Ten energy meters review

How much energy your PC? And the set-top box next to the TV? And ten years old refrigerator? Energy meters give you answers to these questions, and help to provide insight into the associated costs. We test ten.

The price of energy is rising steadily. Although the reduced demand due to the crisis in recent years has led once again for a dip, the long-term trend is undeniably up. Moreover, we all get more and more electrical appliances at home, so the account of the energy company fails ever higher. But that do not necessarily have. By identifying which devices consume a lot of energy and choosing smart how you use this, you can save energy and money. Meanwhile, there are many meters on the market that help to understand the power consumption.

To reduce energy consumption in the home is a single important principle: measuring. If the account of the energy company fails painfully high at the end of the year, then rice soon the intention to adopt more energy efficient in the sequel to jump. But where do you start? Indeed, the average household has dozens of electrical consumers, ranging from lamps to the refrigerator, water heater, microwave, washer, dryer, television, set top box, audio set, computer, laptop, tablets and smartphones. Which devices have a high consumption, and this might turn into smarter, with lower consumption result?

Different types of electricity meters

There are more and more devices that bring electricity consumption map. The simplest plug adapters that you can plug into a standard wall outlet and where one device is connected, then the use of which is measured. In some cases it is possible more than one of these types of plug adapters to jointly read out so as to monitor multiple devices, but this solution is still based on the measurement of individual devices.

Ten energy meters review

In addition, there are system meters that are placed in the meter and monitor the consumption of the entire household. A meter system is not the same as a smart energy meter. The latter are digital meters that replace the analog dial gauges or pulse meters from the power company. Many new homes have already hanging in a cupboard. The meter system is a “layer” on top of the (smart) meter from the utility, he reads along with the meter. It offers the possibility of households in order to analyze the energy consumption in the house.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. With a plug adapter from one device to very specific measure how much it consumes. Useful if you want to see what is for example the standby power consumption of the television, or how much energy the refrigerator now consumes over a week. Most plug adapters except the current consumption in watts, also the total consumption over a certain period in kWh tones. The disadvantage is that you have only one device can simultaneously monitor with such meters.

System gauges that are placed in the cupboard, on the other hand keep the total consumption of all devices in the home at. Useful to see what replacing light bulbs with LED lighting produces over time, but less suitable for bringing the consumption of individual devices accurately.

That measure of total consumption by system meters can be done in three ways. There are systems with an optical sensor, an electronic eye that is stuck in the meter on the turntable of the old analog power meter. Such turntable has a red or a black dot and each time that passes, the optical sensor recognizes this as one revolution. Newer digital meters turntable was replaced by a flashing LED lamp. Here, too, an optical sensor can be used, which is then the number of pulses of the LED counts. By the number of revolutions or pulses to introduce per kWh in in the software of the meter system, it knows exactly what is the current consumption on the basis of the speed at which the pulses are registered. A disadvantage of optical readout is that the placement of the meetoog sometimes very very critical, especially for dial gauges. Paste your biting the sensor wrong, then it registers the consumption or to do good.

Another method that is applied is the use of sensor clamps that are clamped in the fuse box around the hot wire (or wires), and thus measure the amount of current flowing through the pipes by means of a magnetic field through some system meters. This method usually works very accurate, but has a few drawbacks. First, you must unscrew the fuse box, which makes it advisable anyway to turn off the main switch. Not a job for the evening do so. In addition, the measurement terminals usually take a lot of space, space that is not in all cases is available on the meter. For 3-phase system in our test lab was not possible to get three measuring terminals around the three phase wires, the physical space previously lacked simply.

The reading of a modern smart meters is easiest. These are usually equipped with a digital data P1 port that looks like a phone jack. System Gauges also have such data port, can through a direct connection not only measure the current electricity consumption, but also the gas and additionally the actual total teeth can be read directly. When reading the gas consumption of smart meters is often true, incidentally one limitation: the meter sends updates on consumption usually only once per hour for the smart electricity meters. This makes it possible to monitor live gas consumption, but you get overviews per hour.

Knowledge is power, then?

Some manufacturers of energy meters claim that by using their products dozens or even hundreds of dollars a year can save on energy consumption. In practice this will depend largely on how aware you are already dealing with energy. Let you anywhere in their home, the lamps, the PC is always turned on and have the electric underfloor heating in the bathroom always at 22 degrees, then there is much to save. Do you think there are already to turn off appliances when not in use, then the potential gain considerably smaller. In all cases, it is true that gauges your pressures to face the facts: a continuously rising consumption meter – with the amount in euros – motivates you to think carefully. Moreover, energy meters also help if you already own consciously uses energy. Because you may come to realize that old refrigerator or dryer still very power consuming, and it pays to replace him. Or perhaps you notice that the set-top box for digital TV can really be better off, because he burned in stand still quite a lot of energy. Because sometimes be the right devices where you do not expect it, that use a lot of energy.

