If you are serious about cutting down your electricity usage, it is important that you can measure your home or office’s real time electricity load or consumption. After all how can you save electricity if you have no idea how much electricity you use in the first place?

Although your electricity bills can give you a good idea of how much electricity you have consumed in the previous months, they cannot tell you power consumption trends like how much your electricity consumption changes by time of day, or by season or number of people in the house. For that you need real-time meters, which make measuring electricity consumption really simple.

There are 2 kinds of meters you can get:

Meters like the Owl Meter show you the overall electricity load of your house at a given instance. You can record and store your electricity consumption data for up to a year, and can download it any time on your computer to understand your electricity consumption patterns. I personally use the Owl Meter and find it very easy to use. It is available in single-phase and triple phase options. The included sensors just need to be clipped on to the power line (or lines if you have 3 phases) coming out from the electric meter in your home. The data is transmitted on a wireless monitor. The included software can be used to analyse your consumption trends on your computer. The included graphs and tools are nothing fancy or beautiful to look at, but they more than meet the purpose, especially given the price of Owl Meter compared to other industrial solutions on the market.

The other kind of meter is a single appliance meter, like the famous Kill-a-Watt meter, or the many others available on Amazon.com and Reichelt.de. These meters allow you to plug in any appliance into the socket to see how much electricity it uses. If you leave your appliance plugged in, you can also see how much total electricity it used over 24 hours. I find these meters very useful to compare how much my appliances and computers use when they are plugged in, when they are hibernating, or when they are charging, etc. These meters can instantly tell you if an appliance is using too much energy, and therefore needs to be serviced or replaced.

You can also get strip meters, which allow you to plug in multiple appliances to measure how much they use together. For instance, if you have your desktop, monitor, and printer plugged into a strip, you can see how much they use combined. Or, maybe you have your TV, DVD player, cable box and speakers plugged in together. Hence, you can see how much your entertainment is costing you when on, and when hibernating.

What energy meters can you recommend?