A toaster is an appliance that is found in most households. In fact, it is said to be the second-most popular item after an iron. Toasters are used for bread and some pre-packaged items like certain types of toaster pastries.
It is a pretty handy device and does a lot when put to good use. But how much energy does it consume and how can you measure that? To understand how this works, you need to know the wattage of a toaster.
It also helps to know how it compares with toaster ovens and then compare those with microwave ovens and commercial ovens. They can all do a lot of things, but which one is the best appliance for the job at hand?
The answer to that question is how you know if you are being judicious with energy use in your household. Here’s everything you need to know about a toaster’s wattage.
Getting Started: What Is Rated Power?
The thing you need to know about calculating the amount of power your toaster consumes is its rated power. A standard two-slice toaster comes with rated power of 800 to 1,500 watts with an average value of 1,150 watts. In the same way, a standard four-slice toaster has a little more rated power that averages at 1,400 watts.
If you want to calculate the exact power consumed, you must look at the sticker on your toaster. Alternatively, you can also check it online based on the make and model. And there are many power calculators online if you want to see how much electricity is being consumed.
The Math: Terms to Know
Now, before you start calculating the wattage, you need to know these terms so that you can interpret the end result correctly.
- Wattage is the amount of power the toaster consumes.
- Operational hours is a literal term. It is the number of hours you have been operating your toaster for. Most people use it for about 10 minutes a day which means the operational hours is:
10 divided by 60 = 0.16 operational hours
- Then there is kWh (kilowatt hours) which is the unit of electricity. This measures the power that a device consumes. So, if you have a 700-watt appliance run for 8 hours, its unit of electricity is:
700 x 8 = 5,600 watt hours or 5.6 kWh
- Electricity tariff is the last one. This tells you how much your provider is charging you per unit. This varies from place to place.
How a Regular Toaster Works
When we say a regular toaster, we mean when compared to an energy-efficient model. Typically, the energy consumed by a toaster in a year isn’t a whole lot. Take this for instance.
You have a four-slice model that has a rated power of 900 watts. You use it for four slices on a daily basis for a year. You are probably consuming about 25 kWh for the whole year.
This means that even if you are quite reckless with your toaster use, you can still use it without carrying the guilt of harming the environment. Maybe you can spend that energy elsewhere.
But if you want an energy-efficient model, here’s what you can do. Get a model that does not have extra settings that you are highly unlikely to use. For instance, if you are not going to use the “reheat” feature, you must get a toaster that doesn’t have that feature in the first place. When you cut down on this stuff, you also save money on the purchase.
Here’s another example. If you are pretty mindful about not burning the slices, you don’t need a toaster that notifies you when it is time to pull out the bread. So, instead of scouring the internet and reading about which specifications to check for an energy-efficient model, focus on finding the brand that has the features best suited to you and one that is reliable too.
In fact, if you are replacing toasters every few months (yes, it happens) you must understand that these toasters are consuming more energy and giving you nothing in return. Here’s how. The costs of transporting a unit and getting rid of the broken one in a responsible manner is a lot more than the maximum amount of energy a decent toaster uses.
So, durability and dependability should be on top of your list. While you’re at it, make sure you look into a model that has a decent warrant period and good customer reviews too.
How Toaster Ovens Work
A toaster oven is not the same as a regular oven. So, these appliances tend to take in about 1,200 to 1,700 watts of power. The exact values depend on the specific model. And if you want to calculate how much power the toaster oven consumes, you can do it using the same formula you do for regular toasters.
Power consumption (kWh) = rated power (watts) x operational hours (hours) / 1000
If you use the toaster oven more than a regular toaster, the average usage per day is typically about 30 minutes. So, the power consumed will be:
Power = 1200 watts x 0.5 hours / 1000 = 0.6 Kilowatt hours
Toaster ovens do help save electricity when compared to regular ovens. But that is for smaller operations like reheating up a small meal or a snack. If you do the same with a regular oven, the electricity consumed will be three times that of the maximum capacity of a toaster oven.
But in these circumstances, as you already know, microwave ovens make for a better appliance in the kitchen. But they don’t work for bread. So, there’s that. Picking the right appliance depending on the food type is where your skill should come in handy.
Notes for Those Who Want an Energy-Efficient Toaster
If you are still gunning for that energy-efficient toaster, first of all, good for you on being so committed to being eco-friendly. Second of all, here are a few things you should keep in mind when you start researching your options.
You need to pick a toaster that has wide and long slots. These are good for artisan breads, homemade breads and English muffins. The longer slot does consume more electricity though because the heating elements are larger.
If you put a regular slice of bread in it, you will end up using energy for empty spaces which is a waste. If you are sure you will only use commercial bread, you can buy a regular toaster.
Four-Slice Toaster and Dual Controls
If you are going for a four-slice toaster, you can look into one with a dual control feature. This means half the panel can be switched. You can also toast a slice in two modes at a time.
So, you make use of an interesting feature without having to do it twice which saves power. Now, if a four-slice toaster does not have this feature, you will anyway waste a certain amount of energy in case you don’t put four slices in the toaster every time you use it.
A lot of toasters these days come with LED lights. These are indicators that don’t look like they use a lot of electricity. But if your toaster is always plugged in, that non-stop flow of power is a waste.
For instance, the estimated power consumed by just one of these lights per year is half the amount that the toaster uses overall. So, if you are looking to save money and electricity, get one without the lights and use a timer to tell you what the lights do.
On a side note, if you have a toaster with LED lights, you can still do a couple of things to keep it safe and functional.
When your bread is getting toasted, the air inside the panel gets hot and rises. Toasters that don’t have a top waste this hot air because it does not get trapped inside the appliance. But if it has a top, the heat is used to cook the bread and you get done sooner. It saves you both time and electricity. Think of this as cooking with the lid on.
The best way to keep these energy consumptions under control is to unplug the appliance when you are not using it. While it is not a rule, unplugging it means those LED lights won’t be burning when they don’t need to.
It also means that even if your toaster is wired to go into standby when it is not in use, it will use no energy at all if you get into the habit of unplugging it. The usage of energy when not in use is referred to as idle energy.
This is also useful when it comes to toasters with a monitor. And while you’re at it, make sure your toaster is free of stray bread crumbs so that it does not turn into a fire hazard over time.
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