ChromecastSo you’ve just purchased a fancy new Chromecast and have now discovered that you have a device with no off switch, that’s running sucking power non-stop 24/7/365. Shall we brand Google’s new device an electric vampire menace? Probably not.

Inspired by a question over at XDA, I went and did some research into the electric cost of an idling Chromecast.

I’m editing this article a year later after some people have been dropping in bashing how I did the testing, name calling (deleted), and not providing any constructive feedback or differing results, in any tests I’ve run the draw and the cost of running it are negligible. If you have run a Chromecast and metered it and find that it’s going to run over a dollar a year, please feel free to comment. I’m not claiming I’m the authority on power consumption based on the equipment I have available to me. I’ve cleaned up some of the nasty and just rude comments, but seriously, just say I’m wrong and run your own test to disprove.

The test equipment

For the power draw test, I enlisted the aid of a Kill-A-Watt power usage meter, a stock untouched Chromecast running the most current firmware, and the AC/DC power converter that shipped with the Chromecast.

Testing the Chromecast idle power draw

I plugged the Chromecast into the Kill-A-Watt and let the thing idle for a day. At the end of 24 hours, the Kill-A-Watt registered that two watts hours of electricity had been consumed by the power converter feeding the Chromecast.

That’s 730 watt hours a year in electricity that’s going to a device that’s just sitting there doing nothing. That’s if I read the Kill-A-Watt right which people seem to think I didn’t.

But how much is that?

Not much, actually. Let’s say you are paying 37 cents per kilowatt hour, which is the absolute highest I could find in the US. I personally pay under ten cents, but I’ll go for the Hawaii worst price scenario here.

At that rate you’re spending $0.27 a year on electricity to power the Chromecast, or in other words sometime in 2032 you will have wasted $5 in electricity from the Chromecast idling.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

It appears the Chromecast uses a lot more juice when it’s turning on than it does idling, so turning it off and on probably will work against your power saving intentions and may jack your electric bill up to $0.40. Turning it off also disables some of the features the Chromecast has (such as the ability to turn on your TV, change the channel, update the OS in the background, etc.).

Chromecast active use power draw

Unfortunately this is one of those things that appears to vary based on distance to the wireless router, amount of WiFi traffic, resolution/definition of the stream the Chromecast is handling, and I’m sure some other factors.

Should I worry?