Wi-Fi extenders can be great home networking solutions, but in an era of ever rising living costs, users might be wanting to know how much exactly do they cost to run. How much power does a Wi-Fi extender/booster/repeater actually use? How much does it cost to keep them running?
A Wi-Fi extender only uses a small amount of energy, using 7-16 Watts depending on the model and costing between $10-20 per year to run, even if left on all the time. They do not use much electricity compared to other household devices.
In other words, even though they do have an inner circuitry and an LED that does need powering all the time, they really don’t cost much to keep running, and aren’t really of that much concern when looking to reduce household energy bills.
Some Research Into The Power Consumption Of Wi-Fi Extenders
I decided to actually do some research on this topic, rather than just pull random figures or guesses out of my head. But when I searched online, I found that surprisingly few Wi-Fi extender manufacturers list power consumption in their device specification documents. TP Link are quite good for this in their user manuals, but other brands are a bit sketchy with this information.
But I found what information and I could from 4 different extender models, and have pooled the data together in a table below.
Power Consumption of Wi-Fi Extender Models
|Extender Model||Power Usage (Watts)||Daily Power Usage (Watts)||Source|
|TP Link AC750 RE220||7.0W||168W||See here|
|TP Link AC1200 RE315||9.5W||228W||See here|
|TP Link AC1900 RE550||16.0W||384W||See here|
|D Link AX1500 Extender||11.0W||264W||See here|
So you can see that the actual power usage of extenders is really quite small, usually around 10-15 Watts per hour. For comparison, a fridge uses about 180 watts, a washer about 500 Watts, a dryer about 3000 Watts, a dishwasher about 1800 Watts, a hairdryer about 1200 Watts and a laptop about 60 Watts (see here).
Therefore a Wi-Fi extender/booster is really on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of power usage, compared to other devices in the home.
How Much Do Wi-Fi Extenders Cost To Run?
Let’s take the power consumption figures a step further, and use the average figure for Wi-Fi extender power usage of 10.9 Watts from the table above to calculate annual energy usage and cost. Of course, different models will vary, but for those single plug extenders, it seems to be in the 7-20 Watt ballpark.
Watts need converting to kilowatts and kilowatt hours (kWh), so here are some calculations:
- Daily usage = 261/1000 = 0.261 kWh
- Annual usage = 95.265 kWh (assuming it’s left on 24/7)
- Average electricity cost – using the most up to date US figures of $0.16/kWh at the time of writing.
- Annual cost = $15.24/year if left on all the time for US based users.
Of course, another factor to take into account is the differing cost of electricity in different countries, so let’s make these calculations for the other major English speaking countries:
- UK – At an average electricity cost of £0.28 per kWh, an extender using 10.9 Watts on average would cost £26.74 each year to run
- Canada – At an average electricity cost of CAD 0.174 per kWh, an extender using 10.9 Watts on average would cost CAD 16.62 each year to run
- Australia – At an average electricity cost of A$ 0.357 per kWh, an extender using 10.9 Watts on average would cost A$ 34.09 each year to run
You can use this energy calculator to make your own calculations if needed – just put the Watt Power consumption of your device, plus the hours used and the average electricity cost, and it’ll spit out an overall cost of running for you. The average cost figures I used are up to date at the time of writing, but subject to change.
How To Configure Your Extender To Turn Off At Certain Times
In relative terms, the cost of using a Wi-Fi extender/repeater/booster is quite low compared to other devices, even when left on all day, every day. For most users, it’s probably best to just plug them in, set them up and forget about them.
However, if you want to save energy, you can still manually turn off or unplug your Wi-Fi extender when not in use (they save settings when powered off or unplugged, so you can do this without any problems).
Some extenders also have the function within them to turn the extender off at certain set times of day, so you can set it to turn off at night for example when it’s not being used to save on bills.
Here’s the general steps to do this:
- Open up any browser on a device connected to the extender and type in it’s login URL in the address bar
- Type in the admin username/password you’ve set for it.
- Once inside the extender’s settings browse around for Power options or similar. It might be under Advanced, System Tools or some other tab.
- Look for a Power Schedule or similar option to turn the extender off at certain times of day and fill in the days/times you want it to be off.
- Save settings and exit.
See our article on leaving on extenders vs unplugging them for more on this. From an energy cost point of view, you could for example save about one third off the (already low) annual running cost if you configured it to turn off for 8 hours at night when you’re asleep.