The top 5 worst appliances to leave on standby


February 2024

The top 5 worst appliances to leave on standby

The term, ’vampire device’, is used to describe electrical devices that continue to drain power when they’re plugged in but not actually being used, such as leaving a television on standby. Although this may be convenient, it will be contributing to your already increasing energy bill. And whilst it may not seem like a major problem in the short term, over the course of a year the aggregate cost of leaving multiple devices on standby can add a noticeable extra amount onto your bills.  

Some of the most common ‘vampire devices’ include microwaves, computer monitors, coffee machines, white goods and chargers. Some devices like a  modem or a fridge do need to be kept on 24/7, but most electronic devices can be turned off at the plug when not in use in order to save money.  Here are the five worst appliances to keep on standby - by turning these off you could save up to £75 a year:

Games Consoles

A games console left on standby could be adding an additional £30* to your energy bills unnecessarily. This is on top of daily usage costs, which can depend on how long the device is used for. Games consoles only need to be left on when in use so make sure they’re switched off, particularly overnight, to save both money and energy. 


If your microwave has a clock display and it’s something that you do often rely on, then it’s worthwhile leaving this device plugged in at all times. However, if you don’t really need this function, it may be worth unplugging or switching off at the mains as it adds up to £17 per year to your energy bill. 

Desktop computer

There has been a significant shift in the way we work, with many of us now working remotely or hybrid, which means that desktop computers and computer screens are in use at home much more regularly. However, leaving these devices plugged in when you aren’t working could be adding an additional £13* per year to your energy bills, so make sure you’re turning these off when you finish work so they aren’t using unnecessary power.

If you are a home or hybrid worker, you may even be able to claim tax relief to go towards extra household costs, even if it’s just one day a week. This can be from £6 a week and can be backdated from 6 April 2020. What’s more, you don’t need to keep evidence of any additional costs, however, if you need to claim more than the weekly amount of £6 then you will need to provide evidence such as receipts, bills or contracts. You can claim for this relief through the government website. 

Tumble Dryers

Living in the UK, many of us turn to tumble dryers instead of a washing line to dry our clothes as we can’t guarantee good weather. However, known for their high energy consumption, when left on but not in use they could be increasing your annual energy bill needlessly by around £7* per year. To combat this, try an air drying rack and take advantage of any dry days by using the washing line. 

Washing Machines

While they may be an essential appliance, the average washing machine uses around £4 worth of electricity per day. This amount increases if the machine is left on standby and not in use, and could add £7* extra to your bill per year. Washing machines can be difficult to unplug depending on where they’re placed, but to save energy, try only washing with full loads and dropping the temperature to 30 degrees. If you are able to reach the plug, turning it off can save you money too. If you’re in need of a new machine, it’s worth looking at the energy rating, as eco-friendly models that are rated A+++ can help you save money and energy in the long run.


*1 Money figures from GreenMatch research, updated April 2023
*2 Money figures from
GreenMatch research, updated April 2023
*3 Money figures from
GreenMatch research, updated April 2023
*4 Money figures from
GreenMatch research, updated April 2023
*5 Money figures from
GreenMatch research, updated April 2023