How to use less electricity Buying energy-efficient appliances

Energy label

A washing machine energy label

Few of us could live without a fridge or washing machine, and that Sunday roast won't cook itself - but there are still ways of cutting back how much energy your appliances use. 

Running appliances such as fridge-freezers, tumble dryers and washing machines makes up a significant percentage of your bills. In fact, fridges and freezers are the biggest contributors to your home energy bill after central heating - they account for 20% of electricity used in the average UK home. 

It therefore makes sense to invest in energy-saving products when you come to upgrade your white goods.

Buy energy efficient

Most white goods and common kitchen appliances have an energy-efficiency rating on the label (usually between A and G). Since July 2012, all new fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers must have a minimum rating of A+.

With so many appliances now rated A or above, it can be difficult to decide between them. New energy labels make this clearer, showing each appliance's annual energy consumption in kWh. 

Did you know you could save up to £62 a year by choosing the most efficient fridge-freezer? 

How much do appliances cost to run?

Appliances can vary a lot in the amount of energy they guzzle. For example, the most energy-efficient fridge-freezer in our tests costs just £25 per year to run. The most expensive to run would set you back £87.

Even models that have the same energy-efficiency rating can have very different annual running costs. Our tests found that two A++ rated washing machines can vary in energy cost by 30%, or £130, over five years. And if you bought your appliances before September 1999, they could have much lower efficiency ratings and guzzle far more energy than they would be allowed to if sold today. 

Testing energy efficiency

Which? tests appliances to find out how energy efficient they are, so we can show you exactly how much they will cost you to run. We look beyond the energy labels and test appliances the way you actually use them. Then we work out how much they will add to your energy bill. 

To make it easy for you to work out whether that cheap appliance you're considering buying really is a good deal, we have created easy-to-use energy running costs calculators to help you work out lifetime costs. Click on one of the calculator links below to have a look at how much appliances will add to your bills:

Once you've identified a cheap-to-run appliance or TV, Which? members can log in to see how it was rated by Which? experts in our independent tests. If you're not already a Which? member, sign up to get instant access to all our reviews and advice for just £1.

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