01.Multifunction power meter
Power meters measure energy use (and calculate running costs) of household appliances. This helps you lower your power bill and reduce carbon emissions
, as you can discover which appliances are the worst energy offenders and then work out ways to limit their use.
Power meters are easy to use. You simply plug your appliance into the meter (which needs to be plugged into a power point) and clear readings are given on an LCD screen.
There are several models available. CHOICE tested the Multifunction Energy Meter MS6115. It's a relatively inexpensive power meter, which gives you spot readings of voltage, watts, amps, maximum watts and power factor. You can also set the timer to calculate kilowatt-hours and running costs until you reset it again.
Please note: this information was current as of October 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
How we tested
Our testers hooked up the meter and one of CHOICE’s calibrated power meters to a range of appliances, compared the two for kilowatt-hour measurement and took simultaneous spot readings of amperes and power factor. They noted the cost calculated by the meter as well as measuring its power consumption.
We found that although the meter wasn’t highly accurate, it is accurate enough for household use if you give it a sufficiently long time to run. This was especially true of kilowatt-hours, which determine how high your energy bill is.
The meter couldn’t give an accurate reading of standby energy in kilowatt hours, as this was below its measurement threshold — so you can only use it to measure energy while you’re actually using an appliance.
It couldn’t really read the power factor (how synchronised volts and amps are) at all — but chances are you’re not really going to want this anyway.
The meter draws .67 watts per hour, so would cost you around 90c a year to run if plugged in all the time.
Multifunction Energy Meter MS6115
Dimensions (mm): 120 x 64 x 59
LCD Screen: 20x35mm
Displays: Voltage and frequency, amperes and power factor, wattage, max wattage, kilowatt hours, 3 x accumulated total costs.
Contact: www.todae.com.au or www.jaycar.com.au
- Simple to operate.
- OK accuracy on readings of energy usage (wattage) if allowed to run for a long period of time.
- Accurate amps readings.
- Not very accurate standby power measurements.
- Not very accurate power factor measurements.
- Kilowatt-hours measured only to one decimal place.
- No annualised or quarterly cost calculations.