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Buying energy efficient products

Home appliances

On 1 March 2021, new energy labels were introduced in the UK and EU. We will be updating this page with new information soon.


  • reduce energy consumption
  • manage your electric appliances
  • lower your energy bills

What should I look for when choosing appliances?

When looking for energy efficient appliances for your home, you need to look out for the energy ratings label and consider the size of the appliance that you require.

How do energy labels work?

In general, energy ratings are categorised by the product’s size. This means that two differently sized appliances with the same energy rating might use different amounts of electricity. For instance, an A rated 180-litre fridge freezer could cost only £43 a year to run, whereas a larger 525-litre fridge freezer with a better A+ rating could cost £57 a year to run.

It is best to check energy labels on products and look for the product with the best energy rating for the size you require.

Energy labels in the UK and EU have now changed. We have more information, including what this means for you, on the Label 2020 website.

Find out more

How can I reduce my energy consumption?

Manage your electric appliances

Watch our video to see how to manage the cost of using electrical appliances in your home.


Avoid leaving appliances on standby

The average UK household spends £35 a year powering appliances left on standby.

Standby is the energy used by certain appliances when not in use and not switched off at the plug. As well as standby power, other new additions to the average household’s collection of electrical goods, such as broadband modems, broadband routers, smart speakers, digi-boxes and telephones, use low levels of electricity when not in use. We tend not to think to switch these off, but as they’re often on for 24 hours a day, these appliances gradually consume a great deal of electricity.

Fortunately there are a number of products available to help cut down your standby electricity consumption, such as standby savers that allow you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go. Some come with timers and others come with a single off-switch.

EU regulations specify that non-networked electrical devices sold after 2013 cannot have a standby power greater than 0.5W, and networked-connected devices (for example, televisions or games consoles connected to the internet) must not consume more than 3-12W, depending on the product. But, with many households using more electronic gadgets, it is worth looking at your standby usage.

Find out more about common appliances for the home and key considerations for each appliance type.

What should I do with my old appliances?

Electrical items should be disposed of carefully due to the nature of their materials.

Items that have the image of a wheelie bin with a cross on them should not be disposed of using the general household rubbish collection. These items include everything from large white goods to energy saving light-bulbs. By keeping waste electrical equipment separate from other waste, the hazardous substances can be removed and other parts can be recycled rather than sent to landfill.

Disposing of waste electrical and electronic equipment

If you are buying new electrical appliances, the law obligates retailers to either:

  • take your old appliances off you for free in store
  • tell you where you can take your old item for recycling free of charge

Many retailers offer collection of old appliances from your home, although they are not obliged to do this.

Alternatively you can take your old equipment to your nearest recycling point, or ask your local authority to collect your bulky items. Some may charge for this service.

Last updated: March 9th, 2021