Updated · Jan 29, 2023
If you are wondering: “How to tell how many watts my computer is using?”, there are several effective ways to get the answer you need.
For instance, you could run a hardware monitor app on your PC, use a web-based calculator, or simply plug your PC into a wattmeter.
Below, we review all these methods and more!
How to Check How Much Wattage Your PC Is Using?
Have you recently built a powerful PC or a power-efficient server that hardly uses electricity? In either case, you have to check just how much power your system is drawing to ensure you are not wasting any watts, and here are the three ways to do it!
1. Buy Wattmeter Hardware
If you are looking for the most precise PC power consumption test, purchase a wattmeter device that plugs into your outlet and to which you hook up your PSU cable.
Designed to measure the electric power in watts drawn by electronic devices, wattmeters are the best solution for getting an up-to-date and correct reading at any given time.
Note that while this device comes at a minor cost (unlike the solutions below), you can use it to read the power draw of all your appliances.
2. Install a Monitoring Application
To avoid purchasing additional hardware, you can always use software-based solutions that show you the power draw of your individual components. The advantage of this method is that there’s an app for every operating system out there.
On top of that, most of these apps are lightweight, portable, and free to use, and you’ll only have to download the latest official version, and you are good to go!
For example, HWiNFO is a superb diagnostic software app that can be set up in seconds to check everything related to your hardware. Then, you only have to access the ‘Sensors’ tab on the top ribbon to find the current temperature readings.
However, unlike wattmeters, these apps do not show your total system power draw. But they still display the wattage used by your CPU and GPU (and a couple of other components), constituting around 90% of your total power usage.
3. Use Web-Based PSU Calculators
Last but not least, several websites offer you fast and convenient PSU calculators that will calculate your total power draw once you enter your system’s components.
Nevertheless, these web-based utilities are somewhat inaccurate as they give you a rough estimate of the maximum power draw of your system by pulling the necessary details from your component’s product pages.
That said, these web-based PSU calculators are best used when planning your build to see how much power you can expect your future system to draw, which will help you choose a sufficiently powerful PSU to run your components.
To see how these online PSU calculators work, visit either be quiet!’s simplified service or OuterVision’s expert one. In either case, you will be prompted to select your components from dropdown menus to see your system’s max power draw.
Why Check Your PC’s Power Usage?
So, why would you want to check how much power your PC is using? Here are three obvious reasons:
- Prolonging your hardware’s lifespan—monitoring your power consumption is extremely important (especially when overclocking) since less power = less heat = reduced degradation of your components;
- Upgrading your existing components—if you are planning a system upgrade, you must check your current power usage to see if you have extra headroom for more power-hungry parts; if you don’t, you’ll need a new PSU;
- Reducing your electricity bills—PCs are inherently powerful machines that draw a lot of power, thus affecting your utility bills; therefore, you must learn whether or not whether your machine is using too much power that you do not need!
Seeing how much power your system is drawing may even help you diagnose specific hardware issues. For example, if one of your parts fails and stops drawing power, you may as well replace it since there’s no software solution for hardware failure.
Did you know: If your PSU is incapable of delivering enough power for all your components, your PC will often crash or may not even boot at all!
How Much Power Should Your PC Use?
While there’s never a straight answer to this question since different PCs are never equal (in general), check out the typical, rough estimates of several types of systems below:
- High-end PCs and workstations: 100W–1500W
- Mid-tier gaming PCs: 70W–350W
- Lower-end PCs: 50W–150W
- Sophisticated laptops: 40W–150W
- Entry-level laptops: 30W–100W
After all, the amount of power needed for your system always depends on the specific components it houses, your workflow, and whether or not you have manually overvolted or undervolted your system, thus changing its power usage.
How to Reduce Your PC’s Power Consumption?
If you find your personal machine is drawing too much power, apply any or all of the following solutions to reduce the overall usage and the heat it produces:
- Turn off your PC or put it to sleep when you’re not using it;
- Enable power saving mode and unplug unnecessary devices;
- Close any tabs or programs you are not using constantly;
- Disable services such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi;
- Invest in a more efficient power supply;
- Undervolt your CPU and GPU;
- Reduce your monitor’s brightness;
- Opt for a laptop or choose power-efficient desktop parts;
- Turn off your shiny RGB lights.
Note: If you want to game on your PC, an effective method to reduce your power usage is to use a cloud gaming service instead of investing in powerful hardware. That way, your games will be run remotely before being streamed to your PC.
If you wonder: “How to check how much power my PC is using?”, just apply the straightforward methods we outlined above to quickly figure out your system’s wattage consumption. That way, you’ll find out if you unnecessarily waste too much electricity. But even if you do, you can follow our tips on lowering your system’s power usage and your bills too!
A reader who loves writing, a marketer who loves tech, a nerd who loves working out. Dilyan is FOMO personified. If he isn't reading or writing, he's probably either gaming, messing around with something on his PC, or off swimming/cycling somewhere. Oh, or playing Dungeons & Dragons.
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