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30 Jun 2022

Which kitchen appliances use the most energy?

Find out which of your kitchen appliances is contributing the most to your energy bill, plus get quick tips to help reduce your energy use at home.

With energy costs punching higher from one day to the next, you might be wondering which appliances in your home are contributing the most to your sky-high monthly bill.

We've collected energy usage data for the most common kitchen appliances , from everyday essentials like your fridge freezer to handy extras such as air fryers, so you can discover how much each of them costs (on average) to run.

Read on to find out which appliances guzzle the most energy and get handy hints and tips on how you can reduce the amount you spend on energy each month.

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The most expensive large appliances to run

Woman looking into a fridge

Based on our current testing data, the table below summarises the average annual running costs of each large appliance in your kitchen.

ApplianceAverage annual running costSample size
Tumble dryer (condenser)£141.19
Fridge freezer (American style)£120.16100
Fridge freezer (freestanding)£84.94178
Fridge freezer (integrated)£72.4130
Built-in electric oven£64.18259
Washing machine£63.25187

Table notes:

  • Prices correct as of June 2022, based on the products live on our website at the time of publication.
  • Fridge freezer figure based on constant usage. Remaining appliance figures based on estimated usage. 
  • Which? has also tested five vented dryers with running costs ranging from £114.23 to £166.13.

Our tests show that condenser tumble dryers are the most expensive appliances to run by quite a sizable margin, costing the average household just over £140 per year (based on data from 24 models). This is more than twice the amount you can expect to spend if you're the owner of a heat pump model. Heat pump dryers are far more energy-efficient, and will only cost you around £56.04 annually 

Coming in second place are American-style fridge freezers, which will set you back around £120 each year (based on data from 100 models). Freestanding and integrated models tend to be smaller and because of this, significantly cheaper to run, costing £84.94 and £72.41 per year respectively. Fridge freezers need to be on 24/7 to keep your food fresh and safe to eat, which explains their higher energy usage.

Covering the bottom half of our table, the average built-in electric oven costs £64.18 per year to run - this is based on data from 259 models we've put through our lab tests. Your washing machine isn't far behind, so you can expect to spend around £63.25 annually on keeping your clothes spick and span.

Find out how much your appliances are costing you with our running cost tools:

The most expensive small appliances to run

Stainless steel kettle on a kitchen counter

While we don't collect annual running costs for small kitchen appliances in the same way we do for large ones, we're still able to estimate which ones are pricier to run by using their average wattage.

The small kitchen appliance with the highest wattage by some margin is the humble kettle. The average kettle has a power rating of around 3,000W, and each boil will cost you around 3p. This means that boiling your kettle three times a day, every day, will cost you around £32 per year (based on the latest energy price cap figure).

Another interesting product is the air fryer - the average model we test has a power rating of just over 1,600W (based on 43 models). These are often cheaper to run than larger appliances such as ovens as they complete the same tasks quicker (and using less energy). It's the same story for microwaves, which have an average wattage of 800W based on the 138 models we've tested.

Smaller, less frequently-used appliances such as blenders and juicers tend to have a power rating of well under 1,000W, so your regular morning smoothie habit shouldn't have too much of an impact on your energy bills. 

Choose an energy-efficient kettle with our guide to the Best energy saving kettles.

How to save money on your energy bills

Woman setting a washing machine program

If you're looking to reduce the amount you spend on energy each month, there are a handful of things you can do in your kitchen to help.

  1. Wash your clothes at a lower temperature - it's better for your wallet (and the planet) if you choose to wash your clothes at 30 degrees.
  2. Fill your dishwasher to the brim - rather than washing little and often, you're better off doing fewer washes per week and only running full loads.
  3. Dry your clothes on the line - this may seem obvious, but if the weather is nice outside stick your clothes in the garden rather than the tumble dryer.
  4. Turn appliances off standby - everything consumes energy when left on standby, so switching things off at the plug is an easy way of saving money.
  5. Wait for food to cool before freezing - putting hot food into the freezer makes your freezer work harder, so let it cool down on the worktop beforehand.
  6. Keep appliances squeaky clean - regularly descaling your kettle and defrosting your freezer will allow them to run with maximum efficiency.

Read our guide on 10 ways to reduce your energy bills for some more handy hints and tips on cutting costs at home.

Tips on buying energy-efficient appliances

Couple shopping for a tumble dryer

Specific tips will vary depending on exactly the type of appliance you're planning on buying, but there are a few blanket rules to follow that will help you get your hands on the most eco-friendly option possible.

Firstly - and this may sound like a no-brainer - make sure you buy an appropriately-sized appliance for your needs. For example, if there's only two of you there's no need to buy a large American-style fridge freezer. Instead, opt for something smaller that won't require as much energy to run.

Some types of appliances are inherently more energy-efficient than others too, such as heat pump tumble dryers. In some cases, these can be a pricier investment in the short term, but it's usually worth it in the long run as they'll pay for themselves over time.

A surefire way of knowing you've chosen one of the most eco-friendly options out there is to choose one of our Eco Buy products. These are appliances that not only score well in our performance tests, but will have the smallest environmental impact out of all the models we've tested in their category.

Products currently carry our Eco Buy recommendation in the following areas:

  • Built-in ovens
  • Dishwashers
  • Fridge freezers
  • Fridges
  • Kettles
  • Tumble dryers
  • Washer-dryers
  • Washing machines

For more information on what makes an Eco Buy product, head to our story on choosing a Which? Eco Buy.

Is it cheaper to use electricity at night?

Woman sleeping next to an alarm clock

You've probably heard of 'off-peak energy' before, so you might be wondering if you could save yourself some money by using your appliances in the evenings or at night time as opposed to during the day.

The type of tariff you're on will determine whether or not this is true. Some energy companies do offer cheaper prices at certain off-peak times (usually around 10pm until 8am) for customers on specific contracts, meaning you will pay less for electricity at night than you would during the day.

However, official advice from the Fire Service means that we would not recommend running appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher overnight, or anytime you're not in the house. Anything with a high wattage or a motor runs a fire risk and should not be left unattended.

Read our story on how to make big savings with an energy efficient appliance to help minimise your monthly outgoings.