How Many Watts Does A Laptop Really Use?

The pandemic has caused a dramatic transition of many things to online. People have to do their studies, job, business, etc., from home now. This indicates that most people own a PC or a laptop to get their daily jobs done.

Although tons of people own technology devices, only a few of them understand their devices completely. If you have the question, “How many watts does a laptop use?” you are probably one of those curious minds who want to properly understand a device that you’ve been using on a daily basis or are going to purchase one to make 100% efficient use of it.

What is laptop wattage?

At first, you need to understand what exactly does the wattage of a laptop indicates. The number that denotes the laptop wattage is the power it consumes in an hour.

This information about your laptop is necessary for you to know for a few reasons. One of them is for preparing to go somewhere you can’t plug it in. You will need a long-lasting battery in that situation to be your savior. The more power a laptop consumes, the faster its battery will drain. It is essential to know how many watts your laptop uses to evaluate its battery life.

There is no exact answer to the question “How many Watts does a laptop use?”. Typically, watts usage for a 15-inch laptop is between 50-65 Watts of power. But it is not valid for every situations. The laptop wattage depends on numerous factors that you might not have considered.

Factors Affecting Power Consumption of A Laptop.

A laptop will consume less energy when it is idle and more energy when it is being used. The components that build up a laptop are made to be energy-efficient. They tend to provide high-quality performance making the least possible power consumption.

But there are significant consumer components like the display or the processor that consume more power for optimum performance. As we move forward with time, companies are producing more energy-efficient laptops. Here are some factors that are involved in the power consumption of a laptop:

  • Type of Laptops and their purposes
  • Type of graphics card
  • Adapter wattage
  • Size of the laptop screen
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Hard disk/SSD
  • WLAN module
  • Fan
  • Touchpad 

Type of Laptops and Their Purposes

The kind of laptop that you use plays a huge role in power consumption. Laptops used for different purposes will consume power differently. Laptops used for basic, everyday work use about 60 Watts per hour. However, laptops used for gaming or other high-end laptops consume way more power than that. They can consume up to 160-185 Watts per hour. Several laboratory tests suggest when a laptop is consuming power at a rate of more than 100 Watts per hour, it gets hot and needs a cooling pad. A laptop being charged will also consume more power.

Type Of Graphics Card

The type of graphics card used in a laptop plays a vital role in its power consumption. If you use a laptop for running basics tasks like writing or browsing the internet, you can make it work with a lower-grade graphics card. It will consume limited power. If you use a dedicated graphics card, power consumption will be much higher in that case.

If you plan to use a high-end laptop for heavy functions like gaming or workstations for jobs like machine learning, data science, etc., investing in a better graphics card is necessary. 

A high-end laptop usually requires a high-end GPU (for example, GeForce RTX Series 2080 or 2070) supported by a high-end CPU. This allows higher quality display, battery with increased capacity, and much more. All these components and facilities together need much more power for providing high-quality performance.

Adapter Wattage

The adapter is used as a power supply for your laptop connected to the central system. 

For larger laptops, the adapter used needs to be more powerful. The majority of laptops (15.6 inches) available in the market are supplied with a 60 W charging adapter, while 17-inch ones are supplied with a 90 W charging adapter.

The number denotes how much power it will consume in an hour when in use. The one with a higher adapter wattage will consume more power than those with a lower wattage.

Type Of CPU

The operating system and all the other applications used in a laptop are run by the central processing unit (CPU). It is the brain of a computer. The type of CPU used to run all these functions plays a massive role in power consumption.

For finishing simple tasks, both high-grade and low-grade CPUs will end up consuming almost the same energy. But when it comes to running a task associated with heavy functions, a lower-grade CPU will consume much more energy. A low-grade CPU uses more power to provide a laptop with high-quality performance. Whereas a high-grade CPU such as Intel i7 or Intel i9 will perform way better while consuming less power.

Size Of Laptop Screen

The size of your laptop screen also contributes as one of the factors to its power consumption. The larger the screen size, the more power it needs. A 15.6-inch laptop will consume 60-70 Watts of power in an hour. But a laptop with 17-inch screen size or above can consume up to 100 Watts per hour or more.

These are the significant factors that contribute to power consumption the most. There are multiple other factors, for example, RAM, fan, touchpad, WLAN module, usage of multiple hard drives or SSD, etc., that are also involved in power usage, but their contribution is minimal. 

How much power does a gaming laptop use?

A considerable number of people starting from young to adults are very fond of gaming. Most of them use a gaming laptop. If you have a gaming laptop or are interested in such devices, you may wonder how many watts a gaming laptop consumes.

