Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web Estimate Your Data Usage With Data Calculators Don't upgrade just yet — guess how much data you'll use first By Nadeem Unuth Freelance Contributor Nadeem Unuth is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire who specializes in information and communication technology with a focus on VoIP. our editorial process LinkedIn Nadeem Unuth Updated March 29, 2020 baloon111 / Getty Images Around the Web How to Get a VPN Tweet Share Email The last thing you want is to pay too much for data, but in the same vein, you don't want to spend so little that you underestimate your usage and end up paying even more in overage charges. So, how do you know for sure how much data you'll use? A data usage calculator might help you determine the answer. Why You Should Use a Data Usage Calculator Some data calculators ask questions about your habits and assumed future practices to estimate how much data is needed to do those types of things (like send emails, stream videos, etc.). You can use that information to predict what type of plan you should buy more accurately. For example, if the calculator estimates that you'd use 1.5 GB of mobile data, you'd want to opt for something like a 2 GB plan so that you don't overpay, but be sure to stay above 1 GB not to cut yourself off too early. Alternatively, use the parameters of your current data plan, filling out what you need to do before choosing all your wants so that you can see why you're going over your monthly allowance and decide how to limit your data usage. AT&T's Internet Data Calculator AT&T's data calculator break downs the data you use into categories like email, web surfing, and video streaming. On the data usage calculator page, use the slider to pick a value. For example, slide Social media posts with photos to 400 if you think you post that many images to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., every month. The same is true for the hours of streaming 4K video, time spent online gaming, emails sent and received, and other options. AT&T also has an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot data usage calculator, which gives similar information. Sparklight Home Data Calculator The Sparklight data calculator is a bit more complicated than the others we've listed on this page. For starters, you can choose a pre-set option like low, normal, or high to autofill all the options. Otherwise, choose values for specific areas if you think you'll use the internet for those purposes. You can pick a different value for general web browsers versus multimedia use, as well as the number of emails you'll send/receive with and without file attachments. The downloads section lets you pick between software downloads and updates such as Windows Update downloads and virus definition updates. Fido's Mobile Data Calculator To start with the Fido Mobile Data Calculator, choose Phone, Mobile Hotspot, or tablet. Similar to other data calculators, use the sliders to estimate how much you'll use each service. You can also enter an exact figure for each of those areas if you don't want to use the slider. As you adjust each item, you'll see the estimated usage indicator move at the top of that page. When you're all done, look at the number to get an estimate of how much data you'd use given the criteria. Sprint's Data Calculator In much the same way all of these other data usage calculators work, Sprint's data calculator lets you pick between a phone and others like a laptop or tablet. Pick day, week, or month from each category and then use the slider to adjust your usage. Pick how many emails you think you'll send and receive, how many websites you'll open, social media posts you'll make, hours of music you'll stream, etc. Watch the slider at the bottom of that page to see how much data Sprint estimates you'll need.