How many watts does an average household use?

Updated November 21, 2016

The amount of energy an electrical device uses when performing a function is measured in watts. The average number of watts used in a household varies with the size of the house and the number of electrical appliances.

Minimum usage

Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 watts are necessary for basic household needs. This includes lighting, cooking and refrigerating food. Additional electrical devices for entertainment, heating and other uses are added to this minimum requirement.


A 90 cm (36 inch) screen size television requires about 133 watts, while a DVD/CD player uses 100 watts. A personal computer with a 43 cm (17 inch) monitor requires 800 watts.


An average water heater uses 4,000 watts, while a tumble dryer requires 2,000 or more watts. Portable heaters use 750 or more watts and hair dryers require at least 1,200 watts.

Other electrical devices

A clock radio requires 10 watts and a coffee maker uses 900 or more watts. A clothes iron requires a minimum of 1,000 watts while a toaster requires 800 or more watts. The owner's manual lists the wattage required by the device.

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About the Author

Kim Dieter has taught agriscience classes, developed curriculum and participated in the school accreditation process at the secondary and community college levels since 1980. She holds a Master of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, in animal science.