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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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[Sorry for the long review but I felt it important to update my progress regarding the use of Solar PV- see end of review]
I bought one of these to replace an old meter supplied by EON which I was convinced was over reading my power use.

Installing it was easy and well explained although for some reason they put in the setup instructions at the end of the manual.

Initially, the reading was a lot lower than my old EON meter but I decided it was too low. So I plugged in a 100W (incandescent) light bulb and it only registered a change of about 60W. So I went back and fiddled with the the clamp that goes around the main power cable next to the Official Electricity meter (it is quite a tight fit by the way). It obviously wasn't seated correctly because when I got back, the reading was something closer to 85W.

I still wasn't happy with this so I had another read of the manual. I noticed that there was something in there about adjusting the voltage and I found my unit was set to a (default?) voltage of 230V. I don't care what Wikipedia says, I have always believed the mains voltage in England to be around 240V. To make sure, I measured it and it tends to vary between 239V and 244V. You can adjust the Owl to your mains voltage so I set it to 240V and then the figure increased to around 93W.

I decided that this was within the 10% tolerance quoted in the manual and left it at that.

During all these tests I discovered something else; that the Owl only updates every 6 seconds or so and sometimes it seems like a minute will go past before it changes. This may just be a wireless interference problem and it doesn't really affect the overall performance of the unit.

I was pleased to see that you can actually set up a dual tariff reflecting the fact that many suppliers quote a higher unit rate for the first 225kW used in a quarter. I am still testing this to see if works properly and will update my review if I have any problems.

In case you are interested, the EON meter was reading about 15% higher than it should. What I hadn't realised was that the EON transmitter has batteries in it. They had lasted over 5 years and were still going but once I replaced them both meters read almost identically (which is comforting).

Overall, if you are interested in how much power you are using at any given time (and don't have solar panels) then this is a fairly inexpensive way of finding out.

UPDATE (2 Aug 2013). I have now been running the Owl for a month and had two 'hiccups' with it. The first was when it measured a brief power usage of 9999kW( might have been 9995kW, I can't remember). I suppose this could have been a mains spike but nothing else in the house was affected (including the surge protectors which I thought were supposed to indicate when there have been voltage spikes).

I wasn't really too bothered about this although it did screw up the historical data for power usage provided by the Owl. Then, about 10 days later, it stopped receiving data from the transmitter. In the end the only thing I could do was disconnect and reconnect the batteries on the receiver (I didn't touch the transmitter).

Of course this meant that all of the setup had to be done again including all the tariff information. The good news is that after looking for the transmitter for about a minute, it found it by itself. So, at least you don't have to re-pair the receiver and transmitter every time you replace the batteries.

UPDATE 2 (20 Aug 2013). I have now put in solar PV panels and the owl is behaving very strangely. It is difficult to explain but I know the house uses about 1.1kW just to 'tick over' so when the panels are generating around 1kW I would expect the Owl to be reading zero (or close to it). However, it reads about 700W. I even called the Owl support and they couldn't figure it out either (although they are going to look into it further).

We double checked by looking at the 'real' electrity meter and sure enough, the wheel had almost stopped turning. We even tried turning off the panels when they were generating about 1kW and Owl immediately jumped from 700W to 1100W indicating that the house was drawing just over 1kW from the National Grid. Very confusing and unfortunately makes the Owl useless during daylight as you cannot tell how much power you are really drawing from the Grid'. Of course if you haven't got solar panels then I still think it is a great device to have around the home.

UPDATE 3 (8 Oct 2013). Prompted by a comment on my review, I called 'Owl' again to see if I could make any progress with the Solar PV problem. Although they still couldn't explain why it was happening, this time I was told that the product is not meant to be used with a Grid Tied inverter. For that he recommended another product that they sell. I suggested that they should put a warning to this effect in their documentation but he didn't seem very interested. I might try their official solar PV unit but I am afraid I am still concerned that they couldn't explain why it is happening.

UPDATE 4 (8 Nov 2013). I think I have got to the bottom of the Solar issue so I thought I would make a final update in case it helps anyone else in the same situation. I decided to read a couple of the Owl on-line manuals; specifically, the one relating to their Solar product. In it they refer to solar PV systems that are wired as what they call 'Type 1' or 'Type 2'.

Basically Type 2 is where the output from the solar inverter feeds into your Consumer unit. Type 1 is where the output from the solar inverter is connected (effectively) directly to the Grid mains feed between the main electricity meter and consumer unit.

Mine had been wired as 'Type 2' so I decided to get my electrician to re-wire it as 'Type 1'
'Et voila' the Owl now reads the correct house power consumption all the time (it is as if the Solar Panels are not even there). I have now put the Owl next to my wireless solar generation meter so that I can see at a glance how much power I am generating and how much power the house is using. A simple subtraction of one from the other tells me whether I have any spare to turn on the dishwasher! Hope this helps
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on 19 September 2013
Beautifully made unit, both the transmitter and receiver. The huge display readout can be read from across the room and the display unit is fully portable so you can take it anywhere in the house or garden. You could monitor the freezer or tumble dryer etc in your shed or garage for example or take it to bed and keep an eye on night time electric consumption of fridges and freezers etc.!

The OWL Wireless Electricity Monitor is rather let down by the confusing setting up and programming instructions both in the box and on the website.

There are two booklets supplied with the unit and depending on which you read first you could end up inadvertently erasing your display program that you have entered and having to reprogram the display unit twice .

I would recommend that you follow the 'Safety and Connection guide' first in order to get your transmitter and display receiver paired wirelessly.

Once you have wirelessly paired the units refer to the 'Setting up your OWL ' in order to set up the display unit.

