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Today is December 13, 2019

Is your smart home speaker smart for your energy bill?

Is your smart home speaker smart for your energy bill?

One in four Americans now own a smart speaker...

Have you ever wanted to turn off the lights, listen to the news or order food by simply using your voice? That is the innovative power a smart home speaker can provide. These handy products have made their way into many homes across the country since the first smart speaker became available in late 2014. By the end of last year, there were 66.4 million users of smart home assistants or smart home speakers in the U.S.

These smart speakers can truly act as assistants, whether by helping you set reminders, establishing routine commands or informing you of today’s top news stories. They include numerous functions, like helping you order products online, playing music — they can even tell you a joke!

One in four Americans now own a smart speaker, and 40 percent of those people have more than one. The most popular is the Amazon Echo, although Google Home products are selling at a rapid rate and even taking over some of the market share from Amazon. Other popular brands of smart speakers include Apple’s HomePod, the Sonos One and the JBL Link 10.

Smart speakers have clearly become a big hit in the residential market, and they are also economical with varied price points. Google Home starts at about $129, and the Amazon Echo starts at about $180. However, there are smaller, more basic versions that start at $25 for the Amazon Echo Dot, and $49 for the Google Home Mini.

As smart speakers become more prevalent, you may be wondering if these products are a smart choice when it comes to the impact they have on your energy bill. Tests have been conducted to determine how much power a smart speaker uses, including different modes of use, such as when the assistant is on standby mode or listening to a command. Moderate-level actions, like playing music at full volume, have also been tested.

By way of example, the Amazon Echo speaker uses 3 watts of electricity while on standby; and if it were left on standby mode for one year, the total cost would only be about $3.15. While moderately active (like telling a joke or playing music at a medium volume), the Amazon Echo uses 4 watts. At the highest power use (like playing music at full volume), the Amazon Echo still only uses 6.6 watts, and if used consistently at this level, it would cost $6.93 for the year. For comparison, the Google Home uses slightly less energy than the Amazon Echo at 2 watts while in standby mode, saving you about $1 a year in total energy costs.

As you can see, the costs to use smart speakers are minimal, and the difference in prices between available products and their abilities are still relatively small. There are plenty of reasons to buy a smart speaker, and the additional cost to your energy bill should not stop you from getting one.

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