If you’re tired of nasty surprises on your energy bills and want to be able to see how much electricity you’re using then and there, an energy monitor will be a dream come true for you. These clever handheld devices let you know exactly how much gas and electricity you are using and estimate how much money you’re spending.
Made up of sensors, transmitters and a handy table top or handheld display - an energy meter shows you how much electricity you're using and some models can even alert you when you're close to daily targets.
The energy monitor's transmitter attaches to a sensor which simply clips on to power cables connected to your electric meter. This measures the electrical current flowing through the cables which gets sent wirelessly through the transmitter to your device.
If you want peace of mind of knowing how much you're going to be paying out for your energy bills and want to put an end to surprise bills, you need an energy monitor.
While simply having one won't save you any money by default, having access to your usage in real time gives you the knowledge to be able to effectively change the way you consume energy. These devices put the power back into your hands so you can keep an eye on how much you're spending which in turn helps you to make money-saving decisions.
It's understandable why someone might get confused between the two, especially since smart meters do indeed come with their own energy monitors. While smart meters and energy monitors both show you your consumption in real time, a smart meter actually sends automatic readings to your supplier. An energy monitor however isn't linked to your provider at all.
Luckily you don't need to have a smart meter to reap the benefits of these nifty gadgets and can get an energy monitor with whichever type of meter you have.
Energy monitors are available on the high street and online from popular retailers like John Lewis, Amazon & Argos for a range of different prices with varying functionality. Some of the more expensive models offer additional features such as energy limit alerts and even store your historical usage so you can compare.
To bag yourself a free energy monitor, all you need to do is switch to a smart meter and you'll get a complimentary handset.
Some energy providers even offer free energy monitors when you sign up with them with traditional metering. However, it's always best to compare suppliers to see which ones have the most competitive tariffs regardless of freebies. Check out our Energy Saver app, available on Google Play and the App Store, to see what rates suppliers in your area have on offer.
Your energy monitor is only as accurate as the information it's been given, so don't leave yours on the pre-set tariff that comes with it. Be sure to enter your actual tariff into the monitor to get a really accurate read on how much energy you're using.
If you're not sure what tariff you're on, just check your energy bill. Still unsure? Check out our handy guide for understanding your energy bills.
The main tip to ensuring you get the most out of your energy monitor is to put your device somewhere visible. It's important to actually check your usage on a regular basis to be able to properly adjust your behaviour and see a difference in your bills.
While it's certainly more fun to watch your energy usage (and the pennies) go down, everyone can make a difference in how much energy they use with these helpful tips with or without an energy monitor.
Ditch those energy-sapping halogen bulbs in favour of super-efficient LED spotlights to save around £35 a year on bills. Back when LED’s first hit the market, people disliked how long they took to brighten up. Luckily these days keeping your home radiantly lit takes no time at all – give it a try.
For more great energy saving tips, check out our dedicated energy saving guide. If you’re keen on living a greener life, you should seriously consider switching to a Green Energy Plan for the most eco-friendly way to use energy.