Smart meters, online services and test design

More and more homes are equipped with a smart meter, a device that can link data on consumption of gas and electricity back to the grid. Smart meters are installed in new homes for years, and the intention is that this year will also be applied massively smart meters in existing homes. With a smart meter, you do not give more meter readings, because energy suppliers may read this six times a year. If you explicitly consent to, you can also make daily reading the data. Energy providers such as Eneco, the Dutch energy company and OXXIO can give you as online or through apps with graphs and tables insight into your energy, where detailed information can be seen on both the electricity and gas consumption.

However, you can also independent companies access to your consumption data, in order to carry out, on the basis of these analyzes. A well-known example of such a party mindergas.nl. Through this service, it is possible to let out a smart meter reading daily. In combination with information about the weather, can be calculated in this way, the gas consumption of weighted degree day. The latter means that the gas consumption is related to the weather. In this way, it is possible to make a meaningful comparison between different periods of time, even if the outside temperature was not equal.

Ten energy meters review

However, keep in mind that can come with the release of comprehensive permission to read the detailed information about your power in the hands of third parties who may be able to recognize patterns of living from. Precisely for this reason, some people are at all against smart meters. When the system could be hacked or operators and energy companies do not abide by agreements, personal data about usage patterns indeed be on the streets.

The test

For this test, let’s services based on remote reading of smart meters aside, but we get to work with different adapter plug gauges and a number of system monitors. In all cases these devices available well in the Netherlands. Certainly available in the segment of plug adapters, there are dozens of devices. Our experiences learned from previous testing that even the cheapest ones are perfectly capable to measure so-called resistive loads, but not all plug adapters are equally good at measuring devices using phase control, and that the measurement of low (standby) consumption does not happen in every case. The plug adapters that we do see in this test in all cases indeed good.

Under its own brand ‘Volt Craft sells online electronics store Conrad several different plug adapters. The simplest of these is the Energy Check Monitor, which costs about 15 euros. On the integrated display you can directly see the current consumption, consumption over a longer period and the costs. The device accurately measures, making it a great affordable choice is to measure the consumption of one unit at a time.

The 55 euro-dollar Energy Logger 4000 provides the same functionality, but the consumption pattern can also detailed writing to an SD memory card so that you can read and analyze charts later on PC. Useful if you want to see more than just the total consumption, but also to how this came about insight.

Plug adapter: Plugwise Home Start

Another system that works with multiple plug adapters Plugwise. This system is designed to monitor a single device adapter and centrally from reading the data. At Plugwise not happen with a display on the adapter itself, but with a USB dongle and software for the PC. The loose connector modules are wirelessly connected to each other and form a mesh network. The internal memory is large enough to store data up to three months, within which period these data so you can download to the PC via the USB dongle. All adapters keep the consumption of the connected devices in great detail and the included software provides the ability to display the consumption graphs.

Ten energy meters review

The Plugwise system is in our opinion the best option to measure the consumption of multiple separate devices, but it is pricey. The starter set with two points costs 110 euros, a comprehensive set includes nine meters should yield to no less than 320 euros. Want to connect the set to the Internet so your data via smartphone apps can read, you can choose a set with a wireless Wi-Fi adapter is supplied instead of a USB dongle. The basic two-plug adapters costs in that case 210 euros.

System Meter: Wattcher

The Wattcher is the simplest system meter in our testing. The device consists of an optical gauge stuck on the dial or the LED of the electrometer in the cupboard, and a plug adapter with a display. The optical indicator shows when the black dot on the turntable passes, or recognize the pulses of the LED. By then indicate how many revolutions or pulses emits the energy meter per kWh, the current consumption and easy to measure the total consumed.

Ten energy meters review

The display that you put anywhere in the house into the wall, will be shown live energy of the house. It is also possible to show the total usage of the last day, and the saving of additional consumption relative to a pre-established target demand. The luminous display pulses continuously between dark and bright, and the higher the energy, the faster the display pulsates. The 99 euro-dollar Wattcher offers standard admittedly limited information and can not, for example graphs, but in our opinion convenient to hang on for example in the hallway: when leaving can you see at a glance whether there are (large) consumers active to be. Moreover the Wattcher can be linked to the Home Wizard system for home automation. That way you can also use it through the PC and via apps readout.

