Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Measures the consumption of each appliance individually, 9 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Belkin Energy Saving Insight Energy Cost Monitor (Personal Computers)
This Belkin F7C005AF is intended to measure the power consumption of anything that uses a 13Amp mains socket. It has a four figure display indicating up to 3.25kW, as well as alternate modes of cost () and carbon usage (CO2). The default display is for annual rate of cost, but other modes (and conversion factors) are available just by pressing the buttons (don't lose the tiny instruction sheet).

I've settled on two best ways to use it.
1. Plugged in continuously for a week or so to monitor something with intermittent use such as a fridge or washing machine or tumble dryer or TV or kettle or toaster, this to see the real costs for something with a variable duty cycle. For example; my tumble dryer begins at 120W for a minute, then turns on the fan rising to 230W then the heat-pump begins raising it to 400W, and then as the clothes dry it adds in the heater slowly ramping up to 900W total at the end of the cycle - but the end of the cycle is only when the machine senses that the clothes are dry enough, which can be anything from 10 to 120 minutes depending on what they are.
2. A quick spot check on the power of something consistent and predictable such as a light bulb or the 24/7 home network items, this to compare the steady power consumption/efficiency so as to be able to choose the best ones.

The accuracy of my sample is about +/- 1% for normal resistive loads (kettle, toaster, filament bulb, electric blanket, etc), but this can vary depending on the power factor of an inductive device (fan motor, washing machine, etc) or duty cycle in a high-speed switching load (CFL bulb, LED bulb, Power Supply brick, Dimmer, etc). The quantising resolution of the measurement is about 0.1 Watt, and this is quite obvious when it is on the cusp between indicating either of two adjacent low power values; eg toggling between 1.87W and 1.96W for an active phone charger. The display can show more figures than the actual measurement accuracy, and in this case the real answer (as measured simultaneously using a DVM) was 1.91W including the 0.35W of the Belkin itself.

The very clear remote display is a great help, so much more convenient than trying to read a tiny dim display in the darkness down near the floor when plugged into a mains socket.

The totaliser function, automatic when the item under test is left connected to the mains for more than 45 minutes, is very useful for anything that goes through a variable power cycle, such as a dishwasher or washing machine or a fridge. This could be fiddly if you wanted to know exactly how many kWh the tumble dryer used on a cottons cycle, when you need patience to wait for the cycle to finish, knowledge of how for long the monitor was counting power, and then maybe a little bit of maths to work out just what went on. On the other hand it is ideal if you simply plug the fridge in at (say) midday, and then on subsequent middays for a few days have a look at the monitor to check its estimated annual (or monthly) usage.

I've owned an Owl CM160 for a few years now, but got fed up with the limited quantising accuracy of only about 16W, so bought the Belkin to be able to check on individual lower power devices like LED bulbs and computer accessories which are liable to be left on 24/7. Both monitors agree with each other (and the electricity meter) near enough on high power devices like kettle and toaster, so I am happy to keep on using this Belkin as an appliance tester.

If you are prepared to go to the trouble of building a room by room spreadsheet for the usage (watts multiplied by on-time) of the appliances then the Belkin can help you refine the details to minimise your annual electricity consumption. For example my clever tumble dryer is surprisingly economical at only about 350kWh per annum, whereas an efficient desktop computer and its miserly peripherals use more than 300kWh per annum simply because it is left on too much.

My two gripes with the Belkin are;
1. that the "Averaging" display does not show us accumulated kWh (which can be seen on the Owl), and
2. that the default display setting is on the annual cost, when I would prefer to see the Watts as the default, but this is only a button press away.

Otherwise, it is excellent for convenient easy snapshots of power consumption.
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Review Details



Location: Ickenham UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 15