If you are into gaming, you must know what it takes to run a high-end game. The components need to be very powerful and efficient. Everything is included in a gaming laptop to make the high-end games run as smoothly as possible, from powerful processors to solid and long-lasting battery life. This is the reason why the gaming laptops are getting all heavier and bulkier as they carry all the equipment for efficient gaming. 

Inspect the charger of the gaming laptop to see its power consumption. Acer Predator Helios is a very famous and preferred gaming laptop. It comes with a charger of 180 Watts of power. This suggests that this particular gaming laptop uses 180 Watts of power in an hour.

How many watts does an Apple MacBook use?

MacBook users know that a regular MacBook Pro (13 Inches) consumes 61 Watts, whereas a 15 inch MacBook uses 87 Watts per hour. This information is given on the charger that the MacBook comes with.

With the data provided above, it is quite easy to calculate the amount of money you spend on the electricity that your MacBook consumes in a day and per week.

Let’s assume a MacBook is used 10 hours every day. As mentioned above, it uses 61 watts per hour. This is the same as 0.061 kWh. According to this rate, it costs a little over 7 cents a day and roughly half a Dollar per week (cost of electricity = 12 cents per kWh).

How To Calculate Watts Of Laptop

The most effortless way to check the wattage of a laptop is to look at your charger to find the adapter wattage. It will show you the approximate status of the power your laptop is going to consume. However, this may not be accurate because of many factors involved. You will need to do a little more work to know the accurate numbers of power usage.

Calculating the power consumption of your laptop more accurately usually boils down to two easy methods. Manual calculation and Electricity usage monitor. Using either of these methods will teach you how to find watts of a laptop.

Manual Calculation

The manual calculation does not give you the exact number. It gives you a result that is very close to the actual value.

Apart from adapter wattage, there are other things to consider to get more accurate answers when it comes to manual calculation.

For example, if we take Acer’s Predators, it shows that it needs a charging adapter that uses about 180 Watts per hour. That is not all. As it is already mentioned, CPU, as well as GPU, play an important role in total power consumption. They can increase the power used per hour. 

Intel processors and NVIDIA graphics or AMD as well are easily found in most of the systems. All you have got to do is check their official sites to find the power used by these elements. You can open up the back of the panel and take a look by yourself for 100% confirmation.

Instead of simply adding these values to calculate the power usage, try putting the numbers into an online power consumption calculator. You will get a promising result. 

Typically, the range for power usage by a CPU is about 45 Watts to 50 Watts. For a GPU, it ranges from 75 Watts to 80 Watts. Altogether, these two components can increase the power used by any laptop by more than 10-15%, which is an average result. It can go higher according to the kind of CPU or GPU being used, as mentioned above in detail.

Other components are also needed to be taken into consideration. Screen brightness is an essential factor here. For maximum screen brightness, the average power consumption ranges from 0.5-15 Watts per hour. RAM, SSD/HDD, etc., are also part of the power usage. But they are involved very insignificantly, which is why we can never calculate the exact figure of power usage manually.

Using Electricity Usage Monitor

An electricity usage monitor gives you the most accurate answers very quickly. The name is self-explanatory, which means it monitors the electricity usage of a given appliance. 

How to use an electricity usage monitor?

All you have got to do is to plug the monitor into a power socket. Make sure to set the monitor reading to zero at first. Connect the laptop to the monitor using its charger. It determines the power taken by your charger out of the socket. The monitor will show you how many watts a laptop uses when charging within a few seconds. Typically, it shows a value of around 60 Watts since it is the power your laptop charger is usually built-in with.

In addition, if your laptop is completely charged, this device will show you the power being taken out of the battery for other components and functions in the laptop. Moreover, you can regulate the power being consumed by your laptop for the specific duration of it being used.

There is an advantage you get if you use this method. This device calculates the power consumed all over by a laptop. You do not have to find out individual wattage consumed by its components separately. All the components are taking power from a single socket. This is why it shows the total power consumption.

As mentioned earlier, it can be used for any electrical appliance. If you are curious to know more about other appliances and their power usage, plug it into the monitor in the same way. You will see the results within a few seconds on the monitor screen. It will be an easy way to find out information like how many watts does a TV use.

Electricity usage monitor is indeed a beneficial device. It will help you know more about the devices and home appliances you have been using for your whole life. You can easily find it on any e-commerce site, for example, Amazon.

How much is the cost behind the power usage of a laptop in a day?