Wattcher however delivers itself also an optional datalogger “This box will cost 79 euros and is connected via a wired connection to the home network and stores the data that the Wattcher measured continuously. Through an app for smartphones and a client that data can then be visualized with graphs.

System Meter: Geo Ensemble

The Geo Ensemble costs 100 euros and works similarly to the Wattcher. The device is available in a version with optical sensor or current clamps, direct readout of smart meters through the P1 port, the device can not. Again, the consumption is displayed on a separate display. The Geo Ensemble, however, this is more extensive than the Wattcher. In addition to the current fuel consumption total consumption, the associated costs and forecast consumption shown at the end of the current day.

Ten energy meters review

As a bonus, the Geo Ensemble can be extended by up to six single plug adapters, so that individual devices can be read. ‘Smart Plugs (40 euros each) are also in remote and off, useful for example the lighting. Standard offers the Geo Ensemle no ability to connect to the Internet or smartphones, but through the optional ‘Energy Note Web Interface Pack (55 euros), this function is to add. After this it is possible to operate the device and read out via smartphones and computers.

System Meter: Youless LS110

The LS100 is the smallest of Youless meters from the test, the device is about the size of a matchbox and has outside an optical sensor only one LAN port and a USB connection for power. The device is meant to be read optically from the consumption meters from the power, and the data to be transferred through the home network or the Internet for PCs or smartphones.

Ten energy meters review

Youless has apps available for Android and iOS that both the current and the cumulative energy can be read. In addition, to link the product to online services of other parties. An example of this is the popular Bidgely, a service that the meter can read out the data continuously and then displays in the form of fine graphs. We have Youless LS110 already tested earlier, read more in our comprehensive review.

System Meter: Qurrent Qbox Mini

The Qbox Mini energy supplier Qurrent works on the same principle as the Youless LS110. Also, this device is actually an interface without display only, which reads the power meter and makes the data available via the home network. However, the LS110 from Youless is purely an optical meter, while the Qurrent Qbox Mini except an optical sensor also features a data port P1 to be connected directly to a smart meter. Do you use that port P1, the meter can also monitor gas consumption, through the optical sensor can only read the electricity meter.

Ten energy meters review

Qurrent also has apps for iOS and Android available and offers a private cloud service, which allows the consumption always see in it, also by means of well-designed charts. The Qbox mini costs 90 euros and must be connected via an Ethernet cable to the home network. Do you have any available network connections in the cupboard, then you can opt for the Qbox Mini Duo 125. Here you get a second box that wireless is in contact with the Qbox and elsewhere in the house is connected to a wired network. Also, the monitoring of solar panels is a possibility. An extra module is needed, the price depends on the number of panels ranging from 75 euros for solar installation for up to 32 Amps to 225 euros for 3×65 Amp.

System Monitor: Current Cost EnviRNet

The EnviRNet of Current Cost (not to be confused with Qurrent the Qbox mini) is an extensible total yards. The device measures optically or with a current clamp the total consumption to meter, and transmit the data wirelessly to the base station which is equipped with a large display which include the current consumption, the consumption of the past few days, cost, time and temperature are displayed. The device can also be coupled with a separate plug adapters and recessed meters to also measure individual devices, but also, for example with temperature sensors. When the device is connected to the home network, in addition, it is also possible to read out the data via the internet.

Ten energy meters review

All system monitors of the test is the most modular and expandable solution. The basic version with internet capabilities at an affordable cost 143 euro, optional loose plug modules cost 30 euros each or 78 euros per three. Do you have very specific needs then the EnviRNet a good solution, but still want to bring previously well identify what exactly you measure and which modules you need for this, so you know what the costs involved.

System Meter: Smappee Energy Buddy

Last year introduced the Belgian Smappee Energy Buddy. Also, this device is a system that keeps feet through current clamps in the meter the total consumption of all devices in the home in mind. The device is suitable for systems with 1 or 3 phases and costs 199 euros. The Smappee Energy Buddy wirelessly to the home network connection, and reading the data can be done via smartphone app for Android and iOS. Each one comes with Smappee Comfort Plug, a plug adapter that turn remotely via Smappe app and can be turned off, convenient to switch lighting example with your phone. The plugs incidentally contain no meter, they are only meant to switch. Comfort Plugs are derived from D-IO (compatible with Click On Click Off). An additional set of three plugs only costs 35 euros.

