How much does your smart speaker cost to run?

We're leaving more and more devices plugged in 24/7, all silently consuming power while they wait to do our bidding. But how much power are they using?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Have a quick look around your living room, bedroom, or office. How many devices can you see that are plugged in and consuming power? Go on, count them, I'll wait.

I'm guessing that if you are a regular reader of this column, you have quite a few devices plugged in. And of those, I'm willing to bet that there might be a smart speaker in their midst.

I've already looked at how much it costs to charge a smartphone for a year, so now let us focus our attention on the smart speaker.

Must read: The 2019 iPhone 11 will be annoying, boring, and expensive

I've got two smart speakers to test -- a third-generation Echo and a third-generation Echo Dot.

Power consumption was measured using a WattsUp? PRO power meter.

OK, before I go any further, some caveats. First off, power consumption varies based on a number of factors, one of which being how good the Wi-Fi signal strength is, another being how much you use your smart speaker (I know this is an obvious point, but it's still worth making), and another is how loud the speaker is set to.

First off, I wanted to see how much power the smart speakers consumed while in standby mode waiting to be called to action.

I carried out several tests, and averaging out and then rounding the figures gave the following:

  • Third-generation Echo: 2.0 watts
  • Third-generation Echo Dot: 1.5 watts

Given that the average electricity price in the US is $0.13 per kWh, leaving these devices plugged in 24/7 for a month or year would cost the following:

  • Third-generation Echo: $0.19 per month or $2.28 per year
  • Third-generation Echo Dot: $0.14 per month or $1.70 per year

But these speakers are -- hopefully -- not just sitting on standby all the time. Let's figure out how much power they consume in use.

Here's are my results:

  • Third-generation Echo: 3.5 watts
  • Third-generation Echo Dot: 3.0 watts

Let's assume that they are used for two hours per day. A little number-crunching gives us the following cost figures:

  • Third-generation Echo: $0.20 per month or $2.42 per year
  • Third-generation Echo Dot: $0.15 per month or $1.85 per year

Bottom line, not a lot of power at all. However, if you have multiple smart speakers in your home, along with chargers, hubs for smart lights, and other accessories such as cameras and doorbells, these could be adding a few tens of dollars to your power bill every year.

Repair toolkit essentials for smartphones, tablets, Macs, and PCs

How many devices do you have plugged in 24/7? Do you think about how much power they are using?

Related stories:

Editorial standards