What Can You Run With 1 Kwh?

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit of energy that represents the amount of electricity needed to power a device for one hour. For example, a 100-watt light bulb running for 10 hours uses 1,000 watt-hours or 1 kWh of electricity (100 watts x 10 hours = 1,000 watt-hours = 1 kWh).

The goal of this article is to provide examples of common household appliances and electronics that can be powered by 1 kWh of electricity in a one hour period. This will give readers a sense of the energy consumption of everyday devices.

On average, a U.S. home uses about 30 kWh of electricity per day. High energy-using appliances like electric water heaters, air conditioners, and electric dryers can use several kWh in an hour. Smaller devices like lights, TVs, and computers use less than 1 kWh per hour.


One kilowatt-hour (kwh) is enough energy to power different types of light bulbs for various lengths of time. Comparing incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs shows the major differences in energy efficiency and run times.

An old-fashioned incandescent light bulb uses 60-100 watts. Running a single 100W incandescent bulb for 1 hour would use 0.1 kWh. With 1 kWh, you could run a 100W incandescent bulb for 10 hours.

CFL bulbs are more efficient, using about 13-25 watts. A 13W CFL bulb running for 1 hour would use 0.013 kWh. With 1 kWh, you could run a 13W CFL bulb for 77 hours.

LED bulbs are the most efficient option. A 9W LED bulb running for 1 hour would use 0.009 kWh. With 1 kWh, you could run a 9W LED bulb for 111 hours.

So while incandescent bulbs would last for just 10 hours on 1 kWh, CFLs could run over 3 days and LEDs could run for over 4 days. Using efficient LED lighting allows 1 kWh to power your home’s lighting for significantly longer.

using efficient led lighting allows extending usage time per kwh of electricity

Kitchen Appliances

Many common kitchen appliances like the microwave, coffee maker, and toaster oven use around 1 kWh or less to operate. Here’s a comparison of typical energy usage for popular kitchen appliances:

  • Microwave – A 1000 watt microwave uses about 1 kWh if run for 1 hour, but most heating is done in just a few minutes. A typical microwave may use around 0.15-0.2 kWh per use.
  • Coffee maker – A standard 10-12 cup coffee maker uses around 0.9-1 kWh per brew cycle. Smaller single-serve coffee makers use less energy, around 0.6-0.8 kWh.
  • Toaster oven – A compact toaster oven may use around 0.8-1 kWh for 30 minutes of cooking time. Larger models can use up to 1.5 kWh.
  • Electric kettle – Boiling water for tea or coffee uses about 0.07 kWh for a rapid-boil electric kettle.

These convenient kitchen appliances can all be powered by 1 kWh or less per use. More efficient models may use even less energy.


With 1 kWh, you can power various electronic devices in your home for a period of time. When comparing TVs, computers, and game consoles, the amount of usage you’ll get depends on the device’s energy efficiency and required wattage.

For televisions, energy use can vary widely based on the screen size and display type. An energy efficient 32″ LED TV may use only 40-60 watts, allowing over 16 hours of viewing off 1 kWh. However, less efficient TVs like 70″ plasma models can use over 150 watts, limiting viewing time to 6 hours or less.

Computers like desktops and laptops tend to use between 60-120 watts when being actively used. This provides 8-16 hours of computer use from 1 kWh. However, today’s game consoles tend to be more power hungry, ranging from 100-200 watts. So you may only get 5-10 hours of gaming time from that same 1 kWh.

By choosing energy efficient models and adjusting power settings, you can maximize usage time for electronics. But high wattage devices like large televisions and gaming PCs will limit hours of entertainment per kWh.

Major Appliances

When considering how much electricity major appliances like refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, and dishwashers use, it’s important to look at their average power rating. This rating indicates how much electricity they require per hour of operation.

On average, a refrigerator uses around 100-150 watts per hour. This means 1 kWh could run a refrigerator for about 6-10 hours. A standard refrigerator needs to run throughout the day to maintain proper temperature.

An ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer uses around 300 watts per hour. 1 kWh could run an efficient clothes washer for 3-4 loads. Washers with large capacities or heavy-duty settings may use more electricity.

Clothes dryers require significantly more power, around 1,800-5,000 watts. 1 kWh would only operate a dryer for 10-20 minutes. Air drying clothes uses no electricity at all.

An ENERGY STAR dishwasher uses about 300-800 watts per hour. 1 kWh could run a dishwasher for 1-3 loads. Hand washing dishes uses no electricity, but it does use more water.