If you have a simple electricial supply with one meter you just need to program 'Tarrif 1' and set the other two tarrifs to 'OFF' Tarrif 2 and 3 are for monitoring off-peak tarrifs etc if you have night storage heaters for example.

Once the display is programmed you have a choice of 3 display modes COST, ENERGY, and CO2e which can be cycled by a single press of the Mode button.
In 'Energy 'mode you can toggle between real time current consumption and accumlative which will give you the total KWH units you have consumed since starting the OWL. When I compared the OWL to the KWH unit reading on my electric meter after 5 days I found the Owl was spot on.!

You can carry your OWL around the house and turn various electrical appliance on and off and get a near instant display of how many watts or Kilowatts the appliance is using, ( takes about 4-5 seconds for the OWL to update) . Its a good way of checking to see which items are costing the most to run or checking for faulty appliances too as we found our electric water heater temperature sensor was faulty !

In conclusion I would thoroughly recommend the OWL wireless electricity monitor for identifying high energy using appliances and monitoring electric consumption in real time. The only negative aspect is the less than clear instructions and lengthly and complicated setting up and programming proceedure. If you are fazed by setting up your Sky+ or DVD units ,you are going to find this hard work.
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on 20 January 2014
Having had a new electricity meter fitted I asked the technician who did it to attach the cable for this to the right cable to the meter and after that was done the rest was very easy to set up. It gives me all the information I need, and it does make me much more aware of what uses lots of electricity - halogen kitchen lights are a big offender - apart from those things we expect to use lots (kettle, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble drier). The electric towel rail is now switched off in the guest bathroom and will only go back on when someone is actually staying! Great gadget. I have even set my calendar on my computer to remind me to change the batteries in 12 months time or at least check if they need changing then. Awareness is half the battle to saving electricity. As a 71 year old woman I found it easy to set up, so it should present no problems at all to someone younger!
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on 13 January 2016
I purchased this in order to get a bit more of a grasp on the electricity usage in my new house without having to faff about taking meter readings every day.

However, unfortunately it would seem that faffing around taking meter readings is a far more accurate way of doing it.

Firstly, I'll get the positives out of the way. It's a very well-made product with excellent instructions in very good, annoyance-free packaging. It certainly doesn't feel like a cheap Chinese special. It's an attractive little thing and will sit nicely on any shelf. It is very easy to set up and get going.

However (and this is based solely on my usage), it is wildly inaccurate. I went to bed with most things turned off and the house "at rest" with it reading a current draw of about 380 watts. This sounded high - I would have expected closer to 100/150w - and thus I was going to investigate further.

24 hours later, the unit has reported 10.3kWh of electricity usage. My electricity meter has reported 6.4kWh of usage. That's about a 60% difference! I know which one I'm more inclined to trust...

If it was particularly cheap, I wouldn't be too fussed and I'd stick it in a drawer for posterity. But at almost £30 for something which is of no real use to me whatsoever, I'm afraid I am going to return it.

Please note that this review is purely my own experience, and your mileage may vary. It could be due to the positioning of the cable clamp, or the proximity to the negative lead, but moving the clamp did not yield any different results. There is a setting to change the mains voltage (I verified it with a plug-in power meter) but this made no difference to the read-outs.
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on 21 January 2013
Very good item very pleased with the puchase. Will have years of use with this item. Recomend to any one
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on 23 April 2013
Easy to set up. Works very well. Not 100% in line with the electricity meter reading but close enough. Very handy to see usage on various items and times etc.

No problems with unit at all.
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on 19 April 2013
Works great. Easy to setup, displays information really clearly. Transmitter has quite a good range. Highly recommend for any household!
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on 7 December 2012
Does exactly we expected. we now have a clear idea of how much energy we are using. Would recommend to others.
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on 29 May 2014
OWL Help Centre Agent 1 (2 Save Energy Limited)

This monitor is small and compact however for me it has 1 vital flaw. My old and free British gas model worked very well and as soon as you turned off a light or something it updated immediately. However this one has a big delay. I emailed the owl team who were excellent and replied straight away with:

"All OWL electricity monitors operate on a 12-second period; and provide an averaged reading over this period; thus taking into account spikes such as those you suggest. The purpose of this 12-second window is such that the transmitter batteries last 16 months rather than two weeks; as would be the case if it were constantly transmitting.

In addition, the transmitter will only send an update to the monitor if a significant change in energy use has been identified by the monitor; thus it could be up to 24, 36, 48 or even 60 seconds between transmissions depending on usage fluctuation. There is a hard limit of 60 seconds however; the unit will transmit at least once per minute."

For me this makes the product pretty unusable as I was trying to use it to work out the cost of each electric item in ny house by taking a reading, turning the appliance on and taking another reading. However it's so slow to update it makes it impossible as something else could turn on or off in the meantime (like a fridge). It's worth noting that I had the british gas model for 5 years and never needed to change the batteries (big c type ones) and had no issues with range.
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on 23 October 2013
Easy to set up if you follow the instructions, although some may feel this is a little long winded. I realised after purchase that the device that is attached to the power cable needs to be installed on the electric meter itself; this then feeds information back via wireless to the readout display. I was concerned this would be an issue as the meter at our flat is outside and downstairs. This has not been an issue however and the receiver works in all rooms of our 2 bed flat.

The device itself appears to be accurate and will show how much any electrical device uses and you will soon realise where you can make easy savings! Just a small example would be that my TV, sky box and surround sound setup that is normally left in standby could save around £6-7 per quarter if it is turned off overnight. I am already starting to notice lights and other bits and pieces that do not need to be left on!

Great for those that are into gadgets but also a genuinely useful tool to help you save money!
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