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Energy efficient appliances: Are they worth the money?

What is better?

> To buy an efficient appliance that is more expensive but saves electricity and water

> Or to buy a less efficient appliance that is cheaper but consumes more electricity and water

energy efficient appliances, are they worth

Let’s find out…

Appliance energy efficiency Vs Appliance cost

When considering buying a new appliance, it is important to both check the appliance’s energy efficiency specifications and the appliance cost.

Appliances energy efficiency labels

If you have recently bought a home appliance like a dishwasher or a washing machine you most probably know what an energy label is.

If not, you must know that the energy efficiency labels aim to be a clear and simple indication of the energy efficiency of the product at the point of purchase.

The ratings on the energy efficiency labels go from A+++ to D (A+++ being the most efficient and D the least efficient). 

Those ratings are defined by the EU for each type of appliance (e.g. fridge, tumble drier,…) through a number of different tests and criteria. This means the ratings can only be compared between one type of appliance (e.g. fridge to the fridge).

appliance eco label

Appliance cost

And, well, when it comes to the prize tag, the more efficient the appliance is the more expensive it will be. 

This is because energy-efficient appliances use less electricity and water than those less efficient appliances.

Appliance energy efficiency label and price

So, an efficient appliance will save electricity and water and the monthly bills will be lower. Still, the cost of an efficient appliance can be considerably higher than the cost of a non-efficient appliance.

And a less efficient appliance will use more electricity and water and the monthly bills will be higher. But, the cost of buying the appliance will be significantly lower than the cost of more efficient appliances.

Choosing between an energy-efficient appliance or an economic appliance

Is it really worth buying a more expensive but also more efficient appliance or should I buy the less efficient but more economical appliance? 

The answer is: Depends on how high the prize tag is. 

As an example, let’s have a detailed look at the payback period of a couple of fridges to figure out which fridge should be chosen. The efficient but expensive fridge or the less efficient but more economical fridge.

How to calculate the payback period of an appliance

What is Payback period

The payback period is the time that it takes to repay the initial investment.

For an energy-efficient appliance, like a fridge, the payback period needs to calculate the time that it will take to repay the cost of buying a more expensive but more efficient appliance.

When calculating the payback period of an appliance we need to take into account two factors:

– The cost of purchasing the appliance

– The amount of electricity and water that the appliance use

– The cost of the electricity and water, depending on where the owner lives, the cost can vary significantly 

Calculating the payback period of two appliances

You have to choose between two fridges:

– Fridge A: It uses 252 kWh per year and it has a cost of 899 euros.

– Fridge B: It uses 174 kWh per year and it has a prize tag of 1159 euros.

Fridge B is more efficient but also 260 euros more expensive than Fridge A so, which one do you choose?

energy efficient fridge payback period

The only way to make an informed decision is to figure out how much electricity you would be saving per year by choosing fridge B, and then calculating how many years it will take for those savings to compensate for the initial extra 260 euros.

We, in Germany, are paying at the moment 0,217 euros per every kWh we consume. So, for our own specific situation:

 Fridge A will have a yearly electricity bill cost of  252 x 0,217 = 54,7 euro

– Fridge B will have a yearly electricity bill cost of  174 x 0,217 = 37,8 euro

For us, there is a difference of 16,9 euros per year in electricity cost between the A+++ and the A++ fridge.

That means that 

– To buy the A+++ fridge we would be paying an initial extra 260 euro 

– To recover that initial investment through the electricity savings it would take us 260/16,9 = 15,4 years

Well, in this case, the payback period it is far too long because nowadays a fridge does not last 15 years.

That means that for us it makes more sense to buy the cheaper and less efficient fridge.

But this may not be the case for people who has cheaper electricity so each one must make the calculations based on their personal situation.

Appliance payback calculator

Instead of making manual calculations, you can use the calculator below to find out:

– The electricity cost per year of running a fridge

– To calculate the payback period of an appliance: to choose between a more efficient but more expensive fridge or a less efficient but cheaper fridge.

Fill up the details for both the ENERGY EFFICIENT FRIDGE and the LESS ENERGY EFFICIENT FRIDGE and the calculator will show you the ENERGY EFFICIENT FRIDGE PAYBACK PERIOD.


If the payback period is very high, over 10 years, it may be a better decision to buy the cheaper fridge.

But if in your country the cost of electricity is low and the payback period is below 10 years, it may be a better decision to buy the more efficient fridge.

How much does electricity cost

If you don’t know how much you are paying per kWh, you should be able to find the cost per kWh on your electricity contract or in one of the electricity bills.

As an example, the user from the picture below is paying 31,90 cents per kWh.

Nowadays it is very common that the electricity contract details, the monthly or yearly electricity usage, and electricity cost can be accessed online.

how much does electricity cost

Alternatively, if don’t have access to your contract or your electricity bills, this website does show the electricity cost per country.

Energy efficient appliances FAQ

What are the benefits of energy-efficient appliances?

Energy-efficient appliances use less energy and/or water. 

This way, the owners save on energy and water bills and reduce their carbon footprint which is good for the environment and the planet.

Do energy-saving appliances save money?

It depends.

The more energy efficient the appliance is, the more expensive it will be. If an energy-efficient appliance is very expensive, it may take many years to recover the extra cost of purchasing the appliances. 

And if the payback period is very long, it may happen that the appliance breaks for good before recovering the extra cost from using less energy and/or water.

This is why it is important to make some checks before purchasing an energy-efficient appliance to find out the payback period and if it really makes sense to pay the additional cost.

How much does an energy-efficient refrigerator save?

It depends on how many Kilowatts hour it uses, per year.

An A+++ fridge will use much less energy than an A fridge and find out how much energy the A+++ fridge you just need to know the power consumption of both fridges in kWh and make some basic calculations.

But if you don’t want to make the calculations by hand, you can use our online electricity usage and electricity cost calculators to find out how much energy and energy efficiency would save.

Fridge electricity usage calculator icon
Refrigerator electricity calculator
Freezer electricity usage calculator icon
Freezer electricity calculator
Dishwasher electricity and water usage calculator icon
Dishwasher electricity calculator
Coffee machine electricity usage calculator icon
Coffee machine electricity calculator

Energy conservation

Energy conservation can be defined as the decision and the act of using less energy 

Energy conservation both benefits you and the environment  

The act of saving and conserving electricity does benefit you because you will be paying less for your energy bills. 

And it also does benefit the environment because conserving electricity prevents any unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Now, at the individual level, it may not look worth trying to save a few watts here or there. 

Still, every little count and if hundreds or thousands of us do save a little every time, it will make an important contribution towards conserving our natural resources.

How energy efficient appliances help the environment


For example, if 9000 households would buy an energy-efficient appliance that saves as little as 10 Watts per day (0,01 kWh) that would add to 32850 Kilowatt hour (kWh) saved per year. 

9000 households x 0,01 kWh per day x 365 days per year 

32,850 kWh saved per year

That is a considerable amount of electricity, but let’s add additional perspectives for clarity:

> Assuming an average cost of 0,18 euros (or dollars, or pounds, or any other currency) per kWh, we would collectively be saving nearly 6000 euros per year.

> To produce 32,850 kWh of electricity it is necessary to use around 17 metric tons of coal or 56 barrels of residual fuel oil.

Have a look at this page for more information about the number of resources needed to produce electricity.

In any case, it is clear that small energy savings do really count when looking into the bigger picture.

Proven ways to save electricity at home

If you are looking for saving electricity ideas at home, have a look at this video where we provide some useful tips to reduce electricity usage and decrease the electricity bill.

How to save electricity at home

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