Ten energy meters review

The special feature of the Smappee Energy Buddy is that they – in spite of the fact that the meter is a system which only measures the total consumption in the fuse box – is also able to keep an eye to the energy consumption of individual devices. Smappee does this through the ‘fingerprint’ of learning various devices based on the consumption pattern and any measurable interference that add devices to the mains. When you find the Smappee you will always connected measurement within days ‘unnamed’ devices in the app. The moment a device on or off, this is also visible in the app, so you can give fairly simple names to the automatically detected devices. Unfortunately, the system has limitations. For example, devices with a consumption of less than 60 watts usually does not recognize (good). Moreover, the devices have a similar consumption profile, often as a single device to be seen.

During our test the Smappee instance, had trouble getting a Quooker, microwave and toaster easy to distinguish from each other. Additionally Smappee has also difficult with devices that have a varying consumption, such as a TV with dynamic backlight control. Last year Smappee worked hard on the software since the introduction is actually much improved. Yet we find it hard to recommend this machine as a tool to measure the consumption of individual devices in a serious way, the number of errors for this is simply (still) too high. If total yards and especially as a method to enable the inexpensive comfort plugs Smappee is however an excellent device.

System Meter: Eneco Show

Tone Eneco is a stranger in our midst. The 7 inch tablet-to-the-wall is in fact both a thermostat as a meter for gas and electricity. View is currently available only to customers of Eneco and costs depending on the contract period 0 to 275 euros including installation, plus in all cases 3.50 per month subscription fee. That subscription fees are calculated for updates and links with the Eneco account, thus Display example can indicate whether you consume more or less energy than expected. Eneco has since announced that Show later this year will also be available to consumers who are not customers, but what the pricing at that moment is not yet clear.

Display is made up of a number of different modules. The device itself, the 7-inch tablet is screwed to the wall at the place which is normally meant for the thermostat. Through the existing 2-core cabling is the Display connected using the supplied boiler module that is mounted flush with the boiler. This module provides the power of the tone, and controls the communication between the tablet and the boiler. Control of the boiler can be either through the traditional on-off method using smarter OpenTherm protocol. Finally, the set also includes a gauge adapter. This device looks like a hefty power adapter and should be plugged into the meter into a wall socket. Afhanekelijk type energy meter, the meter adapter makes use of optical sensors that are stuck on the gas and elec team eaters, or the device is connected directly to the P1 port of a smart meter. The connection between the adapter and the meter Show thermostat is wireless, in which use is made of the Zigbee protocol.

Show offers comprehensive information about the current and historical total consumption of the entire house, for both electricity and gas. The meter also shows how your consumption relative to your current monthly, and warns you if structurally more energy than estimates. Eneco is expanding its software additionally regularly, so since its introduction in 2012 include the added option to compare your usage with houses of similar construction and household composition. Do you have friends who also have a Show? Then you can even “friends” and individually comparing consumption.

Other new features include the ability to use the Show thermostat controller for Philips Hue lights, or for remote on switchable power modules. That way you can from the Show example lights and appliances on and off. Eneco also provides apps for the tone for smartphones and tablets. The app for smartphones is quite limited in functionality. This allows to set the temperature in the house, the current energy shows, and provides the ability to turn on and off the smart plugs. The app for tablets – which can not be installed on smartphones – offers many more possibilities and let through graphs example also shows trends in energy consumption.

Conclusion

The tested gauges vary widely in functionality and purpose, and it is therefore impossible to identify one winner. Are you interested in one device to know the current and total consumption, then it is sufficient to cheap Energy Check 3000 Conrad, with which you can make for 15 euros directly from one device consumption insightful. Want to multiple individual devices comprehensive and accurate consumption data, then it is much prijzigere Plugwise system the best option.

For whom the total consumption of the entire house to keep an eye wants, there are several options. The Qbox Mini Qurrent is an affordable and user-meters, with the ability to view detailed usage information online and through apps. Use the Qbox combined with a smart meter, moreover it can also map the gas. The slightly more expensive EnviRNet of Current Cost offers similar functionality with respect to the measurement of electricity consumption, but can be extended with additional sensors to measure temperature and also individual devices, and this unit also has its own display. The Smappee Energy Buddy is also an excellent total yards, and it also makes an attempt to bring the consumption of individual devices in card. That second option, however, does not (yet) good enough to garner serious usage data and to that end we would also not recommend the Smappee.

Eneco’s Show is finally a beautiful all in one device that combines a thermostat with energy meters and also measures the gas consumption. Show also indicates when you consume more or less than your current monthly payment, which helps prevent unpleasant surprises in the final bill.

Ten energy meters review updated: February 18, 2015 author: John Malkovich