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It’s not that easy to keep energy bills under control. Every appliance, every lightbulb, and even your body heat contribute to your home’s energy usage. But by understanding where your energy goes, you can make changes to reduce your consumption. Energy monitors are a great way to get started on this path of discovery.
We’ve tested 13 products and compiled a list of the 5 best energy motors and the Sense Energy Monitor got our Editor’s Choice nomination. Most of them provide WiFi connectivity to help you control and monitor your usage from your phone or computer. Some of them can even integrate with Alexa and IFTTT for voice control or to create automation.
Consumption measurement: in kWh, dollars and cents
WiFi connectivity: yes
Compatibility: split-phase 120/240 V
Monitoring platform: iOS, Android, and web apps
Extra features: integrates with Alexa and IFTTT
Our choice for the best all-around energy monitor you can find on the market is the Sense energy monitor, which lets you know what devices and appliances are growing power by connecting directly to you our electricity panel. You can see exactly what appliances consume power at any given time by using a mobile app on your phone or tablet. This energy monitor works by listening to the electronic signature of each of your appliances and uses complex algorithms to monitor their power consumption. Moreover, it lets you see both real-time consumption and historical usage for each device.
The Sense energy monitor looks like a small brick and it features a Wi-Fi antenna, a power cable, and two current sensors. It comes together with a mounting kit and installation guide, and sport a 1GHz ARM processor and Bluetooth wireless radio. Users rave about how easy it is to install and connect the energy monitor to your mobile device, and they also raised the simplicity of the app that is incredibly easy to navigate. The not so good news is that you need the help of an electrician for the initial installation, as recommended by Sense. This happens because part of the installation process involves connecting a couple of wires to a 240 volt breaker. However, this is a one-time thing and users have mentioned that it only takes a professional less than half an hour to install the device.
The energy monitor connects to your home’s Wi-Fi, so you can access it securely no matter where you are located. A cloud connection is available for browsers, iOS and Android apps and there is no subscription fee to use it. Users also like that the device can measure your home’s energy efficiency in kWh or dollars and cents, based on your preferences.
Monitoring platform: via cloud based web service, Android and iOS
The Eyedro EHWEM1 is a small and easy to install and to monitor with a free web app that reports hourly, daily, weekly, monthly electricity usage together with estimated costs. A suitable choice for monitoring how much energy your various devices are using, this device may look bulkier than other models we reviewed, but it comes with the advantage of very short installation times.
Users like that this is a real time of electricity monitor that can be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, so you can have access to its data not matter where you are. With this device, you can compare the cost of running appliances and light fixtures and see how much electricity your household consumes during peak and off-peak hours. The consumption measurement is made in both kWh and dollars and cents, and you can monitor everything via the complementary cloud-based web service provided or via iOS or Android apps. The monitoring service is absolutely free of charge.
The Eyedro EHWEM1 shows you costs in real time, so you can turn your electrical appliances on and off to see the effects. You can choose to purchase the energy monitor with or without the Wi-Fi function, keeping in mind that the Wi-Fi model is more expensive. Users like that the unit is always on and connected, which means there are no batteries to change.
Why is it special?
Free monitoring service
Optional wireless function
No batteries to change
What are the flaws?
Only uploads data directly with the Eyedro website
Extra features: for indoor and outdoor use, compatible with all certified Z-Wave gateways
Our budget pick, the Aeotec ZW095 ZW095-A is a very compact home energy meter that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. This small monitor connects to the mains power of your home, which means that a professional electrician may be required for installation. It records your home’s electricity in real time and has an accuracy of 99%. Even though it doesn’t show you your consumption measurement in dollars or cents, the monitor displays your energy use in watts or kWh.
Users like that the home energy meter comes with two clamps and one monitor that are easy to connect to a 110 V standard electrical system. Each of the clamps detects one circuit to report the real-time power consumption. Because the monitor is compatible with all certified Z-Wave gateways, your data about real-time consumption is stored by your Z-Wave hub.
Users raved about the good job this little device does helping you diagnose which appliances in your home are the costliest in terms of energy consumption. They also mentioned how easy it is to pair the device with the Z-Wave hub. Even though it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of other energy monitors we reviewed, such as iOS and Android apps, the Aeotec ZW095 ZW095-A is one of the best choices out there for those who want to monitor their energy consumption without breaking the bank.
Extra features: eight 50A sensors, supports 3-phase systems less than 600A with 3 included 200A clamps
It features eight 50A sensors to monitor your furnace, air conditioner and other appliances on your smartphone or laptop in real time with accuracy of ±2%. The sensors provide 1-second data and 1-minute data retained for 3 hours and 7 days respectively. They also provide 1-hour data retained for an unlimited period. You will need Wi-Fi and an internet connection, and the app allows you to export the data any time. The actionable push notifications enable you to track the specific power usage of your devices, in kWh, dollars and cents, so you can identify the ones that hike your electric bill and learn how to lower it by saving energy.
Emporia A001 Smart Home Energy Monitor is UL and CE listed. You can install it in the circuit panel of most 3-phase electrical systems that are less than 600A with the three 200A clamps included with the unit. You can also purchase flexible sensors to install this energy monitor in circuit panels that allow access to bus bars only. The energy monitor comes with instructions on how to install it but most users recommend getting a professional electrician to set it up properly and fast. Most affordable energy monitors do not support monitoring your power usage in real time on a web platform. This model does, in addition to smartphone compatibility.
