 W||3||124.8 kWh|
|900 W||3||140.4 kWh|
|1,000 W||3||156.0 kWh|
|1,100 W||3||171.6 kWh|
|1,200 W||3||187.2 kWh|
|1,300 W||3||202.8 kWh|
|1,400 W||3||218.4 kWh|
We’ll mostly be referring to the electricity used by washing machines in terms of kWh in this article. The reason is simple: your electric bill is measured in kWh, and you get charged based on the kWh of electricity you use per month!
How many volts and amps does a washing machine use?
The wattage of an appliance is determined from its voltage and amperage. You can use the yellow EnergyGuide label on your washing machine to determine the volts and amps it uses.
Using the above example label, here’s how you can calculate volts and amps:
- Translate energy consumption to watt-hours (Wh) by multiplying the label’s kWh by 1,000. This gives you 135,000 Wh.
- Divide 135,000 Wh by the number of days in a year you would use your washing machine – we’ll say 150 – which gives you 900 Wh per day. Washing machines usually cycle for an hour, so that’s 900 W of hourly wattage.
- Washing machines usually use 120 volt outlets. Divide the 900 W by 120 volts to get the amperage for your appliance: 900 W / 120 V = 7.5 amps.
Watts, amps, voltage, and more: what do they mean?
There are a lot of terms you can use to describe how electricity flows and is used by appliances. We’ve already mentioned most of them – here are a few definitions to keep things straight:
- Volts (V): volts (short for voltage) are measures of electrical pressure differences. Put simply, voltage is the speed of electricity passing through a circuit.
- Amps (A): amps (short for amperes) are a measure of electrical current. Put simply, amps are the amount of electrons (which make up electricity) flowing through a circuit.
- Watts (W) and kilowatts (kW): multiplying volts x amps gets you watts (or wattage). Put simply, watts are the rate of electricity consumption. A kilowatt is just 1,000 watts.
- Kilowatt-hours (kWh): lastly, kilowatt-hours are how your electric bill measures your energy usage. Simply put, kilowatt-hours are electricity consumption over time.
You can think of all of these terms like water flowing through a pipe. Voltage is the water pressure, amps are the amount of water flowing past any point, and wattage is the overall rate of water flow through the pipe.
How much does it cost to power a washing machine?
When you get your monthly electric bill, you only get to see the total amount you’re charged, not how much each appliance contributes to your final bill. Based on an average wattage of 900 W for washing machines (amounting to 140.4 kWh/year if you run it three days a week) and using state average electricity rates, here’s how the cost to run a washing machine pans out over the course of a month and a year:
Monthly and yearly costs to run a washing machine by state
|State||Average electricity rate||Cost per month||Cost per year|
|California||22.00 ¢ / kWh||$2.57||$30.89|
|New York||20.59 ¢ / kWh||$2.41||$28.91|
|Texas||12.56 ¢ / kWh||$1.47||$17.63|
|Massachusetts||22.59 ¢ / kWh||$2.64||$31.72|
|Florida||12.21 ¢ / kWh||$1.43||$17.14|
|Virginia||12.58 ¢ / kWh||$1.47||$17.66|
|New Jersey||16.20 ¢ / kWh||$1.90||$22.74|
|Maryland||14.48 ¢ / kWh||$1.69||$20.33|
|Washington||10.38 ¢ / kWh||$1.21||$14.57|
|US Average||14.19 ¢ / kWh||$1.66||$19.92|
Note: average electricity rates are based on October 2021 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Looking to offset your electric bills (and the energy these appliances use) with solar? When you sign up (for free!) on the EnergySage Marketplace, you can compare solar quotes from high-quality, local solar installers. Make sure to keep in mind your current and future electricity usage, and talk about how that could change with your installer for the most accurate quotes.
Calculate how much energy your own washing machine uses
Remember that yellow Energy Saver sticker we mentioned above? If you want to know how much electricity your washing machine uses (or at least is supposed to use), take the estimated yearly electricity use in kWh – this is probably your best bet for an accurate number. Simply multiply this number by the average electricity rate in your area to get an estimate of how much you spend to power your washing machine each year. For an estimated monthly cost, divide the estimated yearly cost by 12.
See what electricity costs near you
The more expensive your electricity is, the more you’ll pay to power your washing machine. Curious how much electricity costs near you? Click on your state to learn more:
Frequently asked questions about powering a washing machine
If you’re on a time-of-use (TOU) rate plan, you are charged different amounts for electricity throughout the day. In general, it’s cheaper to use appliances during “off-peak” hours, which are usually overnight.
Just about all popular home batteries are capable of powering a washing machine: most lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or Generac PWRcell have a power rating of 4 to 5 kW or higher, and 10+ kWh of usable capacity. Washing machines use 500 to 1,400 W (0.5 to 1.4 kW) of power at any one time, meaning most batteries will be suitable on their own for backing up your washing machine.
Average washing machines use between 400 and 1,400 W of electricity to stay powered. On average, solar panels are rated at around 350 W, meaning you’ll need about 2-4 panels to power most washing machines.
ENERGY STAR is a U.S. government-backed system that certifies how energy efficient appliances are. If an appliance is better than the average appliance in its category by a certain amount, it is labeled as “ENERGY STAR certified”. ENERGY STAR appliances cost less money to run, given that they are more efficient with the electricity they use.
How much money can solar panels save you?
Solar savings vary widely, and your unique savings depends on factors like electricity usage, your location, electric rates and plans, and more. In general, most homeowners can expect to save somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of a solar panel system. On average, it takes between 7 and 8 years for most homeowners who shop for solar on EnergySage to get their solar panels to pay for themselves.
Going solar is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, and you should make sure you are getting several quotes from reputable installers before you decide to move forward. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get solar quotes from installers in your area and begin comparing options.