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How To Find The Watts (Wattage) Of Any Appliance
Why do I need to know how many watts my appliances use?
Most people don’t think too much about energy consumption, but going off-grid requires planning for how much power you need day to day. Your battery bank, solar array, and overall system size will depend on it.
First, you need to know which appliances you will be using. Then, how much time you’ll spend using them each day. Finally, you need to know their wattage — basically, how much electrical power (measured in watts) they require to run.
Combined, this will give you your total overall watt hours per day: the most important factor in identifying how much solar you need. Hop over to our RV solar energy audit calculator to pull it all together!
Step 1: Check the appliance for a wattage label
Most household appliances will have a sticker, engraving, or other marking somewhere out of sight that states the wattage. For example, take a look at this sticker on the bottom of an electric water kettle. Do you see where it says Power 1100 W? This means the wattage (W = watts) of our electric kettle is 1100.
That one was pretty easy. Now, let’s check a Keurig coffee maker. There’s a faint engraving in the metal right above the white sticker. It can be hard to read if you’re not holding it in your own hands, so we’ll help: this one says 1500 W. That means the wattage of our Keurig is 1500.
Sometimes the watts, or wattage, of an appliance will be labeled as more of a raised marking, like on this hair dryer handle (1825 W). Wattage can even be printed directly onto the appliance, like between the plates of this hair straightener (260 W).
Step 2: Check the product listing for wattage
If you know the specific product you have, or if you’re shopping for something new, you can usually find the watts of an electrical appliance in the product description online. In fact, we found the wattage of this blender in two different spots on its Amazon listing (including in the name)!
For a couple of LED lights, we found the wattage by scrolling down to the “Product Description” section on Amazon. To save some time when you’re combing through listings, do a quick search for “watt” using a keyboard shortcut like this one.
Step 3: Get appliance wattage from amps and volts
Sometimes appliances will have a label or manual with their amps (or amperage) listed alongside volts (or voltage). You can also measure amps using a multimeter, and most household appliances in the United States will be 120 volts (labeled 120V).
You can then get wattage from amps and volts using a little math (amps X volts = watts). We’ve included a wattage calculator here to help you out.
Let’s say you use a multimeter with your toaster oven and see that it is drawing 12.5 amps. If we plug that into the calculator, we can find that 12.5 amps X 120 volts = 1500 watts.
Was this guide helpful? Were there other strategies you used, or appliances you couldn’t find the wattage of? Let us know in the comments!