How Much Power Does a Network Router Use?

Hint: not much

Thermo image of a wireless router
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Gadgets around the house that stay on 24 hours a day, such network routers, are obvious suspects to question when looking for sources of wasteful energy consumption. Routers, however, don't use much power.

Routers Aren't Energy-Hungry

Routers don't consume a lot of power. Wireless models use the most, particularly the newer models with multiple Wi-Fi antennae because the radios need certain levels of power to stay connected. Generally, routers consume from two to 20 watts, depending on the specific model.

The Linksys WRT610, for example, uses two radios for dual-band wireless support, yet it draws 18 watts of power. When the WRT610 runs in dual-band mode 24 hours per day, seven days a week, it adds three kilowatt-hours (kWh) per week to an electric bill.

Costs vary depending on where you live, but the WRT610 and similar wireless routers typically cost no more than $1 to $2 per month to run.

Should You Turn Off Your Router?

If you log on only 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 constantly uses a small amount of power. Instant-on televisions, computers in sleep mode, cable set-top boxes that are never turned off, and game consoles draw power while in standby modes. Changing your habits with these devices can make a noticeable difference in your monthly power bill.