Assuming you use your laptop for a fair share of time in a day, we can say your laptop is used for eight hours in a day. If the average value of power used per hour is considered, it is 60 Watts per hour. This value is equal to 0.06 kWh. The average energy unit cost is 12 cents/kWh. This suggests that you spend about 6 cents every day to use your laptop if you use it for approximately 8 hours a day.

How To Reduce Power Consumption In a Laptop

Knowing the laptop’s power consumption will help you in various ways, and one of them is to alarm you when your laptop is consuming too much power. You can then follow a few easy tips to reduce the power consumption to a more suitable figure. It will save you money and help you make your laptop and its battery last way longer. Here are some tried and tested methods that indeed work to reduce the power usage of your laptop:

• Charge your laptop correctly

Always remember to remove the plug of your charger when the laptop is charged fully. It is very harmful to your laptop battery if you overcharge it. It makes the battery weaker and ends up using way more power than usual. It can end up making your battery a short-lasting one. If you leave the charger connected to the power supply, it will also consume standby power.

Many of us are addicted to browsing the internet or gaming. We often forget to charge our laptop at the right time and wait for it just to shut down. This is an unhealthy habit. Immediately charge your laptop when it says 10%. If you wait for it to switch off, it will end up using way more power to charge the fully drained battery.

It is essential to use the original charger that comes along with the laptop. It is the most compatible with your laptop, so it uses just enough power.

• When not in use, disconnect external devices

You are probably unaware of this, but when you connect external devices (such as webcam, printer, or sound system) to your laptop, they use extra power to function. Even when you are not using them, they are still consuming power. If we talk about an average printer, it consumes about 5-8 Watts on standby. Similarly, a high-end printer can consume up to 30 Watts. You will be saving a lot of energy if you make sure that you remove all the external devices whenever you are not using them.

• Use a smart strip

If you often forget to disconnect external devices, you can use a smart strip to help you out with that. A smart strip consists of a series of several electrical outlets. It comes with a circuit that monitors and maximizes the electricity consumption of your gadget. Just plug in your laptop and all other external devices you want to use (such as a printer, speaker, etc.). By doing so, you do not have to unplug them every time you are not using them.

• Regulate your laptop’s energy settings

Try to check the power settings of your laptop daily. You should modify the options according to the need that will help a lot to save energy consumption. For starters, you can set the laptop to get into sleep mode when it is not being used for more than a specific time. Changing the brightness will also help as it is one of the factors contributing to power consumption. Just dim the brightness according to your comfort. It will not only help you save some energy but will also help you protect your eyes.

• Shut down and unplug your laptop when you are not using it

Turning your laptop off is important if you are not using a smart strip. It will help you save energy. Unplugging your laptop is important as it still consumes standby power even after shutting down.

• Regulate the temperature of your laptop

Keeping your laptop cool is very important if you want to reduce power consumption. You must use a cooling pad while charging the laptop or performing heavy functions on it, such as gaming. If it becomes hot, you should wait for a while to let it cool before you use it again. Your laptop’s CPU and graphics card work more efficiently when the temperature is low, thus use less battery power.

These were some effective methods to reduce your laptop’s power usage to a lower value. Other essential tips include not using a gaming laptop if you will use it only for everyday basic jobs. Gaming laptops use more power by default. Some more simple tips like this are:

  • Turning off the Wi-Fi finder when not connected to the internet.
  • Closing unused apps and programs
  • Using a power-efficient browser 
  • Upgrading the hardware to run smoothly with your system.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does a laptop use more electricity than a desktop?

Although some high-end laptops use more power than specific desktop computers, most desktops use much more power than laptops. Typically, a laptop only consumes 60 Watts per hour, whereas it is 300 Watts per hour for a PC. Most of the basic laptops are 20% more power-efficient than a PC. If you want to compare a specific laptop with a PC, you can always find all the information about them on their respective websites. But, if you generally have the question, “Does a PC use more power than a laptop?” you have your answer.

Does the laptop wattage differ for different brands (such as Acer, Dell, ASUS, HP, etc.)?

Usually, brands don’t make a significant difference in power consumption. For high-end components and GPU, the power consumption will be higher regardless of the brand. If two laptops from different brands have the exact specifications, their power usage per hour will be very similar.

Conclusion

This article pretty much covers enough information related to laptop power usage and much more. In the end, you can conclude that a typical laptop consumes about 60 Watts per hour. If you want to measure the power usage, it’s better to use a machine because manual calculation may not give as promising results as an electrical usage monitor.