How Much Power Does a Network Router Use?

Thermo image of a wireless router
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Most people are interested in conserving electricity and saving money on their power bills. Any gadgets around the house that stay on 24 hours a day, like network routers, are obvious suspects to question when looking for sources of wasteful energy consumption.

Routers Aren't Energy-Hungry

Fortunately, routers don't consume a lot of power. When comparing router power consumption, wireless routers use the most, particularly the newer models with multiple Wi-Fi antennas because the radios need a certain level of power to stay connected. You have to know the wattage of your specific router to do the math, but routers consume from 2 to 20 watts. 

The Linksys WRT610, for example, uses two radios for dual-band wireless support, yet it draws just 18 watts of power. Assuming you leave the WRT610 running in dual-band mode 24 hours per day, seven days a week, it results in three kilowatt-hours (kWh) per week added to your electric bill. Costs vary depending on where you live, but typically the WRT610 and similar wireless routers cost no more than $1 to $2 per month to run.

Should You Turn off Your Router?

If you only log on once a day for email, you might turn your router on and off just for that one task, but it will save only pennies a month. If you have several devices that use your router, such as a computer, smartphone, tablet, TV set, and smart home devices, turning off the router isn't a good option.

Tech Devices That Are Power Hogs

Any appliance that uses a standby mode is constantly using a small amount of power. Instant-on televisions, computers in sleep mode, cable set-top boxes you never turn off, and game consoles are notorious for drawing power while in standby modes. Changes in your habits with these devices can make a noticeable difference in your monthly power bill.