Consumption measurement: in kWh, dollars and cents
WiFi connectivity: no
Compatibility: split-phase 120/240 V
Monitoring platform: monitor usage within device, no app connectivity
Extra features: no need to change existing clip, audible alert to notify of excessive usage of electricity
This low-cost energy monitor is easy to install and use and an inexpensive way to help you understand the electricity consumption in your household. Showing both energy usage and costs in real time, this is a portable energy monitor that you can take with you around the house to immediately observe the impact switching things off has on your energy consumption. Users love the fact that the monitor holds up to 24-months of data and that it allows you to view your average energy consumption.
The Efergy Elite 4.0 Wireless Electricity Monitor has a compact design and it is easy to install in just four steps, that include inserting the batteries, attaching the sensor, linking the transmitter and display, and viewing real-time energy. The monitor is multi-tariff ready and does other things besides monitoring the energy consumption of your home, for example tracking your carbon emissions and showing room temperature and humidity.
Even though many users have found that the data provided by the monitor’s display is more than enough to let you know the amount of energy each of the appliances in your house consumes, you also get a browser app, so you can see your consumption graphically and download any relevant data on a spreadsheet. Users have found this very useful for those situations you want to look at historical data for weekly and monthly usage. An app for iOS and Android is also available.
What are its best features?
Easy to install
Apps for browser and mobile devices
What could be improved?
No Wi-Fi connectivity
Things to Consider
Also known as electricity monitors, energy monitors are small devices that allow you to keep on top of how much electricity your household is using. An energy monitor helps you to understand your electricity usage, and some of them have additional features such as alarms that alert you when you have used a set amount of electricity or setting daily electricity usage targets. Below you will find more about the benefits of installing an energy monitor and the features you should look for when purchasing one.
Benefits of having an energy monitor at home
An energy monitor is a small tabletop or handheld device with a screen that shows you how much electricity you are using in your home in real-time. An energy monitor will not save you money on your electricity bill directly, but it will pay for itself in time because it will let you know just exactly where you can improve your energy-saving actions. This is an easy way to cut your energy bills, and below you will find a buying guide to help you choose the right one for your household.
Features to consider when choosing a home energy monitor
There are many features to consider when buying a home energy monitor, but some of the most important to take into account include connectivity, compatibility, consumption measurement, and ease of installation. Other factors that you may want to look into before making a purchase include length of wires, warranty, and the monitoring platform you need to use with the appliance.
The main choices for connectivity are a wireless Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth. Some models have both of these connection options, but they are not necessarily needed for showing you how much energy you have used.
The main reason to choose a Wi-Fi energy monitor is to send the data to an app on your phone or tablet to monitor historical usage and more.
Some models such as our editor’s choice, the Sense energy monitor, or the Emporia A001 Smart Home Energy Monitor, measure consumption in both kWh and dollars and cents so you can see exactly how much your bill should be. However, other models only measure in kWh, so you have to work out how much your electricity bill will be by yourself.
When buying an energy monitor, you need to be sure it is compatible with the voltage of your home. Most models support various voltages, including 120/208/240V, whereas others are only suitable for split-phase households.
Ease of installation
The majority of energy monitors are straightforward to set up, and generally all you have to do is plug the device into a transmitter that sends relevant usage data to a control panel.
Some others require installation into the mains panel of your home, which means that you’ll need a licensed electrician to set up the device.
You can choose between energy monitors that come with support for iOS or Android apps, or go for a model that only has a web browser platform where you can monitor your consumption.
Some models, such as the Eyedro EHWEM1, for example, require batteries, whereas others are mains powered. If you’re looking for extra portability, a battery-operated model may be a good choice.
Length of wires
This depends from one model to another, but many energy monitors come with all the wires needed to perform a quick installation. Make sure that the wires have a suitable length for you to be able to install the monitor where you need it, and that they’re not so long you’ll be tripping over them.
Again, this differs from one model to another, but generally you can expect to get at least a one-year warranty for your energy monitor.
Many of the energy monitors available on the market are very easy to install and do not require the help of an electrician. However, other models may require wire cutting or the manufacturer may have stated that a licensed electrician is required for installation. For instance, this is the case for Sense monitors.
Because energy monitors send details to the energy provider, many people are apprehensive about using them because they are worried about data protection. However, all data is sent securely, and you can usually find out exactly what happens to the personal information that is collected at the time you set up your device.
It is possible to see how much electricity your appliances use, but this is not a feature present on all of the energy monitors available on the market. Some models such as the Sense monitor track the overall energy consumption in your home as well as the individual use of any appliances you might have.
After a thorough research, we concluded that the Sense monitor is the best all-around energy monitor on the market because it comes with all the features you may need to understand your electricity consumption while being affordable and easy to install. We found that the Eyedro EHWEM1 is a perfect choice for consumers who are looking for the best cloud-based energy monitor out there. Our budget pick, the Aeotec ZW095 ZW095-A is a very compact home energy meter that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. No matter what kind of energy meter you decide to purchase in the end, make sure that you consider the way you intend to use it and its compatibility with your home electric wiring and voltage before parting with your money.