How Much Electricity Does a Radio Use?

With power bills continuing to increase each year, users can have justifiable worries about how much their gadgets really cost to run. That applies equally to radios.

If your radio is battery powered, the amount of electricity it uses will determine how long the batteries are likely to last.

How Much Electricity Does a Radio Use?

Radios use between 1 watt per hour for a small AM/FM alarm clock radio to over 5 watts per hour for a larger digital radio.

Compared to other household devices, radios don’t use a lot of power.

An average alarm clock radio is estimated to use between one and two watts of power every hour while models that have more features can go up to five watts.

An estimate from the Energy Savings Trust put the annual average consumption for a radio at 35 kWh compared to 427 kWh for a fridge freezer and 658 kWh for a plasma TV.

At a typical current charge of twelve pence per kWh, these equate to £4, £51 and £79 respectively, so the radio cost is relatively minor.

Do DAB Radios Use More Electricity?

This 2012 article from the Telegraph states that the power consumption of an FM radio is estimated to be between one half and two thirds of that for a DAB radio.

However, DAB radios have been getting more and more energy efficient each year, and it’s now thought that DAB radios use less electricity on average.

This 2013 government report found that DAB radios became 46% more efficient between 2010 and 2013. According to the report:

  • DAB radios used 3.75 watts per hour on average
  • FM-only radios used 4.69 watts per hour on average

Digital radios usually use around 1 watt per hour when on standby.

As with any electrical item, power consumption can be minimised by switching off when not in use.

That means turning off properly rather than leaving on standby since household electricity bills can apparently be reduced by an estimated 16% if all unused gadgets are switched off fully.

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