Back to The Power Lab

The 5 best energy usage monitors

By powerwizard

Does this sound familiar? You open your electricity bill only to find yourself shocked by the amount due. You didn’t think you were using as much power as your statement reflects, yet, here you are.

Now you’re looking for ways to lower your electricity usage and the price you pay for it. However, maybe you aren’t sure where to begin.

One place to start is with your energy plan. If you aren’t on a good plan, you could be paying a higher than necessary rate or additional fees. Power Wizard can help ensure you’re on the best plan by showing you the best options based on your unique needs.

Another option to consider is tracking your home’s electricity use with an energy usage monitor, of which there are many on the market. Here, we’ll show you some of the top options for helping you understand your energy use so that you can find ways to reduce it.

What are energy usage monitors?

An energy usage monitor is a tool that provides instant, real-time electricity usage data. In other words, it lets you know how much electricity you’re using and how much you’re spending.

There are many types of energy usage monitors on the market. Most track the electricity use and performance of appliances based on their connection to given circuits.

Energy monitors also come with a variety of features, including:

  • Appliance recognition,
  • real-time cost tracking,
  • solar monitoring, and
  • smart home compatibility.

Many energy monitors also connect to an application that you can download to your smartphone or computer. These apps generally feature a dashboard that shows your electricity usage, trends, and more. Some can even send notifications about your appliances, warnings about abnormal electricity consumption, and energy-saving tips.

Top 5 picks of energy monitoring systems

Ultimately, your chosen energy usage monitor will depend on your specific needs. However, with so many options, you might not know which one to pick. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top five systems to help get you started.

Emporia smart home energy monitor

The Emporia Gen 2 Vue installs right on your electrical panel to track your home’s total energy usage. It then connects to Emporia over Wi-Fi for 24/7 energy use monitoring. You can also add 50A sensors to monitor up to 16 individual circuits.

Monitoring individual circuits lets you track the electricity usage of the larger appliances connected to them. While the energy monitor doesn’t track smaller appliances, it does integrate with Emporia smart plugs. However, you will need to purchase those separately. You can view real-time data from a user-friendly app, including:

  • Your average energy usage,
  • energy costs, and
  • solar energy production — if you have solar panels on your home.

The app also provides actionable recommendations to help you reduce electricity waste and make your home more energy-efficient.

The Emporia energy monitor is incredibly budget-friendly, especially given its dependability and detailed monitoring. The biggest disadvantage is that you’ll have to purchase flexible current sensors if your electrical panel only has access to busbars.

Sense energy monitor with solar

Another great option for homes with solar systems is the Sense Solar energy usage monitor. Like Emporia, it attaches to your electrical panel. However, this meter only uses a single pair of sensors for your whole panel rather than an individual sensor for each circuit. After installation — which requires a certified electrician — the monitor connects to an app on your phone via Wi-Fi.

Over time, the Sense energy usage monitor identifies individual appliances. It even starts offering information about your various devices, including:

  • When they’re on,
  • how much power they’re using,
  • their efficiency, and
  • if there’s a potential issue, such as a device running too long.

The Sense Solar monitor will also track how much solar energy you produce, use, and sell back to the grid. The app will even show you cost calculations of your energy produced and consumed.

While this monitor is one of the most advanced options on the market and provides numerous beneficial insights, it is a bit more expensive. It also takes a while to begin identifying your appliances.

Eyedro home energy monitor

The Eyedro energy usage monitor installs easily into your home’s electrical panel. Much like the Emporia monitor, you can do it yourself following the included instructions or ask a certified electrician to do it for you.

The system comes with two sensors that feed real-time information to an online dashboard via a Wi-Fi connection or an ethernet cable. You can access the information through the Eyedro website or a downloadable app.

Using the dashboard, you can:

  • View your usage in watts, amps, and dollars,
  • access monitoring reports,
  • input your electricity rates for more accurate billing estimates, and
  • receive alerts for power and internet outages.

With this particular monitor, you can’t track individual appliances and devices. Even so, it can still help you keep a closer eye on your electricity usage and learn more about your energy habits so you can avoid peak energy usage hours and lower your bills. Additionally, improper installation can lead to inaccurate readings.

HBN electricity usage monitor LCD plug

The HBN electricity usage monitor is slightly different from the previous monitors on this list. Rather than monitoring your entire house, this one plugs into a wall socket to provide information about individual appliances. It’s compact, simple, and easy to use. The only setup required is inputting your electricity rate for the energy usage calculator. From there, you can push the “Cost” button to forecast how much keeping an appliance plugged in will cost you by the hour, day, week, month, and year.

The biggest drawback to the HBN energy monitor is that it can only analyze one device or appliance at a time. Not does it connect to an app. However, it can be an effective tool for seeing how much your various appliances are costing you. It can also help you assess the quality of your devices to see if it’s time to replace them.

AEOTEC energy monitor

The AEOTEC electricity usage monitor is a compact energy meter that connects to your electrical panel using two sensors. Following installation, it records your real-time energy consumption with 99% accuracy. It’s compatible with all Z-Wave gateways, and you can view your information on your Z-Wave hub.

One thing to note about this device is that it isn’t as sophisticated as some of the other whole-house energy monitors. It only measures your electricity consumption in watts and kilowatts, not dollars and cents. It also doesn’t come with an app. However, it can still help you identify which devices are the most costly so you can take steps to lower your energy use — and your energy bills.

The benefits of monitoring your home energy consumption

Are you wondering if investing in an energy usage monitor is worth it? Here are some of the most significant benefits of keeping an eye on your home’s electricity consumption:

  • You can see how much electricity you’re using at any time (rather than waiting until your power bill arrives at the end of the month).
  • Forecasting your energy costs keeps you from being surprised when you get your bill.
  • You can use the information to reduce your energy consumption, which also helps to reduce how much you spend on electricity.

How to use real-time data to decrease your power consumption

A home energy usage monitor can help you determine which appliances draw the most electricity and cost the most money. They can also help you pinpoint sources of phantom energy. Using this information, you can take steps to reduce your home’s overall power consumption and your monthly bills.

A more affordable electricity plan also helps. That’s where Power Wizard comes in. We’ll show you the best plans for your needs, allowing you to select the one that makes the most sense for you. The combination of reducing your energy use and obtaining a lower electricity rate can help you save even more every month.

Are you ready to find your next Texas electricity plan? Visit Power Wizard today!

More From the Power Wizard Blog