Energy Efficient Appliance Shopping Guide

Energy Efficient Appliance Shopping Guide

The most energy-efficient appliances to help you save on electric bills and be more eco-friendly.

Thad Warren By Thad Warren

Residential homes account for about 21% of total U.S. energy consumption. You hear a lot of buzz about “going green” with an electric vehicle, but your home is even more of an energy hog. 

Your home releases more carbon emissions than your car by a long shot. 70% or more in some cases. Here's how the appliances in the average home compare in energy consumption. 


If you have made it to this article, you are likely aware of the positive impact you can make as a consumer. Making your home more energy efficient is a great way to help your wallet and the planet. 

Energy Star analyzes appliances to determine how energy efficient they are. However, they do not review the quality and features of appliances. 

This shopping guide is meant to make the best decision when shopping for energy-efficient appliances. These appliances will lower your energy usage, last for years to come, and outperform the competition. 

Let’s jump into our list of the best energy-efficient appliances. 

Air Conditioners/HVAC

Mini-Split Systems

Mini-splits are heating and cooling systems that allow you to control the temperatures in individual rooms or spaces. They are a bit more powerful than a window unit, but are not portable. 

For most applications, a mini-split system is the most energy efficient. Since mini-splits only cool a small area at a time they save energy compared to central ac systems.

See our top picks for the best mini-split systems.

Window Units 

The right window unit for your home will probably depend on a combination of factors. Size of the space, portability, price point, etc. But, if you need to cool a small area and don’t want to fork over the money for a mini-split a window unit does the trick. 

See our top picks for best window unit air conditioners.


Central Air Conditioner

Air conditioning makes up an average of 17% of your home's electricity usage. If you live in a warm climate like Texas, it can make up an even more significant portion of your electricity bill. 

So if you are looking to save on utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint, your central AC is an important decision. It’s also complicated. Sizing your unit and comparing models can be daunting. Not to mention it’s a big-ticket purchase. 

Our shopping guide for energy-efficient central ac units will help you make the best decision. 

Space Heaters

An easy way to lower your energy usage during the winter months is to use a space heater for a room rather than heating your entire home. Using a space heater to heat your bedroom can save $50-$100 a month vs heating your entire home. 

We review the most popular space heaters to hand-pick the best energy-efficient options for your home. Check out our full list of energy-efficient space heaters here



Nearly 100% of Americans have a refrigerator in their home. 30 percent of homes have 2 refrigerators. Everyone loves a garage fridge. 

One refrigerator makes up about 7% of a home's energy usage. If you have two that number doubles to 14%. That’s nearly as much as a central air conditioner. 

So before you buy a refrigerator it’s important to find the energy usage and use that as a key factor in your decision. Buying an inefficient refrigerator will cause you to waste hundreds of dollars over its lifetime. 

Before you buy read the label and see all of our favorite Energy Star certified refrigerators here



According to the EIA, "Dishwashers are among the least-used appliance in American homes today". Yet, you will use less energy and water by using a dishwasher versus doing the dishes by hand. Dishwashers have the highest rates of Energy Star qualifications.

That means there are a lot of choices to sift through. We dug into all the top-rated Energy Star dishwashers to find the best option. See our complete list of energy-efficient dishwashers here



You won't find Energy Star data for stoves, ovens, or ranges. Why not? The most likely reason is that for the most part, most stoves all use about the same amount of power. But not all types of stoves are made equally. 

Induction ranges are the most efficient. Followed closely by electric. Much less efficient are gas ranges. But, many chefs and foodies prefer gas because it allows for better heat control. No matter what your preference you can find the best energy efficient range in this guide



Washing and drying clothes is one more resource-heavy chores. Water, detergent, electricity, and sometimes gas. But, I think most people appreciate wearing clean clothes. 

So, if you want to save money and reduce your energy bill take a little bit of time to compare more efficient models vs standard models. You will find that your savings on energy costs will pay for a more efficient model. 

You can find our full dryer comparison in this article



Washer come in a few different design configurations. Compact, top-load, and front-load. Front-load machines are the most energy-efficient design. But, your home may not have the space for a normal front-load washer. 

Hence why we analyzed the best options for each configuration. Compare all the best energy-saving washers here.


Water Heaters

Your water heater is the 3rd largest energy hog in your home. In warmer areas it may only be second to your air conditioner. The best thing you can do is to ridicule the amount of warm water you use.

Unless you like cold showers, you are going to need a hot water heater. We are currently analyzing the most efficient water heaters. While we don’t have a recommendation right now, Energy Star does have some helpful information on buying a efficient water heater

Pool Pumps

An efficient variable-speed pool pump can quickly pay for itself. So if your pool pump is an old single-speed style it's time to upgrade. 

Don’t forget to size the pump to your pool to maximize efficiency. We did a deep dive into finding the most efficient pool pumps in this shopping guide


What to Consider Before Buying (Upgrade Prioritization)

There are a number of ways to make an impact on your utility bills including improving insulation, reducing air infiltration, installing automation controls, implementing a renewable energy system, and of course, purchasing more efficient equipment. 

When deciding which appliance to replace first, there are a few variables to consider. 

First, which appliance is the oldest?

Every piece of equipment, no matter if it is for a household, commercial building, or manufacturing, has what is called an Equipment Useful Life (EUL). A EUL is the number of years a product is expected to maintain a certain performance level, whether that means maintenance, operation, or efficiency. The EUL is determined by the manufacturer and is based on average use values.

If equipment is beyond it's EUL, it is at a higher risk of costing the owner more money in maintenance and performance due to a decrease in efficiency. 

With that said, out of any of the appliances listed below, we recommend replacing the oldest appliance first. 

Next, consider priority and sales

Are you trying to decide between replacing your refrigerator or your Air Conditioner? If you've just made it through the summer, there aren't as many people purchasing AC units as we snuggle up during sweater weather. See if you can find a deal. However, if you swore you just bought a new gallon of milk and it keeps getting sour, maybe a new refrigerator is at the top of your list.

Finally, rank your appliances from most energy-consuming to least. 

This is highly dependent on your household, size, location, the number of people present, the types of appliances you have, and how you use your appliances. We ranked this list just based on the average usage in the U.S.

Your usage habits and location may mean you certain appliances more. For example, if you live in Texas you likely use the air conditioner more than someone in Connecticut.  

Regulation & Rebates

Here are some helpful posts about energy regulation and ways you can save money and make your home more energy efficient.

Benchmarking Numbers

In 2021, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,632 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of about 886 kWh per month. 

Louisiana had the highest annual electricity consumption at 14,302 kWh per residential customer. 

Hawaii had the lowest at 6,369 kWh per residential customer.

Click here to see how your state compares.

Average Power Demand

  • Water Heaters - 3000W
  • Dryers - 2000-5000W
  • Dishwashers - 1200-1500W
  • Microwaves - 1000-2500W
  • Ovens - 1000-1250W
  • 1 Ton Window AC - 800-1000W
  • Washers - 500W
  • Refrigerators - 100-200W

Average Energy Consumption per day

If you would like to estimate your energy consumption just take the average watts from the list above and multiply them by how many hours you run the appliance. You can be more accurate by checking the power of the appliance in the manual or on the product tag.

  • Water Heaters - 12kWh
  • 1 Ton Window AC - 5.4kWh
  • Dryers - 5kWh
  • Refrigerators - 4.8kWh
  • Dishwashers - 1.5W
  • Microwaves - 1.3kWh
  • Ovens - 1.2kWh
  • Washers - 0.5kWh