Smart bulbs are super convenient, and can save you money compared to traditional bulbs. One question, though, is whether they still use electricity even when the lights are turned off.
Why Would This Be a Concern?
LED bulbs in general can be a fantastic energy saver, since they don’t require a lot of electricity compared to other types of lights. Smart bulbs especially can be a big saver, since you can set them up to turn off automatically if you forget, or you’re not around.
However, smart bulbs are still technically “on” even when they’re not emitting any light. The reason for this is that they have to maintain communication with your home’s Wi-Fi (or with a hub over Zigbee or Z-Wave). That way, they’re ready at a moment’s notice whenever you decide to turn the lights on remotely. So, smart bulbs are still using up some electricity even when the light is technically turned off.
You Shouldn’t Be Worried
With all that said, it’s completely valid to wonder just how much electricity smart bulbs still use when they’re sitting dormant, and how much it’s costing you. We did a little bit of experimenting to find out, but spoiler alert: it’s really not that much electricity at all, depending on which smart bulbs you use.
Using my trusty Kill A Watt electricity usage monitor, I tested a Philips Hue White smart bulb (which uses Zigbee), a Eufy Lumos Wi-Fi smart bulb, and a GoControl Z-Wave smart bulb to see how much electricity each type of bulb pulled even when I had the light turned off. Here’s what I found.
Philips Hue White Bulb
With the Philips Hue bulb, the wattage display on the Kill A Watt unit steadily hovered between 0.0 watts and 0.3 watts—it uses up so little electricity that the Kill A Watt was barely registering anything at all, but it was still registering something.
But for the sake of data and doing some math, let’s average it out and say that the bulb pulls 0.15 watts of power when it’s on “standby.” To figure out how much that’s costing you on your electric bill, we first need to convert that wattage into kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Long story short, it would take roughly 6,600 hours before a Hue bulb uses up 1 kWh of power in standby mode (or 9.17 months). Depending on where you live, the cost for a single kWh of power differs, but for me it costs 15 cents. Therefore, a Hue bulb in standby mode costs around 1.6 cents per month—at least in my area.
Eufy Lumos Wi-Fi Bulb
The Eufy Lumos bulb uses straight up Wi-Fi to connect to your network, rather than using a hub like Zigbee or Z-Wave. The Kill A Watt displayed a constant reading of 0.5 watts for the Eufy bulb—not much more than the Hue…
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