In many homes, our Wi-Fi routers are on for many hours of the day. While not as power-hungry as appliances like air conditioners or washing machines, it’s important to know how much electricity your Wi-Fi router uses when you’re looking at your whole home’s energy usage.
Key takeaways about powering a Wi-Fi router
- On average, Wi-Fi routers use between 5 and 20 watts of electricity – this number is dependent on the model you have.
- 10 watts is a safe average electricity consumption to assume for modern Wi-Fi routers from top manufacturers.
- Average Wi-Fi routers use about 7.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a month, and 87.6 kilowatt-hours in a year.
- It costs an average of $1.04 to run a Wi-Fi router for a month, and $12.43 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 Wi-Fi router use?
- Definitions: watts, volts, amps, and more
- How much does it cost to power a Wi-Fi router?
How much electricity does a Wi-Fi router use?
Generally, Wi-Fi routers use between 5 and 20 watts (W) of electricity, depending on the model. Most Wi-Fi routers use about 2 amps, connect to a 120 volt outlet, and pull somewhere around 5 to 7 volts.
Different wattage Wi-Fi routers use different amounts of electricity over the course of a year. Routers are generally always on 24/7 – here’s how much electricity you’ll use over the course of a year with a few different wattages of router:
How many watts do different Wi-Fi routers use in a year?
|Wi-Fi router wattage||Hours per year run||Yearly kWh of electricity|
|5 W||8,760 hours||43.8 kWh|
|10 W||8,760 hours||87.6 kWh|
|15 W||8,760 hours||131.4 kWh|
|20 W||8,760 hours||175.2 kWh|
We’ll mostly be referring to the electricity used by Wi-Fi routers 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!
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 Wi-Fi router?
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 10 W for Wi-Fi routers (amounting to 87.6 kWh/year) and using state average electricity rates, here’s how the cost to run a Wi-Fi router pans out over the course of a month and a year:
Monthly and yearly costs to run a Wi-Fi router by state
|State||Average electricity rate||Cost per month||Cost per year|
|California||22.00 ¢ / kWh||$1.61||$19.27|
|New York||20.59 ¢ / kWh||$1.50||$18.04|
|Texas||12.56 ¢ / kWh||$0.92||$11.00|
|Massachusetts||22.59 ¢ / kWh||$1.65||$19.79|
|Florida||12.21 ¢ / kWh||$0.89||$10.70|
|Virginia||12.58 ¢ / kWh||$0.92||$11.02|
|New Jersey||16.20 ¢ / kWh||$1.18||$14.19|
|Maryland||14.48 ¢ / kWh||$1.06||$12.68|
|Washington||10.38 ¢ / kWh||$0.76||$9.09|
|US Average||14.19 ¢ / kWh||$1.04||$12.43|
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 Wi-Fi router uses
If you want to know how much electricity your Wi-Fi router uses (or at least is supposed to use), take an estimated yearly electricity use in kWh and multiply this number by the average electricity rate in your area to get an estimate of how much you spend to power your Wi-Fi router each year. You can often find a wattage rating in the spec sheet for your router. For an estimated monthly cost, divide the estimated yearly cost by 12.
Frequently asked questions about powering a Wi-Fi router
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.
All popular home batteries are capable of powering a Wi-Fi router: 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. Wi-Fi routers use about 10 W (0.01 kW) of power at any one time, meaning just about any battery will be plenty suitable for backing up and powering your Wi-Fi router, even for long periods of time.
Average Wi-Fi routers use between 5 and 20 W of electricity to stay powered. On average, solar panels are rated at around 350 W, meaning you’ll be able to power a Wi-Fi router easily with just one solar panel.
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.