When choosing major appliances, look for ENERGY STAR certified models to reduce electricity usage. Consider air drying clothes and hand washing some dishes to save electricity. Properly maintaining and operating major appliances can also optimize their energy efficiency.

Space Heating and Cooling

Space heaters and window AC units are popular portable heating and cooling options to warm or cool a single room without having to heat or cool your entire home. With 1 kWh of electricity, here is an estimate of runtime you can expect:

Portable Space Heater

A typical 1500W portable electric space heater running at full power would use 1.5 kWh per hour. So with 1 kWh of electricity, a 1500W space heater could run for about 40 minutes before needing to be recharged.

Smaller personal space heaters in the 300-900W range would be able to run for 1-3 hours on 1 kWh, depending on the exact wattage. More powerful space heaters around 1800W would only run for about 30 minutes.

Window AC Unit

A mid-size window air conditioner is usually around 5000 BTU, which equates to about 1500W. So a 5000 BTU window AC unit would run for approximately 40 minutes on 1 kWh of electricity, similar to a 1500W space heater.

A smaller window unit around 4000 BTU (1200W) could run for 50 minutes, while a larger 6000 BTU (1800W) unit might run for just over 30 minutes with 1 kWh of power.

Home Office

Running your home office equipment with 1 kWh can power your work essentials for about a day. With smart management of your devices, you can stretch that kWh to cover your basic needs.

For printing, an inkjet printer uses around 50 watts when printing. So you could print about 20 pages per hour on 1 kWh. Laser printers draw more power at around 350-400 watts, which would allow 3-4 pages per hour.

Laptops vary in power draw depending on size, performance, and whether they are charging. A typical 15-inch laptop may use between 20-60 watts per hour when running on battery. When plugged in and charging, power draw goes up to around 65-90 watts. So you could reasonably charge most laptops for 10-15 hours on 1 kWh.

The key is to avoid printing large jobs or having multiple devices charging simultaneously. With some planning, 1 kWh can cover your basic home office needs for a day of work.

Outdoor Power Equipment

1 kWh can power some outdoor power equipment for a reasonable amount of time. For example:

  • Leaf blowers typically use between 1.2-2.5 kWh for one hour of use. So 1 kWh would power a leaf blower for 24-50 minutes.
  • Standard electric lawn mowers use about 1.2 kWh for every hour of mowing. A 1 kWh charge would give you about 50 minutes of mowing time.
  • Electric pressure washers need around 2.1 kWh per hour of use. 1 kWh would provide enough power to pressure wash for about 30 minutes.

When comparing common outdoor power equipment, a 1 kWh charge would provide the most operating time for a leaf blower, followed by a lawn mower, and the least amount of time for a pressure washer. But all three tools could be used for a reasonable duration on a single 1 kWh charge.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles like cars, motorcycles, and e-bikes are more energy efficient than gas-powered vehicles. With 1 kWh of electricity, here’s how far different electric vehicles can travel:

Tesla Model 3: 4 miles
Nissan Leaf: 4 miles
E-bike: 20-40 miles
E-scooter: 10-20 miles
E-motorcycle: 7 miles

So a small e-bike can travel much farther on 1 kWh than a larger electric car. E-bikes are extremely energy efficient and great options for short urban commutes of around 10-20 miles. Electric scooters and motorcycles also achieve impressive range from a 1 kWh battery charge.

While electric cars like Teslas and Nissan Leafs require larger batteries and more kWh for long range driving, their efficiency still far exceeds gas-powered vehicles. Over long term usage, electric vehicles utilize home electricity more efficiently and economically than gas vehicles burning expensive gasoline.


In summary, 1 kWh of electricity can power a wide range of devices and appliances in your home. Lighting and small kitchen appliances like microwaves and coffee makers use the least amount of energy, often less than 0.2 kWh for an hour or two of use. Electronics like TVs and computers use around 0.1-0.3 kWh for several hours of use. Major appliances like refrigerators, washers and electric ovens use the most energy, from 0.5-1.0 kWh for a single use cycle.

When comparing the most and least efficient uses of 1 kWh, lighting and small kitchen appliances get the most use time, running for several hours on 1 kWh. Major appliances get the least time, often only able to complete one full cycle per 1 kWh. The key to efficient energy use is matching the appliance size and capacity to your needs, and choosing ENERGY STAR certified appliances whenever possible.

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