Product: P4400 Kill A WattManufacturer: P3 InternationalMSRP:
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We live in a world that is growing ever more concerned about energy usage and energy efficiency. If you have a desktop computer or a home theater, you know firsthand how much wiring hides behind your systems. How much electrical energy do these devices use? The P3 International Kill A Watt
aims to demystify what exactly is contributing to your electrical bill.
In a nutshell, the Kill A Watt is an electricity usage monitor that installs between your wall outlet and the device(s) that you want to monitor. It displays real-time statistics such as Voltage, power (Watts), current (Amps), Line Frequency (Hz), and Power Factor. The really useful portion is displayed via the purple button, which shows the cumulative electrical usage in Kwh as well as the total test duration in minutes and hours.Usage
There's not much to say about usage, except that you plug it in and then plug in the device that you want to monitor. The toggle buttons are self explanatory and you can take a look at the brochure
. It does hog all of the adjacent electrical outlets in a typical wall plate unless you use an extension cord. The LCD is also hard to read in many situations so it would be nice to have a backlit option in future revisions. Performance
As soon as it is plugged in, the Kwh meter begins accumulating a history of the total energy used, so it is best to leave it monitoring your device over a typical usage cycle. For example, I opted to test my home PC
and associated peripherals by splicing the Kill A Watt in between the wall outlet and my main power strip. Over the course of 380 hours (about 16 days) it showed that 61.76 Kwh had passed through. Using some basic math I figured out that this would accumulate to 118.72 Kwh per month. I then consulted a recent electrical bill for the prevailing rate of $0.11430/Kwh, and extrapolated to an annual cost of about $163
to keep my PC & peripherals running under my typical usage patterns.
Armed with information like this, one can take preemptive steps to reduce electricity consumption. If you're the type that keeps your PC on 24x7, consider configuring your PC to go into standby mode when it is idle (mine is already configured as such). The electricity bill savings could go towards your next upgrade.Conclusion
With the price of the basic Kill A Watt hovering at about $20 for the past few months, it's a relatively inexpensive purchase that has the potential to save you its cost many times over. However, many of its benefits can be realized by simply adopting power-conscious habits. The benefit of the Kill A Watt is that it gives you quantitative data that you can use to calculate your exact expenditures and savings.Image Gallery Price History