Annual Cost of iPad Charging is Negligible

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Charging your iPad every other day for a year costs less than the coffee you might be drinking while reading this on your tablet.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) found that it cost only $1.36 for the electricity needed annually to power the device, or just under $3 if you are a heavy user and need juicing up every day.

EPRI’s lab tests reveal that each iPad model consumes less than 12 kWh of power in a year -- based on a full charge every other day. In comparison, it cost $1.61 per year to run a 60-watt light bulb, which uses around 14 kilowatt hours of electricity over the same period, and a plasma 42-inch TV drains 358kWh of electricity. Meanwhile, running an iPhone 3G will result in a power cost of just $.25 annually at 2.2 kWh.

Apple has sold more than 67 million iPads since 2010, so EPRI calculations put the energy use of all iPads ever sold at 590 GWh. Assuming this number triples over the next two years, this consumption is the near equivalent of two 250 megawatt power plants operating at 50 percent capacity, the analysis estimates.

Laptop PCs consume around 72.3 kWh of electricity each year and cost consumers $8.31. “These results raise important questions about how the shifting reliance from desktop to laptop to mobile devices will change energy use and electricity requirements for the information age,” explained Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI. “At less than a penny per charge these findings bring new meaning to the adage, ‘A penny for your thoughts’.”

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At a Glance
  • Apple's third-gen iPad is defined by its amazingly sharp and crisp high-resolution display, as well as its option for 4G. The heavier weight is a disappointment; but the display, coupled with Apple's solid app ecosystem, makes this tablet the one to beat.


    • 4G LTE option via Verizon
    • Vivid, high-resolution display


    • iOS 5.1 still lacks large-screen optimizations
    • Slightly increased weight
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