While the Apple iPad may not be wallet-friendly for everyone, a recent study finds the tablet is certainly kind to the nation’s electricity consumption.
According to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities, the annual cost to charge an iPad is a mere $1.36. A desktop computer uses 20 times more power than an iPad, adding up to $28.21 annually. By contrast, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61 and a refrigerator $65.72.
With residential power demand set to fall again this year, companies are pushing more efficient programs for light bulbs, refrigerators and other home devices. While the Electric Power Research Institute is currently studying whether the mobile slate sensation is adding to power consumption, or reducing it, the shift to tablets could mean lower overall power consumption. A typical laptop costs $8.31 a year in electricity.
For the test, the group measured the amount of juice used to charge a completely dead battery, assuming that users would charge the device every other day. The latest version of the iPad consumed 11.86 kilowatt-hours of electricity, with older versions consuming less. At the U.S. average residential price of 11.49 cents per kilowatt-hour, the power would cost $1.36. That means it costs less than a penny to fully charge the device each time.
Additionally, the group found it takes just 38 cents to fuel an iPhone 4 for one year.